Conclusion

The ThinkPad Edge ends up being a product of compromise, trying to bridge the gap between the business-like ThinkPads and the consumer-centric IdeaPads. But this leaves it somewhere in the middle. It’s a competent and functional laptop, but it’s not good at any one thing, it doesn’t stand out. And on top of that, it’s not a particularly good value. Sure, it costs about the same as the similarly specced Acer Timeline 3810T, but then we wouldn't necessarily recommend that laptop either. If you don't need VT-x, dropping to a Pentium SU4100 will get you about 97% of the SU7300 performance while saving $120.

The Edge 13 CULV can be had for $698, which is the $100 less than the base Alienware M11x (SU4100/2GB/160GB/GT335M) and only $50 less than the ASUS UL30Vt and UL80Vt, which both offer an overclockable SU7300, 4GB/500GB, and switchable NVIDIA G210M graphics. All three offer 8-cell batteries and more battery life than the ThinkPad Edge, in addition to the overall better specs. The Alienware is a legitimately serviceable portable gaming machine, and even though it weighs more and has a smaller screen than the Edge, the sheer amount of graphical horsepower packed into it is astounding. The two ASUS machines have excellent battery life and offer a dedicated GPU for those who need it (though not nearly as powerful as the M11x). The Edge simply does not feature anything compelling over those models. The build quality and keyboard are solid, but not at the classic ThinkPad level and not good enough to make up for the performance deficiencies.

So who is the ThinkPad Edge actually for? A business user would likely get a Dell Latitude for the same price or spend the extra $150 to get a real ThinkPad. Gamers obviously would go for the Alienware M11x, and multimedia/general mobile computing users would probably be more interested in the faster and longer-running ASUS UL series. Bring up the cheaper Acer Timeline series with SU4100 CPUs and it's difficult to recommend the ThinkPad Edge over competing offerings. The base AMD model at under $500 is a more attractive proposition, but you lose a lot of performance and with the 4-cell battery, you’re looking at a somewhat laughable three hours of runtime. So, maybe that’s not so attractive, especially priced in Timeline territory.

Ultimately, the ThinkPad Edge falls right in the middle of a large group of CULV laptops. It has the same performance, but for only slightly more money there are clearly faster laptops; there are also significantly cheaper laptops that provide essentially the same performance. The Edge lacks the build quality of the ThinkPad Classic, but then it's also over $200 cheaper. It should hold up reasonably well over time, and if you need ExpressCard/34 support with CULV it's one of the few offerings to fill that need. Still, there's not enough here to warrant a strong recommendation, unless you really like the matte black aesthetic. We feel most users will be better served by Lenovo's already successful business and consumer notebook lines; the Edge ends up sitting between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

ThinkPad Edge 13 Battery Life
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  • 8steve8 - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    This laptop needs a ULV arrandale CPU like the i7-640UM currently in this fujitsu laptop:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Turbo boos on ULV is especially important, the clock rate nearly doubles when thermals allow, under normal usage this will speed you through the rare times CPU is limiting you, at turbo speed and will finish the task before the thermals throttle the frequency.

    The keyboard looks perfect, trackpoint is amazingly better than any touchpad, but yes, it needs a better screen and an arrandale.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately, that's $1500 for a 2GB, 160GB HDD laptop. Is it faster? Undoubtedly! But it's over twice the cost as well. Ouch! Reply
  • PyroHoltz - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    I agree we NEED new arrandale ULV chips, but that Fugitsu isn't the answer. At 160GB is disk space, thats a waste and who needs an optical drive in an ultramobile...? Give me an 11.6" chassis w/ a 640GB HDD along w/ optimus graphics and 4GB of DDR3 an scratch the i7-640UM for the cheaper i5-520UM. If that notebook is around $700 then I'll get excited.

    Intel get that damn arrandale ULV chips out to the vendors in mass, this is a joke! The Core 2 CULV chips were great 2 years ago, but we need to move forward. I know plenty of manufacturers have shown their models to carry these chips, MSI x360, Asus' new UL series and HP along w/ Dell all are showing models but nothing is coming because the chips are still delayed!
    Reply
  • 8steve8 - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    agreed, the fujitsu is just proof that the ULV arrandales are out in some form. and concerning the price, its not like the arrandale is the reason why its $1k more expensive... the cpu is only ~$300 Reply
  • PyroHoltz - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    Well I'm glad to see someone else knows what these new chips(Arrandale UM) are all about. Reply
  • zeth006 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Amen to that. Intel's taking its sweet time. Blames a supply shortage for the delay. That's pure incompetence on Intel's part. Even though we're in a recession, a lot of people foresaw the boom we'd experience in laptop sales. Windows 7 only helped catalyze the sales by unleashing the pent up demand! Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    Still, definitely not my father's Thinkpad. He doesn't have one, and will never have, most likely. Me, I'm just happy thinkpads still have a trackpoint. Reply
  • miniguyverona - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    I've got a couple 13's, to go with 3 macbook pro 13's. The Edge 13 running anything other than the AMD Processors throws the cost/benefit off.

    Mine are all dual core AMD 1.5GHz, with 4GB, and running Windows 7 you never notice a slowdown with normal apps, You can run full 720p flash apps and minor web gaming. And these cost me around $500 each, which is exactly the same as the Dell and HP Atom machines, and the Edges are significantly, and noticeably, faster. Perception of performance is better, and the Atom machines were running XP, and Edges Windows 7. So it's faster, even when running 1.5 generation newer software.
    Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    Really... the IdeaPad is line... they are also very good notebooks. And better looking too.

    And the thing is, Lenovo makes a "thinkpad" Netbook anyways for about $500.

    As a ThinkPad owner, I agree the Edge doesn't belong under the ThinkPad name... perhaps as an Ideapad but its in competition with other IdeaPad models. Hmmm... makes me wonder if its an Idea pad under the hood.
    Reply
  • pugster - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    I agree. About 3 months ago, my company brought an x200 thinkpad for about $1100. Why? Because of name and service. I really think this is a bad move for Lenovo and put $500 for a thinkpad because of the difference of looks and design compared with the other thinkpads. They should just spend some money promoting their ideapads instead and put the thinkpads name and design in the higher end ones. Reply

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