My first thought upon seeing Lenovo’s radically different ThinkPad Edge 13 at CES was, “Oh man, the ThinkPad forums are going to burn tonight.” Why? The ThinkPad Edge has a glossy lid, a glossy screen, rounded corners, AMD processors (Intel’s CULV platform is optional), and can be ordered in “Heatwave Red.” When I said radically different, I really did mean that this is a radically different ThinkPad. Speaking of which, remember that legendary ThinkPad keyboard? It’s gone, replaced by a chiclet keyboard. Yeah, a chiclet keyboard. This is most definitely not your father’s ThinkPad T410.

The ThinkPad Edge, other than being obscene to the sensibilities of die-hard ThinkPad fans, is at its roots a slim 13” ultraportable offering good portability and battery life for a modest price. It starts at $579 MSRP with AMD Athlon Neo X2 processors (AMD’s lower cost, higher power consuming alternative to CULV) paired to the Radeon HD 3200 IGP and 2GB RAM. Along with the new X100e ultraportable, the Edge is the first ever ThinkPad to offer AMD processors. We have the Intel Edge 13 model for review, which has a $799 MSRP and uses the now familiar Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor and GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics chip.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge Specifications

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 (45nm, 2x1.30GHz, 3MB, 800FSB, 10W)
AMD Athlon Neo X2 L325 (65nm, 2x1.50GHz, 1MB, 800FSB, 18W)
Chipset Intel GS45 + ICH9M
Memory 2x1GB to 2x2GB DDR3-1066
2x2GB DDR3-1066 Tested
Graphics Intel GMA 4500MHD
Display 13.3" LED Backlit WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive(s) 250GB 5400RPM
320GB 5400RPM
320GB 7200RPM
Optical Drive N/A
Networking Realtek Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Wireless WiFi Link 1000 802.11n
WiMax (Optional)
Qualcomm Gobi WWAN (Optional)
Audio HD Audio (2 speakers with headphone/mic jack)
Battery 6-cell 5600 mAh, 63 Wh
Front Side N/A
Left Side HDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
1 x USB 2.0 (powered)
Kensington Lock
Cooling exhaust
Right Side AC Power Connection
5-in-one card reader
3.5mm Headset jack
2 x USB 2.0
Back Side Battery
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Dimensions 13.07" x 8.98" x 1.23" (WxDxH)
Weight 4.0 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
Spill Resistant Keyboard
5-in-1 Flash reader
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Remote diagnostics
2-year and 3-year extended warranties available
Onsite service and accidental damage protection available
Pricing AMD X2: Starting at $490
Intel CULV: Starting at $699

In addition to the CULV platform, our Edge packs 4GB (2x2GB) of DDR3-1066 memory, a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive, an LED-backlit 13.3” 1366x768 glossy screen, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 6-cell Li-ion battery rated for eight hours of run time, all topped off by Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a matte black lid. (The Heatwave Red color option is only available on the AMD model, so you’re out of luck if you want to stand out and have good battery life.)

While the spec sheet is vanilla as far as CULV machines go, what the Edge really seems to offer over its competitors is the ThinkPad name and the reputation for build quality, reliability, and ruggedness that comes along with it. Looking at the similarly sized $745 ASUS UL30Vt, we see the same 13.3” WXGA screen, 4GB of DDR3-1066, a larger 500GB (but 5400RPM) hard drive, an overclockable version of the SU7300 processor, and a switchable NVIDIA G210M dedicated graphics card in addition to GMA 4500MHD. That’s the ASUS’ ace in the hole – the ability to give you significantly better performance with a dedicated graphics card and a 1.73GHz processor at the push of a button, and with a price lower than the Lenovo, those are definitely attractive features. However, the UL series isn’t known for build quality...and the ThinkPad is.

ThinkPad Edge 13: Design and Build
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  • wicko - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    That intel gpu is just garbage.. not asking for much, just something that can play 1080p content without stuttering and using up the CPU like crazy.
  • AstroGuardian - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    You are so "off topic" here dude. Please concentrate on the topic.
  • wicko - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    Uhh, right, so commenting on the laptop being discussed at hand is off-topic? Right.. I suggest laying off whatever it is you're smoking.
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    Maybe he means you're off topic because the G45 does in fact do video acceleration?
  • AstroGuardian - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    My point exactly! And also, these CPUs are not garbage. I am not content with the word "garbage".
    The CPU is great in what it does. And would you play a 1080p movie on a 13' notebook? If you have a HD screen at home you could get a HTPC for cheap these days and do whatever you like with 1080p. The CULV is better than the Atom and everything else AMD has to offer in that range...
  • Cali3350 - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    Im loving all the notebook reviews you guys have been pumping out lately.

    If I may make a request, could you look into the Sony CW line? It offers a i5 520, Geforce 330M and 1600*900 screen and is selling very well. I think a lot would be interested in a review on it. Its just a request though, I'm loving what you guys already put on the site.

    You guys are the gold standard for laptop review for me, you cover everything, and then back it up. I love it!
  • saj4u - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    Just like to add to the notebook list the Lenovo X201. Curious to see how it stands from the T410 you guys just reviewed.
  • aspenland - Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - link

    I own x100e... it has the same keyboard and it is horrible. I also own a T400 and T60 with IPS Flexview screen -- best laptop ever, but getting old. The standard ThinkPad keyboards are miles better... This new fashion of square boxy keys introduced by the shape-obsessed and ergonomics-retarded Apple designers is a nightmare for the industry -- I am really scared the ThinkPad T line will now go the same route... it is a clear regress.

    The new keyboard is physically monotonous -- the feeling of physical articulation is completely lost. Lenovo, please fire your originality-lacking marketing and design people. They will poison your technological marvels with the dumb Apple tricks tailored for the mindless masses...

    A cry of despair...
  • Belard - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    Hopefully Lenovo won't mess with the T-Line... I doubt it... They are one of the important hold-outs with the CTRL-Fn key switch...

    They are proud of their new keyboards, introduced in the T400s with the enhanced ESC and DEL keys.

    The things I'd like to see with ThinkPads: switch Ctrl<>Fn (so CTRL is on outside) - some purist will complain which is WHY they haven't... but having a BIOS option to switch the keys would resolve that.

    I like the new power & VOL button... easier to find the power button.
    The new keyboard standard on ALL Thinkpads, including the SL series.

    Stop using decals on keys... which is what EVERYONE does nowadays :(
    Wouldn't mind the keyboards having LED lighting (like Apple) so the keys stand out in low-light environments. That would remove the need for the think light :) I'd pay an extra $50 for that option.

    Get rid of the stupid USB "expansion" bay which is supposed to replace a true docking bay, it sucks.

    Move the EDGE over to IdeaPad or cancel it out.... they have the S-series (netbooks), general notebooks and gaming/multimedia noteboos ($950 for 15" ATI 5730... not bad)... so keep only the AMD Edge version as a very portable notebook between net-book and the mid-range.

    Also be cool is Lenovo was clear that which notebooks didn't have ANY horrible GLOSSY screens.

    OH... we have some X200s, which are Core2 with 13" screens.
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    It doesn't have any of the good Thinkpad features, except for the track point which I don't use. Why the **** is it called Thinkpad? And why didn't Lenovo at least try to stand out of the CULV croud and offer something they already have: the excellent keyboard and matte screens. That could be enough to tip the balance in favor of the Edge.
    Now give it an e-IPS panel and you've got a really nice machine.

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