Notebookcheck

Review Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE Notebook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by B Schulisch), 05/26/2011

ThinkPad-Discounter. A real ThinkPad available for less than 600 Euros? Lenovo's low-cost ThinkPad L520 makes it possible. Included are good input devices and a Docking Port. Perfect business style in a casual black?

Lenovo IBM ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE: Basic office package with Core i3 and WXGA++ non-glare
Lenovo IBM ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE: Basic office package with Core i3 and WXGA++ non-glare

The time when only well-heeled business people carried around robust laptops with the label ThinkPad are long gone. Lenovo required large volumes, and provided more and more affordable versions with the prestige brand over the years (L-Series from 2009).

The L520 in front of us is already available from 570 euros. In this case there may not be a Windows operating system included, but there are business features such as a Docking Port, a non-glare LED TFT, and also several interfaces including eSATA, DisplayPort, and ExpressCard54.

Why spend 1375 euros for a ThinkPad from the T-Series, when a L520 low cost package includes the most important features? Can the input devices, display, and the manufacturing quality keep up with the more expensive ThinkPads? All the answers to these questions are in the following review.

Case

The DVD drive is a small weak spot of the stability.
The DVD drive is a small weak spot of the stability.
Massive rigid hinges made of pure metal.
Massive rigid hinges made of pure metal.

When it comes to the manufacturing quality, the ThinkPad L520 shows its strengths. We may not be dealing with a perfectly stable construction, but overall everything is well put together. The medium weight chassis (2604 grams) is relatively good for the 15.6 inch form factor. The dimensions are not hidden, with hard edges and a thick lid along with a very big palm resting area, providing for a massive appearance.

The chassis can be bent marginally, with both hands holding the front edges. Under the optical drive the thin plastic can be dented easily though, whereby the base unit of most notebooks is the least stable in this area. As long as the device is primarily sitting on a desk, users are unlikely to notice this at any point.

The criticism stops when it comes to the massive metal hinges. These are very firmly attached to the case, and hold the display firmly in place. Opening with one hand is possible though. On bumpy rides the lid only wobbles very little. The surface is made of a hard plastic, which can be dented inwards significantly in the middle. The lid is covered in a robust and scratch resistant coating. The rigidity of the lid could be better though, since this can be bent considerably when holding both of the edges. The thick lid isn't as stable as could be assumed, which is a clear disadvantage compared to the T-Series.

There is no display catch in the form of a latching mechanism. Thus only the tightly closed together lid and base unit can prevent small items from getting in between during transport. It is theoretically possible though, that the lid could open slightly during transport, which could lead to small items slipping in between.

Connectivity

Lenovo Minidock 3 for ThinkPad L/T/X
Lenovo Minidock 3 for ThinkPad L/T/X

Professionals and demanding users value a large number of interfaces. The 15.6 inch L520 has everything on board that can be expected from a work notebook. This includes a DisplayPort, an ExpressCard54 slot, and a card reader. There is also an eSATA port for connecting fast external hard drives, although there is no USB 3.0. The latter of these can be attached to the ExpressCard54 slot for about 20 Euros though (controller card).

The bulk of the interfaces is located closely together on the left side. In cases were all the ports are occupied, this will lead to a lot of cables strewn over the desktop. The universal Docking Port for the L-Series provides a solution for this scenario though. The Lenovo Minidock 3 docking station for the L-, T-, and X-Series is compatible (45N6678). For a reasonable price of about 150 Euros, this provides VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort (2 usable at the same time), 6 x USB 2.0, Gigabit LAN, microphone input, headphone output, integrated locking (with key), and a 90 Watt AC adapter. Lenovo also states that the eSATA port on the docking station is not compatible with the ThinkPad L-Series.

Communication

As a business notebook the ThinkPad L520 provides for everything as far as standard communication technologies are concerned. Since we opted for the basic version, there is no HSDPA module included. The relevant Mini PCIe sockets for the module, next to the antenna and a SimCard slot, are available though (model variant). The WLAN card provides for 802.11 b/g/n standards, and the Ethernet controller communicates with Gigabit speeds. Bluetooth 3.0 is also included in the package.

