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Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E530 Review

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The ThinkPad Edge E530 is a budget priced business notebook that delivers the build quality users expect from  Lenovo and a quality typing experience on Lenovo’s newer island style keyboard.

Mobile users will appreciate the matte display, but the thick bulky design detracts from the appeal of taking the Edge  E530 on every trip out of the office.

The ThinkPad Edge line lacks the corporate cool looks of the latest ThinkPad notebooks like the ThinkPad Carbon X1, but delivers everything a budget conscious business needs at half the price.

Pros

  • Matte Display
  • Good keyboard
  • Price
Cons

  • Thick notebook
  • audio quality

ThinkPad Edge E530 Review

ThinkPad Edge E530 Review

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The Competition

Who is the ThinkPad Edge E530 for?

This notebook is at home in the bags of small business owners looking for a workhorse that can make the transition from the office to an outdoor meeting without sacrificing screen visibility or battery life.

The thick size and 5 pound weight rule out use for road warriors, who should look for something slimmer and lighter.

Design

Lenovo didn’t strive to deliver a new look for notebooks with the Edge E530. The design is spartan, but includes a traditional ThinkPad UltraNav Pointer and a fingerprint reader to lock the notebook.

The lid’s burshed metal finish does little to distract from the thick body of the ThinkPad Edge E530, which looks especially large in the current notebook market.

The ThinkPad Edge E530 is a thick notebook.

The ThinkPad Edge E530 feels sturdy throughout. The hinges are sturdy and open to deliver a good angle for typing. The body of the notebook feels solid, with some give near the built-in DVD drive on the right side.

Lenovo included two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet jack, combo mic/headphone jack as well as HDMI and VGA for connecting to an external display. There is an SD card slot on the front of the notebook.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The ThinkPad Edge E530 features a great keyboard.

Lenovo is well-known for building great keyboards, and this $600 notebook is no exception. The ThinkPad Edge E530 uses the new AccuType keyboard, but there is no option for a backlit keyboard.

The keyboard delivers an excellent typing experience with great key placement and a small concave design that pushes fingers on to the correct keys. The keyboard also delivers great key travel, the distance a key travels when pressed, and a small bounce that resets finger to type the next letter.

The Edge E530 includes the traditional ThinkPad pointer.

The touchpad is decently sized, though may prove small as users upgrade to Windows 8. The textured surface allows fingers to slide across the touchpad without catching. The touchpad supports multifinger gestures, like two finger scrolling.

Lenovo includes the trademark NavPointer and three buttons at the top of the touchpad for users that prefer this style of pointing.

Display

The 15.6-inch matte display is a pleasure to use thanks to good brightness levels and the ability to use the notebook in harsh lighting, even direct sunlight.

The ThinkPad Edge E530 is offered with a matte display option.

Most notebooks in this price range stick to cheaper, more common, glossy panels that glare in bright light, so it’s a treat to see a matte display on a budget business notebook. The glossy notebook bezels are distracting while in bright light, but don’t diminish usability.

The display only offers a 1366 x 768 resolution, which makes for a cramped experience while editing documents side-by-side, but is easier to overlook thanks to the price of the notebook and matte finish.

Features

The Edge E530 is affordable, but doesn’t skimp on features small business owners need to get the job done.

A 720P HD webcam and dual array microphones help users keep in touch.

At the top of the display is a 720P HD webcam that makes keeping in touch with employees and clients a snap. The dual array microphone makes it easier to talk while video chatting in noisy environments and they keyboard includes shortcuts to mute the mic or turn off the video camera quickly.

The keyboard is spill resistant, to help the E530 survive in a coffeeshop or during late night work sessions at the dinner table.

Performance and Graphics

Lenovo offers several configuration options for the E530. This review unit includes an Intel Core i5 2nd generation processor, 4GB RAM and Intel HD 3000 graphics. The notebook includes 500GB of storage as well as Bluetooth and WiFi.

Lenovo designed the ThinkPad Edge E530 with business users in mind. The notebook handles common office tasks like editing spreadsheets and other documents with ease, even with a dozen tabs open in Chrome and music playing in the background.

Don’t plan on gaming or running processor intense applications for specialized fields, but office workers will not be left needing more power.

Business notebooks aren’t known for audio quality  and the E530 doesn’t deviate from this with tinny sounding speakers. Audio is sufficiently loud, but users should look for a good pair of headphones or external speakers.

Battery Life

The ThinkPad Edge E530 is configurable with two battery options, a 4400 mAh or a 5600 mAh battery. The extended battery is a $10 option, and well worth the price.

ThinkPad Edge E530 Battery

Opt for the higher capacity ThinkPad Edge E530 battery.

With the extended battery, the ThinkPad Edge E530 is able to last close to six hours under typical web browsing and office document use. Movies or casual gaming can cut battery life noticeably, but users should be able to get through a full day of being mobile with a quick charge over lunch.

The Bottom Line

The ThinkPad Edge E530 isn’t the sexiest or slimmest notebook available, but it does deliver the tools small business users and owners need to keep business flowing while out of the office. The matte display, great keyboard and good battery life make the ThinkPad Edge E530 a good companion for small businesses. The notebook is too thick and heavy for frequent travelers, but for users that need an affordable notebook that stands up to work outside the office the ThinkPad Edge E530 is an option worth checking out.

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Specs

OS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Display (size/res) 15.6-inches, 1368 x 768 Matte Display
CPU 2.50-GHz Intel Core i5-(2nd gen)
RAM 4GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000
Storage 500GB 7200RPM HDD
Optical Drive DVD Multirecorder
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
Ports 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, SD/MMC card slot, headphone/mic
Size  14.8″ x 9.6″ x 1.1–1.4″
Weight 5.4 pounds

Josh Smith is a longtime mobile tech user, currently using a Droid as his primary smartphone. Josh is also an editor at Notebooks.com where he reviews notebooks and other mobile tech. Follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Smith or email him Josh@Notebooks.com.

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