Lenovo ThinkPad T510 Review

By on April 2, 2010, 3:43 AM
Today we have something a little more serious on the table for those seeking a more powerful mobile workstation. The ThinkPad T510 is part of Lenovo's classic T series which saw a complete refresh this January along with the popular W series laptops. Our T510 sample came equipped with a dual core Arrandale chip also known as the Intel Core i7 620M that operates at 2.66GHz with 4MB of L3 cache. Discrete graphics come courtesy of Nvidia's NVS 3100m chip with 512MB DDR3 memory. There's also a 250GB hard drive spinning at 5,400 RPM, 2GB PC3-8500 DDR3, Bluetooth, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 Wi-Fi and a 15.6-inch HD+ anti-glare display with a 1600 x 900 native resolution.
The matte display and added real estate compared to the ultraportables and netbooks we've been looking at over the last few months will surely be appreciated by those more interested in a desktop-replacement type of machine. Read the complete review.




User Comments: 32

Got something to say? Post a comment
TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Nice review. We use Lenovo's where I work. They're a solid laptop and get the job done for basic business apps. But as your review summarizes, you can probably do better price and performance wise. Think you're paying a little more here just for the name brand.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Just configured a T410 with discrete graphics, SSD and Win7 for a client and they're telling me that they get around 8-9 hours battery life playing movies. I didn't do any benchmarking, but the machine is just as responsive as my home i7 system through business applications.

Guest said:

Agree with the battery thing. They last like 8-9 hours if well configured. Also, I think there's a mistake while saying it only has 1 memory slot. Until the 2010 line, all ThinkPads had the 2 memory slots under the touchpad and not at the bottom of the unit. Now, with the new design and enhancements presented, they changed the location of one of the memory slots so you'll have one under the touchpad and the other at the bottom as you showed up in the review.

Guest said:

Disable the laptop's power management features and for some reason it delivers "underwhelming" battery life. What a surprise.

elroacho72 said:

I want in on the contest to give this away... I'll wait if it hasn't started.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

We are working the kinks out to output additional battery life numbers that represent a different usage scenario. Our current test compares well against previous reviews, however I agree it's not quite as representative than when testing a ULV laptop or netbook. If we obtain relevant findings we will promptly update the review and notify you here.

@elroacho72, LOL. Unfortunately Lenovo's policy is not to giveaway review samples, but have to be returned to them. I will still try to see if we can at least keep one for this purpose.

GACrabill said:

NOT a single 2GB stick .... here are the real specs :

Product: ThinkPad T510 4349-24U

Original description: i7-620M(2.66GHz), 4GB RAM, 500GB HD, 15.6in 1600x900, 512MB nVIDIA NVS3100m, CDRW/DVDRW, Intel 802.11agn, Vodafone WWAN, Bluetooth, Modem, 1Gb Ethernet, UltraNav, Secure chip, Fingerprint rdr, Camera, 6c, Win7 Pro 64

rosemeadoil said:

Sounds like a nice machine, however if it's longevity is anything like my Lenovo, it'll soon fall apart. My Lenovo 3000 N200 fell apart over a period of one month when it was 18 months old, with the power supply, lid hinge, and direction keys all failing. It limped over the warranty period and then let me down badly.

Anybody thinking of buying Lenovo would be advised to keep this in mind.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

We've updated the review noting that there's indeed a second memory slot under the keyboard (thanks for your feedback). Also we didn't make it clear that the ThinkPad T510 cannot switch graphics between the GeForce chip and the Intel integrated GPU. We will make a second update tomorrow with additional battery life tests.

elroacho72 said:

Thanks for humoring me Julio. Keep up the good work!

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

rosemeadoil said:

Sounds like a nice machine, however if it's longevity is anything like my Lenovo, it'll soon fall apart. My Lenovo 3000 N200 fell apart over a period of one month when it was 18 months old, with the power supply, lid hinge, and direction keys all failing. It limped over the warranty period and then let me down badly.

Anybody thinking of buying Lenovo would be advised to keep this in mind.

The Lenovo T series is a business line laptop product where your N series is consumer grade. I'm not implying that limping past the warranty is expected, but there is a big difference in these two lines. Also, Lenovo allows you to extend the warranty even after its expired, so you probably should look into that. I've dealt with their customer support several times and in my experience its better than Sony and Dell, on par with HP business support.

I've been using Lenovo T series laptops for over 5 years with my clients and every one that I've deployed are still in service, save 1 where a user spilled coffee on it.

Guest said:

What does that mean - cannot switch from Ge to Intel? Can one use this computer for video games?

