T420 1st day review - vs. T410, T61

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by alexb1, Aug 9, 2011.

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  1. alexb1

    alexb1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ok, some may remember me as the guy who got T410, was disappointed with it, returned it and went back to T61.

    Now, after a few months, I got the latest T420 and thought to add some 1st day experience...

    First off, T420 is DEFINITELY a stepup over T410, IN ALL AREAS!

    I had a lot of problems with build quality and materials on T410, it had a lot of flex, the plastic used was sub-part quality, the keyboard had flex and not as solid as T61, the overall size was larger than T61, and layout of the laptop was worse with funny angles.

    Specs: I got the Core i5, 2.5GHz, 8gb RAM with 128gb SSD and 1600*900 display.

    Case/Keyboard: MOST of the those issues are resolved. The laptop is A LOT MORE SOLID, has a lot less flex, and is a tad smaller than T410, and just about the same size as T61... Keyboard is solid, has no flex, BUT it still uses an inferior plastic and material than T61 but miles btter than T410.

    The layout of ports, and other prepherials is better designed and has lost some of those weird angles that made T410 bulky, this one is a bit more square and overall easier to carry and smaller.

    Trakpad: HORRIBLE. Just the same crap used on T410. I have NO IDEA why they use this new textured trackpad, it just doesn't wok well, has very low accuracy, and responds slow to movement. Like if you tried to grab a few few windows on your desktop, it's almost impossible to do.

    Display: It is a step-up over T410. Although I HATE the 16*9 format, there's just a THICK black wrap around the LCD which could have been your display. It's a shame ppl are going to 16x9 formats, but what can you do?! The screen itself is defiitely better than T410 in many areas. I do NOT care about the extra pixels (1440*900 was just fine for 14"), BUT, the T410 screen was basically one of the worst LCDs I've ever seen, it had terrible viewing angles, it had very saturated screen, and the backlight was almost impossible to adjust (jumped in big steps). So, overall, this is a better display, although it still has POOR viewing angles and it's not like Mac or higher end HP displays.

    SSD: SURPRISE, it is a Crucial C300!!! I thought many posted that it comes with Intel X25, but NOT this one! I ran AS-SSD on it, and got a 248 score. This is way below my OCZ Vertex 2 score on my desktop (380). I just hope it is as reliable as Intel. VERY VERY surprised they used Crucial SSD!

    Battery Life: T410 battery life was SHOCKINGLY POOR! It might have been a lemon, but at full charge and medium brightness could only last 2hrs... this one so far is significantly better. Time will tell.

    CPU: I haven't done any benchmarking, it's for sure zippy, but T410 wasn't a slouch either.

    Windows Score is:
    - Processor: 7.1
    - RAM: 7.4
    - Graphics: 5.9
    - 3D Graphics: 6.3
    - HDD: 7.8

    Overall: This is definite step-up over T410, and highly recommended if you were on the fence. It is STILL lower quality build than T60/T61, but it's acceptable now, and finally I could give up the T61 (for more speed, battery life of new techs). The biggest flaw BY FAR is the LED display, it has terrible viewing angles, although not as bad as T410, and I WISH they offered an upgrade option.

    I will report more after using it for a few days/weeks.
     
  2. ThinkRob

    ThinkRob Notebook Deity

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    The T420 and T410 share keyboard FRUs.
     
  3. gnuh

    gnuh Notebook Consultant

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    Nice review! Did you feel the weight difference between T420 and T61?
     
  4. MidnightSun

    MidnightSun Emodicon

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    Have you tried tweaking sensitivity settings in the UltraNav control panel (Fn + F8 > UltraNav)? That often makes the touchpad work much better.

    I'm also surprised that Lenovo used a Crucial C300. Historically, the 80GB and 160GB options were Intel drives, and the others were either Samsung or Toshiba drives.
     
  5. debiandroid

    debiandroid Newbie

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    I think that the UltraNav issues in the T420 are less of a hardware problem and more a product of poor drivers. I find that any problems I have with UltraNav only occur when I boot into Windows. (For example, I have had absolutely no luck in getting the two-finger scroll function to work reliably in Windows.)

    But when I boot into Debian Linux, both the TrackPoint and trackpad work flawlessly using the Xorg-synaptics driver.

    I know it won't help everyone out there using Win7, but I have to say that I'm incredibly happy with UltraNav on the T420.
     
  6. Iucounu

    Iucounu Notebook Consultant

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    I think personally that the build quality is a fair bit better than on my T61. The general build quality is better, and my T61 hinges also failed, whereas these feel stiffer and more solid than the T61 hinges did (only time will tell, of course). There's no way the T420 uses inferior materials compared to the T61.

    I like the screen, although it could be better. I don't typically view my screen from the side, and only have these two eyeballs which are a few inches apart at most, so viewing angles don't bother me.
     
  7. fraushai

    fraushai Notebook Evangelist

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    I don't think most remarks you made to the T410 were fair. I have used a T410 with 6 cell for quite a while and it lasted more than 4 hours on one charge, with the type of usage you described. There was no flex for my unit as well. I actually prefer the T410 over T420 because of the 16:10 screen ratio. Moreover, the lack of USB 3 in the T420 is a major disappointment.

    In my opinion, the only tangible improvements of the T420 over T410 are the better ventilation system, reduced weight, and slightly better battery life/ graphics (if you need that).
     
  8. Ctrl-Z

    Ctrl-Z Notebook Enthusiast

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    I expect to buy a T420 soon and I expect it not to be worse than my T410 in any meaningful way (other than that unavoidable nasty 16:9 aspect ratio). I've been pretty pleased with the T410 but it does exhibit a lot of flex around the bezel and fan vibration depending on how it is positioned. Battery life with the 9 cell is still about 5.5 hours after 1.5 years of use so no complaints there. As a trackpad user I am disappointed Lenovo didn't improve that area at all (rough texture and non-recessed design).

    The T420 would be my 3rd Thinkpad and I haven't really looked at any alternatives. What high-end HP might be a match for it?
     
  9. pcmojo

    pcmojo Newbie

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    I don't understand why some people continue to buy laptops they do not like. If you have issues with Lenovo, why buy again. Buy Dell or HP, or whatever brand you think is better. It's like this story: Doing the same old thing over and over....and expecting new or better results.....Wake Up!
     
  10. Oscar590

    Oscar590 Notebook Enthusiast

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    You know this is from August 2011 right?
     
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