(For more hands-on impressions, make sure to check out our review of the T400s.)
ThinkPad laptops from Lenovo (formerly made by IBM) are among the most ubiquitous PCs found in offices around the world. Of course, most of those systems are boxy 14- and 15-inch models, which aren't usually the sharpest-looking machines in the coffee shop.
To keep up with the increasingly design-conscious consumer, Lenovo is taking some cues from its own popular X300 laptop--a slim, upscale 13-inch--and incorporating them into the new ThinkPad T400s, a reasonably svelte 14-inch mainstream business laptop that's 0.83 inches thick and starts at less than 4 pounds.
Helping keep the size and weight down are an LED display, solid-state hard drive, and carbon-reinforced fiber frame. Making it a viable choice for a wide range of business environments are configuration options that seem more flexible than what we're used to seeing in ultraslim systems (which are often limited to low-voltage CPUs and no optical drives). According to Lenovo, the new T400s will offer:
- Choices of Intel 2.4GHz and 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo processors (standard voltage)
- Choices of solid-state drive storage up to 128GB, or 250GB hard drive storage
- 9.5mm slim DVD burner or Blu-ray player
- Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and optional WiMAX3, WWAN, Bluetooth and ultrawideband connectivity
- 34mm Express Card slot or 5-in-1 multimedia card reader
- Support for Lenovo's ConstantConnect and Protect technology that allows users to maximize integration of their BlackBerry smartphone and ThinkPad laptop
- Nearly six hours of battery life
- Supports up to two monitors via a display port and VGA connector
- Meets the Energy Star 5.0 criteria for energy efficiency
- Built-in USB/eSATA port
A few other promising-sounding tweaks went into the T400's design. Lenovo claims internal studies have shown that the Esc and Del keys are the most used, at 700 hits each per week, so the company simply made those keys a little larger. Spaces between keys were minimized to keep food and debris out, and the touchpad is now flush with the wrist rest, delineated by a textured surface. For Webcasting and VoIP use, the onboard speakers are louder than the previous (nonslim) T400, and there's a physical mute button above the keyboard that can mute just the built-in mic.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s is available now, starting at $1,599.