IBM Thinkpad T40 Review

by abaxter Reads (92,612)

The IBM T40 Notebook is the ideal mobile computer for those who put a high priority on durability and mobility.  The T40 is very small and very lightweight in comparison to most other notebooks and is backed by IBM’s three-year warranty. 

The T40 tips the scales at just 4.9 pounds and measures just 15 x 10 x 1 inch.  That 1 inch thickness makes this unit easy to carry around the office or home.  Tucking it under the arm to carry around is even doable.  When configured so that it is powered by a 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium M processor, 256 MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM memory and a 32 MB ATI Mobility RADEON 7500 graphics chipset, the ThinkPad T40 can efficiently run most standard mobile tasks.  If you want to do the 3-D gaming and high end multimedia tasks then you might want to consider a high-end model Thinkpad, but for the typical users of the world the T40 will do the trick with just about any of your everyday software applications.

Screen

The Thinkpad T40 screen is TFT and includes a 14.1-inch viewing area. The nicest factor in regards to the display is its maximum resolution – 1,400×1,050 (this is the high-end option, you can also opt for the cheaper 1,024×768).  This offers a very detailed look at your applications.  The display viewing angle is decent, although you might find that the brightness dims a bit as your view moves away from the center — for some reason the viewing angle doesn’t seem as good as even some previous IBM models such as the T21 and T22.  I can’t forget to add that this model includes the ThinkLight, an LED that illuminates the keyboard in the dark, this is a great feature.

Keyboard & Navigation

The Thinkpad T40 includes a full-size keyboard and the handy ThinkPad UltraNav pointing device using the oh so familiar red cover that is characteristic of IBM Thinkpad notebooks.  I love the feel of the Thinkpad keyboards.  The keys don’t clunk whatsoever, they are quite springy but still give enough feedback to let you know they’ve actually been hit.  Often times I’ll find with notebooks I use that the keys either clunk when hit or you just can’t even tell that you’ve hit the key because the travel (distance the key travels when pushed) on the key is not far enough. 

Ports and Slot Options

The T40 includes the latest high-speed USB 2.0 ports for fast interaction with plug and play peripherals such as external drives and digital cameras, and support for separately available port replicators and docking stations. Connectivity options include a low-speed 56K fax/modem, an RJ-45 Ethernet connector for high-speed Internet, email and network access, and facilities for wireless Wi-Fi equipment.  Unfortunately the T40 lacks an IEEE 1394 port so this makes more challenging to work with digital camcorders or devices such as the Apple iPod.  To round out the expansion slots and ports you’ll also get two Type II PC Card slots, headphone and microphone jacks, S-Video out and of course a parallel port on the back edge of the machine.

Processor

The major news is that the T40 is amazingly fast, this is all thanks to Intel’s latest generation of thin-laptop processors. Faster but cooler-running than earlier laptop chips, the Pentium M lets vendors squeeze notebooks into smaller cases. As mentioned before the unit I have contains a 1.6-GHz Pentium M chip, this chip contains secondary cache of 1MB, this is a very generous amount and aids the T40 in attaining it’s incredible speed. It performs at least 25 percent faster than the Dell Inspiron 8200 machine that I have.  

Battery

 

With a blazingly fast processor and decently bright screen you might assume the T40 drains the battery pretty fast.  Not necessarily so.  In fact, using a new 9-cell power pack (10.8V, 6,600mAh) the life on the battery ran up to almost 6.4 hours.  The 9-cell pack is more expensive than the regular 6-cell (10.8V, 4,400mAh), but you won’t get over 6 hours with the 6-cell and battery life is so key that I can’t imagine why you would want to cut your spending dollars on this aspect of the notebook.  If you’ve got the 9-cell pack then taking the cross country flight from NYC to LA is no problem power wise for the T40.  Want to watch a couple of 2 hour DVD movies on the flight?  No problem.

Sound

The audio in this thin machine seems compromised — sounds kind of muffled, even though fairly loud. IBM still provides great buttons at the top of the keyboard for controlling the volume.

Wireless

The T40 has the built-in antennas to talk three different wireless protocols: 802.11b and 802.11a Wi-Fi standards along with Bluetooth.  The standard IrDA for exchange of files and communication with nearby laptops is of course included.

