timmna wrote:geoduck wrote:Ignoring the advice to go cheap, here's what I think about that exact lineup.
The T420S is a 14" model right? With the 1600X900 screen? That's a nice screen. You'll only get 1440X900 (15") or 1280X800 (17") with the MBP. That said, the touchpad on the MBP is simply amazing and will ruin all other touchpads for you. Both keyboards are pretty comfy and quick, so not a worry either way.
Powerwise, the MBPs are quad-core for the 15s and dual-core for the 13s. The T420S seems right between the two models in performances. Any of the three should blow through whatever your law school needs are. The T420S uses the integrated graphics as does the MBP13. The MBP15 has a separate video card, so there's that.
Expandabilitywise, the MBPs have the amazing but not yet much use Thunderbolt. The T420S has the less amazing USB 3.0, but there are actually peripherals for that at the moment. You probably won't really need either thanks to DropBox and (if you get the MBP) iCloud. The Lenovo also wastes space with a VGA port, two PCI express ports, and an expresscard port. The Lenovo has a 4-in-1 card reader while the MBP has an SD card reader. This is close to a draw. The Lenovo has more, but most of it is rubbish. Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0 is a battle of toddlers. I would choose the MBP for this because the Lenovo has no firewire and the MBP has Firewire 800, but that's because I have external FW800 drives already.
Both laptops have HD webcams. The Lenovo has the fingerprint reader, so it gets a nod in security. Importantly, the MBP has significantly higher battery life than the Lenovo. 7 true hours on the MBPs vs a rated 5.5 and more like 3 hours on the T420S. Also the MBPs are lighter, which is a minor concern.
I'd personally choose the MBP because I like OSX better. I'm about to get a T420 regular because of UMN, however, and am not all that saddened as it is the one I would choose if I were forced to go Windows.
Thanks for all of your advice. Very helpful. I was leaning toward MBP, and I actually did consider weight an issue because I'm a fairly small person. I thought I read that the Thinkpad was 4 lbs, whereas I know the MBPs more than that so that gave me pause. Battery power's also a good issue to bring up. I saw that the Thinkpad had another battery you could add to extend life, but I'd rather not have to bother. Anyway, I'm officially leaning toward MBP. Now, if only the back to school promo would start...
MBP 15": 5.6lbs
MBP 13": 4.5lbs
T420S: 3.68lbs + (depending on config)
So I was thinking of the T420 standard when I said it was lighter. Oops