Lenovo’s ThinkPads carry a long legacy of rock-solid construction and performance that demanding business people can depend on in any situation. In the past few years, the company has been experimenting with that formula, and the relatively new L series has stripped away many of the hallmark ThinkPad features in order to reduce prices.
Only for the corporate class
The L410 has no roll cage to protect its innards or ThinkLight to illuminate your keyboard at night. Expansion capabilities are limited, the legendary ThinkPad keyboard has been compacted and softened, and even the lid latch and 180-degree metal hinges have been dispensed with. What remain are Lenovo’s well-regarded ThinkVantage software for corporate manageability and disaster recovery, the red trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard, a matte screen, a sober square black body, and construction that still feels leagues ahead of today’s usual shiny plastic.
The L410 was clearly never intended to win any beauty contests, but even then, the size and weight are way above average for this class of hardware. At 2.3 kilos and over an inch and a half thick, it won’t be very convenient to lug around either.
Wide array of ports and options for expansion
The L410 is Lenovo’s entry-level offering for the corporate space, which is probably a good thing since it offers nothing that the average consumer would demand today. Components such as the Core 2 Duo P8700 CPU, 2 GB of RAM and 160 GB hard drive feel quite antiquated now, and there isn’t much beyond the integrated last-generation Intel graphics to get excited about. Don’t bother looking for USB 3.0, keyboard backlighting, an HD display, or any sort of aesthetic flourish. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to crunch through spreadsheets, presentations and email, but even corporate users today often benefit from having a webcam or at least decent core components. On the plus side, you get HDMI as well as VGA video outputs, eSATA, an ExpressCard/34 slot, four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, fingerprint reader, an SD card slot and a DVD writer. You shouldn’t have any problems connecting the hardware and peripherals you need, or configuring this laptop in a corporate environment.
The preloaded ThinkVantage software allows you to boot into a recovery mode, copy data onto an external hard drive, manage passwords, optimize the battery scheme, and of course securely back up your data. Surprisingly, there’s a distinct lack of an office suite, antivirus program or any other preloaded software except for Skype, WinDVD and a rather useless app called Lenovo Central, which does nothing but display ads and offer a few Web videos and newsfeeds.
Performance-wise, the L410 slots in comfortably with other laptops that match its configuration, which is to say those from mid-2009 to early 2010. The keyboard and trackpad are a pleasure to use, but battery life was a disappointing 2 hours 49 minutes at idle. However, it’s quite obvious that under high loads the battery life is bound to drop drastically.
Just like other ThinkPads, but a little bulky
In comparison to notebooks we see currently, the ThinkPad L410’s performance is below par. This is pretty evident because of the outdated Core 2 Duo processor, only 2 GB of RAM and a very low storage capacity of 160 GB HDD.
We can’t compare this laptop to the vast majority of others on the market today, which use Core i3 and i5 CPUs. It’s clear that ordinary consumers and well-heeled road warriors should stay away from this, but considering that this is the cheapest full-sized ThinkPad, businesses on an extremely tight budget might find it an attractive, utilitarian option.
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