Lenovo had one of the largest showings from any single PC manufacturer at CES this year, and while sifting through the company's new lineup of machines can be a daunting task for the average consumer, it was pretty clear from the outset that the ThinkPad Edge would be one of Lenovo's standout products of 2010. In many ways, it's a departure from the ThinkPad norm. It's the first ThinkPad to be available in more than just black (it will also ship in red), and there are a copious amount of customization options. Processors from both AMD and Intel are available, and it ships in 13", 14" and 15" form factors. It's not usual that a single machine type is available in ultraportable, mid-size and full-size notebook form factors, but the Edge seemingly breaks the mold.
The ThinkPad Edge is also one of Lenovo's most connected notebooks, ever. It can be ordered with Wi-Fi, WiMAX and an optional Gobi chipset, which can connect to both CDMA (Verizon Wireless) and GSM (AT&T) cellular data networks. To date, we have yet to see a machine with as many connectivity options built in. If you can't find an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi hotspot, there's a good chance you could connect to VZW or AT&T's data network; if you're in a major city with Clear WiMAX service, you could even connect to 4G. Of course, you'll need to activate and pay monthly for each data service you wish to subscribe to, but at least the options are integrated in case you find it necessary to activate in the future.
The ThinkPad Edge, in addition to being wildly flexible, is also amongst the cheapest options from Lenovo. It's not built quite as "tough" and "thick" as a traditional ThinkPad, which is why the company was able to set the starting price at just $549. If the allure of a ThinkPad had you hooked, but the conventional exterior styling pushed you away, the newly engineered Edge just might be the Lenovo notebook for you.
Lenovo 13" ThinkPad Edge (Intel-based) Notebook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
- Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 @ 1.30GHz, 533MHz FSB; 512K Cache
- 4GB of DDR3 RAM (1066MHz)
- 13.3" LCD (1366x768 resolution); LED backlight
- Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
- 320GB (5400RPM) Seagate Momentus 5400.6 Hard Drive
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- No Optical Drive
- 0.3 megapixel webcam
- VGA and HDMI Outputs
- USB 2.0 x 3
- RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
- Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
- SD / MMC / MSPro Multimedia Card Reader
- Stereo Speakers
- Gesture-Enabled Multi-Touch Trackpad
- 3.6 Pounds (with 4-cell battery installed)
- Removable 4-Cell or 6-Cell Li-ion Battery (Up To 7.8 Claimed Hours of Computing)
- 13.07" x 8.97" x 0.66"-1.23" (Dimensions)
- Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
- Price (as tested): $899
- Price (starting): $549
If netbooks don't offer the kind of performance you seek, and size is still a major factor, the 13" ThinkPad Edge is a fantastic choice--on paper, anyway. The ultraportable space is getting crowded quickly. Is this machine able to stand out amongst the legions of others? Join us in the pages ahead to see how our 13", Intel-based test unit stacks up.