It definitely is durable, my friend's got one (E 530) and the thing not only feels solid but also looks damn good. The rugged looks of the laptop alongside with it's awesome matte screen was the reason he bought it and after laying my hands on it I can say the thing is much more reliable and durable than it's competitors at this price.
Sure, the high end Thinkpad machines are way better than the Edge series and there is no doubt about it. But I can assure you, this thing is a lot more durable than the average laptops and seriously, except for some overuse of red color at some areas, looks even better than most of them IMO. The moment you lay your hands on it and feel the sturdy yet smooth surface, it's really hard to not fall in love with it.
I'm an MSI fan and love my MSI CX61, but really, if the Edge had a better GPU I would've bought that instead. (here E 530 comes with GT 630 which is good enough, but not as good as my GT 640 )
Sorry if I got too excited. I just love the thing.
Can't say, but I can say that the ThinkPad T series is very durable and reliable. My IBM ThinkPad T40 from 2003 is still functional. Never had to deal with tech support. The only thing that failed was the lithium-ion battery after about 4 years, but that is to be expected. The CMOS battery is also died after about 6 years, again that is to be expected as well.
No I did not replace the lithium Ion battery since I've only used at home after the battery died. Replacement batteries are still sold for it by Lenovo and other 3rd party manufacturers. the CMOS battery is cheap, and it should not be too difficult to replace, but I don't really use the T40 anymore. Maybe if I get off my lazy ass I'll spend the $7 - $10 for the CMOS battery and install it.
But I am currently considering buying my 3rd laptop, I find that the 1366x768 resolution on my Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 too restrictive for researching / reading / multi-tasking. Looking for something with 1600x900 or preferably 1920x1080 sometime next year when after Intel releases their Haswell CPU. Gaming performance is fine, but playing games is not the primary purpose.