Summary

The ThinkPad T40 is expensive, but as usual, you get what you pay for.  The quality of the notebook build and warranty are second-to-none.  Whereas cheaper laptops ship with a one-year parts-and-labor warranty, the T40 comes standard with a three-year warranty. This includes around-the-clock, toll-free phone support throughout the warranty.  The battery performance is fantastic at 6.5 hours and the processor performance although not the best out there is very good.  The screen is great, not as nice as some of the UXGA offerings from Dell, but in general it is adequate for whatever you’d need to use it for in the way of business or productivity applications.  Overall my thumb is up for a buy on the IBM Thinkpad T40, get all the latest pricing from our price search engine and see the specs for the T40 below.

T40 Specs

General
Designation Small business,Corporate business


Built-in devices Antenna,Display,Keyboard,Touchpad,Microphone,ThinkLight,TrackPoint,Stereo speakers


Features Asset ID,IBM Security Chip,Power-on password,Hard drive password,Administrator password,Locking device keyhole (cable lock)


Recording Standard:Compliant Standards CE,CUL,NOM,BSMI,MPR II,VCCI-II,ACPI 2.0,ACPI 1.0b,FCC Class B certified


Localization English:
Processor
Processor manufacturer – Processor type – Clock speed Intel Pentium M 1.6 GHz


Data bus speed 400 MHz


Chipset type Intel 855PM
Memory
RAM installed 512 MB DDR SDRAM


Max supported RAM 2 GB


Form factor SO DIMM 200-pin


Cache size – Cache type L2 cache
Storage
Hard drive size – controller type – hard drive type 80 GB IDE Portable Internal


CD / DVD type CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo


CD / DVD read speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)


CD / DVD write speed 16x


CD / DVD rewrite speed 10x


2nd CD / DVD drive None


Floppy drive None


Removable storage type None


Removable storage capacity None
Input Devices
Input device type – form factor Keyboard,Touchpad,TrackPoint
Physical Characteristics
Weight 4.9 lbs


Dimensions (W x D x H) 12.2 in x 10.9 in x 1.2 in


Form factor Portable


Enclosure color Black
Display
Display size – technology – form factor 14.1 in TFT active matrix


Max resolution 1400 x 1050


Color support 24-bit (16.7M colors)
Video
Video RAM installed 32 MB


Max video RAM supported 32 MB


Max resolution (external) 2048 x 1536 pixels


Video output AGP 4x Graphics card


Graphics processor ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9000


Product type None
Audio
Audio input Microphone


Audio output Sound card


Sound output mode Stereo


Compliant standards AC ’97,DirectSound,SoundMAX with SPX
Networking / Telecom
Networking device Network adapter


Data link protocol Ethernet,Bluetooth,IEEE 802.11a,IEEE 802.11b,Fast Ethernet,Gigabit Ethernet


Remote management protocol CIM,DMI 2.0


Modem Fax / modem


Analog Modulation Protocol K56Flex,ITU V.92
Expansion / Connectivity
Expansion slot(s) total (free) 2 (1 free) Memory SO DIMM 200-pin,1 (1 free) CardBus Type III (2 x type I / II)


Port(s) total (free) / Connector type 1 x AC adapter, 1 x Display, 1 x Headphone, 1 x Line out, 1 x IrDA, 1 x Microphone, 1 x Parallel, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x Modem, 1 x S-Video out, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Docking/port replicator proprietary


Expansion bay(s) total (free) 1 (0 free) Front accessible


Connectivity device(s) included Mini-dock,Docking station,Port replicator
Power
Battery installed 1 Lithium Ion


Max supported qty 2


Recharge time 3.6 hour(s)


Mfr estimated battery life 7.5 hour(s)


Capacity 6.6 Ah


Power supply device External 72 Watt Power adapter


Voltage required AC 100/240 V
Environmental Parameters
Humidity range 8 – 80%


Min operating temperature 41 F


Max operating temperature 95 F


Max operating altitude 9840 ft


Sound emission 36 dB
Operating System / Software
OS provided Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Preinstalled)


Software included PC Doctor,Access IBM,IBM RecordNow,IBM Access Support,Lotus Notes Client,Drivers & Utilities,Adobe Acrobat Reader,IBM Rapid Restore PC,IBM Update Connector,Norton AntiVirus 2003,IBM Access Connections,Lotus SmartSuite Millennium
Warranty
Service / Support 3 years warranty
 




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