Internet telephony and video chat is possible with the Webcam integrated into the L520, which provides a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (widescreen). Using the Communications Utility, the microphone can be optimized for recording one or more voices (conference). There is also a button for muting the microphone, which is very practically located together with the volume control on the left side next to the keyboard.

Security

Business characteristics, such as a fingerprint reader, Computrace theft protection, a marginally waterproof keyboard, APS (movement sensor for hard drive), and a Kensignton Security Lock, are topped off by Lenovo with the ThinkVantage-Tools which can be started using the blue ThinkVantage button. Using this the manufacturer provides access to security, power, and system configuration settings, as well as back up and restore options.

Accessories

Recovery media are not included with the Lenovo delivery. In this case users will have to make their own recovery DVDs (system image; rescue and recovery). The accessories only include a warranty leaflet, and a short manual.

Warranty

The standard warranty for the L-Series consists of a considerable 36 months. This also includes the on-site service, which is exceptional for a device costing less than 700 Euros.

Energy-Manager: Battery Care
Energy-Manager: Battery Care
Energy-Manager: Turbo-Boost on/off
Energy-Manager: Turbo-Boost on/off
ThinkVantage-Tools: Security, Energy, System
ThinkVantage-Tools: Security, Energy, System

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keys have a crisp pressure point, and a very clear key travel (approximately 4 millimeters). The slightly separated and smaller arrow keys stand out from the key triangle slightly, and can be operated very easily without looking. There is no alphanumeric keypad, which can be a disadvantage when entering many numbers. Users can create one using the Fn keys though. The relevant numbers and calculator symbols are marked on the keys with white text.

The keyboard support on the 15.6 inch L520 is unfortunately not firm everywhere. From the left to the middle, users are provided with a firm end stop. On the right, where the optical drive is located, the surface is a little bit bouncy. Although users that type sensitively won't likely notice this excessively though. The keys themselves are pleasantly grippy.

Touchpad

The mouse replacement is provided the professional way by Lenovo as two variants. Depending on preference, users can opt for the conventional Touchpad or the Trackpoint (ThinkPad UltraNav Pointing Device). The three Trackpoint buttons are located below the space bar. All the mouse buttons are composed of plastic, and are therefore a little on the slippery side. The buttons have a very clear travel, and an extended but clear pressure point.

The use of the mouse replacements impresses in all aspects. The quiet operation of the buttons, and the long pressure point, are worlds better than the mass of consumer notebooks. The touchpad is sufficiently scaled with 8.6 centimeters, is sensitive up to the edges, and the surface has small bumps which provide for an improved gliding feeling. Multi-touch gestures are also supported.

Keyboard with good feedback
Keyboard with good feedback
Ctrl not in the corner
Ctrl not in the corner
Touchpad with a grippy surface
Touchpad with a grippy surface
Pointer with separate buttons
Pointer with separate buttons

Display

The HD-Ready display on the ThinkPad L520 has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which is relatively small. The panel is non-reflective, which is why users don't have to worry about reflections. For use as a work device the display is not ideal though. A WXGA++ resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels would provide more oversight, which is especially useful with applications that have a lot of toolbars. The L520 version with WXGA++ has a hefty price of 1000 Euros though (NYZ4JGE).

High contrasts for the improved perception of colors in pictures, tables, or texts are not available. We measured a black level of 1.3 cd/m² using the maximum brightness. This equates to a weak contrast of 175:1. Whether the color space of the WXGA++ panel in the NYZ4JGE is similarly small, cannot be determined in this case. The WXGA panel on our tested device is definitely far away from the often used Adobe RGB (t), which is also the case for sRGB (t). For the sake of comparison, we have provided the values from a good panel in the Latitude E6520 full-HD (t).

ICC TP L520 vs. AdobeRGB (t)
ICC TP L520 vs. AdobeRGB (t)
ICC TP L520 vs. sRGB (t)
ICC TP L520 vs. sRGB (t)
ICC TP L520 vs. Latitude E6520 FHD(t)
ICC TP L520 vs. Latitude E6520 FHD(t)
215
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
217
cd/m²
227
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
221
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 228 cd/m²
Average: 219.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 160 cd/m²
Black: 1.3 cd/m²
Contrast: 175:1

The LED backlight of the 15.6 inch display illuminates the panel up to 227 cd/m² in the middle. For use indoors this is more than enough, since the average value lies at 220 cd/m².

