Lenovo ThinkPad E520 review

Dedicated graphics cards are the exception, rather than the rule, for most business laptops. Tom Morgan goes hands on with Lenovo's latest ThinkPad Edge, to see if its AMD Radeon GPU is a perfect accompaniment, or more of a third wheel.

Even under the harsh fluorescent lights of our office, we could see the 15.6in screen perfectly thanks to its matte finish. It diffused light reflections exceptionally well, although we still wouldn't like to use it in direct sunlight. Unsurprisingly, colours aren't as bright as they would be on a glossy display, and darker images looked slightly grey rather than deep black, but it was still well-suited for working on plain text documents. Viewing angles were only reasonable, but this shouldn't be a huge problem as the screen has over 180 degrees of tilt.

The left-hand side of the Lenovo ThinkPad E520

The left-hand side of the Lenovo ThinkPad E520

Connectivity shouldn't be a problem as there are plenty of ports.

You should have no trouble using peripherals or external displays as well as an internal DVD writer, three USB2 ports, a combined USB2/eSATA port and a multi-format card reader, there's also VGA and HDMI video outputs, a combined headphone and microphone audio jack and an ExpressCard/34 slot for future expansion. The only noticeably absent feature is a fingerprint reader, although this is available as a build-to-order option from Lenovo's online store, and system administrators will appreciate being able to disable the various ports and on-board devices in the password-protected BIOS. Finally, if there was any doubt Lenovo hadn't designed the E520 for business, it comes with a 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Professional.

At 520 excluding VAT, the ThinkPad Edge E520 is more expensive than most entry-level laptops, but that's unsurprising considering the presence of a dedicated graphics card. Whether it's necessary is up for debate unlike more expensive FirePro-equipped machines that are certified for specific tasks, this consumer-level Radeon card isn't guaranteed to work with your software. Everything else about the E520 makes it the ideal entry-level machine its connectivity, keyboard and performance are all great, so if you'd like a machine that's aimed for business, with the additional ability to pump out polygons when needed, there are few competitors that are quite so well-rounded.

So what's our verdict?


The dedicated graphics card adds to its price and won’t be necessary for a lot of people, but the ThinkPad Edge E520 is still a very well-rounded laptop that costs less than you might think for its specification.

Processor: Intel Core i5-2410m 2.3GHz Memory: 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6630M dedicated / Intel HD Graphics integrated Hard disk: 500GB Display: 15.6in 1,366x768, LED-backlit screen Features: 0.3 megapixel webcam, integrated microphone Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports: 3x USB2, 1x USB2/eSATA, 1x four-in-one card reader, 1x VGA output, 1x HDMI output, 1x 3.5mm combo audio input/output, 1x ExpressCard /34 Dimensions: 33x375x245mm Weight: 2.4kg Warranty: one year RTB OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Part code: NZ33MUK BENCHMARK RESULTS Image editing 67 Video encoding 43 Multiple apps 46 Overall 49 Light usage battery life – 6h 34m POWER CONSUMPTION Sleep 1W Idle 21W Active 98W