Lenovo E320 is one of the most good looking notebooks ever produced by the computer giant. It is a fast sub notebook that brings the power of a standard sandy bridge processor in a sleek package. Even then, we cannot recommend it to a student or a businessman. Find out why in the review.
Lenovo ThinkPad E320 is a notebook for those who want something similar to the Lenovo X121e but in a slightly bigger package. Shockingly, it does not have the build quality we expect from a notebook that has been slapped with a ThinkPad brandname. Why? Lenovo had the atrocity to outfit it with soft hinges made out of plastic that lacks that feeling of robustness that you get from other ThinkPad notebooks (think X120e). This hinge problem has been plaguing the Dell notebooks (including Alienware M11x, M14x) from years but not yet from a ThinkPad notebook.
In our Lenovo X121e review, we praised how much nice was the overall construction felt. The case is similar here except from its hinges that are not made from metal. The lid has a matte finish and does not catches fingerprints easily.
The display measures 13.3 inches diagonally and packs 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. We are sure that businessmen and students often have to work with two documents at a time and HD resolution simply is not suitable for that kind of work. Something like full HD (1920 x 1080) or 1600 x 900 should have been there. Colors also did not seem that lively to us. The display is not at par with likes of Macbook Air where everything pops out. On the other hand, businessmen will appreciate its anti-glare matte display which will allow them to work under brightly lid surrounding and under direct sunlight.
Keyboard is same as you find on other ThinkPad models and we found ourselves typing at our usual speeds after spending 10 minutes with the notebook. So, we have complains in the keyboard department. We are not very happy with its touch pad though. The left and right click buttons are not present below the touchpad. Instead, they are somewhere hidden beneath it and they require quite a bit of push to register a click.
We found ourselves using the trackpoint more. Fortunately, you can disable Touchpad to improve your pointer experience.
Our test unit came with Core i3 2310M processor and Intel HD 3000 graphics. Lenovo is also selling the same model with Core i5 2410M which features ATi Radeon HD 6630 graphics with 1GB VRAM. Compared to the recently released AMD A4 3300M (credit – notebooksnews.com) that scored 3676 in the PCmark Vantage test, the E320’s 2310M got 5456, ~2000 more.
Here is how it fares with some other processors in the market (AMD E350, AMD A4 3300M and Atom Z670)
Keep in mind that the Intel Core i3 lacks turbo boost 2.0 and thus cannot overclock itself if required.
4GB RAM is more than adequate for a normal or a heavy user (you would not be doing video editing on this anyway). There are two slots and you can upgrade to 8GB if you feel the need. Full HD video are handled just fine. Productivity apps like Office 2010 open instantaneously.
With its 63Wh battery, we were able to get 6 hours and 15 minutes in our ‘web browsing over Wi-Fi’ test. Brightness was set to 50 percent. Not bad – not bad at all. While you might be able to get slightly more battery life in AMD Fusion notebooks of this size, you will have to sacrifice a bit on the performance part.
You can easily open the back of the unit by unscrewing three screws located on its back panel. After removing the back panel, you can easily swap and upgrade the hard disk and RAM.
Mobile Internet and other perks
Along with the 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0, you also get built in HSPA radio module. This will be appreciated by both business and students who like to stay connected while on the move.
Finger print reader is also built in and its configuration is done by the ThinkVantage Tools.
(+) Good price
(+) Decent performance.
(+) Great keyboard
(+) Matte display
(+) Above average battery life
(+) Performance good enough for casual user
(-) Poor hinge quality
(-) Buttons underneath the touchpad are hard to press
(-) Just HD screen resolution. Give us 1600 x 900.