With the non-reflective TFT panel, and a good brightness level of 220 cd/m² on average, the 15.6 inch L520 can definitely be used under sunlight from time to time. Under direct sunlight we quickly noticed that the brightness is still not sufficient though. In addition to this the viewing angles become considerably smaller in this scenario, and the colors become pale. For use in the park or in a cafe, the ThinkPad L520 is therefore not suitable. The matte display does provide a good basis for working though.

Outdoor use from the right, slightly cloudy
Outdoor use from the right, slightly cloudy
Outdoor use from the front, slightly cloudy
Outdoor use from the front, slightly cloudy
Outdoor use from a shallow angle, slightly cloudy
Outdoor use from a shallow angle, slightly cloudy

Office notebooks typically offer very bad viewing angles, especially in the lower and middle price ranges up to 1000 Euros. The ThinkPad is no exception to this. Horizontally the colors begin to change from 45 degrees. Vertically our eyes could deviate up to 10 degrees, after this the colors began to clearly invert (see video).

Viewing angles Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE
Viewing angles Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE

Performance

Lenovo's 15.6 inch notebook is equipped with an Intel Core i3-2310M (2 x 2.1 GHz). The Core i3 dual-core CPU doesn't support Turbo-Boost, but does support Hyper-threading (4 threads). The CPU power consumption lies at 35 Watts according to TDP. 10 Watts are required by the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics solution and the memory controller. Compared to the expensive Core i5 models, such as i5-2540M, the i3-2310M doesn't support AES New Instructions (en- or de-cryption).

There are only 2048 MB DDR3 RAM on board, whereby only one of the two available sockets is occupied though. In this case it is possible to upgrade to 4 GB for a small sum (approx. 20 Euros). The hard disc is a Western Digital HDD (WD3200BEVT) with 5400 rpm that has a capacity of 320 GB.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ Intel HD
DPC Latency Checker Idle selten Verzögerung
DPC Latency Checker WLAN Off/On selten Verzögerung
System information Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE

The i3-2310M (2x2.1 GHz) manages to score as many points (2747) in the Single-Core Cinebench R10 Single 32-bit, as the markedly faster i3-380M (2x2.5GHz) from the Arrandle generation (2769). The big brother i5-2410M (2.3GHz, Turbo) manages a significantly better 4510 points (64-bit).

When it comes to day to day tasks multi-threading is more relevant. The i3-2310M manages higher scores (7416) in this discipline than the i3-380M (6233). The 2011 i5-2410M and i5-2520M manage 9451 and 10128 points respectively (Cinebench R10 Multi 64-bit). Summary: The Sandy Bridge Core i3 can take on its faster Arrandale predecessors with its slower 2.1 GHz clock speed.

4.5
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.4
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4.5
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
2747
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
6192
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
3825
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
3412 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7416 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
3952 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
7.31 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.01 Points
Help
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage4300 points
Help
PCMark Vantage in comparison
Sony SV-S1311G4E (min)
 2350M, HD Graphics 3000
811
   ...
Medion The Touch X9613
 Q9000, GeForce GT 240M
4285
Asus Pro P56CB-XO193G Ultrabook
 3217U, GeForce GT 740M
4287
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
 A8-7100, Radeon R6 M255DX
4296
Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE
 2310M, HD Graphics 3000
4300
Medion P7615
 330M, GeForce GT 330M
4301
Asus F75A-TY089H
 B980, HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge)
4302
Acer TravelMate 5744Z-P624G50Mikk
 P6200, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD Graphics
4329
   ...
One K56-3F (max)
 4700MQ, GeForce GT 750M
23558

The PCMark Vantage benchmark determined a score of 4300 points. This level is significantly lower than that of older systems with the Core i3-380M (Samsung RV511: 5432) or the i3-370M (Samsung SF510). The 3DMark2006 benchmark, as a measure of the general gaming suitability, reaches 2999 points. The 2010 Intel HD generation (also integrated into CPU) managed an average of 1500 points. This speaks for an improved but still meager gaming performance. How this manifests in detail has been comprehensively covered in the article for the Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics solution. Also see the datasheet for the HD Graphics 3000 for details.

