Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E325 review
A strong contender for more serious use provided you don't need a quick start of an optical drive
Review Date: 1 Mar 2012
Reviewed By: Terry Freedman
Price when reviewed: £333 (£400 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Small, light and attractive, the ThinkPad has much to recommend it. With its compact size, 13.3in screen and 1.7kg weight it’s extremely portable, but not so small that usability suffers. The screen is very bright, with little reflectivity, although the size and the way in which colours dull when viewed from the side means this isn’t a laptop two pupils can work on at a time.
The keyboard is easy to use, requiring only a soft touch, and it’s full-sized despite the laptop’s compact nature. The responsive clickable trackpad is accompanied by separate mouse buttons, as well as a pointer for those who prefer it.
This no-nonsense laptop also comes with a few mod cons, including USB 3 and HDMI ports that leave it ready to work with the HD projectors, monitors and fast external hard disks. Best of all, the Lenovo gave the longest battery life of all the laptops on test, surviving nearly five hours of typical classroom use.
The webcam comes with video-conferencing software, reinforcing the impression that this laptop means business; a view backed up by the inclusion of a custom-designed security suite. And on the subject of security, the webcam can be set up to automatically lock the laptop when it detects that nobody is in front of it. This isn’t foolproof, but should thwart the casual snooper. Sound is surprisingly strong and clear, but video quality from the webcam is mediocre.
While the ThinkPad isn’t the most robust device we looked at – the screen rests on two narrow hinges and doesn’t go flat – it isn’t flimsy. Its speed may be an issue, however. The AMD E-350 processor isn’t as fast as AMD’s own Athlon or Phenom II processors, let alone Intel’s Core line-up, and 2GB of RAM is below average. All this is represented in a slow PC Pro benchmark score of 0.24, although the ThinkPad will be fine for basic classroom or office tasks.
There’s no optical drive, which will make installing software locally rather challenging, but if you’ve moved to software deployment over a network this won’t be an issue. Our strongest criticism, then, is that the ThinkPad took nearly two minutes to start up – an eternity for the youngest students.
Author: Terry Freedman
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