Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E320 Subnotebook Review

One step back. The 13.3-inch subnotebooks E320 stand for buyers with the force of a standard processor, a matte screen, good input devices, and seven hours of portable use. Robustness usual ThinkPad can not be invoked.

Many readers have been asking this week about the review of the ThinkPad Edge E320 with a Core i3-2310M. What makes the sub-portable 13.3-inch so attractive? Intel platform promises better performance than the alternative of AMD Fusion E325.

An anti-glare screen combined with a relatively high capacity battery (63Wh) and a UMTS module, could be the perfect mobile companion. The current price of 740 euros seems appropriate for the device.

Edge Series Lenovo promises classic features of the ThinkPad. Input devices for the job, the case of high stability and functional details so far always been present in the previous Edge. E320 board is different, though. Why do not we have always been made of excitation can be found in a full review.

Specifications Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E320 NWY3RGE :
  • Processor : Intel Core i3 2310M 2.1 GHz
  • Mainboard : Intel HM65
  • Memory : 4096 MB, 1x4096 PC3-10700 667MHz
  • Graphics adapter : Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Display : 13.3 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, AUO B133XW03-V1, glossy: no
  • Harddisk : Hitachi HTS723232A7A364, 320GB 7200rpm
  • Soundcard : HD Audio
  • Connections : 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: Headphones/microphone combined, Card Reader: SD, MMC, xD, MS, MS, MSPro
  • Networking : Atheros AR8151 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1000 (abgn), 3.0+HS Bluetooth, Ericsson F5521GW (WCDMA/HSPA/GSM/GPRS/EDGE/A-GPS)
  • Size : height x width x depth (in mm): 30.9 x 322 x 228
  • Weight : 1.856 kg Power Supply: 0.227 kg
  • Battery : 63 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5600mAh, 11.1V
  • Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
  • Additional features : Webcam: 2.0MP, ThinkVantage Tools, 12 Months Warranty
Edge E320 has an older brother, the edge of the E125 (AMD Fusion), and the sister of E325 (Fusion, at the time for review). Lenovo ThinkPad X121e also look at the (current audit) nudge closer to the edge devices, because the building and watch the platform are very similar and almost identical (X121e / E125).

In older models, the contrast edge 13 (Intel, AMD), was different from the beginning. This was more stable and gave a lasting impression. Review of E320, we unfortunately have to say, does not exceed the reliability of the subnotebook average consumer.

What we do not like is soft hinges of the screen connected (and not all metal), which allows the swing display. In addition to the chassis substantially flexible not have a good impression either. In these respects Edge 13 (K685) and Edge 11 (Intel, AMD) with metal hinges and a hard case was much better.

On the positive side however, is the feeling. The surface of the screen lid is rubber and feels much like satin. Fingerprints do not have a chance at a decent layer of gloss. The interior surfaces are adherent to plastic, but not rubber. The base plate of the chassis is made of metal and nowhere can be dented in attempts to dent the surface even in the palm rest, which is strong everywhere.

Top cover could be affected over a wider area (with a flat hand). Only by using a considerable amount of force we were able to affect the surface to the center to use your fingers to create changes on the screen. E320 can be easily upgrade RAM, hard disk or change the SSD. Complete the bottom plate can be removed for this purpose, removing only three screws.

When it comes to interfaces ThinkPad Edge E320 is identical to its predecessor, the Edge 13 Quick Links to eSATA external hard drives are possible, but not readily available USB 3.0 hard drives. Update the ports is not possible, because there's no ExpressCard slot on the appropriate interface cards (such as USB 3.0).

Ports on the back are useful for use on a desk as they leave space at the sides and also to avoid the hassles of cables and optical practices. In this case, there could be a cumbersome eSATA cable lying in the road blocking the right-handed mouse pad. A docking station that can avoid this problem is not available for the Edge series. This is the quality standard for ThinkPad (without border, L and T-series).

The E320 offers all the communication technologies that are currently possible in subnotebooks. First and foremost comes F5521GW Ericsson HSPA module for mobile Internet access. SIM card is inserted under the battery. WLAN module supports Draft-N standard, and a Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Ethernet. Bluetooth 3.0 + HS completes the package.

Internet telephony and video chats, E320 Edge is equipped with a camera with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (widescreen). Communications utility in a microphone can be optimized for one or more items (Conference). Microphone mute button (the top row of keys) is also available.

Firm characteristics, such as a fingerprint reader, the Computrace theft protection, and the keyboard together a bit waterproof. At least there's an APS sensor (motion sensor for hard disk read heads parks, where surprise) and a Kensington security lock. ThinkVantage tools include security, power and system configuration. Backup and data recovery can also be accessed from the central tool.

Media recovery is not included in delivery. In this case, users are forced to burn their own recovery DVD (ThinkVantage restore). Accessories include only one warranty card and a short user guide.

Standard series onboard warranty lasts 12 months. ThinkPlus warranty extension will increase this to 3 years. Depending on the type of service, this package will cost about 55 euros (the bring-in), or 85 euros (on site).

The non-reflective AUO panel display (type: B133XW03-V1) was not able to impress us. The resolution on a 16:9 screen is the standard form factor of 13.3 inches with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The low contrast 189:1, unfortunately. The colors are vibrant, and blacks have a gray tint.

The matt surface of the screen is not the reason for the low contrast level. A reflection type screen is optically enhanced by making the colors brighter, but the level of black (0.93 cd / m²) remain the same. The color space of the AUO screen is significantly smaller than sRGB (center image), which means you can not fully represent the colors of the spectrum.