Less demanding games such as Fifa 11 run smoothly with high details. Hardware intensive games such as StarCraft2 or Battlefield: Bad Company 2, have to be set to minimal settings though.

3D Mark
3DMark 055302 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
2999 points
Help
WDC Scorpio Blue WD3200BEVT
Transfer Rate Minimum: 46.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 89.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 72.1 MB/s
Access Time: 18.8 ms
Burst Rate: 85.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

The Western Digital hard disc has a total capacity of 320 GB. Measuring the casual 5400 rpm with HD-Tune and CrystalDiskMark resulted in relatively high data rates between 72 and 83 MB/s for sequential read. The HDD-Score in PCMark Vantage lies at 3228 points. Only a SSD would provide the L520 with a real boost in this aspect.

WD3200BEVT 320GB 5400rpm
WD3200BEVT 320GB 5400rpm
HD Tune 72 MB/s reading
HD Tune 72 MB/s reading
Crystal Disk Mark 83 MB/s reading
Crystal Disk Mark 83 MB/s reading

Emissions

Air in- and
Air in- and
Outlet
Outlet

System Noise

When it comes to the system noise, Lenovo's 15.6 inch notebook manages to score many points. In an idle state or when surfing the web, the cooling fan switches off for longer periods of time. We measured 29.8 dB(A) in this scenario as the base noise emitted from the hard disc. Those that are watching a DVD movie could find the 42.8 dB(A) a bit disturbing though. For an otherwise extremely quiet notebook, this is quite unfitting.

During the stress test (Furmark/Prime95) the cooling fan only turns up to 34.2 dB(A). The cooling fan turns at a constant speed with a consistent load. To praise: 3D load, which is processed by the Intel HD Graphics 3000, doesn't cause any problems for the L520. The noise level merely rises to 32.3 dB(A), which is only marginally louder than the faint clicking of the HDD read and write heads.

Noise Level

Idle 29.8 / 29.8 / 29.8 dB(A)
HDD 31.5 dB(A)
DVD 42.8 / dB(A)
Load 32.3 / 34.2 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
Cooling system with heat pipe and fan
Cooling system with heat pipe and fan

Temperature

In an idle state the average temperature on the base plate and the palm resting area lies at a mere 20 degrees. When surfing or during stress free office use this doesn't change materially. The 25 degree mark is at most breached in the middle of the base plate. The heat dissipation under a high load just about reaches 35 degrees, but only in some places. The average still does not rise over 35 degrees. The cooling system seems to easily come to terms with the heat dissipation from the 2.1 GHz Core i3-2310M.

Max. Load
 31.4 °C27.7 °C24.5 °C 
 27.8 °C27.8 °C23.4 °C 
 26.7 °C28.3 °C25.6 °C 
Maximum: 31.4 °C
Average: 27 °C
23.9 °C27 °C35.7 °C
23.5 °C28.1 °C34.1 °C
23.6 °C29.2 °C31.6 °C
Maximum: 35.7 °C
Average: 28.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  49.7 °C | Room Temperature 18.9 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The two speakers at the bottom of the display frame do not provide balanced audio. They emphasize on the high frequencies. Bass is missing completely. For less demanding use as an office laptop the acoustic qualities are acceptable though. The maximum volume is sufficient for a meeting room, whereby the small speakers start to distort at higher levels.

Battery Life

The 15.6 inch L520 is equipped with a 57 Watt-hour battery (4680 mAh). This keeps the ThinkPad on its legs for a surprisingly long time, especially when the processor and graphics are not utilized. Approximately seven hours sound like a good battery life. These 408 minutes are only achieved in an idle state though, with a low brightness setting and a deactivated WLAN. More relevant is the WLAN test, which reached almost six hours. The brightness of the TFT was set to 100 cd/m² during the test (medium setting).

In light of the mediocre capacity of the battery, and the low idle state power consumption (10-14 Watts), the battery life is not surprising. Before we could start our tests again from the beginning, we only had to wait a short charging time of two hours (2:10h).

