Computers & Electronics

Refurbished T430s B-Grade Review

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 14th, 2016 1:22 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 16, 2009
1919 posts
396 upvotes
Kelowna

Refurbished T430s B-Grade Review

I wanted to post a review about the B-Grade laptop I purchased from Boxxaroo to help people decide if B-Grade is good enough for them.

To start off, I ordered this laptop from Boxxaroo for $299.99 ($314.99 all-in, delivered) https://boxxaroo.com/collections/b-grad ... 0456672583

Image

Specs:
Intel Core i5-3320m 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge CPU
Processor Speed 2.60Ghz
RAM 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
Hard Drive: 320GB (7200rpm)
14" HD+ Screen 1600x900
DVDRW
Windows 7 Pro
Graphic Card NVIDIA NVS 5200m and Intel HD Graphics 4000
2x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 2.0
D-Sub connector and mini DisplayPort
SD Card Reader
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
3.96 lbs
Part Number: 2356-H8U

The laptop took 6 days to arrive after receiving the shipping confirmation.

Here is how the laptop comes packaged from Boxxaroo:

Image

Foam anti-static packing material
Image

Image


The AC Adapter was in like-new condition. The only sign of wear on it was the white tag

Image

Image


The laptop itself came wrapped with a document showing what was inspected on the machine before it was sent.

Image


Next I went around the outside of the laptop to visually inspect it. Boxxaroo lists a lot of possible damage as being acceptable as B-Grade:

TOP - Very good condition. There is one 1/2 cm paint scratch in the bottom edge, and I did notice that the bottom of the "e" in the Lenovo decal in the bottom left is broken off. No other wear found (smudge at the bottom is a fingerprint)

Image

FRONT - Visible paint scratches on the front edge and the corners of the lid.

Image

RIGHT - No real scratches but signs of wear along seams.

Image

LEFT - A few more paint scratches and surprisingly still some dust in the ports and heatsink.

Image

BACK - Excellent condition, some dust again in the ports and heatsink.

Image

BOTTOM - Pretty good shape, no scratches, just signs of use.

Image

BATTERY - Looks to be in good condition. Details about the cycle count and capacity to follow

Image

EXPANSION PORT - Hynix 4GB ram as specified, a slot for an mSATA card as well in there (but apparently it only runs at SATA II speeds)

Image

I did find a tiny feather inside this slot by the ram. It made me wonder if they used feather dusters to clean the laptops...?

Image

Once I opened the laptop it was in really good condition with the expected shiny keys.

Image

SCREEN - no marks or scratches. There was a smear from when they cleaned the screen, but it came off.

Image

One of the rubber pieces that cushion the screen against the keyboard was missing.

Image

KEYBOARD - A couple shiny keys and the decal on the A key has a bit of wear.

Image
37 replies
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 16, 2009
1919 posts
396 upvotes
Kelowna
TOUCHPAD - looks new

Image

SPEAKERS - The right speaker grill has a mark on it that is only visible if light is directly on it

Image

DECALS & FINGERPRINT READER - Both appear to be mint.

Image

WEBCAM - There are some white marks around the edge of the lens. I can't tell if this is dirt or an old plastic protective coating that needs to be peeled off

Image

HARD DRIVE SLOT - Caddy appears to be in good shape. Port secured nicely with no broken tabs

Image

HARD DRIVE - Seagate 320GB as expected

Image


After firing up the laptop I decided to check the condition of the battery. My battery showed 177 cycles

Image

After loading an elevated command prompt, I ran the powercfg -energy command to generate a report on the battery.

Image

Only 25.83 Wh out of 44Wh remaining, indicating only 58.7% battery life.

I then performed a battery reset using these steps posted by drdtyc - refurb-io-lenovo-thinkpad-t420-now-272- ... st25709579

After the test, the results were impressive!
Image

36.88 Wh out of 44 Wh, 83.8% battery life! :lol:

Here is a Windows Experience Index of the system in this configuration
Image


Other Observations
- I noticed that when I pulled my USB drive out of the side USB 3.0 port, it came out somewhat easily compared to most USB ports I use. Perhaps a sign of wear?
- I tested the SD card reader with a 32GB SDHC card from my camera and it worked great.
- The chiclet-style keyboard isn't as bad as I feared!
- The lid hinges are easy to move. I compared it to the other laptops we use at work, and it is only a bit looser than those.
- I changed the color profile as per this post by bigmike05 and it seemed to improve the color of the screen. It IS rather blue tinted - refurb-io-lenovo-thinkpad-t420-now-272- ... st25907435

Steps pasted here in case the other thread disappears:
bigmike05 wrote:
May 8th, 2016 6:38 pm
Been tinkering with the Thinkpad over the weekend and I found the display to have a bit of blueish hue to it. Tried doing some calibration through Windows but to no avail. Did some googling and found the following articles:

https://plus.google.com/+RogerBinns/posts/bLg18FtS8KZ This post contains the .icc calibrated profile file.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads ... le.492790/ This article gives you the step by step guide to apply the new calibration.

For those interested, I applied the new profile and it is much better than the Default Lenovo configuration.
Likes:
- Thin and Light
- Price was great
- Battery ended up being better than expected
- USB 3.0!
- HD+ screen, and matte too
- Relatively quiet fan
- Supported by Lenovo for Windows 10
- Windows 7 Pro key supplied activated fine and allows for an upgrade to Windows 10.


Dislikes:
Speakers suck
Screen only looks decent at 1600 x 900 resolution, which can make for some small text.


