Specifications and performance
The CPU is an Intel Core i3-2310M with a 2.1GHz speed, two cores and Hyper-Threading. Along with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 320GB, 7200rpm hard drive (Seagate ST320LT007-9ZV142) and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics, the performance of the ThinkPad Edge E320 is fast for regular office work and even multimedia tasks. You can use it to encode music, edit video and convert files, but it can't be used effectively for gaming.
In our Blender 3D rendering test, the Edge 320 recorded a time of 58sec, while in our MP3 encoding test it recorded 1min 7sec. These results are almost identical to the 13in HP ProBook 5330m laptop, which uses the same CPU. However, it was a little slow in our DVD transcoding test, in which it took 1hr 12min. The HP completed that task in 1hr 6min. In 3DMark06, the Edge recorded a score of 3493, while in our hard drive transfer test a rate of 33.65 megabytes per second was attained, which is good.
One area in which the ThinkPad Edge 320 shines is battery life. Its 63 Watt-hour battery lasted 5hr 13min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. It's a very good time for a 13in laptop and you can get even more life out of it if you enable one of the many power schemes that are available.
The battery utility in this ThinkPad is one of the most comprehensive we've seen. It can give you intricate details of the battery, including how much power it is consuming, how much power is left, and even how long it will take for the battery to fully recharge. You can also set the recharge capacity to 80 per cent in order to improve the overall life of the battery (in terms of charging cycles). There are many other facets to this utility, all you have to do is click on the advanced button to see them all.
The advanced mode of the battery utility.
There some things about the ThinkPad Edge E320 that could be better. The keyboard could use a backlight, a USB 3.0 port would be nice, the screen could use better brightness and vertical viewing angles, and it could use biometric security (it has a Computrace-capable BIOS though).
Furthermore, we also think it's about time Lenovo ditched the TrackPoint pointing device — it's useful in confined spaces and it doesn't get in the way while typing, but we think it's unnecessary — and we wish the touchpad was a little better. While it's a very responsive pad with good gesture support, the placement of the left- and right-click buttons underneath the pad makes it almost impossible to perform right-click and drag operations.
Taking all these things into consideration, the ThinkPad Edge E320 is still a fine product and we think it's one of the most comfortable laptops on the Australian market. It's a good size, it's well built, it has a relatively light weight and it costs well under $1000 in its standard form. Our review model cost $772, but with a 128GB SSD it would cost $1080. Either way, we think that's a good deal.