Straight-Up: ThinkPad T420 (ORIGINAL REVIEW)

This Straight-Up review will be reviewing the ThinkPad T420 from Lenovo. I bought the "inspiration" computer from a reputable computer refurbishing company, but this model originally sold in 2011 or 2012. The ThinkPad series is a "BO" (Business Oriented) machine that was created by IBM, and first released in 1992. Since, the ThinkPad is probably one of the best PCs you can buy. In my humble opinion, Lenovo has done a well job of keeping the tradition that IBM created. I will be soon reviewing Windows 10, the operating system on this computer.

Industrial Design- The Industrial Design on the ThinkPad has not changed much since 1992. You still have your matte black plastic, and the ThinkPad badges. Good overall design, and does not attract fingerprints and scratches like a magnet - which, sadly, the MacBook series does thanks to its aluminum body.
5/5
Processing Speed- The processing speed of the ThinkPad is very good. Despite being a five-year old machine, it runs Photoshop and Microsoft Office extremely well. Even 3D Builder works fairly decent on the machine.
5/5
Storage- This machine, since it was manufactured from a time where SSDs were extremely expensive, has a standard hard drive. My particular machine has a 140GB hard drive, which is only slightly bigger than my MacBook Air. However, I plan to upgrade the SSD in the future.
3/5
Display- The display is extremely good. It is bright and vibrant. However, you do have a lower screen resolution. But overall it is a nice, crisp display.
4/5
Upgradability- As with any ThinkPad, or any Think series computer either made by IBM or Lenovo, the ThinkPad T420 is no exception to the rule that these machines are built to last. That also means they're built to be upgradable. The hard drive and RAM modules are easily accessible.
5/5
Ports- This machine has almost any port you (or at least I) could like to see on a business-grade laptop. Ethernet, VGA, a suite of USB 2.0 ports (sorry, no USB 3.0) and even a card reader. My particular machine also has a telephone modem.
5/5
Battery Life- The battery life on my particular machine is the one drawback from being able to make this machine an excellent travel machine. I've got around 2 to 2 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge. Very poor battery life - even my Acer AspireOne has a better battery life.
1/5
Keyboard- The keyboard in the ThinkPad, once again, is second to none. It has a very nice feeling while typing, and sounds great. Gives a fantastic tactile feel. It is not an illuminated keyboard, but it does have the ThinkLight, which is an LED mounted by the webcam which shines onto the keyboard. It works fairly well.
5/5
Pointing Device-The trackpoint has been on almost every ThinkPad since the first one rolled off the assembly line in 1992. The trackpoint is an excellent pointing device. However, my two minor issues with the trackpoint is that the trackpoint's little dots on the cap to gain traction can wear into your finger over time, and that the buttons for the trackpoint are spaced very close to the space bar, so I will occasionally press the space bar instead of the trackpoint button. The trackpad, on the other hand, is a dud - like every other PC trackpad I've used. Only Apple can (and, from what I can see) will get a trackpad right.
3/5
Audio- The speaker on the ThinkPad is extremely weak. No matter how high you turn the volume, it is still barely audible.
1/5
Webcam- While the webcam was an option when you purchased your T420 new, not all have them. Mine does, but I still haven't had a use for it.
N/A
Size and Weight-The ThinkPad, naturally, is pretty thick. This is no ultrabook that Lenovo ThinkPads are considered today. This is no MacBook Air, or thinbook. The ThinkPad is thick and heavy-ish (although not too heavy for a fully-featured laptop), but that is a sign of the quality and the components.
3/5
Optical Drive- The optical drive was (from what I think) an option that you could add-on when you purchased your T420, although most ThinkPads up until late have had an optical drive. My particular optical drive, a Hitachi unit, is very decent. Quiet and fast.
N/A

Total Review: 40/55 (73%)

The ThinkPad T420 is a very decent computer. Refurbished models are selling for around $200, and the RAM and hard drive can be easily upgraded. Other parts of the machine, such as the battery, which are poor, can be easily upgraded as well. Since this is a five-year old computer, I'd believe that Lenovo have fixed many of these issues. However, my main suggestions to Lenovo to improve the T420 would've been:

Overall, don't let these ratings discourage you from buying a ThinkPad T420, or any ThinkPad.

Reviewed June 2016.