Pros: I was surprised by how big it was, it's much larger than the pics make it seem. Big, robust trackpad. Perfectly designed keyboard. Lid snaps closed with magnets, very easy to open and manage.
BiOS has great features, more than I've seen in other laptops.
The hardware is very capable, it's much faster than I originally expected, and the price is ridiculously low for the performance you get.
Cons: The key provided with Windows 7 only worked once, I tried to wipe the OS and register with the same key and Microsoft refuses to accept it.
Additionally, the included software with the laptop ONLY supports Windows 8. If you want Windows 7 software/drivers you need to go to Lenovo's website to download it. And it seems like you'll need your own Windows 7 key.
The trackpad also serves as a giant mouse button which physically clicks down. It also rattles/shakes while sliding my finger on it. Previous ThinkPads supported mouse clicks on the touchpad, but it didn't actually CLICK down! Why would Lenovo make such a stupid change?
HDD is ridiculously slow but I guess that's to be expected of a 5400 RPM laptop drive.
Pre-installed Windows 7 is absolutely filled with bloat. It's so bad it severely hinders the laptop's performance.
Overall Review: Box wasn't packaged very well, but the laptop inside the box has pretty good padding. Still though, it seems a bit risky on Lenovo's part.
Pros: [If you are seriously considering the e545, read whole review before deciding, please]
Good and reasonable prices if you catch it on a sale (I got mine here for 369).Classic Thinkpad bento box body with rubberized finish. At just over 4 pounds, the e545 is still light enough to be portable despite its massive screen real estate. Despite being the budget "Edge" series, the e545 still comes with Lenovo's full suite of tuning and management programs and shock-drop (called "Airbag") protection for the hard drive (which should be mandatory for all laptops honestly). Spill-resistant keyboard is fantastic despite left-skewed track pad. Keyboard still comes with the classic trackball for those who still use it. Battery estimates are honest when laptop is not under load and screen is on dimmest setting.Comes with secureboot for Win8 users. At such a low entry price, lots of room to upgrade for those who know how or have friends who do.
This laptop comes with Win7 preinstalled, but the recover disks to upgrade to a Lenovo factory version of Windows 8. Make sure you make two sets of Windows 7 factory recovery discs using Lenovo's simple software and put those discs in a safe place. The Windows key is buried in the BIOS, so no, you cannot use the key anywhere else nor is it on the body of the laptop.
*DO NOT install Win8 on the e545, you will hate yourself if you do!* If you must experiment, make sure you have the Windows 7 factory recovery discs you made in case you want to revert.
Cons: Most important: Wifi drivers from Lenovo's website are terribly out of date and as such, the out of box WiFi performance is abysmal (see my "Other Thoughts" for the fix to this problem). This is why 1 egg is dropped off. Lenovo, if you are reading this, fix the Realtek Wifi! Speaking of which, the newest versions of the e545 being shipped now DO NOT come with bluetooth anymore (don't bother buying the Broadcom card and doing it yourself, it's rubbish).
No activity light of any kind; you only get two power LEDs which are cleverly located in the dot on the "i" in "Thinkpad" on the lid and palm surface of the lappy. At 5400 RPM, this laptop will be slow for more demanding users. The HHD activity light will be sorely missed for those sticking with the built in HHD. There is a freeware program to replace the activity light as a screen icon solution, so download that program if you need it.
You have to make your own Windows 7 recovery discs. Lenovo is not unique in doing this, but with the factory HDD spinning at 5400 RPM, this takes forever (90 minutes for 5 DVDs made). Plan ahead to do this because if you don't, there is no why to get WIN7 back on this Laptop unless you buy it yourself.
Overall Review: About the WiFi: The combined WiFi/Bluetooth half card was a failure, so Lenovo quietly snuck it out and replaced it with a Realteck WiFi only solution. As you go about updating the laptop out the box, go online and download Realtek R181 WLAN drivers dated 04-17-2014. This will fix the intermittent WiFi problem. Lenovo's last wireless driver updates are from 02-2013, so because I had to learn how to fix this issue myself, I took an egg away.
The Edge series is Lenovo's budget line to get new users into the elite laptop legend that is the Thinkpad. That being said, the e545 is not a 'cheap' computer in that it will fall apart (it most certainly will not) but it is low cost, which means things must be sacrificed. I have a 8-core AMD desktop with triple monitors, so a $1200 desktop replacement laptop would have been a waste for me, so starting off low and upgrading will work for me. I already installed a Crucial M500 256 GB SSD that was also on sale when I ordered the e545 and this laptop is now smoking fast. I will spend another $100 to upgrade to Crucial 8GB ram (4x2) and this laptop will out run most on the market. Lastly, I can easily upgrade the processor to the AMD A10 APU and get the better Radeon on board graphics to run most of my games at a medium or better framerate. I'll be in for $800 total once the upgrades are done, but I can do this slowly and my e545 with outgun most 15 inchers two years from now. If space is an issue, the dvd drive can be swapped out for a HDD with a kit. DO NOT upgrade to the Broadcom Wifi/Bluetooth card if you can find it, it is terrible to the point of uselessness.