Charging 131min.
Charging 131min.
WLAN surfing 349min.
WLAN surfing 349min.
DVD movie 196min.
DVD movie 196min.
Idle 408min.
Idle 408min.
Idle battery life 417min.
Idle battery life 417min.
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 48min
WiFi Surfing
5h 49min
DVD
3h 16min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 23min

The power consumption shows a large gap between an idle state and a high load. This is due to the perfected adaptive power consumption of the Intel Core processors. The idle power consumption of the L520 lies at between 9.6 Watts (power saving, lowest brightness) and 13.7 Watts (maximum performance, maximum brightness). For comparison: A typical 2010 office notebook such as the HP 6540b with Core i5 430M requires 13.3 to 18.8 Watts in the same idle scenario.

The 3DMark2006 (Intel HD 3000) requires 40 Watts on average. During the stress test the Core i3 adds to this. We measured 47.5 Watts. The compact 65 Watt AC adapter (242 grams) is suitably dimensioned for this.

The handy AC adapter only weighs 242 grams.
The handy AC adapter only weighs 242 grams.
The straight plug would have been better at the back.
The straight plug would have been better at the back.
Altogether the 65 Watt adapter seems very compact.
Altogether the 65 Watt adapter seems very compact.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.6 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 9.6 / 12.9 / 13.7 Watt
Load 39.9 / 47.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Verdict

One thing has become abundantly clear following our test: In case of a shortage of cash, there is room for a ThinkPad from the L-Series next to a cup of coffee. For under 700 Euros (under 600 Euros without an OS) there is a full-fledged business notebook on the Ikea desk. The 15.6 inch L520 has its strengths precisely where they are required for serious office use.

The matte display, along with a perfect for typing and conical keyboard, as well as the numerous interfaces including a Docking Port, plus the matte robust surfaces, make the ThinkPad L520 a exceptional work partner.

For a Very Good rating there are still some things lacking unfortunately, such as a dedicated graphics card, HD-Ready resolution, more than 2 GB of RAM, and a slightly better processor than the Core i3 (new Sandy Bridge generation). These are however almost all features that users can upgrade for a small price (Core i5, 4GB, WXGA++). Merely the dedicated GPU al la Nvidia NVS 4200M stays as the defining feature of the expensive T-Series (T520). Whether a price of 1375 Euros (plus further additions) has to be accepted, is questionable in light of the solid qualities of the L520.

Everyone who is looking for a business notebook with solid performance characteristics and good input devices, will find an interest in the L520. For a little more money there is the HP ProBook 6550b in its 2010 version, with Core i5-450M and WXGA++ (from 730 Euros). The strengths of these two devices lie very closely together, whereby the ProBook has a big advantage with a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels.

Lenovo IBM ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE: high business competency, but weak display
Lenovo IBM ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE: high business competency, but weak display
By courtesy of ...
In Review: Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE
In Review: Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE