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Nope, you cannot switch graphics on the ThinkPad 510.

The Nvidia GPU on this laptop is fine for most applications but limiting for gaming (as are 95% of notebook GPUs). Here's some more info:

[link]

elliottjosi said:

Seeking updated battery life test info

Really helpful review of features, especially given the relative premium for the "brand".

Have you done additional battery life tests and what are your finding re. results and setting management tactics to achieve them? Thanks.

Guest said:

Thank you for the informative review!

I have just ordered a T510 and due to your recommendations went for the i7, HD+, 4G, 7200rpm and Centrino ultimate....i was able to keep the cost lower by not adding the camera nor the fingerprint reader and keeping the 6 cell battery....

i love the thinkpad....my first one being a 380Z (still in use running win98se) then a t40 and now the t510 is replacing my t42.....

Guest said:

You wouldn't expect a Chevy Aveo to have the same build quality as a Cadillac CTS, would you? Lenovo has different laptop lines just as GM has different brands - and the build qualities to match.

Thinkpads are the toughest, most durable mainstream (i.e. not Panasonic Toughbooks) notebooks on the market. They are designed to meet quite a few mil-specs and to take abuse above and beyond other notebooks - including the popular MacBook Pro unibody designs, which aren't nearly as rugged.

Guest said:

I'm writing this comment on a ThinkPad R40 I bought new in November 2003 - other than a backlight failure (covered through overnight depot repair within the 3-year warranty) the unit has operated flawlessly, for much of that time as my primary tool in IT consulting.

I'm now looking for a replacement, simply because the older Pentium-M 1.5 can't do what I need for virtualization - but based on my experience, the T510 is at the top of my list. I've worked with IBM, HP, Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, and Sony laptops since the laptop was invented - when it comes time to spend my own money, there are only a few I'll consider.

Guest said:

I am writing this on my aged IBM ThinkPad R52. I love this kit. Been using IBM laptops since 1992. Tough as they come. I used to work for IBM and know well how they design, test and manufacture. Lenovo just keeps the tradition going and improving. I am so pleased that they have kept the trackpoint as an option. The R52 is now so full of stuff that I am about to order a T510 and can't wait to get my hands on it.

Guest said:

Writing this from my trusty R51E running ubuntu. Still going after being dropped on the floor and attacked by assorted foodstuffs . One spill broke the top left edge but it still trucks on :) But now sadly its taking too long to compile my apps, hudson builds takes minutes, and would be nice to run virtualbox.. So time to retire it too the kids and upgrade to a nice shiny new T510. Its great that the trackball is still there, an absolute necessity for lazy ones like myself who live on the couch.

Guest said:

I purchased a fully loaded Lenovo T510 laptop for my son about 5 months ago. During that time, the charger has failed twice, leaving him without a functioning laptop for several days. Response from the 800 number was fairly quick, but both times the failure occurred on a Friday which extended the amount of time before the replacement was received.

After the second failure, I decided to buy an extra charger and battery as a backup. Unfortunately Lenovo requires someone to be at home to sign for delivery and UPS delivers to our neighborhood only in the morning. In the end, we never received the battery and charger and we were charged a 15% restocking fee. For a business user this wouldn't be a problem, but someone using it at college or at home that policy is a major hassle.

We paid a premium price for the laptop and have been pretty disappointed in the reliability of the computer and the poor service. We've learned our lesson and will not be buying any more Lenovo.

Guest said:

Great review! I have a question regarding the color sensor. I didn't order one but I have that tag. What's the purpose of having that I'm kind of confused about it. Thanks.

Guest said:

One thing to take into consideration is that this unit does not ship with a smartcard reader as an option. I just got mine and I was not able to spec it with a smartcard reader, a unit with a smartcard reader is only available with the W510 class laptops.

Guest said:

I purchased the T510 with a single 4gb memory dimm. I've thinking about upgrading to 8gb. Is the single dimm that is installed under the touch pad or the under the back cover?

Guest said:

I bought a T510 in April 2010 in NY. Actually I am working in Brasília, capital of Brazil, and about a week ago the backlight of my T510 broke, leaving my TP with nothing but a black screen. I tried the IBM online service request form, only to be told after 4 days, that my request was closed, with no comment on why and what to do. So I tried to call the toll free number, where they gave me another toll free number, where I was told to call the first toll free number again. While googling my problem, I found out that I'm not the only one with backlight problems on thinkpad notebooks. Unfortunately that seems to be a common problem. So I opened another request on the IBM online service, asking them to contact me. it's eight days by now, that I am without my computer, unable do do my work, and still no reply from IBM/Lenovo. This is very disappointing, considering that I paid a higher price thinking i would get a good quality product with a good worldwide service (as I was told by the vendor). It seems that only the higher price is left over in this story.

