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T440s First Impressions

T430 and later, plus T530 and later series specific matters only
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ssd_thinkpad
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T440s First Impressions

#1 Post by ssd_thinkpad » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:58 pm

I owned around a dozen thinkpads, and this is definitely the best build, the unified rubberized build is a pleasure to touch. The FHD screen is amazing, if you display a black page, there is a bit of backglight bleeding on the bottom. The display is unbelievable good. The Th(i)nkpad "i" shines read on the outside, if you turn your notebook on and work with it, the only LED you see is the green power on light. Wonderful.

I removed the eight screws at the bottom as displayed on lenovoservicetraining.com, but I could not remove the base cover. At the hardware manual you are told to also take care of the latches. The screws can not be removed completely. Some screws can, but it is hard to. The two screws in the middle can not be removed from the base cover. Unlike the x220, the base cover screws are of different size. Inside the thinkpad looks nicer and cleaner than before.

I swapped in my Windows 8 hdd from my former thinkpad, after two restarts it boots fine. It is crucial to download either T440s LAN or WLAN drivers so you can connect to the internet and install lenovos system update. The HDD removal is very easy, as is the battery removal if you want to upgrade later to a internal battery. Sony and Sanyo are the only producers for batteries, Panasonic does not manufacture their famous batteries for this model.

The sound is good, its the best I had on any notebook. TPFanControl works fine, on bios settings the fan turns itself off if the temperature is a bit below 50 Celsius.

The keyboard is an improvement from before, the keys do feel much better, the typing experience was better on the non-island keyboards. It's my first day with this keyboard and I like it. In contrast to the x220, my hands rest nicely on the palm rest. The touchpad feels great, too.

The Power Connector connects from both positions. Apple bought Lenovos former fingerprint manufacturer, and because they do not sell anymore, Lenovo had to find another solution which does not allow you to start with a wipe.

It's an amazing sturdy and lightweight notebook which I can fully recommend. It looks very elegant, too.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#2 Post by mikemex » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:49 am

Sounds like paid advertising... they've been slowly but steadily destroying the concepts that make a notebook a Thinkpad. Maybe good quality laptop overall, but one of this days they are going to wipe out the trackpoint for example. Wait and you'll see.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#3 Post by ssd_thinkpad » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:56 am

Thanks for your reply, I am curious about your impressions about this model. It took me some time to write this review, I hope you appreciate that. It's true, this notebook is the greatest I had. I remember the huge difference compared to the other model I had some years ago, the brand new x301 which gave me headaches from its display. This new reviewed model here was also much cheaper than the former state-of-the-art x301.

Some more updates to the review:

As for the general build, I like the idea of having the hinges lower than on former models. The screws are mostly hold to the base cover with a plastic ring, like lenovo did it with the cover screws for the RAM ports on the older models. It's possible to save around 60 more grams by using the M.2 slot as only SSD which then does not allow for WWAN. Notice that the M.2 slot and the msata slot are different. There is only one short 42mm M.2 SSD available from intel, the 1500 model with 120 GB named 2242. According to the general 1500 Intel SSD web page, it is the same speed as its other higher capacity 1500 models. But if you take a look at Intels PDF explaining this series, you see this particular 42mm SSD is much slower than the other high capacity SSDs of this series: http://www.intel.de/content/www/de/de/s ... ation.html

To reduce the weight, you can remove the Smart Card Reader as well as the SD Card Reader. I wonder how much weight reduction that would gain. If there would be a way to remove the 2.5 HDD casing while still having the ssd firmly attached to the mainboard, one could just remove the unneeded heavy SSD case, plug in the ssd and having removed like another 50 gramm from the notebooks weight.

The touchpad allows for outstanding two-finger horizontal and vertical scrolling. My T520 could not do that in any proper way. For the trackpoint: Yes it's obvious former models are better suited for its use. However one might think about general palm health using the trackpoint, there is even an entry on an official lenovo side about that. I always use the trackpoint but I try to use the touchpad instead.