Specifications

Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM65
:: Memory
2048 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, CMO N156BGE-L11, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
WDC Scorpio Blue WD3200BEVT, 320 GB 5400 rpm 5400rpm S-ATA II
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC269 @ Intel Cougar Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 4 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: Line-out, microphone combination, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC, 1 Fingerprint Reader,
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel WiFi Link 1000 BGN (b g n ), 3.0+HS Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GT33N
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 36 x 380 x 247
:: Weight
2.604 kg Power Supply: 0.242 kg
:: Battery
57 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4680mAh 10.8V 6-cells
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.3MP, 36 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
For those that want an affordable ThinkPad with up-to-date technology,
For those that want an affordable ThinkPad with up-to-date technology,
The keys can impress with a very clear travel and a good pressure point.
The keys can impress with a very clear travel and a good pressure point.
The conical shape towards the inside provides for accurate typing.
The conical shape towards the inside provides for accurate typing.
The base plate offers several panels.
The base plate offers several panels.
Inside there is room for a full size Mini PCIe 3G/4G card, the integrated antenna is visible.
Inside there is room for a full size Mini PCIe 3G/4G card, the integrated antenna is visible.
The slot for the SimCard is under a separate panel, not under the battery.
The slot for the SimCard is under a separate panel, not under the battery.
The optical drive is not MultiBay (no battery/HDD interchange).
The optical drive is not MultiBay (no battery/HDD interchange).
Underneath the large maintenance panel is the HDD shaft,
Underneath the large maintenance panel is the HDD shaft,
and both of the RAM sockets populated by a meager 2GB (1 module),
and both of the RAM sockets populated by a meager 2GB (1 module),
as well as the Core i3 processor under the heat pipe,
as well as the Core i3 processor under the heat pipe,
in addition to the cooling fan which is impressively quiet.
in addition to the cooling fan which is impressively quiet.
The 57Wh battery (4680mAh) keeps the L520 on its feet for almost 6 hours.
The 57Wh battery (4680mAh) keeps the L520 on its feet for almost 6 hours.
The battery can also be removed for permanent office use.
The battery can also be removed for permanent office use.
A fingerprint reader is also on board.
A fingerprint reader is also on board.
and the volume control buttons. Useful: Microphone mute.
and the volume control buttons. Useful: Microphone mute.
The matte appearance of the surfaces is dominated by the wide status LEDs (HDD, LAN, etc.)
The matte appearance of the surfaces is dominated by the wide status LEDs (HDD, LAN, etc.)
the Lenovo L-Series will definitely be interesting.
the Lenovo L-Series will definitely be interesting.
The reviewed ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE is available from a mere 675 Euros.
The reviewed ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE is available from a mere 675 Euros.
L for low budget? A ThinkPad for try hard professionals?
L for low budget? A ThinkPad for try hard professionals?
No, since the 15.6 inch L520 gives professional features in the consumer price range.
No, since the 15.6 inch L520 gives professional features in the consumer price range.
The matte display with WXGA++ (1366x768) makes a start.
The matte display with WXGA++ (1366x768) makes a start.
The Docking Port is rare in this price range, but a very welcome addition.
The Docking Port is rare in this price range, but a very welcome addition.
ExpressCard54 provides for numerous expansion possibilities (controller).
ExpressCard54 provides for numerous expansion possibilities (controller).
Below this are eSATA and DisplayPort (no HDMI).
Below this are eSATA and DisplayPort (no HDMI).
The absence of USB 3.0 can be endured by office users,
The absence of USB 3.0 can be endured by office users,
especially since this can be added via ExpressCard54 (approx. 20 Euros).
especially since this can be added via ExpressCard54 (approx. 20 Euros).
The inconspicuous Webcam has a resolution of 1.3MP.
The inconspicuous Webcam has a resolution of 1.3MP.
The massive steel hinges hold the lid very firmly.
The massive steel hinges hold the lid very firmly.
Accessories don't include recovery media for Windows 7 Professional 7 64-bit.
Accessories don't include recovery media for Windows 7 Professional 7 64-bit.

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Links

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Pro

+Good application performance
+Very quiet and cool
+Matte display
+Very good Trackpoint and mouse
+ThinkVantage software
+Low power consumption
+Docking Port
+Helpful ThinkVantage Tools
 

Cons

-Unfavorable location of the ports
-Partially unfavorable key layout
-Weak viewing angle stability
-Low contrasts
-Bendable lid
-Battery is a bit wobbly
-No USB 3.0

Shortcut

What we like

As usual, the complete omission of a sensitive glossy finish. A clear key travel on the keyboard, and dual mouse replacement. Stable, although not perfect base unit.

What we'd like to see

A high quality WXGA++ display. The lid could be a bit more rigid.

What surprises us

For a Core i3 notebook the performance is surprisingly good. An almost constantly whispering operation, but nevertheless a good application performance.

The competition

Mid-range office: HP ProBook 6550b, Asus P42JC-VO012X; Dell Vostro 3550; Acer's Travelmate 8472TG; Dell Latitude E5420; Dell Latitude 6520

Luxury office: Dell Latitude E6420, HP Elitebook 8460p, Lenovo ThinkPad T420,

Ratings

Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE
05/19/2011 v2
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
79%
Weight
79%
Battery
84%
Display
73%
Games Performance
62%
Application Performance
82%
Temperature
95%
Noise
97%
Add Points
90%
Average
84%
86%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Lenovo ThinkPad L520 NWB53GE Notebook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2011-05-26 (Update: 2013-06- 6)