Final Thoughts

For $299.99, this does feel like quite a deal. I honestly expected the condition to be a lot worse and I was pleasantly surprised. The paint chips kind of suck, but when the laptop is open, you can't even see them. Functionally, the laptop seems perfect. Having the 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge CPU, support for DDR3-1600 up to 16GB in two slots, expansion options with the UltraBay for another hard drive, and the option to have a dock for more ports make this a very flexible and fairly powerful budget machine.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 16, 2009
1919 posts
396 upvotes
Kelowna
reserved for part 3 - windows 10 and hardware upgrades
Deal Addict
May 17, 2005
4303 posts
589 upvotes
thanks for review ...
great deal ... just wonder if you got lucky with the unit ...
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
22879 posts
3240 upvotes
Just another reason (along with off-lease/refurb Latitudes) why there's really little reason to buy brand new laptops...
-Most "consumer" laptops suck anyway, apart from the higher end ultrabooks and gaming laptops.
-Most people don't need $3k ultrabooks or gaming laptops anyway.
-The alternative is either buy something like this for $300 or buy some generic craptastic consumer laptop for $1k+, or a super cheap crappy laptop for $400-500.
-Again no idea why people buy brand new laptops when there is stuff like this out there; but I've said this a thousand times. Laptops depreciate like no tomorrow, buying new is just dumping money in most cases.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 16, 2009
1919 posts
396 upvotes
Kelowna
The laptop I upgraded from was a Compaq CQ56-240CA which was about the cheapest laptop I could get at the time. I put an SSD in it right away, and it did well for many years. It only had an Athlon II P340 2.2 GHz CPU, 4GB of DDR3 and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 Graphics Card. What I really liked about that laptop was the screen. 15.6", very clear with great colors. This laptop is going to take some time to get used to, especially the smaller screen, but I think once I get my SSD in here, I won't be missing my old laptop anymore.

Windows 10 finished installing overnight, and it boots up really quickly, even on the 7200 rpm drive it came with.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 4, 2009
6575 posts
716 upvotes
the newer laptops has resolution of ‎2560×1440. You don't know small until you see that.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 16, 2009
1919 posts
396 upvotes
Kelowna
rageking wrote:
May 11th, 2016 12:12 pm
the newer laptops has resolution of ‎2560×1440. You don't know small until you see that.
I had to look that up. For a 14" screen to have that resolution? That's nuts!!! I went from a 15.6" screen running 1366x768 down to a 14" screen running 1600x900 and it was noticeably smaller.
Newbie
Apr 11, 2016
50 posts
11 upvotes
Good review. I think you received a good looking unit for a B grade. Curious... I bought a refurb T420 and I really like it except for one pet peeve that drives me nuts... the CD drive on the right hand side has a button that is extremely easy to press when picking up or putting down the laptop. It's in the perfect spot to eject the CD tray and so I end up doing this on an almost daily basis.

Did the T430 improve on this design?
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 16, 2009
1919 posts
396 upvotes
Kelowna
LerooooyJenkins wrote:
May 11th, 2016 1:01 pm
Good review. I think you received a good looking unit for a B grade. Curious... I bought a refurb T420 and I really like it except for one pet peeve that drives me nuts... the CD drive on the right hand side has a button that is extremely easy to press when picking up or putting down the laptop. It's in the perfect spot to eject the CD tray and so I end up doing this on an almost daily basis.

Did the T430 improve on this design?
Do you mean eject as in open the tray to insert a disc or eject as in the whole drive unit comes out?

Assuming you mean just opening the drive, from what I see, they moved the dvd drive to the back of the unit, so the button is further back than on the T420. I used this picture here for reference: https://ca.refurb.io/products/lenovo-th ... -i5-2-5ghz
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jan 24, 2011
616 posts
128 upvotes
Good review.

I got my X220 last week from Boxxaroo. Any recommended SSD for X220. Thanks
Deal Addict
Aug 14, 2015
1814 posts
571 upvotes
I prefer to pick these up off randoms on kijiji.

Got a friend a t430s i5 w/ 8gb + 180gb ssd for $300 flat, mint condition.

nice review though, kudos.
Deal Addict
Sep 11, 2007
4369 posts
603 upvotes
depends on the model, ya always check kijij first but if you cant find what you want go with boxxaroo. Docks for these older thinkpad are cheap on kijiji

From my personal experience. I found a good deal on T450s on kjiji then wanted a X230T but couldnt find any good one on kjijij nor ebay. Then I brought X230T off boxxaroo and found a supportable dock on Kijjij.
Deal Addict
Aug 14, 2015
1814 posts
571 upvotes
ES_Revenge wrote:
May 11th, 2016 10:28 am
Just another reason (along with off-lease/refurb Latitudes) why there's really little reason to buy brand new laptops...
-Most "consumer" laptops suck anyway, apart from the higher end ultrabooks and gaming laptops.
-Most people don't need $3k ultrabooks or gaming laptops anyway.
-The alternative is either buy something like this for $300 or buy some generic craptastic consumer laptop for $1k+, or a super cheap crappy laptop for $400-500.
-Again no idea why people buy brand new laptops when there is stuff like this out there; but I've said this a thousand times. Laptops depreciate like no tomorrow, buying new is just dumping money in most cases.
to be fair, as one who likes saving money but "new" tech.. buying thinkpad 440/540/x1 or newer off kijiji w/ onsite warranty seems to be the best value of anything around.... i5 5200u / 8gb / 128 ssd systems w/ 3 year warranty for 700 bucks and ***** lol. most just have shitty screens, so either swap an IPS yourself or get lucky and find one.

although essentially the same as these if you just need a simple workstation laptop.. the new ones look alot better, new ports, better battery, W10 functions well ect.
Sr. Member
Feb 25, 2015
604 posts
434 upvotes
NB
Those refurbs are not cheap at all.

A new T450 is about $500 down in the States. Expecting 5-6 years of useful life, that's about US$85-100 per year.

A refurbished T430 is $300 and 3-4 years old, with 2-3 year lifespan left.

Top