Complete Guide for Your PC & How to Buy It (Part 3) - Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 & Toshiba Portégé Z830-104

4/20/2012 5:21:05 PM

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520

4 stars

Price: $865

Midrange Lenovo ThinkPad Edge targeted manly to business users, but there is no reason to strike them out - E520 is a good value, combining the power of Intel Core i5 processor with single 3D graphics chipset.

Like other ThinkPad, Edge E520 has unobtrusive design. Anti-glare black color scheme, the plastic frame and typical touchstick of Lenovo are suitable with business people, but that does not make it less useful at home. We do not encounter any problem with the big Chiclet-style keyboard but still small enough to mount a number keypad. Each key has a appropriate response, that is, we type at high speed almost instantly. Two touchpad buttons are not sure as we like, but the touchpad has a reasonable size with interesting smooth surface.

The screen has anti-glare surface that is friendly with businessman, it keeps screen reflection at minimum, even in the office lights. The disadvantage is that color does not outstanding as we want and the dark images seem gray rather than deep black. Watching angle is only average, but with more than 180 degree in tilt, you can find the appropriate angle.

Description: Description: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520

Laptop comes with the Professional version of Windows 7, which has suitable support for use in offices, but copies of Corel WinDVD and MovieFactory software will allow you to play and edit movies. There are plenty of connectivity options, with 4 USB ports, one among them takes role of eSATA port, HDMI and VGA video output device with a multi-format card reader, enough to connect all accessories. Lack of USB3 is a pity but ExpressCard/34 slot will allow for future upgrades.

To strengthen by an Intel Core i5-2410m processor and 4GB memory, E520 is very powerful - it sweeps through our multimedia tests with 49 points total, proving it will handle the heavy 2D application easily. Playing game is not the problem - dedicated graphics card AMD Radeon 6650m is not very premium but easy to handle modern games. In heavy Dirt3 tests, it achieved 39.8 fps speed smoother with enabled anti-aliasing feature.

E520 also reached 6.5 hours in the light battery use test, so you can accomplish many works while you are out.

If you are looking for a mid-range laptop that has more ability than word processing and presentation, ThinkPad E520 is a great middle ground between business computer and family computer. Just a few laptops offer more with the price is less than $1,000.


Comment. An excellent comprehensive laptop for work and family if you look out the average screen.

Business laptop. 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M, 4GB RAM, 500GB hardware, AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics, DVD+/-RW+/-DL, LCD 15.6in wide-range, Windows 7 Professional 64bit, 33x375x245mm, 2.4kg, RTB 1 year warranty.

Energy consumption: 1W standby, 20W idle, 57W activate.


Toshiba Portégé Z830-104        

Description: Description: Toshiba Portégé Z830-104

4 stars

Price: $1700

Toshiba is challenging Asus and Apple directly with Portege Z830 Ultrabook. Instead of stylish and slim size emphasis, the company has focused on business customers.

While ZenBook UX31 of Asus has Mini HDMI and Mini VGA video outputs and no Ethernet, so you need to carry adapter to connect to a wired network equipment and video, Toshiba model has big size ports in the back frame. This makes Z830 become one of the thickest Ultrabook we've ever seen - with 16mm at the thickest point, it's still slim incredibly but not as slim by Asus ZenBook. Aluminum frame of laptop lost weight down to 1.1kg, so you will not even notice it in the laptop bag.

13.3in screen with anti-glare surface, helps reduce glare from sunlight or overhead light. Pale color, but the 1366x768 resolution is high enough to work on two documents side by side. Horizontal and vertical viewing angles are not very large, but enough to tilt the screen to help you find the appropriate angle view.

Typing on big size keyboard which is illuminated quite comfortable, even though the keys have very little movement. They bounce quickly after pressing, but sometimes we wonder if our click has been identified. There are many spaces around each key and every punctuation keys are located at the position you’re waiting, but there is no space for some separate keypads.

Even with this big size keyboard, Toshiba tried to put on a good touchpad below. Smooth plastic surface created minimal friction, so we do not have trouble in navigating the desktop, but we prefer to have a fingerprint reader located in other place than between two touchpad buttons. The position of fingerprint reader means that the touchpad buttons are almost no wider than your thumb, it makes difficulty in drag files and folders.

About performance, Z830 is really an Ultrabook. With low voltage Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB RAM, of course it has enough power for most tasks. Total points are 46 in our tests showed that laptop can handle daily tasks as well as encode some heavy video, and battery life is also impressive - laptop lasted nearly seven hours in light use test.

With nearly $1,700, Z830 is in the premium segment on Ultrabook price. Its ethernet port and big size video are very useful, especially with people travelling in a business trip, but Asus UX31e has higher resolution screen and faster processor for the price of under $150. If you do not mind carrying a few port adapter, Asus model is the more bargain.


Comment. The big size ports and illuminated keys make Z830-104 prominent, but it is not our chosen Ultrabook.

Ultra-portable laptop. Intel Core i5-2557M 1.7GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB drive, Intel HD 3000 graphics, LCD 13.3in wide-range, Windows 7 Professional 64bit, 116x316x227mm, 1.1kg, RTB 1 year warranty.

Energy consumption: 1W stand by, 17W idle, 42W active.

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