ThinkPad T420s take two

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In 2011 I reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad T420s.  At the time, I called it a worthy successor to the ThinkPad X300 and a ThinkPad worthy of the name.  I stick by these claims.

At the time, I was asked about battery life.  I had only used the machine while setting it up, which isn’t the best way to judge a laptop battery.  This weekend, I find myself with the T420s again and have a bit of time to just play with it in Ubuntu Linux 12.04.

Overall, the machine works very well in Linux and, with the stock battery, seems to get about 3 hours on a charge with average use.  This isn’t bad for a Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, but it is certainly less than my X200s with a Core2Duo.  Moreover, I find the T420s with a standard 7200 RPM hard drive to be much slower than my X200s with a good SSD.  The 1600×900 display on the T420s is great, but is of similar quality overall to the X200s’ 1440×900.

After using it for an hour or two, I have come to the following conclusion:  The T420s is larger, noisier, and has weaker battery life than the X200s.  It also runs slower with an HDD.  Personally, I’d rather stick with the X200s, even though it’s a generation older and has a slower CPU.  However, if you need a full-size laptop with an optical drive and are less fussy about system noise than me, the T420s is a great machine.

I’ll admit that the upcoming ThinkPad X1 Carbon has piqued my interest.


GoSaBe Blog - Jul 28, 2012 | Hardware