When you attach the power cord to the T440s, it first loads the external battery, after it is fully loaded, it also loads the internal one. I am curious whether Lenovo takes care about battery management so it never loads them full, instead stops loading after some 95% of charge (still reporting 100% for the average user), so the battery life is enhanced.

The speakers always output a very noticeable noise on any sound level, this is true also when no music is played. I can only stop that noise by setting the speakers level to zero. The sound is pretty good otherwise, it's surprising they get this sound out of the small speakers. As I read about lenovos general sound quality, I did make a headphone test, too. It turns out, that the sound quality over headphones is not good, it is for my untrained ears near perfect on my older iphone.

This part is about cooling. I have TP Fancontrol installed and usually have my notebook running completely noise free by disabling the fan until the CPU reaches 85 Celsius. For accomplishing that, lenovo stopped moving the general CPU cooling to the upper left corner of the model. It was generally a nice idea, having moved the CPU to the corner so the cooler could get rid of hot air to both corners. With my Intel GPU T520 lenovo decided to only use the left side for heat removal, the back was just filled with pure plastic to save money and make the heater only work on one side. Only the W520 models had two sides to get rid of the heat. In the end, my T520 was running hot sometimes, I was even thinking of putting a W520 CPU cooler inside it, but now I have the T440s which heater only has access to one side for heat removal. I wonder what happens if the internal battery gets hotter, as there are no heat grids in the base cover.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#4 Post by Ibthink » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:50 am

Nice little review. I can absolutely agree with your first impressions, the T440s is a great ThinkPad.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#5 Post by mikemex » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:48 pm

Great Thinkpad? The 600 series were great Thinkpads. I seen one a few days ago, a 600X. The guy said he keeps it because it works no matter what. From what I heard it has outlasted several laptops now, including some other Thinkpads like T4x. I know it still felt solid after like what? 15 years?

When I listen to people claim the latest incarnation it's the best Thinkpad ever I just chuckle. Like I said, they've stripped it from most features that make a laptop a Thinkpad like:

#1 Emphasis on logistics. Thinkpads were made to last. And by this I mean much more than simply being well built. I'm talking about the explicit goal of keeping parts commonality with subsequent models. Thinkpad 600, 600E and 600X shared most parts. Thinkpads T40, T41, T42, T43 also did. Beginning with the three digit series, every model is different from the previous one and share very few parts. This makes spares more difficult to acquire and Thinkpads much more expensive to maintain down the road.

This is exactly the same model adopted by car manufacturers. I don't see people changing each generation; why in this world you would need to redesign the car seats on every new model? They do it for two reasons: by bringing out something new, they give the customer the perception that they are paying for more. And second, when a model it's out for several years parts availability and service keeps shifting from the manufacturer to second sources. Why would you pay the premium price for a new seat when you can get a nearly new used one for one third the price? By changing parts they ensure you need to go to the manufacturer.

#2 Focus on usability over aesthetics. The clamshell design, now gone from most Thinkpads, obeyed well known structural principles. It's like the lateral reinforcement in an 'I' beam. It didn't make the notebook thicker but it added a lot of strength to the lid. Why, again, is it gone? It was purely for cosmetic reasons.

The chiclet style keyboard is here for the same reason. They wanted to make the keyboard thinner, so the whole laptop could be made thinner, so they switched. Fine, no problem here. Except: why did they have to change the keyboard layout? I use the keys on top of the old keyboard all the time. I'm still old fashioned in that I capture screens with "print screen". And I like to have the pause key... This was done to accommodate the always larger touchpad. Older Thinkpads didn't even have one because it's not necessary. I know for sure I don't use it, ever. My sister couldn't care less about computers in general and I know she doesn't use it either. The Trackpoint was there to make the notebook more compact and reduce fatigue in the hands. Now it's mostly gone. And why? Because most uneducated users prefers what they know.

The status LEDs, the colored keys and ports, etc. all obeyed practical purposes. Why are the latches gone? Why paint the hinges dark? Or worse, the heatsink grill? Bare copper transfers heat much more efficiently.

