The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13in ultraportable laptop is everything you like about ThinkPads in a more attractive package.

If you're a fan of Lenovo's ThinkPad line, you're used to a boring industrial design that looks like it's stuck in 2002, but are willing to put up with it because ThinkPads are so rugged and just plain usable. The new ThinkPad Edge marks the first really significant change to the look and feel of the line in years, but thankfully, it retains almost everything you love about ThinkPads.

The design of the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge ultraportable is still quite conservative; you won't be embarrassed to pull it out in a serious business meeting. It's simply more modern, with cleaner lines, a smooth, glossy lid, and silver accents along the edges.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge lid's glossy finish looks great, but it's a magnet for fingerprints. You might opt for the matte finish if this is a concern (it costs the same). If we had to pick a nit about the design, it would be the location of the ethernet jack, which is quite far toward the front edge of the left side. Open the lid, and the system has the same basic, utilitarian look of other ThinkPads with a large keyboard and touchpad. But...

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge: still great to work on

Users considering the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge may be shocked to see a chicklet-style keyboard inside. These are notoriously tough to type on, especially compared with the standard keys found on other ThinkPad models. Fear not, readers! This is easily the best chicklet keyboard we've ever used.

The keys have a slightly scalloped curve to them, lots of travel, and a good "clicky" feel, rather than the mushy, rubbery one of most chicklet keyboards. The keys are still large, with nice, big Shift and Backspace keys, and the Ctrl key is placed inside the Fn button key, where it's more natural to press. Not once did we accidentally hit Fn instead of Ctrl, a record we can't claim for most other laptops.

Fans of the ThinkPad line also love the way these notebooks always give them lots of pointing options, and the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge is no exception. It has a large touchpad - smooth and accurate - with distinct left and right buttons both above and below the pad.

If you prefer Lenovo's little "TrackPoint" eraser nub for pointer control, you'll be relieved to see it still nestled between the bottom corners of the G and H keys. Nevertheless, a few corners have been cut in this inexpensive and lightweight model. The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge's keyboard is not backlit and has no ThinkLight illumination on the lid, so it can be a little hard to use in the dark. Apart from those small omissions, nothing about the Edge stands between you and getting things done, which is precisely why ThinkPads are so popular.

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