The color space is still valid for professional image editing, so only costly exceptional 13.3-inch subnotebooks are better in this regard (900X3A Samsung, Vaio Z13Z9E). Even the often praised the IPS screen (very good viewing angles) in the ThinkPad X220 is a color space only slightly larger, and sRGB.

Anti-glare display, unfortunately, provides only a low brightness. On average, we measured 173 cd / m², but only the power cord connected. Most of our testers was measured brightness of 184 cd / m², in the upper left. As soon as you disconnect the power cord, E320 dim the brightness of 165 cd / m² (medium size).

Light for outdoor use scenarios, in line with the luminance of over 230 cd / m², it would be desirable. In this case, sun-lovers, however, have a look at a black screen, with or without a power cord plugged in, because the rays of the sun low in the backlighting of the trumpet.

Last but not least are the viewing angles. There should be no surprise that the viewing angles are very narrow, considering the weakness of the above features of the AUO panel display. Only up to about 45 degrees off center that could clearly recognize the colors, there is no effect on investment.

When the deviation above or below (vertical), the text of the display can read up to 50 degrees. The brightness is reduced, however, and about 20 degrees, and the colors change to the point that they can not be properly recognized.

Lenovo offers a 13.3-inch subnotebook i3-2310M Intel Core (2x 2.1 GHz). The dual-core CPU is not compatible with Turbo-Boost, but is compatible with Hyper-Threading (4 processing threads). The processor TDP is 35 watts.

This need for two groups of 25 watts. 10 watts are used by the integrated graphics solution from Intel HD 3000 and DDR3 memory controller. Under the components of energy charge, however, may increase beyond these values ​​if.

There are 4096 MB DDR3 RAM onboard, where only one of two available slots are occupied (1 x 4096 MB). The hard drive is manufactured by Hitachi (HTS723232A7A364) and has a capacity of 320 GB with a rotational speed of 7200 rpm.

Those who want to buy a ThinkPad Edge will have to decide whether the combination of AMD or Intel the revised version must be purchased. The advantage of the merger: The Edge E325 is available from 420 euros. Is this the i3 Sandy Bridge processor much faster than the extra cost justified?

I3 2310 m can score more points than double (3446) is a single-core CPU Cinebench R10 64-bit 2.1GHz AMD with a benchmark like the E-350 APU with the 1.6 GHz (1125). More than 2520m Brother i5 Core (2.3 GHz), manages to score more points in 5050 (64 bit), thanks to the Turbo Boost.

When it comes to everyday use multi-threading, however, is more relevant than single-core load (Cinebench R10 64-bit). I3-2310 m manages to score 7398 points in the game. E-350 is about 70% slower with 2200 points.

It would be unfair to AMD Fusion the opportunity to just leave things much greater than the processing performance of Intel CPUs. APU Fusion is, above all, a graphics card powerful enough for a extra CPU. When using the HD 6310 graphics performance, the performance of the Fusion may be able to keep pace with the Intel version. Or maybe not?

We studied this system for the benchmark, which tests the performance of hardware support HDD, RAM and GPU, etc. PCMark Vantage benchmark determined by the score 5457 points. E-350 system with AMD only managed to score 2600 points (the ThinkPad X120e).

AMD precursor to the Edge 13 (K685) at least managed to score 3753 points. 7 PCMark benchmark was completed in 2009 with the E320 points. The merger has scored 1101 points in the system E-350 (ThinkPad X120e) far behind.

What emerges is that the "big" laptop with a Core i5-2520m (Turbo Boost) score between 5800 and 7700 points and 2100 points and 2300 with PCMark Vantage PCMark and 7, respectively. The E320 provides a standard small edge mobile performance, not a subnotebook wide performance down.

Summary: According to the criteria in the E320 system is much faster (53% and 45%, PCMark Vantage PCMark and 7) a merger-E-350 system. What will be felt by users is to copy and installation time. When making multiple installations and copying tasks, Fusion APU acceptable react quickly. But the crown performance clearly won by the i3-2310M in this case. Thank you to a fast hard drive Fusion is only able to compensate for this limited extent.

3DMark2006 reference, to determine suitability for the game in terms of 3098 points. Intel HD 2010 generation (also integrated in CPU), an average of only manages to score 1500 points (depending on the CPU + / - 200 points). Game is possible within the Intel HD 3000 Dedicated to the entry level GPU, the Radeon HD 6470M is only 3% faster (3DMark2006), the driver is, however, the best games.

ATI Radeon HD 6310 HD graphics is clearly winning the 3000 E320 with 1980 points (3DMark2006). This would make the HD 3000 seems exaggerated interest, however, because the processing performance of pure HD 6310 GPU and Intel is more or less the same: R11.5 Cinebench OpenGL test performance seems well shader: 6310 HD 8.09 points; 3000 HD 7.3 points.

When it comes to mass storage device Lenovo has chosen a Hitachi hard drive with a capacity of 320 GB. The HD Tune and Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 benchmark results for 7200 rpm HDD is above average, as confirmed by PCMark Vantage HDD score 4148th flow of sequential read is 79 MB / s.

Crystal Disk Mark income measures more complete, including the transfer speed when reading / writing small and large data packets (click on the tab.) What stands out are the small numbers for reading and scattered write packets 4K (0.4 / 0.8 MB / s).

This result is typical of the slow rotation of the disk read / write heads have to reach a mechanical position. This can be improved with a SSD, which is provided by Lenovo SSD version (128 GB; 685D090).

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