I got Win 7 Ultimate with a university license but without an onboard hardware security solution, i cannot really take advantage of Bitlocker easily. Next Thinkpad I buy will have a fingerprint reader.
HDD lights are being phased out as SSDs are honestly too fast. Additionally, the lights burn battery. The e545 has onscreen pop up icons that show you the wifi, num lock, scroll lock and caps lock statuses if you toggle them, so this is not really the end of the world, its just different. For people sticking with the slow 5400 rpm HDD, the lack of a status light will be sorely missed because start up times are painfully slow for those of us with powerful modern desktops.
Win7 is being phased out at the end of October 2014, so I narrowly avoided Win8 on a non-touch screen laptop. I will not upgrade the OS until I'm forced to.
With a SSD added, the e545 will still be under $500 but have a standby life of 7 hours-plus and be more or less bomb proof. Though Windows has most of the useful tech tools built in to the OS, Lenovo's central suite of tools are rather useful and has a few hardware testers that Windows does not.
Final word: Great budget laptop for mom or dad, even better comp for those techheads on a budget who need a portable comp to complement their epic desktop arrangements.
Pros: -Solid Lenovo quality
-Upgradable to Windows 8.1 PRO
-Hardware can be upgraded
-Super Easy access to Hardware and cooling system
Cons: I am annoyed by the lack of a HDD activity light.
Overall Review: I have upgraded this laptop a bit since getting it. I put in another 4gb DDR3 1600 CAS11. This made a huge difference. I also replaced the APU with a A10-5750m. Next I will replaced the HDD with a SDD.
I bought this for school, I have a video arts class that needs something with so power.
Pros: Customer loved the configuration and the price. She felt that it was professional and handled well.
Cons: Trackpad was less than impressive. It takes some serious time to use effectively (if not frustration free). Cost it an egg, but a small gripe nonetheless.
Overall Review: Good deal all around.
Pros: Came with Windows 7 price was great for what you get. Gave you the discs to intall windows 8 if someone would rather have it.
Cons: Overall a good notebook but it does have the junkware on it so be prepared to get rid of that stuff.
Overall Review: I would recoomend it for anyone that wants a decent laptop at under $450.00 especially if you don't want windows 8 that was a good reason to buy for me. Newegg was great too no problems with shipping.
Pros: Light and compact, the matte finish on the outside makes it easier to hold onto. 4gig speed in a less than $500 model is pretty good, too bad that it isn't an easy upgrade to 8 or this thing would scream. I wanted the Win7 Pro pkg due to Network ease of compatibility but am happy for the 8pro upgrade included.
Cons: Little things that you would expect for the price tag honestly. Not as uber as some models, but you get what you pay for.
Overall Review: I read a couple reviews complaining about win7/win8 issues. People need to remember that this is not the fault of the computer or manufacturer. Although, a written explanation that Win7 is embedded and that the Win8 discs are an optional upgrade would help to cut down on initial confusion.
Pros: Based on the hardware specs and that it comes with Win 7 and Win 8 Professional, this laptop cost 33% to 50% less then that of comparable models. I use this laptop, wirelessly, as a entertainment module to a flat screen TV and receiver entertainment center. The sound quality exceeds the Fios HD cable box and the video is equivalent to the HD Fios cable box.
I am using the HDMI interface, which is not specified in the NewEgg specs.
Cons: I found that the wireless lan is "sluggish" but I have connected a third party WiFi Adapter in order the stream HD movies. These are cheap to obtain. Lenovo does have a dirver update for the 802.11 b/g/n; I have not tried it yet.
Overall Review: I use the laptop for an "all-in-one" entertainment interface device. It comes with a DVD and third party external blue ray. Performance is excellent with quality sound and graphics/video. For the price, you can't beat this laptop with a stick.. :-). HID is Logitech wireless Keyboard/Mouse.
Pros: Great form factor for a 15.6" laptop. Nice screen and keyboard layout. The trackpad's offset to the left side slightly. Save money, get the AMD processor (Win & Experience 5.0 out of the box) and spend it on dual channel memory (Brought experience score to 6.7) and get a better integrated graphics card, Win 7!!
Cons: Slightly flimsy disc drive. Track pad is slightly off putting unless your left handed, but a wireless mouse solves that problem. Win 8 recovery discs
Overall Review: Haven't had this laptop long enough to find cons other than those listed. The fan can come on somewhat quickly. Some bloatware that's easily removable