My New T420s

Author: Jake Bauer | Published: 2020-06-15

Two days ago I picked up a Thinkpad T420s laptop from a local seller for $150 CAD[1] after spontaneously deciding to look through Kijiji (the Canadian version of Craigslist or Gumtree). In the package were two 65W power adapters, the laptop, and an ultrabay SATA adapter which I can swap out the optical drive for allowing me to add an extra SSD. I think this was a fantastic deal and I’m glad I looked when I did.

The laptop is in really good condition overall. It came cleaned with minimal wear and tear aside from the trackpad and the trackpoint nub. The battery is definitely on its last legs reading 50% health and only netting between one and two hours using it for light tasks, but it still works and it’s not like I’m going anywhere any time soon.

Here are the specifications it came with:

I upgraded the RAM to 8GB immediately using parts I had laying around and took off the worn out trackpad sticker (that textured surface is actually just a sticker!). I also replaced the trackpoint nub with the one from my T440s since the trackpoint on my T440s stopped working (don’t get me started, I’ve been having a number of issues with it recently.

The screen is definitely nowhere near as good as the 1080p IPS display I have on my T440s, but it’s still a matte screen, the resolution is not bad and I can live with the viewing angles. It’s an alright screen overall.

The keyboard, on the other hand, is amazing. It’s the classic keyboard used on Thinkpads before the switch to chiclet style keys starting with the models after this one. It’s an absolute pleasure to type on though definitely louder than the keyboard on my T440s.

The other distinguishing feature of this and older models of Thinkpads is the Thinklight. Instead of having a backlit keyboard, there’s a light at the top of the screen which shines down on the keyboard. I think it’s a much better solution since it illuminates the surrounding area a little bit more and it feels less straining on the eyes. It’s basically a tiny lamp.

A bonus for the T420s over the regular T420 is that there is at least one USB 3.0 port. This comes in handy when I need to transfer large files or boot off of a USB disk. I’m also glad that both the main SATA port and the ultrabay run at SATA-III speeds so I can make full use of my SSDs.

After getting situated with my new Thinkpad, I hopped on eBay and started looking for replacement parts. I purchased a bag of new trackpoint nubs, a new trackpad sticker, and a dock all for about $35 after tax and shipping. I’m hesitatnt to buy a new battery because it’s quite expensive and, since I already have my T440s I don’t know if I need this to be quite as portable. I think I might do it anyways since I really enjoy using this machine.

Overall, I am really happy with my purchase. I may actually end up using this laptop more than my T440s because of the Thinklight and the really nice keyboard.

Here are a couple pictures of it:

The T420s in all its glory.
The T420s from a different angle. Such a nice machine.
The thinklight feature on the T420s. In my opinion, it's better than the backlit keyboard.
The T420s' trackpad with the sticker peeled off. It's totally usable this way but I like the textured sticker better.
A brand new trackpad sticker on the T420s.
Just the laptop looking good.

[1] - $150 CAD is approximately $110 USD, $160 AUD, £88 GBP, €98 EUR, ¥11,811 JPY, 104 CHF, or ₽7,683 RUB as of the “posted” date on this post.

This is my forty-sixth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at