Screen and Speakers
The Lenovo ThinkPad T510 offers three screen options, including HD, HD+ and FHD panels, with our review unit including the 1600×900 HD+ screen. All of the screen options on the T510 are anti-glare in the 16:9 screen ratio. In terms of brightness, the 1920×1080 FHD panel offers the highest rating of 280 nit, with the rest only listed as 220 nit. In our Test Lab using a Gossen Mavo Monitor light meter, we measured the peak screen brightness as 217 nit on our T510 with an average dark measurement of 0.28 nit. The average contrast ratio on this model was 743:1, well above average compared to most business notebooks with standard screens. Color reproduction was above average for a business notebook, but still didn’t compare to the gorgeous colors on the optional FHD panel we saw on the W510. Viewing angles were above average, with colors starting to invert at roughly 20 degrees tilted forward or back. Horizontal viewing angles were better, reaching 80 degrees before glare on the screen diminished what you could see.
Speaker quality is average compared to other business notebooks but rates below mainstream consumer notebooks. While the speaker grills might suggest large speakers located under the trim they are in fact very tiny speakers. Peak volume levels are fine for filling a small to medium-size room. Bass and midrange is weak, but this is common for notebooks in this category.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The ThinkPad T510’s keyboard is comfortable to type on and easily lives up to the well-known reputation of all ThinkPad keyboards. It has excellent support showing little flex even under strong pressure. Tactile feedback is great with a precise hinge mechanism and secure key top that doesn’t exhibit any wiggle. The keyboard is the newest design seen first on the T400s and now the T410. The layout changes the position of some of the function keys and adds a row of quick-access sound keys to change the volume level and mute the speakers and microphones. Another subtle change is a decrease in spacing between each key that supposedly reduces the chance of crumbs getting under them.
The T510 offers a spacious Synaptics touchpad with multi-touch capabilities. Compared to past models, the touchpad surface is textured to reduce friction and prevent your finger from sticking as you slide it side to side. After using the older matte plastic finish version for so long, it is hard to choose my preferred model. Each has its advantages, but only the newer model is multi-touch enabled. On this particular ThinkPad, we did notice some sensitivity problems, even with the settings maxed in the control panel. If you were drawing circles on the touchpad, it would stop tracking your finger or stutter. Some of this went away if you pressed harder on the touchpad surface. If I had to make an educated guess, it is probably the raised bumps on the touchpad moving your finger just slightly out of the normal range of the touch-sensitive layer. The trackpoint worked well if you still prefer that form of input, and can be disabled if you prefer not to use it. Both sets of buttons were easy to use and offered a full throw with a soft click when pressed.