The Lenovo Thinkpad E545 brings a premium look and feel without a premium price. Its AMD A6 processor is well-suited to running basic home office and light multimedia apps, but don't count on its Radeon GPU to run graphics-heavy games smoothly.
- Premium look
- Not all-day battery life
Never let the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E545‘s nice looks fool you. Apart from its solid build quality, this 15-inch desktop replacement is done with a soft-touch finish and carries a very affordable price, and of course, a few features we all didn’t expect to find on a budget laptop. Any computer geek will tell you it’s not always that you bump into features such as dual video outputs and a DVD burner on a budget laptop. What’s more, it comes with 8GB RAM and is powered by AMD A6 processor that delivers enough power to run basic home-productivity and light office apps.
On the downside, you don’t get lots of storage space on the Lenovo Thinkpad E545, and my guess is right few people are OK with 320GB hard drive, though the other features are superb. The battery life is mediocre, for basic home and office use its quite OK, but for power users you must look elsewhere. For a few dollars more, you can get more storage and better all-round performance in the Editor’s Choice budget desktop replacement laptop, the Dell Inspiron i5748-2143sLV Non-Touch.
On graphics, the Lenovo E545 screen has a maximum resolution of 1,366 by 768, the 15.6-inch screen can’t display 1080p videos, but delivers bold and nicely detailed 720p pictures at decent viewing angles. The display’s matte coating is non-reflective too. The spacious keyboard features the same slightly curved keys used on the Lenovo Z40, and they, too, are responsive and comfortable to type on.
Fans of the older ThinkPad models will be happy to know that the E545 offers a Trackpoint pointer stick and buttons in addition to a 3.5-by-2.5-inch clickpad. The clickpad’s textured surface provides just enough friction to ensure accurate cursor control and easy gesturing.
The left side of the E545 holds three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI video output, and a VGA video output. Over on the right side is a tray-loading DVD multidrive, a headphone jack, a LAN port, and a USB 2.0 port with sleep-and-charge capability. Embedded options include Wi-Fi b/g/n, a 4-in-1 card reader, and a 720p webcam.
The E545 comes with a 320GB hard drive, which is small compared with the 500GB drives included with the Dell Inspiron 15 Non Touch and Inspiron 17 Non Touch laptops.
The Lenovo E545 uses AMD’s A6-5350M, dual-core processor with clock speeds of 2.9 to 3.5GHz and an integrated Radeon HD 8450 GPU. Combined with a 4GB of DDR3 memory, the E545 beats the Dell Inspiron and the Lenovo G40, both of which are Intel-Celeron based laptops. However, it doesn’t keep pace with the Dell Inspiron i3542-5000BK.
The Edge E545 a black, soft-touch rubberized sturdy finish, with a dual-hinge assembly that gives it a solid, durable look and feel. The ThinkPad badge and Lenovo logo adorn the lid, accentuated by slightly rounded corners and a band of silver trim around its edge. It measures 1.3 by 14.8 by 9.6 (HWD) and weighs in at 5.4 pounds. This design makes the E545 bigger and heavier than the 17.3-inch Dell Inspiron i5748-1143sLV, though it is still portable enough to travel around with in the house or office.
If you want to try the Lenovo E545 for games, the best you can muster is an unplayable 5 frames per second. This is similar to what I’ve seen in most systems equipped with Intel HD graphics. On the 6-cell (48-watt) battery, the much I was able to achieve is a paltry 4 hours 10 minutes, which sadly puts it in last place among the competition. On the Lenovo G40 and Dell Inspiron 15, users have been able to get the systems running for around two hours longer, which is impressive.
The Lenovo Thinkpad E545 brings a premium look and feel without a premium price. Its AMD A6 processor is well-suited to running basic home office and light multimedia apps, but don’t count on its Radeon GPU to run graphics-heavy games smoothly. It would be nice if the E545’s screen ran at 1,920-by-1,080, but that’s a rare feature for a budget laptop. That said, longer battery life and a 500GB hard drive (rather than the included 320GB drive) are reasonable requests. That said, the ASUS VivoBook F510UA remains our Editors’ Choice for budget desktop-replacement laptop, than to an 8th Gen. processor and solid build quality.