Lenovo ThinkPad T400s Touch Benchmarks and Conclusion

September 15, 2009 by Kevin O'Brien Reads (56,827)

Performance
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s Touch is the first “official” Windows 7 notebook we have had in for review. This means it has all the proper manufacturer drivers, and the newest Windows 7 designed utilities. On most review notebooks we have personally upgraded to Windows 7, we have seen decent performance bumps, but this was not the case with the T400s. From the first review the only items that have changed are the OS, new touchscreen, SSD from a different manufacturer, and RAM, which is now double at 4GB. All aspects of day-to-day performance seem very snappy, including boot times, application load times, and HD movie playing. When we went to test its synthetic performance we noticed a pretty drastic hit to PCMark05 and a slightly smaller hit to wPrime. 3DMark06 was the only benchmark that actually increased. Some of this may be driver related, since technically Windows 7 hasn’t officially launched, but it still goes against what we have seen on other computers. Another possibility is the touch surface is polling for gestures, and taking up precious CPU cycles. The average user would probably never notice this, as we can’t actually see any performance drop in day-to-day use.

wPrime Processor Performance Benchmark (lower scores mean better performance):

PCMark05 Overall Performance Benchmark (higher scores mean better performance):

Synthetic Gaming Performance using 3DMark06 (higher scores mean better performance):

HDTune Hard Drive Performance Benchmark:
Lenovo ThinkPad T400s Touch

 

Heat and Noise
We found the T400s Touch ran slightly warmer than the standard T400s in our tests. While both notebooks showed the same heat zones, the T400s Touch was about 3-4 degrees warmer in each area. Some of this could be related to room temperature, or it could be related to certain components being able to run hotter or faster under Windows 7 while under a moderate load. Overall nothing ran too hot to be non-lap-friendly, but it was a surprising find. Fan noise was similar to the standard T400s, staying off for most of time, only coming on while benchmarking or small bursts to cool internal components. External temperatures listed below are shown in degrees Fahrenheit.

Battery Life
Battery life was somewhat of a surprise with the T400s Touch. Even with the added power consumption of the touch interface, it still managed to get better battery life than the non-touch version. In our battery test with the screen brightness set to 70%, wireless active, and the system on the Balanced profile, it managed 6 hours and 19 minutes. The standard T400s only managed 5 hours and 48 minutes under similar conditions. This might be one area where Windows 7 shines, with less background processes or more efficient use of the processor. Both of these times are much less than the T400 with an extended battery though, almost reaching 10 hours with its 9-cell extended battery.

Conclusion
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s Touch is a very cool idea, bringing a touch interface to a standard notebook. It gives users the capability to interact with the computer on a much more natural level and has huge potential for CAD applications or even messing around while surfing the web. The only problem right now that I see is that it was added to an already expensive model, putting it well out of reach for most users. Adding it on the base T400, which starts $749, instead of the T400s which starts at $1,599 would have been the better choice. Besides some preproduction quirks we saw it was a good implementation that didn’t even affect battery life. If you are looking at the T400s currently, and could expand the budget by $400, it might be worth adding to the notebook for future uses.

Pros:

  • First regular notebook to offer multitouch
  • No battery hit from the touch surface

Cons:

  • Software supporting full multi-touch controls is still limited
  • Expensive upgrade to gain touch controls


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