Well, I'm glad that you're happy with your T440s but I'm hesistant to call it a Thinkpad. With each generation it turns more and more consumer oriented and away from the professional market. I'm not against change, you know, I'm against cosmetic makeups.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#6 Post by ssd_thinkpad » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:36 pm

Mikemex, thanks for your reply. The 600x was actually my first notebook! I bought it used for very cheap money, but I was very surprised about its build quality. I sold it later, but maybe it is still in use, somewhere. With inflation taking into consideration, actually a consumer today would pay for three consecutive models around the same as for one 600 series thinkpad at that time. For the current price if there is a problem with the notebook, you could just remove its harddrive, order a new one and throw the damaged one away. I had a problem with a former notebook and bought a cheap display connector cable directly from Lenovo which brought my thinkpad back to life. The maintenance manuals are still there and are very useful.

Lenovo is a business company and their models are there to make money, so they do have to change to the mainstream opinion which likes to have island style keyboards along with thin models. The thinner the models, the easier they break and it does not immediately make them lighter - I much prefer to have light models and do not care about them to be thin in any way. That's why I loved my Panasonic Let's Note I used before: lightweight and not thin at all. I have to decide which is the best notebook on the market for my needs that is available today. And for me, it is the T440s. I am curious what model do you currently prefer.

From an engineering perspective, I like Lenovos decision regarding screws. They do not hide the screws at all as they did before. Instead all visible screws are at the bottom.

As another update to the review, when the external battery reaches 5% charge, the internal battery is used.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#7 Post by Ibthink » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:35 pm

#1 Emphasis on logistics. Thinkpads were made to last. And by this I mean much more than simply being well built. I'm talking about the explicit goal of keeping parts commonality with subsequent models. Thinkpad 600, 600E and 600X shared most parts. Thinkpads T40, T41, T42, T43 also did. Beginning with the three digit series, every model is different from the previous one and share very few parts. This makes spares more difficult to acquire and Thinkpads much more expensive to maintain down the road.
Thats a very good example of business notebooks over consumer notebooks in general. This is still the case with the newer ThinkPad. The T440s for example: It shares the same keyboards with the T431s, T440, T440p, the L440, the E431 and the E440. The same screens (the HD+ screen) as T431s, T440, S431, S440, E431, E440 and (FHD and HD+) the T440p. The same external batteries as X240 and T440. The same fingerprintreaders as all other ThinkPads in this generation, the same Glass TouchPad as T431s, X230s, X240, S440 and S540. And of course the same WLAN cards, WWAN cards, same Docks etc. Likely nearly all these parts will stay the same with the next year Broadwell refresh (X250, T450(s) etc.), so they will share the same parts.

Of course, with some special lines like the X301 or the X1 for example, this is not the case.
#2 Focus on usability over aesthetics. The clamshell design, now gone from most Thinkpads, obeyed well known structural principles. It's like the lateral reinforcement in an 'I' beam. It didn't make the notebook thicker but it added a lot of strength to the lid. Why, again, is it gone? It was purely for cosmetic reasons.
Yes, in the past was the Clamshell-design very important to keep the screens as stiff as possible. But today, the stiffness of the screen is not so important anymore, because screen are more flexible and much less likely to brake. Thats also why they use Carbon Fiber now instead of Magnesium for the screen cover (the screens are still stiffer than on nearly all Consumer Notebooks, and very robust). Whats more important than the Clamshell design for the stiffness of a screen is the material thats used, the screen of my R50e with massive Clamshell is not very stiff at all, because it is made out of plastic.

The additional stiffness is not the only advantage of the Clamshell design: It prevents dust from coming inside the ThinkPad, the palmrest Edge is rounded etc. These advantages are still present with the T440s (they now use a rubber lip).

Besides, the T440s would be thicker if it would come with Clamshell.
The Trackpoint was there to make the notebook more compact and reduce fatigue in the hands. Now it's mostly gone.
I use the T440s only with the TrackPoint, the TrackPad is disabled in the BIOS. I would not say its gone. The new design just works like the old one for me, it is intuitive, there is nearly no "get used to it"-time (maybe the first 5 min for me).

