Lenovo ThinkPad T510 business notebook

A 15.6in Lenovo laptop with good speed and long battery life

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Lenovo ThinkPad T510
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T510
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T510
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T510
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Solid build quality, excellent screen, good performance, excellent touchpad, keyboard light, fingerprint reader can be used to switch on and log-in in with one swipe of your finger, long battery life using 9-cell battery

Cons

  • Bottom-right corner of the keyboard was loose, feels heavy, doesn't ship with data encryption and password management utilities

Bottom Line

It may look drab, but the Lenovo ThinkPad T510 business notebook is well-featured, solidly built, fast, and has a long battery life. It does feel a little too heavy for lap use and its keyboard isn't completely solid, but its pros heavily outweigh those cons.

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Design and features

The ThinkPad's 15.6in screen has a resolution of 1600x900, which is great for lining up windows side by side while multitasking. (The notebook is also available with a 1366x768 screen.) It's a high-brightness screen that allows documents and most Web pages to be viewed even in direct sunlight, but the black palm rest will get very hot very quickly when you use it in the sun — if you use it outdoors, make sure you shade it. The screen has excellent contrast and it makes the ThinkPad great for viewing photos and videos. It also has reasonably good viewing angles. The display rests on metal hinges that keep it perfectly in place and it features a 2-megapixel webcam and a built-in light that shines down on the keyboard — this works well and is very useful when typing at night.

The keyboard itself feels rock solid and doesn't bounce at all — that is, until you use the arrow keys. The bottom-right corner bounces way too much, to the point where it makes a clicking noise as it moves; this is uncharacteristic of ThinkPads and probably just a quirk of our test model. The keys are full-sized and they offer more resistance than ThinkPad keys of the past, but they are still very comfortable to hit. Above the keyboard you'll find dedicated volume controls, which are very convenient, especially as the ThinkPad ships with better-than-average speakers that sit either side of the keyboard. This means that you don't get a number pad on the T510, but you do get pretty good sound quality — although at high volume the speakers will distort a little. Two pointing devices are installed: you get a large touchpad as well as a TrackPoint device. The TrackPoint is sensitive and sometimes sticky, but it's great for when you don't want to move your hands too far from the typing position. The touchpad is also very responsive and feels good to use. It has little bumps on it that sometimes tickle, but you get used to them after a while. It also supports gestures so you can use two fingers to scroll, zoom and rotate. You can use the T510 on your lap for long periods — it won't get warm unless it's rendering 3D graphics — but it weighs a hefty 2.85kg and its edges can dig in to your legs, making it uncomfortable.

The design of the 15.6in ThinkPad T510 is neither slim nor sexy, but it's not meant to be. It's a workhorse that's designed for business users who want a powerful configuration, a roomy keyboard and plenty of built-in features. You get a built-in DVD burner and almost every type of connectivity feature you could hope for: USB 2.0, FireWire, ExpressCard/34, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, eSATA, VGA, DisplayPort, an SD card slot, and even a 56Kbps modem. You can even opt for integrated Qualcomm 3G connectivity.

Conclusion

A good battery life, fast performance, plenty of connectivity and a solid design mean the ThinkPad T510 should be a prime choice for business use — and, indeed, for anyone who wants a good all-round notebook. You also get a fingerprint reader (with which you can just swipe your finger to boot and log in to the system) and 3D hard drive protection, but it doesn't ship with extensive security tools for hard drive encryption and password management. Its price is also too high, especially considering it doesn't come with 4GB of RAM, but you're paying a premium for all the built-in features, the large battery and the great build quality of the chassis.

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