Lenovo ThinkPad T420s review

The ThinkPad T420s is a powerful business notebook with a high-resolution display, a robust, lightweight frame and many business features.

The ThinkPad T420s comes at a premium over the T420, but that explains the lighter weight and 1600 x 900 resolution display, which won my heart during this review.

I would appreciate longer battery life, but the great keyboard, system performance, and durability help the T420s overcome that shortcoming.


Robust design

High definition display

Good performance

Excellent Lenovo keyboard


Small touch pad

5 hour battery

ThinkPad T420s |$1,099|Business notebook


keyboard and touchpad



performance and graphics

battery life

The bottom line



The competition

HP ProBook 5330M

Dell Latitude E6520

Who is the ThinkPad T420S suitable for?

The ThinkPad T420s is a business notebook aimed at companies that use it for a full workforce. The ThinkPad T420s is not a newfangled ultrabook, but it is still thin and light enough for the business traveler to travel cross-country without discomfort. Small businesses and Students should think twice about the ThinkPad T420s.


There are no surprises with the Lenovo ThinkPad design, with a standard matte black finish and metal hinges. Like the classic black suit, it never goes out of style, especially in the corporate environment.

However, Lenovo has given the lid a soft-touch finish and curved the edges more so it doesn't seem like you're carrying a clunky work notebook when you take it on vacation or to the coffee shop.

Lenovo uses a carbon fiber reinforced base and ABS plastic top to increase the durability and strength of the T420s, which is carried inside with a roll cage to keep your hard drive and components safe in the event of a fall or other accident. The keyboard is also designed with drainage holes waterproof underneath.

The T420s is 0.8 to 1 inch thick and weighs four pounds, making it a portable business notebook that won't break your back or bag your backpack.

keyboard and touchpad

Lenovo is known for excellent keyboards, and users of the classic ThinkPad-style keyboards will feel right at home on this notebook. While there's no island keyboard or backlit keys like the ThinkPad X1 and ThinkPad Edge notebooks, this is still an amazing keyboard .

There aren't any unusual key layouts around the edges of the keyboards that ruin the typing experience on many new notebooks. Key travel is great, although some users may have to adjust to the spacing when coming from an island-style notebook at home. I use this keyboard gladly and could use it daily, which says a lot about its quality.

The ThinkPad T420s has a touchpad and a trackpoint.

The touchpad is small, thanks in part to the extra buttons just below the spacebar that are there for TrackPoint users. If you like TrackPoint, you'll be happy with this system, which works very well. The touchpad is about 3 inches wide and Relatively small at 2 inches in height. The touchpad is textured, which aids in accuracy, but you can forget about using multi-touch gestures. At the bottom of the touchpad are dedicated buttons that fold over the edge, but are large enough to touch her lightly without looking.


Lenovo knows that business users need to be able to get their work done on the go, and that often means comparing two documents side-by-side or using multiple programs at the same time.

The ThinkPad T420s has a 14.1-inch matte display that keeps the weight and size down, but the 1600 x 900 resolution isn't small. Since Lenovo went for this higher resolution, I was able to get tasks done with this notebook that would normally have taken significantly longer or required a second monitor. Most notebooks of this size have a minimum resolution of 1366 x 768.

Viewing angles and colors are good. Although vertical viewing angles suffer, the ability to angle the display flat allows you to find a comfortable angle in almost any situation.

The matte display allows working outdoors or in bright light and is a must for business users who can work anywhere.


Dual microphones and great camera for videos.

The ThinkPad T420s has a number of business-friendly features that will help you sell this notebook to your IT manager.


- The ThinkPad T420s can be docked to a port replicator or Mini Dock Series 3 to make it easy to dock the notebook in your office and take it with you when you travel.


- Dual HD mics greatly improve conference calls and can prevent the other caller from hearing keystrokes so loud and focus the mics on your voice or turn it into a small group speakerphone.


- Optional fingerprint reader, smart card support and the Lenovo Hardware Password Manager offer a nice collection of security features.


- The ThinkPad T420s meets eight military specification tests for harsh conditions and durability, so it can work in the real world.

These features add up to a well-rounded business notebook with extras that you will actually use.

performance and graphics

The ThinkPad T420s test device is equipped with a 2.5 GHz 2nd generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM and a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard disk. The graphics are left to the integrated Intel 3000HD processor, which has enough computing power for most office tasks. Tasks and business users supplies.

When it comes to accessing Access databases, complex Excel spreadsheets and using other business software, the T420s is more than capable.

If you need to watch HD videos, do simple video conversions, or occasionally process HD videos, it works well too. You can use the included DVD drive to burn it to disc.

Don't plan on playing games or doing video editing on this device on a daily basis unless you opt for the discrete NVIDIA NVS 4200M graphics upgrade.

Dolby Home Theater v4 adds panache to the ThinkPad T420s' sound. While it's not incredibly loud, you get decent depth and overall sound for sharing a presentation with a small group or listening to music in your office or on the go.

battery life

Since the ThinkPad T420s is a thin notebook, you have to sacrifice some battery life, but even with the compromise you end up with more than half a day of battery life.Using the

battery test for laptop magazines,

which simulates surfing the Internet at 40% brightness, the battery lasts a little over 5 hours.

5 hours and 18 minutes of battery life

is not bad, especially considering the size and weight of this notebook.

The bottom line

The ThinkPad T420s offers great performance, an incredibly high-resolution matte display and an excellent keyboard. With extras like better video conferencing and premium audio, users will appreciate the T420s just as much as IT managers will appreciate the security and durability.

With a great starting price of $1,099 and features, the ThinkPad T420s is very attractive to business users and a good option for students looking for a notebook that will last four years of school.


Dual microphones and great camera for videos.

The ThinkPad T420s has a touchpad and a trackpoint.


operating system

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Display (Size/Resolution)

14 inch, 1600x900


2.50GHz Intel Core i5-(2nd Gen)




Intel HD Graphics 3000


320 GB hard drive with 7,200 rpm

optical drive

DVD multi recorder


WiFi 802.11 b/g/n;Bluetooth 3.0


1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, DisplayPort, VGA, Ethernet, SD/MMC card slot, Headphone/Mic


13.5″ x 9.1″ x 0.83-1.02″


4 pounds

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