Home' LAPTOP Magazine : July 2011 Contents Laptop | July 2011
Lenovo ThinkPad L420
w w w.lenovo.com/us
With a comfortable keyboard, a second-generation
Intel Core processor, and a $898 price tag, the Lenovo
ThinkPad L420 is proof that “business notebook” and
“value” don’t have to be mutually exclusive. This 14.1-
inch notebook continues Lenovo’s tried-and-true design
and offers strong performance for traveling executives
and students alike.
Like most ThinkPads, the L420 features a simple,
all-black design. The only pops of color are the red
TrackPoint, which sits between the G and H keys, and a
red stripe on the touchpad’s left and right buttons. The lid
lacks the soft-touch finish of pricier ThinkPads; instead,
it’s a plain matte treatment.
Lenovo says the L420, along with the L520, was con-
structed with durability in mind. Business-rugged features
include new metal hinges and the Active Protection System,
which parks the hard drive in the event of a drop. The
L420 is also equipped with a spill-resistant keyboard,
which Lenovo rates to withstand up to an ounce of water.
Other business-friendly features include a n integrated
fingerprint reader, which lets you log into the notebook
in an extra-secure way; TPM; BIOS port locking; and an
optional smart card reader.
Lenovo is known for its springy, responsive keyboards,
and the L420 is no exception. During our hands-on time
with the notebook, we enjoyed strong tactile feedback
and were able to type at a brisk pace with few mis-
The ThinkPad L420 features a Track Point pointing
stick (located between the G and H keys) and a
textured touchpad. The pointing stick provides
an accurate way of navigating the desktop,
and, of the four brands who offer one—Dell,
HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba—Lenovo’s is the
easiest to use.
The L420’s 3 x 1.8 -inch touchpad proved re-
sponsive and accurate when we used a single finger,
but multitouch was another matter. We had to try several
times before we could get the touchpad to register pinch-
With a 14-inch 1366 x 768-pixel matte screen, the
ThinkPad L420 offers fairly good image quality. When we
streamed an episode of Parks and Recreation on Hulu, the
display delivered accurate, if not overly rich, colors.
The L420’s speakers failed to impress. When we
played “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack, the
audio sounded slightly muff led, and the bass-heav y
“Sick” by SALEM lacked depth. At 100-percent volume,
the L420’s speakers still didn’t pack much punch.
Thanks to a 2.5 -GHz Core i5-2520M processor, 4GBof
RAM, and a320GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive, the ThinkPad
L420 notched a good score of 7,354 in PCMark Vantage,
which measures overall system performance. That score
beats the thin-and-light average by more than 2,000
points, but it falls short of the 8,242 turned in by the Dell
Latitude E6420 (with a 2.6 -GHz Intel Core i5 CPU) and
the 7,983 notched by the Fujitsu LifeBook S751 (with a
2.5 -GHz Intel Core i5-2410M CPU).
When it came to booting up, the L420 was nice and
speedy, launching into Windows 7 Professional in just
46 seconds. That’s 18 seconds faster than the category
average, and it also bests the boot times of the Latitude
E6420 and the LifeBook S751 by 20 seconds.
Equipped with a six-cell battery, the Lenovo ThinkPad
L420 lasted an impressive 6 hours and 41 minutes on our
LAPTOP Battery Test. That beats the average thin-and-
light’s endurance by more than an hour and the Fujitsu
S751’s lasting power by a little less than two hours.
The $898 ThinkPad L420 falls somewhere between
the high-powered T series and the more small-business
focused Edge lineup. A s such, it borrows the security
features and docking capability of the former line, but
the more affordable pricing of the latter. This laptop’s
great keyboard, snappy performance, and reasonable
price make it a compelling option for professionals who
aren’t willing to sacrifice quality. We wish the speak-
ers were better, but if a solid typing experience, good
performance, and a budget-friendly price are what
you’re after, the ThinkPad L420 fits the bill.
(continued on page 76)
Links Archive June 2011 August 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page