Lenovo ThinkPad T440s Hands-On Review

The 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad T440s business laptop PC is a bigger brother of the 12.5-inch X240. The notebooks offer the same industrial design in different sizes, as well as basically the same internal components and features. The laptop measures 13 x 8.9 x 0.81 inches and starts at about 3.5 pounds, so it belongs to the thin-and-light notebook category or more precisely Ultrabook category.

Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

On the image above you can see the X240 and T440s side by side, so their outward similarity doesn’t need to be explained much. Both are business-rugged machines with magnesium-alloy on the base part and carbon fiber on the lid, while the display hinges are made of metal for extra durability. Underneath the surfaces of the cases they have metal roll-cages for additional sturdiness and the notebooks meet certain military standards for resistance against extreme temperatures, pressure, humidity, vibration, and dust.

The keyboards are crucial parts on notebooks and Lenovo did a great job here. The ThinkPad T440s, as same as the X240, has the Precision isle-style keyboard. It has ergonomically shaped keys, backlight, spill resistance, and an excellent tactile feedback with good key travel. We have had a hard time finding differences between them, but there are a few. The T440s has larger some of the keys, namely the Enter, Backspace, and right Shift buttons, as well as somewhat larger arrow keys and longer space bar. Also the function keys row is a bit thicker. This makes the larger sibling more suitable for those who have bigger hands and thicker fingers, but it doesn’t mean the smaller version is cramped. It’s a full-size keyboard, too.

The trackpads are identical, hiding five click buttons underneath the surface, 3 on the top side for use with the red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard and 2 trackpad-use buttons on the bottom side. Some users might dislike absence of  physical click buttons, and those integrated feel flimsy on many notebook models. However, the T440s compensate this absence with well optimized and pleasant tactile feedback on the click areas of the trackpad.

The model we saw at the 2013 IFA show had a 1080p display with 10-point multitouch support, but these specs are optional. The ThinkPad T440s has a 1600×900 non-touch panel as the basic screen option. Both variants include IPS technology for wide viewing angles of up to 180 degrees. The model on Lenovo’s booth reproduced a picture with decent brightness and realistic colors and without much glare from ambient lights.

Hardware hidden inside the chassis includes the Intel 4th Generation Core-series processors, up to the Core i7, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and mechanical hard drive and more modern solid state drive options with capacities of up to 1 Terabyte and 256 Gigabytes, respectively. HDD options will probably come with additional mSATA SSDs, usually with sizes between 16GB and 32GB, to meet Intel’s Ultrabook criteria and improve system responsiveness. By default, the T440s will come with the Intel HD 4xxx series integrated graphics, while the Nvidia GeForce GT 720M dedicated video card will be optional. There’s no built-in optical drive on the T440s.

The battery, or better said the batteries, are the most interesting part of the T440s. There are a non-removable 3-cell battery inside the chassis and an user-removable 3-cell or 6-cell unit which can be replaced on the go with a spare battery without shutting down the system. That’s possible thanks to the built-in battery which operates while the replacement is going on. According to Lenovo, a single charge of the embedded battery plus an external one can power the T440s “up to 17 hours”.

The left side of the notebook houses Lenovo’s OneLink docking and charging connector, two USB 3.0 ports, a mini-DisplayPort, and a SmartCard reader. Grouped on the right side are a combo audio headphone/mic jack, a SIM card slot for optional mobile broadband connectivity, another one USB 3.0, Ethernet jack, VGA output, and a Kensington lock slot. On the bottom of the case, there’s a docking connector.

Speakers of the Lenovo T440s were loud enough to be heard in the noisy expo hall, so the laptop won’t have problems covering a small office or room with sound. The results could have been even better if the speakers weren’t located on the bottom of the chassis. That’s probably the biggest downside of the T440s if you compare it to the previous generation T430s which has speakers on the top of the laptop base.

Other features worth mentioning are Near Field Communication (NFC), a 720p webcam, fingerprint reader, and standard Internet connectivity features including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,  besides the already mentioned Ethernet LAN and optional cellular networking. Lenovo hasn’t mentioned Intel’s vPro advanced system management technology, but it will be very likely included at least optionally.

The starting price for the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s will be $1,149 when it hit the market later this month. The company is also expected to release the T440 (without “s”), a kind of a lower-end model. The T440 has slightly larger dimensions and weighs a half of pound more. It has no full HD display option, but rather a 1366×768 non-touch or 1600×900 touch panel. But, it will be cheaper, with a 899-dollar starting price tag.

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2 thoughts on “Lenovo ThinkPad T440s Hands-On Review”

  1. Can anyone tell me the difference in height when both the T440s and the X240 are opened? The T440S (currently) has better screen resolution options, though the X240 battery life looks better. But I’m curious about using either in somewhat cramped places, such as when flying coach, where perhaps a difference of 1″ or 1.5″ in actual usage height might make a difference.

    • That’s a good question. I’m torn between these two machines. Well, once the x240’s 1080’screen becomes available I’ll be torn. I added depth and thickness on each machine to approximate height and got 8.98 inches for the x240 vs 9.69 inches for the t440s. Not exact, but it looks like there’s about 3/4 of an inch difference. Not a lot.


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