When you think of ThinkPad, you almost always think of a solid business notebook that is built for the enterprise. The product line has long been a mainstay at companies wanting full-featured notebooks in the hands of executives that can get the job done. The ThinkPad Edge line that Lenovo launched this year is aimed at bringing that solid reputation to the mainstream consumer. The Edge combines the solid build quality the ThinkPad is famous for with a design that is geared toward the consumer. The ThinkPad Edge 14 crosses the enterprise/ consumer divide admirably.
The 14-inch version of the Edge is a nice size that is comfortable to use while remaining highly portable. The notebook is nice and thin and while a bit heavy at 5 pounds it is still easy to carry in a gear bag. The evaluation model has the black matte finish on the lid, a huge improvement over the glossy version that it a fingerprint magnet.
The 14-inch screen provides ample room for a large base on the Edge, which allows Lenovo to add some welcome touches to the design. The keyboard is one of the best notebook keyboards I have used, and it has lots of room around it to make it comfortable to use for extended periods. Most welcome is the over-sized trackpad which supports multitouch. I find larger trackpads to be easier to use, especially when using two fingers to scroll up and down the screen. The Edge has a red ThinkPad trackstick like all ThinkPads, along with 3 buttons below the space bar.
There are nice consumer touches that add functionality. The ThinkPad logo on the lid and the inside beneath the keyboard both have the “i” dotted with a red LED that indicates power status and standby mode. All ports and slot for peripherals are located on the sides and front of the notebook toward the front, making everything easily accessible whether the lid is open or closed.
The 2 MP webcam is above the screen, centered as is most convenient. It is optimized for use in low lighting conditions, so Skype video calls always provide good video quality.
The display on the Edge 14 is very vivid and easy to use all day. The resolution is 1366×768 and everything is nice and big for extended viewing. I wish it was slightly higher resolution, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means. It’s still a good size for taking advantage of the Windows 7 Aero drag features, such as tiling two windows side by side. This unit has a highly glossy screen which I happen to like, but if you’re one of those who don’t like them you should avoid it.
The keyboard is simply wonderful to use; every time I use the Edge for a while and then go to another notebook I realize just how good this one really is to use. I can type as fast or faster on this keyboard than on any other, and that’s saying a lot given how many keyboards I use. It is slightly sunken from the surrounding border, making it the same level as the base while still having good key travel. I love this keyboard.
The optical drive is very convenient to have for installing software. It is a very thin DVD recordable drive that pops out of the right side of the notebook. It is a fast dual layer drive.
What sets the ThinkPad Edge apart from other consumer notebooks is the ThinkPad features Lenovo includes on them. The ThinkVantage suite of system tools is top-notch for keeping the system running smoothly and staying protected.
I am getting 4.5 – 5 hours on a charge using the 6-cell standard battery. The notebook comes with the ThinkPad Power Manager which is one of the best available for controlling how power is used to best advantage. I am confident that run time can be extended with very aggressive use of the power settings using the manager.
I really like this notebook. If I was in the market for a new notebook I would give the ThinkPad Edge serious consideration. The 14-inch model as reviewed is currently $649 with the following configuration:
- CPU: Intel Core i3, 2.13 GHz
- Memory: 2 GB
- Storage: 250GB (5,400 rpm)
- Display: 14-inch (glossy), 1366×768 resolution
- Camera: low-light capable, 2 megapixel
- Optical drive: DVD recordable (dual layer)
- Battery: 6-cell
- Communications: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Ports: 3-USB 2.0, VGA out, HDMI, USB/eSATA, ExpressCard, LAN, 7-in-1 card reader slot, audio in/out combo jack
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 9.17 x 1.29 inches; 5.1 lbs.
Lenovo also has both a 13-inch and a 15-inch model in the ThinkPad Edge line. I have previously reviewed the 13-inch ThinkPad Edge.
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