Lenovo ThinkPad T430: Conclusion

June 25, 2012 by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (573,602)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 7
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.14
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Heat and Noise

The small fan on the left side of the notebook takes care of generated heat quietly and efficiently. It stays off the majority of the time; I only saw it come on when I was doing something more resource-intensive such as watching a flash video. It doesn’t develop a whine. The fan is not silent at full speed but can be ignored or dismissed as background noise.

Battery Life

The ultra-powerful 94Wh, 9-cell battery propelled our test unit to a whopping 15 hours of battery life during our standard battery rundown test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile, 70% screen brightness, wireless active and refreshing a web page every 60 seconds). This is above and beyond what we expect from a notebook, even one with this large of a battery. The 9-cell battery is a worthwhile upgrade. 15 hours!

Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):

Conclusion

The ThinkPad T430 generally remains the king of 14-inch business notebooks though I have a few reservations. Bad news first: the base 1366×768 screen has too little resolution to get quality multitasking work done if you work with spreadsheets or multiple windows. The higher resolution 1600×900 upgrade is a must. Secondly is the keyboard. What?! A complaint about a ThinkPad keyboard? Lenovo ‘upgraded’ to a Chiclet-style model; it feels great and as a ThinkPad owner I’m not disappointed but the layout is not the same. The multi-colored keys are also gone. It’s still a great keyboard but no longer true to its roots.

Otherwise the T430 is almost bulletproof. Chassis strength is excellent; it literally has no flex. Battery life with the extended 9-cell is an unbelievable 15 hours. It has plenty of input/output ports including DisplayPort with audio. And lastly it’s a reasonable value starting at $849; use coupons to knock the price down further.

Pros:

  • Great keyboard (see cons)
  • 15 hour battery life with 9-cell
  • Excellent build quality
  • Input/output port variety

Cons:

  • Non-standard keyboard layout
  • Poor 1366×768 screen



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