Lenovo ThinkPad T400s: Slimmer, Lighter

Though it boasts a larger screen and keyboard than the ultra-portable, the ThinkPad T400s notebook is not much heavier.
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When a big company feels inclined to mess with a classic, it had better get it right—just ask Coca-Cola. Lenovo has introduced a new version of its iconic T-series, the best-selling business laptop series ever and the progenitor of the “thin-and-light” portable category.

The result: The ThinkPad T400s is everything fans have loved about the T-series, in a slimmer, lighter package. If you carry your laptop frequently but prefer a larger screen and keyboard than an ultra-portable-class notebook delivers, the T400s may be for you.

Impeccable Design

The T400s design is familiar ThinkPad: matte black, squared-off exterior with little adornment. That’s either classic or boring depending on your point of view, but at least the look won’t seem dated in a year as design fads change. Thanks to engineering advancements brought over from the ultra-slim ThinkPad X-series, the T400s is 20 percent lighter and 25 percent thinner than the regular T400 (which continues in the line).

At 3.9 pounds and eight-tenths of an inch thick, the T400s is the slimmest, lightest notebook with a 14-inch widescreen display on the market. In fact, it’s lighter even than some 13.3-inch notebooks, which means you can carry a larger screen without the usual weight penalty. The T400s also features Lenovo’s ThinkPad Roll Cage, an internal carbon fiber skeleton that improves rigidity and protects internal components.

Another classic element is the ThinkPad keyboard, which put simply is the most comfortable laptop keyboard available. The full-size keyboard offers plenty of room to type, and the keys have perfect tactile and audible feedback. It’s spill-resistant, designed to funnel a spill of a few ounces of liquid away from internal components. Lenovo tweaked the keyboard on the T400s, making the Esc and Delete keys larger and making a smaller gap between keys to stop crumbs from falling between. Above the keyboard you’ll find handy volume and mute buttons, so you won’t need to hunt for a Function-key combo.

As with other ThinkPads, Lenovo includes both a pointing stick and touch pad for navigation, so if you prefer one over the other you’re set. The touch pad is particularly easy to use, and is one of the new generation touch pads that supports gestures (like the screen of an iPhone) to make scrolling, zooming and other navigation easier.

The notebook’s 14.1-inch widescreen panel display employs an array of white LEDs as the backlight, as opposed to the fluorescent tubes found in lower-end panels. The LEDs help deliver a brighter, higher-contrast image with saturated colors that pop, making the T400s a good companion if you often show presentations to clients from your laptop. The panel’s 1440x900 resolution means you can have a couple windows open at once, and though text is very crisp, default fonts in Windows menus and on Web sites may be a touch on the small side for aging eyes.

Lenovo ThinkPad T400s
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s offers the same classic look of the T-series but in a thinner, lighter body.

Next Page: Lenovo ThinkPad features and performance

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Tags: Intel, laptops, notebooks, Verizon, notebook reviews

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