Pascal D. Angst

ibmlenovonuncamais@terrabrasilis.ch

Guest said:

wifi keeps turning off randomly, even with power saver turned off, the adapter that came with my T510 is intel centrino advanced-n 6200 AGN, im still not sure why the wifi randomly turns off, and it becomes problematic because you cannot reconnect unless you disable, then enable it, or restart your computer.

once the wifi turns off once, it becomes more frequent until the next shut down of your computer, in addition if you troubleshoot, the options to solve are totally useless

Guest said:

I purchased a Lenovo Think Pad T-510 in August 2010 and have had nothing but PROBLEMS. One month later the entire system crashed. Lenovo Support was rude and offered no help whatsoever even though I have the 3 year warranty. I have spent over $1,000 on computer maintanence and it still barely functions. The 9-cell battery lasts less that 3-hours despite having it at the recommended settings. I am NOT doing gaming or other heavy media, simply web sites. I plan to take legal action against Lenovo to get a refund of the costs of the computer and my expenses. My next computer will be an Apple!!

Guest said:

First, thank you for the great review. It covered just about all of the questions I have. I must say from an IT support perspective, these laptops are THE best, and have been for years. For those who have had service issues, I understand why they would not buy Lenovo again, but this is not the norm. The screens on these seem dim at first, but I never looked back after a couple days of use. Unless you are out in the sun, there is plenty of back-light.

I have a T61 that is still very fast and am considering upgrading to the T510 for some extra speed and features. I think this review sold me....as the T510 still has everything I want in a faster package. The ultranav is a must, LED keyboard light is fantastic, the keyboard is great for working on all day (I always swap the CTRL and FN keys as the reviewer mentioned). I just can't say enough about the quality engineering that goes into the Thinkpad name.

Spend $1,500 now on a quality laptop and save yourself the need to upgrade every year (more like 3-5). If you use a laptop for any extended period of time or for business, there is no better choice.

Guest said:

T510 - does anyone else think the display has poor resolution. My e-mail is much more pixelated than on the T500

Guest said:

Hello guys,

I was very happy when I saw the review for this laptop because helps me to decide if buy it or not. Though, I found the same laptop but with 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD (7200 RPM). I was wondering (from your experience) if this configuration is ok for working with very large databases (SQL Server)?

For the moment we use a Lenovo which has i5, the processor family is 520M (2.4 GHZ), 2GB RAM and is a real pain the ***. It freezes when we try to run complex scripts on SQL Server.

Any advice is helpful. Thank you.

P.S.: Sorry for my bad english.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

You're English is quite fine.

Now I really don't know the hardware requirements for a SQL Server but one thing that stands out for me is that your current system only has two gigs of RAM.

You might want to consider Lenovo's new Thinkpad T series 520. You can configure with not only an i5 processor but you can also choose from four different i7 offerings up to the i7 2820QM @ 2.30 GHz with 8mb of L3 cache.

You can also choose either Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional 64-bit OS, three screen resolutions: 1366x768, 1600x900, or 1920x1080; as well as upwards of 8 gigs of RAM. You can choose harddrive sizes of either 320 or 500 in 7200 rpm or SSD.

Of course this depends on your need as well as budget.

Guest said:

First of all, thank you for answering. :)

Our SQL Server is already installed on a dedicated server with proper configuration for what we need. The laptop is for my boss who will use it as end user/client (I don't know if I explained properly).

The idea is that he's running complex queries and the current laptop seems to be to slow for this. That's why we were thinking that a i7 core and at least 4GB RAM (plus the 7200 RPM HDD) will be a major salt of performance.

After all, is it worth a laptop from article title but having 4GB RAM, 7200 RPM HDD and i7 core instead of the current one (i5 core, 520M processor family and 2 GB RAM)? Or is just enough to upgrade RAM on the current one to 4GB or 6GB (I don't think 6Gb will count because we'll still run XP OS on it).

We found the specified configuration in shops at 2200-2300 $ and we just want to know if is a smart acquisition or not. Thank you once again and sorry if I was confusing in my words.

Guest said:

I have this laptop and absolutely hate it! Terrible battery life, the touchpad is touchy and every time I type it sends emails before I'm done. It's impossible to have appropriate hand positioning without having the touch pad get in the way. Haven't figured how to shut it off yet. Also too heavy. Hoping my purchasing department will take it back. I've tried for several months to adapt to it and can't. Don't buy this model, you'll regret it I'm afraid!

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.