What I like about the new design, is the flexibility_ You can now use the hole TouchPad as the left button if you want, and the middle- and right-click button-zones are also larger than before.
This was done to accommodate the always larger touchpad. Older Thinkpads didn't even have one because it's not necessary
Thats true. But this is a must have today. TrackPoint users are a very small minority, in contrast, everyone knows how to use a TouchPad.
Why are the latches gone?
Because the new hinge system on the T440s works very well - if you hold the Notebook at the side for example, the lid does not open - different from previous ThinkPads without latches.
Why paint the hinges dark?
Well, thats just design. But I don´t see any reason why Function and Design can´t be combined together. And the hinges are still silver, just a little bit darker.

And besides, why are the clearpates on the T4x models Glossy? Also a purely design reason.
Bare copper transfers heat much more efficiently.
I don´t care if it is painted or not. The T440s stays very cool and quiet, so I suppose thats no problem at all.
Well, I'm glad that you're happy with your T440s but I'm hesistant to call it a Thinkpad.
In the end, I guess it depends how one defines the word "ThinkPad". For me, the T440s is still very much a ThinkPad, it represents everything I like about ThinkPads. But I also understand if some may not call it a ThinkPad, jugding it by pictures. But it is definitfly a ThinkPad, maybe a "ThinkPad 2.0".
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#8 Post by pianowizard » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:11 pm

mikemex wrote:most uneducated users prefers what they know.
This is the same reason why you prefer the trackpoint.
Ibthink wrote:everyone knows how to use a TouchPad.
They *think* they do but most people use it very inefficiently, especially users who prefer the trackpoint.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#9 Post by oliversl » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:11 am

Can you provide some photos? Maybe comparing it with a X230 or T420? Many thanks :)
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#10 Post by ZaZ » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:50 am

mikemex wrote:They wanted to make the keyboard thinner, so the whole laptop could be made thinner, so they switched. Fine, no problem here. Except: why did they have to change the keyboard layout?
I believe the reasoning behind making the keyboard smaller top to bottom was to allow for a larger touch pad. That's particularly helpful on the X series laptops, which had small touch pads while most other ultraportables were much larger. This is also the reasoning behind integrating the trackpoint buttons into the touch pad.

Despite its pure awesomeness, there's still a large contingent of ThinkPad buyers who prefer the touch pad, which puts Lenovo in a bit of a bind - who do you prioritize? You're probably not going to please everyone. I'd be less than honest if I said I was happy about the new trackpoint setup, but I'll reserve judgment until I use it. In perfect world you'd have two setups, one for stick users and one for touch padders, but in today's market not many are willing to pay more.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#11 Post by mikemex » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:33 pm

ZaZ wrote:
mikemex wrote:They wanted to make the keyboard thinner, so the whole laptop could be made thinner, so they switched. Fine, no problem here. Except: why did they have to change the keyboard layout?
I believe the reasoning behind making the keyboard smaller top to bottom was to allow for a larger touch pad. That's particularly helpful on the X series laptops, which had small touch pads while most other ultraportables were much larger. This is also the reasoning behind integrating the trackpoint buttons into the touch pad.

Despite its pure awesomeness, there's still a large contingent of ThinkPad buyers who prefer the touch pad, which puts Lenovo in a bit of a bind - who do you prioritize? You're probably not going to please everyone. I'd be less than honest if I said I was happy about the new trackpoint setup, but I'll reserve judgment until I use it. In perfect world you'd have two setups, one for stick users and one for touch padders, but in today's market not many are willing to pay more.
Exactly. I know they aim for the largest possible audience and I don't know about your town but in mine that's called consumer focus. They are not so interested in enterprise features such as remote management and such anymore; they are mostly recycling Intel initiatives on that. They are not so interested (capable?) of fixing obscure issues. Say, my X220 and T420 still can't activate the mSATA drive after a reboot after many BIOS versions. It complains about a wrong password but it's likely that the drive is locked before restarting. I know better than the engineers supposed to be responsible for that. They know about the issue, they just don't do anything about it, because it's not an issue that causes trouble to the masses. Do consumers even know they can reformat the cache drive for storage use? I don't think so. Much less about protecting it with a password.

See, like I said, I'm glad if people are happy with their lappies. After all, who am I to judge them for prefering the touchpad? I'm just saying, Lenovo's latest models should be called something else than Thinkpad.

