If you’re a regular reader of the Prowess Thought Lab blog, it likely comes as no surprise that a key part of the value Prowess Consulting offers our clients is research and benchmark testing. That testing often entails looking at different computing devices—such as notebooks and tablets—to determine which devices offer users in specific situations the highest productivity or the best user experience.

Unlike the actual users of these test devices, after our testing is complete, we no longer use the devices that were tested. We leave the testing lab and go back to using the same devices we use every day; leaving the test devices in the lab.

I recently got a reminder though, that I’m due for an upgrade to a newer device, which I’m thinking is a great thing because the one I’ve been using isn’t much newer than one of the devices recommended for an upgrade in a recent testing project. That testing project pitted a Lenovo ThinkPad T420 against a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 mobile PC. In our report we state, “We chose the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 because it’s similar to the computers many companies purchased four or more years ago and are still using today.”

I use a Lenovo ThinkPad T430 every day. Like the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 we tested, my device has an Intel Core i5 processor. My Lenovo ThinkPad T430, however, does have a newer Intel Core i5-3360M processor instead of the Lenovo ThinkPad T420’s older Intel Core i5-2520M processor. The first “3” in 3360 and the “2” in 2560 are indications of the generation of the processor. So my Lenovo ThinkPad T430 is a generation newer than the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 we tested—third generation compared to second. The Intel Core i5-2520M processor was released around the first part of 2011, and the Intel Core i5-3360M processor was released in roughly the middle of 2012. The Lenovo ThinkPad T430 also has a higher clock rate. With these improved specs, I would expect my system, the Lenovo ThinkPad T430, to offer better performance than the Lenovo ThinkPad T420.

My Experience Using a 3rd Generation Lenovo ThinkPad T430

My experience using the Lenovo ThinkPad T430 is in no way poor. In fact, I don’t know that I’d have even considered the age or performance of the system if I hadn’t learned I was getting a new system and glanced down to see “T430” printed on it shortly after concluding the testing on the Lenovo ThinkPad T420.

My realization of the systems’ similar model numbers led me to wonder. At Prowess, we’re lucky enough to be able to work from home on occasion. And I all too regularly I have issues with Skype for Business, which Prowess uses for meetings, when working from home. Skype for Business typically works fine, but I dread someone saying, “Just a minute, and I’ll share my screen.” Some sharing his/her screen in a Skype for Business meeting taken when I’m at home, for some reason, seems to frequently result in my Internet connection dying. This is bad enough on internal calls, but it’s horrific on client calls. I find that I often simultaneously dial in from my mobile phone just to be safe and avoid the risk of falling into the abyss altogether if my Internet connection fails during a call.

One of the solutions given for connection problems on the Skype support page (tip number 6) is “Update your hardware.” Granted, I don’t know that the hardware is the actual issue—multiple other factors are just as likely to be the culprit. I’ve certainly attempted to close other programs and not browse while on a call, especially if screen sharing is involved. And sometimes, things work just fine. The Skype support page also says, “Your internet connection – or your friend’s – is the most likely culprit. A poor internet connection can cause low-quality audio and video, delays, and dropped calls.” I’d be all too happy to point fingers at my ISP, who shall remain nameless.

As far as other aspects of using my Lenovo ThinkPad T430, I do notice some lag when I’m browsing the Internet while researching projects, and some Microsoft Office programs could move more quickly. As a Type A personality (Type triple-A as described by some), I would not complain if the system moved faster overall and if my applications opened faster.

I am excited to get my new system. I’m even more excited to do some personal, internal testing of my own. I’ve asked our tester to unofficially pit my system against the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 mobile PC; I’m curious to see how my soon-to-be-old system compares and how the new one stands up to my Type A personality.

Need to Compare the Performance of Two Systems or Devices?

If you want to compare the performance of two systems or devices as a way to reinforce for your customers why they should choose one over the other or why it’s time to upgrade, contact Prowess Consulting about our research and benchmark-testing services.

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