- Good design and great build quality
- Faster processor selections
- Optional switchable graphics and multi-touch LCD
- Poor screen contrast
- Limited battery life
The Lenovo ThinkPad T410s is a good thin and lightweight business notebook for people who want a full-size notebook without the full-size bulk.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T410s is a refresh of the older T400s, adding the latest Intel Core i5 processors and optional NVIDIA switchable graphics. The T410s is a slimmed down version of the standard 14-inch T-series notebook, with a much thinner body, matching the design of the ThinkPad X301. In this review we find out how well the T410s stacks up against the previous version and if you should consider it for your next notebook.
Our Lenovo ThinkPad T410s Specifications:
- Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- 1440 x 900 WXGA+ LED Backlit (Matte finish)
- Intel Core i5 520M 2.4GHz processor (3MB cache)
- Intel GMA HD Integrated Graphics
- 4GB DDR3 RAM (2GB x 2)
- 250GB Toshiba 1.8″ Hard Drive
- DVD+/-RW SuperMulti
- Intel 6200AGN, Bluetooth
- Built-in web camera
- Battery: 6-cell 11.1 44Wh
- Dimensions: (LxWxH) 13.27 x 9.49 x 0.83″
- Weight: 3.89lbs
- Starting Price: $1,399 ($1,484 as configured)
Build and Design
The Lenovo ThinkPad T410s looks like your average T-series ThinkPad until you notice it was put on a diet. The body is much thinner–with a condensed port layout-and the screen cover is now almost half as thick. Compared to the launch of the T400s, bringing the new keyboard design to the T-series, not much has changed this time around inside the notebook. The T410 and T410s share the same newer keyboard design and textured touchpad and both models even have the same relocated indicator lights below the display. From a top view looking down the speaker design is identical on both models and the only significant difference being the fingerprint scanner which is under the direction keys on the T410s and right next to the touchpad on the T410. To the average user this notebook looks the same, just slightly smaller.
The primary differences are on the bottom of the notebook, with a different component access design and a flush-mount battery. The battery design is much smaller to follow the trend of the thinner design, but it has the disadvantage of not sticking out the back to increase total capacity. Users looking for extended battery life have only one option… an additional multi-bay 3-cell battery. While battery life doesn’t take a huge hit when you compare the results against a T410 with a 6-cell battery, users will get nowhere near the times users get with an optional 9-cell battery and UltraBay battery combined.
Build quality is very good even though most of the rigid panels look paper thin. The screen cover does an excellent job of protecting the LCD, preventing screen distortions from strong impacts and pressure exerted on the back of the panel. Screen cover flex when twisting or pressing down on it while the cover is closed is minimal. Inside, the main chassis is very well constructed with barely any flex pressing around the palmrest or keyboard. Some of this is just a side-effect of being so condensed with components like the optical drive, battery, or hard drive themselves adding strength to the chassis.
Users looking to upgrade the ThinkPad T410s will find it easy to access all the user-replaceable components including the hard drive, system memory and wireless cards. The hard drive might present a few problems though with limited upgrade options. Lenovo had to choose a smaller hard drive size for the T410s to comply with the thinner chassis, picking the 1.8-inch standard instead of the more popular 2.5-inch consumer model. Options still exist, but they are vastly more limited. Another downside is the hard drive options tend to be much slower than existing 2.5-inch models, leaving SSDs as the only performance alternative.
Screen and Speakers
The ThinkPad T410s includes two screen options, both with the same WXGA+ resolution. The standard screen configuration is a matte-finish LED-backlit panel with a resolution of 1440×900. For an extra $400 users can opt for a multi-touch display, which we reviewed in September of last year. The screen on the T410s rates about average as far as business notebooks go and a step below most consumer displays. Color is vibrant but contrast could have been improved. With our Gossen Mavo-Monitor light meter we measured a contrast ratio averaging 100:1 from three points across the LCD at full brightness. Maximum viewing brightness recoded was 348-nit at the center of the display, which is plenty for a bright office environment, and workable outdoors depending on shade conditions. The matte-finish will significantly help with screen glare, but full sunlight might overpower the display even at 100% brightness. Vertical viewing angles were limited to roughly 15-20 degrees before colors started to invert or wash out. Horizontal viewing angles were better, with colors staying accurate up to about 85-degrees off center.
The speakers on the T410s are above-average sounding for a business notebook. Bass was lacking, but the speakers had some midrange playback that you could hear and partially feel through the keyboard while music was playing. Peak volume output was fine for a small room, but if you were sharing a movie the onlookers would need to be pretty close to the system to understand what was going on. The speaker location on each side of the keyboard was good since it prevented any muffled sound regardless of where the notebook was resting.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The T410s has the same redesigned keyboard shared by the T410, which deputed on the T400s last year. It has a new function key layout with keys such as the Escape and Delete buttons increased in size while also added a backlit power button and microphone mute button. Another new feature which is located in the BIOS is Lenovo allows you to swap the function and control keys through software if you happen to be one of those people that enjoy the control key being the last key in the row.
The ThinkPad keyboard is comfortable to type on for hours without creating too much hand strain. The redesigned keyboard has a few tweaks compared to previous models; narrower spacing between keys to lessen the chance of crumbs getting in and a softer typing feel. The softer and quieter typing feedback actually caused some typing troubles since I would type lighter on the keyboard and not fully activate keys. Once you got used to the difference it wasn’t a problem but for those first mistyped passwords it was really annoying.
The touchpad is a textured Synaptics model that is very spacious to handle multi-finger gestures. The T410s supports two-finger scrolling, rotating, and zooming, as well as three-finger press and flick. In general use the touchpad is easy to use with no discernible lag and a very fast refresh rate. The acceleration speeds on both axes were equal… so drawing a fast circle didn’t result in an oval shape. The textured surface was easy to slide across in daily use even if your fingers were slightly damp. The touchpad buttons were easy to use and very comfortable to click. They offered a long throw with a soft clicking action that didn’t emit any noise when fully pressed.
Ports and Features
Port selection on the ThinkPad T410s is good, although a bit targeted at businesses instead of consumers. The system features two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo port, LAN, VGA and DisplayPort-out, a headphone jack, and still manages to save room for an onboard optical drive. The only expansion slot on the system is a ExpressCard/34 slot. To read SDHC-cards or other flash storage you would need to get an ExpressCard adapter, since no slot was located around the perimeter.