Lenovo ThinkPad L520 review

Barry de la Rosa
25 Apr 2011
Lenovo ThinkPad L520
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

The ThinkPad L520's styling will appeal to those who prefer function over form


Among the shiny consumer laptops that are Shopper's bread and butter, Lenovo's ThinkPad L520 sticks out. Its blocky, angular design; matt screen and unusual range of expansion ports shout "business laptop", but even though it also has Windows 7 Professional installed, it's equally at home in the office or living room.

Lenovo ThinkPad L520

Inside the L520 is a brand new Intel Core i5-2540M processor running at 2.6GHz. It's seriously fast and only the Core i7s of Samsung's RF711 and Apple's MacBook Pro are noticeably quicker. Essentially, it's capable of running pretty much anything you can throw at it.

The L520 isn't designed for playing games, though. It relies on the Core i5's integrated graphics chip, which is capable of decoding HD video but not running the latest games. In any case, the 15.6in screen has a matt finish to cut down on glare from overhead lighting - perfect for office environments, but not as impressive when watching a movie with the lights down.

Colours were accurate, but not as vibrant as you'd get on a glossy screen. Still, the backlight is bright and even, and contrast was good as long as we adjusted the tilt of the screen carefully, as vertical viewing angles are fussy.

As with all ThinkPads, a tough, matt-black plastic is used throughout. There aren't any chrome highlights or brushed-metal finishes as loved by other manufacturers. That's not to say that the L520 is ugly. On the contrary, the ThinkPad's pugnacious design is much loved by some, mainly because it goes hand-in-hand with excellent build quality.

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