My complain in broad terms should probably not be toward Lenovo. It's the users the ones to blame. Like the ones around here (yes, you know who you are) who think like 5 year kids. They are happy just to see anything new. Not better, just new. And they get crushed if someone doesn't share their enthusiasm. They expect pack mentality and attempt to crucify those who pour cold water on them for killing their happy mood.

See, I just got an e-mail:
notebookreview.com wrote:Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E431 Review

The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E431 is pragmatics in practice. The practical business-oriented notebook doesn't waste money on high-grade build materials...
I mean, this is pure marketing BS. Give me a break.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#12 Post by Ibthink » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:40 pm

They are happy just to see anything new. Not better, just new.
No, I am not happy because the T440s is new, but because it is better, better than for example the T420, the T430u, the L520, the R60 (the machines I used before, the T420 is still around here). In almost every aspect. The T430u was new, and in the first moment I liked it very much, but after some time using it, I quickly decided to sell it as it had many flaws and was not worthy to carry the T-Series designation.
And they get crushed if someone doesn't share their enthusiasm. They expect pack mentality and attempt to crucify those who pour cold water on them for killing their happy mood.
Nope. Everyone should be happy with their own ThinkPads and everyone has the right on his own opinion (who I am to forbid you not liking the 6-row keyboard? Thats your right of course). Whats not ok is senseless hating of things that people never even touched or tried. It is like many people who said the Chiclet keyboards are crap in typing feel, until they actually tried one and saw that they are wrong (of course, they still have the layout to complain about).
I mean, this is pure marketing BS. Give me a break.
Well, of course. Edges are not part of Lenovos "Classic" ThinkPad lineup, and personally, I would never buy one or recommend one to a different person.
It's the users the ones to blame. Like the ones around here (yes, you know who you are) who think like 5 year kids.
Why? Because they like the new design? Because they does not share your opinion? Maybe the real ones to blame are the users who really act like childs. The ones who join into threads by users of new ThinkPads and say "reads like advertisment" if someone says something good about the new design.
I'm just saying, Lenovo's latest models should be called something else than Thinkpad.
No, at least not in my opinion. What ThinkPads differentiate from other Notebooks (for me!):
- Great Build quality with high quality materials used, good reliability
- Best Notebook keyboard (best typing feel and still also the best layout in any Notebook on the market)
- TrackPoint (or in general, best Mouse pointers)
- Great design (black, simple, industrial = ThinkPad Design), form and function in a perfect fusion
- Great Maintainability, HMM available online, spare parts available for several years, good expandability (no need for dongles)
-Intelligent little design features (for example, spill proveness, things like the dual-battery design etc.), well thought design

For me, the T440s fullfills all these categorys (and even more, since it has a great display, unlike previous ThinkPads). Of course, you and other people may not share my criterias, as this is only my subjective opinion.

The T420 with classic 7-row layout and dedicated TrackPoint buttons is less a ThinkPad for me than the T440s, since it lacks the great build quality that the T440s and prior ThinkPads like my R60 had, and also there were several design issues / flaws, which are unacceptable on the ThinkPad for me. The Edges are also not ThinkPads for me as they are too cheaply build and poorly designed (they are also not designed by Lenovo, but by a 3rd party company, like the old ThinkPad i-Series for example).
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#13 Post by muffin_man » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:20 am

I've had two Thinkpads, a mid-level T510, and a fully loaded T530.

- I never use the nub, ever. Trackpad only.
- I will only use a trackpad with buttons, so all new Thinkpads are out (or any other computer without buttons on the trackpad)
- I am a fast (150+wpm) typist, and while the T510 and the T530 both have excellent feel, the layout of the T530 keyboard is stupid, and MUCH worse than before. Why make such stupid changes? I honestly can't believe that anyone could like the new keyboard better than the old one.
- The T510 withstood amazing abuse (I still have it), luckily the T530 hasn't needed to.
- Build quality on both seems fine, both FHD screens, no issues. I think the T510 has one dead pixel now.

