The ThinkPad Edge tries to update the classic ThinkPad design with rounded corners and a new keyboard.
The ThinkPad Edge is a somewhat new direction for Lenovo with a re-design of the ThinkPad series that still looks very much like it did fifteen years back. Its not an easy task as people (myself included), love the timeless design of the ThinkPad with its legendary keyboard. Lets find out whats in store for us with the 15″ ThinkPad Edge.
The good looking piano black finish is surprisingly not as much of a finger magnet as other glossy finishes I’ve looked at and with the lighted red dot above the i and rounded edges, makes the edge look pretty sexy. The left side of the device has VGA and HDMI ports along with eSATA and LAN while the front houses a memory card reader towards the right side. On the right, you can connect the power as well as two USB devices. The Bluray drive also sits on the right side. One more USB port is present on the back of the system where you can see the battery sticking out of the system.
The model we received came equipped with a Core i5 M430 CPU running a 2.27GHz along with 4GB RAM, a 320GB Hard Drive and the ATI Radeon 4500 graphics card with 512MB DDR3 memory. Impressive specs to say the least. The display is 15.6″ in size with a resolution of 1366×768 which I feel is a bit on the lower side for a display this big. On top of the screen, you have your standard webcam while below it is the speaker grill hiding two speakers behind it. Finally, below the keyboard, you have a finger sensor.
The new keyboard that Lenovo uses for the edge is pretty good but I’m not sure worthy of the legendary status. I like the fact that it has chiclet style keys that are not stuck together and that the keys are a bit curved. However, I feel that you have to press the keys a bit too much and for some reason, I kept hitting the CAPS LOCK key a lot when I wanted to type A. Also, the trackpoint stuck on the center of the B,G and H keys is a bit distracting. Maybe I need to use it a bit more to get a better feel but it certainly has some large shoes to fill.
I did like the large sized trackpad very much that gives you ample space to move the cursor. Multi touch is also supported and like Macs, you can use two fingers to scroll. The trackpad buttons are also easy to reach and press. As with many other ThinkPads, you also have the trackpoint for controlling the cursor along with its set of three buttons as well which I also found pretty easy to use. While the Edge might not have the best keyboard, it certainly has one of the best options for tracking your cursor.
We compared the performance of the ThinkPad edge to the recently reviewed HP dv6 that also boasts an impressive configuration.
As you can see from the results above, the ThindPad edge has a pretty fast CPU but the HP dv6 features a better GPU and thus it posted higher results in 3D benchmarks. Overall system performance as noted was better as reported by PCMark Vantage due to the CPU and the slightly faster hard drive on the ThinkPad Edge. Movie Playback was not an issue for the edge with both 720p and 1080p videos playing without any dropped frames.
Finally, the battery life on the edge was pretty impressive. We got almost six and a half hours in our tests which should keep you working or entertained during a long flight without much of an issue. Prices for Edge 15″ start at US$749 (AED ) which will get you the Core i3 with Intel integrated graphics version.
Overall, I feel that the ThinkPad Edge is better suited in a 13″ or 14″ form factor as Lenovo has kept the screen resolution fixed across all models. The 14″ model offers the latest Intel Core series of CPUs which is good if you need that extra horsepower, but if your main usage on a laptop is using the Internet and Microsoft Office, then I’d suggest getting the less bulky 13″ model.