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June 23, 2009

Lenovo Announces New T-Series ThinkPad Laptop – The T400s

Lenovo announced today a new T-Series ThinkPad Laptop called the T400s. Lenovo’s T-Series laptops cater to business customers looking for a powerful and thin laptop. Lenovo put a lot of effort in designing this laptop to be light, durable, robust, and powerful – key elements to a great business laptop for the mobile worker. I’ve had the chance to play with a T400s here in my office for the last few days and it has been a great experience so far.


The T400s will ship with the following specs:

  • Choices of Intel 2.53 GHz Core2Duo processors and graphics
  • Choices of up to 128GB SSD or 250GB hard drive storage
  • 9.5 mm slim DVD burner or Blu-Ray player
  • Ethernet (Gigabit) & WiFi
  • Optional WiMAX, WWAN, Bluetooth and Ultra-wideband Connectivity
  • 34mm Express Card slot or 5-in-1 multimedia card reader
  • Almost 6 hours of battery life
  • Display Port and VGA connectors (Supports 2 External Monitors!)
  • Energy Star 5.0 Compliant
  • 2 Built-in USB Ports
  • 1 Built-in eSATA/USB Combo Port (Total of 3 USB Ports)
  • Fingerprint Reader
  • TPM 1.2


As you can see, with these specs the T400s is quite powerful. It also can come jam-packed with network connectivity options (including support for Mobile Broadband) helping keep you connected no matter where you go. Because security is super important to the Mobile Worker – the T400s comes with a Fingerprint Reader and TPM 1.2. With TPM 1.2, BitLocker can be used in both Windows Vista and Windows 7 to secure the laptop. You also get your choice of storage. My T400s had a 250GB hard drive.

The design of the T400s is pretty slick. The T400s uses Lenovo’s “Top Cover Roll Cage”, which they first introduced with the X300, in the construction of its frame. This roll cage is made out of reinforced monocoque carbon fiber which is the same stuff they use on airplanes and super-fast cars. This keeps the T400s pretty light. It weighs in at just under 4lbs (with a 6 cell battery) which is about 20% less than its T400 predecessor. A non-SSD hard drive may also add some weight to the laptop as well as they tend to be a little bit heavier. But Lenovo gives you the choice to choose (as mentioned above).


This is a pretty thin laptop, measuring in at 0.83 inches (yes, I measured!). Part of the ability to keep this laptop so thin is that Lenovo uses a very thin 14.1 inch LED screen.


For the T400s, Lenovo tweaked the keyboard a bit. The keys are much closer to each other – likely to prevent gunk from getting underneath. The Delete and ESC keys are also larger.

The touchpad is now flush with the palm rest and is textured to help people feel its location.


I also discovered that the T400s has an “always on” USB port in the back. This means that if the system is in sleep/standby or hibernate mode you can still plugin devices like MP3 players or mobile phones and have them charge off the laptop’s battery.

Another very interesting aspect of this laptop is how Lenovo optimized it for VoIP. Many businesses are utilizing VoIP for their communications. This laptop can essentially serve as your communication hub when you’re out-and-about. Lenovo added a new toggle switch at the top of the keyboard so that you can easily increase and decrease your system volume – putting the user in more control of their audio. I’m told this will become a standard for all Lenovo laptops going forward. The speaker volume has been amped up to be more than 2x greater than audio levels see on the T400. And the speakers themselves have been moved to the sides instead of on the palm rest area seen on the X300 series laptops.


Lenovo put 2 digital microphones in for better recording. The dual microphones are expected to cut down the amount of ambient noise picked up during your VoIP calls and improve clarity with sound. And of course you can have audio without video. The T400s comes with built in 2.0 megapixel webcam that can shoot video up to 30fps. The webcam also has “Lower Light Capture Capability” to capture decent video is very low-lit conditions.

Lenovo puts Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate on their business laptops. The T400s I have came with Windows Vista Business.

However I decided to put Windows 7 (the Windows 7 RC) on it. Instead of upgrading from Windows Vista, I did a clean install. Windows 7 picked up most of the drivers with updates to many of them available for me on Windows Update. I had everything up and running very quickly.

With Windows 7 and the T400s, I am able to secure the laptop with a variety of features from Windows 7. Windows 7 has BitLocker (which we introduced with Windows Vista). Using TPM, I was able to encrypt the hard drive of the laptop to ensure if the laptop ever gets lost so that no one can get the data off the hard drive.


Windows 7 has a new biometric framework and in combination with UPEK’s biometric software – I was able to quickly enroll fingerprints for a further enhanced security. UPEK takes advantage of Windows 7’s biometric enhancements. This process was incredibly easy. As mentioned above, the T400s can come with built in Mobile Broadband. Windows 7 brings enhancements that take advantage of Mobile Broadband making it easy to connect and stay connected.

I had fun playing with this laptop. Special thanks to Lenovo for the opportunity!

The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s will become available at starting at $1,599.

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