Performance and Benchmarks
One of the main draws of the new T410s, besides the much faster processors, is the NVIDIA switchable graphics. While the model we received didn’t include dedicated graphics it is still a highly recommended option if you are interested in this notebook. Another upgrade you should look for at the time of purchase is the bump from a hard drive to an SSD if you are looking at the base-model since as you will see below, the Toshiba 1.8-inch hard drive is very slow in comparison.
Overall system performance was good with the T410s, but responsiveness could have been better. We found some basic system operations to lag with the 1.8-inch hard drive. Notebooks equipped with the available SSDs wouldn’t have this problem, since they are orders of magnitude faster than platter-based drives of this size. The Intel Core i5 520M processor and Intel GMA HD graphics had no trouble playing HD-resolution video. We found 720P and 1080P downloaded videos played effortlessly on the integrated graphics, although with a DisplayPort out your options for a home theater assembly are limited. Adapters to convert the signal to HDMI or DVI exist, but unlike native HDMI, DisplayPort doesn’t pass a digital audio stream within the video signal. HD Flash video also played without any problems from sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Hulu.
Wprime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Heat and Noise
Heat was not a problem for our T410s with an Intel Core i5 processor and Intel integrated graphics. Under heavy stress of benchmarking the system, we found case temperatures staying just below 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the keyboard-side and reaching a peak of 94 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom. Systems configured with a faster processor or switchable graphics might see a rise in temperature, but under normal situations the notebook stayed relatively cool.
Noise levels were at a minimum even during stressful situations like constant back-to-back benchmarks. The highest fan speed we heard as near whisper levels and barely heard if you were more than a few feet away in a quiet room.
As we mentioned in the Build and Design section, the T410s is limited compared to the T410 in battery options. The T410s has a single primary battery option, whereas the T410 has three including a 4, 6, and 9-cell batteries. In our battery test with the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows 7 on a balanced profile the ThinkPad T410s stayed on for 4 hours and 11 minutes. During the test power levels varied between 8 and 10-watts. The older T400s managed 5 hours and 48 minutes under the same conditions (although running Vista instead of Win 7) with an SSD and the older Intel SP9300 processor. Users looking for increased battery life have the option of getting a secondary 3-cell Ultrabay battery, which should give a 50% bump in runtime.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T410s is an interesting notebook acting as a stopgap between the smaller 13.3″ ultraportable X301 and the full-size 14.1-inch T410. With a super thin body that still retains its optical drive the T410s gives you most features of the larger T410 minus about 2lbs of extra bulk. With that weight savings you lose the extended 9-cell battery, faster GPU and CPU options, and wider range of compatible hard drives. For most business clients this wouldn’t be a problem since weight can be a huge factor when looking at a notebook.
Overall some areas could have been better, like the 4+ hours of battery life where the previous version managed almost 6, and the lackluster screen with a poor contrast ratio. Users looking for the best possible battery life-as well as higher performance-should really consider the SSD upgrade, as the 1.8-inch hard drive left us asking for more. In the end with the right options the T410s can be one of the perfect business companions with almost all the features of the larger ThinkPad T410.
- Good design and great build quality
- Faster processor selections
- Optional switchable graphics and multi-touch LCD
- Poor screen contrast
- Limited battery life