The traditional PC market may have become stagnant in the past year or so, but that hasn't fazed Lenovo, now the world's No. 1 computer brand in terms of market share. How'd Lenovo ascend to the top spot? Part of the reason undoubtedly has to do with the OEM's reputation in the business category, and also the fact that it doesn't discriminate against businesses large or small.
To wit, Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge family is designed specifically for small businesses. They offer productivity-friendly features and functionality at affordable price points, and that rings true for the ThinkPad Edge E431 reviewed here. Starting at $599, these systems maintain a lower price point by staying several feet back from bleeding edge. With that in mind, the configuration Lenovo sent us costs $649 (though at the time of this writing, an automatic eCoupon on Lenovo's website has it marked down to $571.12) and is built around Intel's 3rd Generation Core processor technology (Ivy Bridge) instead of the chip maker's 4th Generation Haswell line.
It also has a 14-inch HD display, 4GB of DDR3L-1600 memory, 500GB hard drive (7200 RPM), and a DVD burner, the latter of which is becoming a rare feature in today's slimmer notebooks, though still useful in business environments.
To go along with the system, Lenovo sent us its OneLink Dock. This external accessory is a $120 add-on with USB 3.0 support, HDMI output for beaming the Edge's display to another monitor or TV, and the ability to charge the Edge as well as phones and tablets.
Does Lenovo have another winning product for business users on its hands? Let's have a look.
What We Liked:
What We Didn't Like:
Lenovo understands what features are important to business uses, and the ThinkPad Edge E431 is yet another reflection of that. It's a well-built laptop with a host of functionality to make life easier on business owners and employees alike, and though it's not rocking the latest and greatest hardware or discrete level graphics, it has plenty of power for productivity chores. Furthermore, you won't have to spend hours trying to balance the budget sheet considering the ThinkPad Edge E431 costs $649 MSRP (around $571 with online coupon).
The $120 OneLink Dock pairs nicely with the laptop Lenovo sent. Drivers are pre-installed, so all you have to do is plug it in and you're good to go. When you do, it becomes a functional extension of the ThinkPad with various ports to play with and a power button that is able to control the laptop.
It'd be nice if the ThinkPad Edge E431 featured an SSD option for those who are willing to spend more for increased performance, and we're not thrilled with battery life. However, Lenovo makes up for these shortcomings with a surprising amount of features and relatively low price tag. Business users on a budget, this is your laptop.
Our Score: 4 out of 5
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Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E431 and OneLink Dock Review
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