Lenovo ThinkPad T510 review

21 Apr 2010

The construction, speed and feature set are all top of the pile - it's the workstation to beat

Lenovo ThinkPad T510
Price when reviewed: 
1,399(£1,302 inc VAT)
5

Lenovo's eagerly awaited ThinkPad workstation refresh hasn't disappointed. The new T510 packs Intel's latest dual-core 32nm Core i7-620M, which ups the old i7-720QM's clock speed to 2.66GHz and drops the maximum TDP to 35W. In short, it's the most efficient mobile Core i7 chip yet.

Those two cores won't compete with a decent quad-core processor in most multithreaded applications, but for other tasks it runs like lightning. A score of 1.91 in our benchmarks makes it the quickest laptop we've tested, and the ISV-certified Nvidia NVS 3100M graphics raced through our CAD/CAM benchmark very quickly indeed.

It has raw power in spades, then, but the ThinkPad's appeal lies in its design. The hooded edge to the lid makes it rigid as ever, and there's a WWAN antenna inside it to get the most from the T510's 3G modem. The hinges are wider and the base feels rock-solid, and it features a fingerprint reader (with TPM chip) and a contactless smart card reader.

The speakers either side of the keyboard restrict its width, but it meets the usual ThinkPad standard. Touchpad and trackpoint are present, and Lenovo has added some nice touches, such as a key to quick-start VoIP conferencing.

The 15in screen looks muted next to consumer laptops, but the 1,600 x 900 resolution suits the size and the backlight is evenly lit and bright. It coasted through our gradient and tinting tests, and it's fine for the occasional video or presentation too.

Most of the ports sit on the left side, with an eSATA/USB combo and both D-SUB and DisplayPort outputs. There's dual-band 802.11n wireless and Gigabit Ethernet, a fast 500GB hard disk and DVD writer, and Windows 7 Professional 64-bit as standard.

It may not be as big and comfortable as the Dell Precision M6400, but with a price of £1,191 when configured on Lenovo's website, it makes an awful lot more financial sense. More than four hours of battery life is good given the performance, and it comes with all the business features a workstation needs.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,191
Price inc VAT £1,399
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 6

Warranty

Warranty 3 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 372 x 244 x 38mm (WDH)
Weight 2.770kg
Travelling weight 3.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-620M
Motherboard chipset Intel QM57 Express
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset Nvidia NVS 3100M
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 454GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate Momentus 7200.4
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive Matshita UJ890
Battery capacity 5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem yes
ExpressCard34 slots 1
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 1
Pointing device type Touchpad, trackpoint
Audio chipset Nvidia HD Audio
Speaker location Alongside keyboard
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader yes
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 5min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 32min
Overall application benchmark score 1.91
Office application benchmark score 1.78
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.93
Encoding application benchmark score 1.69
Multitasking application benchmark score 2.23

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition