Lenovo T420 14.1" Intel i5 2.5GHz Laptop

1+ On the issue of off-lease notebooks ‘refurbished’ (read: wiped off with a rag) by parties not the manufacturer. I’ve had very mixed Woot experiences and it depends mostly on how hard it was used originally. I’ve had one that looked like it sat stored in a closet; another appeared to have been deployed on-site in Fallujah. It comes down to Callahan’s Conundrum: “You just have to ask yourself,‘Well do I feel lucky…’”

So you’re saying the vendor has replaced all recalled batteries? That is critical information that should be listed in every product description.

I’m wondering

  1. Has anyone used the extended warranty to know if its worth the pixels its written on?
  2. Is there a return policy if the one you get looks like it was in Afghanistan?
  3. Is it a complete crapshoot as to whether the model you get has better features than the minimum features stated? I don’t care about the fingerprint feature but the webcam would be awfully nice.
    The same question goes for the display, is that the minimum specs on a display or what is likely? My old Lenovo T61 has a 1440x900 display. I tried it with the next lower setting to simulate the setting listed on the specs and it made me feel like my eyes had gone blurry. Does anyone know what a screen upgrade would cost to know if its worth it?
  4. I’m confused. The specs on here say island style keyboard but I thought the T420 had the older style keyboard. Which is the case?

I’ve bought other woot items but never a computer and I’ve never purchased a refurb comptuer. Thanks for reading this and giving feedback.

This is also an exception to Amazon’s recall policy. Woot doesn’t tell you that though.

Because Amazon wants to ensure that products offered through Amazon.com are safe, listings for any products recalled by the manufacturer, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other government agency are prohibited.

I would be super thankful if we can get the 1600×900 screen. So is it more like luck of the draw woot?

Dont worry about locked BIOS, you can find those unlocked one that can take newer wireless AC card. Also mSATA port is available to get an extra speed boost to this already decent laptop.

I’m also on the fence on this one, so I did some research. Slaker1 above says that it takes $50 and about five minutes to upgrade the display, which appears to be half-right, from what I’m seeing.

laptopscreen.com has the 1600x900 (which is the max you’re going to get on this machine, it seems) display for $55-$60, depending on the exact T420 model you have. As for the replacement process, that’s where it gets rough.

It seems that you can replace an existing display with the same kind of display in just a few minutes, which may be what slaker1 is thinking of. But it seems that the 1600x900 display uses a different cable, so you have to replace that as well if you’re upgrading. And that means also removing the keyboard, wrist rest, and one of the hinges. There’s a video on Youtube of some poor guy slogging through this process, over the course of 24 minutes. It doesn’t look super complicated if you’re used to being elbow-deep in consumer electronics, but it might be more than a beginning DIYer can handle.

That said, I also went digging regarding slaker1’s comment on this machine accepting 16TB of RAM rather than the 8TB specified, and it looks like he’s right, though you’d be hard-pressed to find official documentation to support the claim. T420s were released before 8GB SODIMMs were easily available to consumers. So even though the hardware can address 16GB, I guess Lenovo thought it better not to even mention it in their docs, since they probably couldn’t test that configuration at the time.

FYI You do need a different cable to upgrade a t420 1366x768 to 1600x900. Readily available on ebay and not that much of a big deal to do.

The other thing that you can do is to put the 1600x900 panel from the thinkpad x1 carbon into the t420 - you need to get a lvds cable extender. the x1 carbon has what is considered one of the best 1600x900 displays.

If you want glossy, the alienware m14’s display will work also with no cable extender required.

No 1600x900 ips panels were made that work. I have the x1 carbon display in my t430 and it is pretty good

  1. FWIW, monitors will always look better running at their native resolution. The T420 will look fine and not blurry at all. That said, I can’t imagine buying a laptop with 1366x768 resolution in the year 2015. That’s pretty small.

  2. As many have mentioned, the T420 comes in a ton of different configurations. More recent ones do indeed have the island style keyboard, not that I would actually call that a benefit…

Do they whitelist the wifi cards in this? So basically if I want to add a better ac wifi card with bluetooth, will it allow me? I tried that with a HP Elitebook and they whitelisted certain hardware (including the wifi card), so basically you had to buy the HP offerings only. I hate when manufacturers pull that $hit.

Does this come with an HDMI port?

No but it has a DisplayPort which also carries video & audio. You can buy DisplayPort to HDMI adapters.

Yes, they do. You’ll have to use one of the adapters used in this model.

I’ve never been able to get my bluetooth headset connected to any laptop. For whatever reason I think most bluetooth speakers and headsets are designed to work with iPhones and Anoroids and not much anything else.

Not quite: All variants of the T420 come with the classic Thinkpad keyboard, not the island-style.

The commodity iBook-looking chicklet keys were introduced on the #30-series (T430/W530 models). I’m typing on on one of the new ones now, and FWIW, they’re rubbish. I got used to the new keyboard and flimsy casing when work foisted a W530 on me, but when I nabbed a 520 for home with the classic-style keyboard, I was reminded of how fabulous the #20-series and older were. That 530 will be my last Lenovo with the new crummy chicklet keyboard. If I wanted one this style, HP’s EliteBooks have better key movement and the layout isn’t weird. (And the screen bezel doesn’t warp and pop off by itself like the new Tpads. The legacy of durability is truly dead.)

TLDR: In-for-one last time, received it a few weeks ago. The T420 works great, has the great keyboard, showed up in good condition, and I’d buy another if I needed one.

I bought one of these from woot last time they were offered and I am very pleased! Mine did come with a webcam, I just had to download the drivers from the Lenovo website. As best as I can tell, it has a Bluetooth card as well and the drivers didn’t need to be downloaded, but I haven’t used the Bluetooth yet. Mine looks brand new and works great. I get about 3-4 hours out of the battery. I thought it was a very good buy at 289 and now they’re 10 bucks cheaper… what’s not to like?

I’ve had consistent problems with disk clones on Thinkpads with the target in either an ultrabay or USB enclosure where the clone was entirely successful but the OS wouldn’t boot and couldn’t be made to boot via normal repair routines. After some experimentation, I found that the problems went away by using a “primary” bay. I’ve chalked it up to some kind of firmware weirdness. In your case, I’d make sure the target drive is in the mSATA bay if that’s the sort of drive you have. The source can be where ever you need it to be.

I’ve tested with with a variety of disk imaging tools, everything from dd on Linux to recent versions of TrueImage.

No. It’s completely right. You have to un-do ~10 screws on the bottom of the unit that hold the keyboard and palm rest down. Pop out the keyboard. Take off two screws under the keyboard to pull the palm rest off and unplug the impacted video cable.
A pry tool can remove the bezel for the display, which is held down by four screws. The only even remotely tricky part of the process is making sure you get the bezel on the screen re-fitted with a solid seal.

I can strip a Thinkpad T-series to replaceable components in probably 10 minutes. They’re actually made for techs to work on. The guy on Youtube who needed a half hour to do it was most assuredly working slowly for the benefit of his viewership.

Does that mean that the X1 WQHD 14" screen will work for this model also? Let me know which extension wire we need to get in order to facilitate the screen replacement.

Unless it says FACTORY refurbished or reconditioned, skip it. I bought this on the last round here from woot and it was refurbished by some guy in his basement. Scratches, dings, filed-off logos, and they “cleaned” the wrist-rest area by covering it with giant black stickers. Just don’t.

I love woot, I love FACTORY refurbished deals from woot, but on items like this that are just “refurbished”, I strongly recommend you pass, or at least brace yourself to be disappointed.

If I put the original disk in the ultrabay and the new SSD in the main disk spot, that would work? Would it boot from the ultrabay?

Many thanks for your help!