I'm not particularly price sensitive - I will get the machine I need. My experience with Lenovo has been perfect. Yet, I think that in another 12 months when I look to upgrade, there won't be anything from Lenovo for me to buy.

Were there people complaining about the old keyboard layout? Were there people complaining about the buttons on the trackpad? I realize that Lenovo is doing it's very best to emulate Apple, but I would argue the users are very, very different. What a waste.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#14 Post by pianowizard » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:20 am

ssd_thinkpad wrote:However one might think about general palm health using the trackpoint, there is even an entry on an official lenovo side about that. I always use the trackpoint but I try to use the touchpad instead.
I compliment you for trying to learn the touchpad. I found it much harder to master than the trackpoint. One trick that really helped me was setting the pointer speed to the maximum, because otherwise I would need to swipe multiple times just to get the pointer to move a short distance. If you haven't already tried that, give it a try. And don't ever use both hands. You are supposed to use the same hand to move the pointer and click the buttons.
mikemex wrote:Why are the latches gone?
To make the laptop look nicer and a little easier to assemble.
mikemex wrote:who am I to judge them for prefering the touchpad?
Wow, calling touchpad users "uneducated" isn't judging?
mikemex wrote:They are happy just to see anything new. Not better, just new.
I do think changing the design now and then is a good thing, as long as the changes don't compromise functionality. One reason that I stopped buying Thinkpads after using them almost exclusively for 8 years was that I got bored with their looks. Another reason was that I found Lenovo's early widescreen Thinkpads too ugly. But Thinkpads have recently started to look better and more interesting. Some of the screens have also gotten higher quality, and certain models weights have continued to drop. Changes like these may someday lure me back to the brand.
Ibthink wrote:The T430u was new, and in the first moment I liked it very much, but after some time using it, I quickly decided to sell it as it had many flaws and was not worthy to carry the T-Series designation.
You might feel the same after using the T440s for a while.
Ibthink wrote:Well, of course. Edges are not part of Lenovos "Classic" ThinkPad lineup, and personally, I would never buy one or recommend one to a different person.
I agree. The Edge Series doesn't deserve the "Thinkpad" name at all, but this T440s is a proper Thinkpad. However, I think it should be called an X Series rather than T, because historically all T Series Thinkpads had internal optical drives. The T440s is more like the X1 Carbon. BTW, I am not discussing whether it's useful to have internal optical drives. I think they accomplish nothing except making the laptop unnecessarily heavy, though I am aware that some people want to have them.
muffin_man wrote:- I never use the nub, ever. Trackpad only.
Good for you.
muffin_man wrote:- I will only use a trackpad with buttons, so all new Thinkpads are out (or any other computer without buttons on the trackpad)
Same here. I used button-less touchpads a couple times and hated them. Another recent trend that I absolutely hate is reducing the rows of keys further to just five. I am actually rather adaptive when it comes to keyboards: I don't mind island keys, or going from 7 to 6 rows, or shuffling a few infrequently used keys, but can't stand 5-row keyboards.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#15 Post by ajkula66 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:11 pm

muffin_man wrote: Were there people complaining about the old keyboard layout? Were there people complaining about the buttons on the trackpad? I realize that Lenovo is doing it's very best to emulate Apple, but I would argue the users are very, very different. What a waste.
We were not complaining. We were screaming bloody murder, with no results to show for it... :evil:
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#16 Post by nicolaim » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:13 am

ssd_thinkpad wrote: It's possible to save around 60 more grams by using the M.2 slot as only SSD which then does not allow for WWAN. Notice that the M.2 slot and the msata slot are different. There is only one short 42mm M.2 SSD available from intel, the 1500 model with 120 GB named 2242. According to the general 1500 Intel SSD web page, it is the same speed as its other higher capacity 1500 models. But if you take a look at Intels PDF explaining this series, you see this particular 42mm SSD is much slower than the other high capacity SSDs of this series: http://www.intel.de/content/www/de/de/s ... ation.html
MyDigitalSSD 128 GB M.2 $100 from the manufacturer's web store: http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/mydigi ... -software/
Like the Intel it's SATA-based and not PCIe. AnandTech says this brand is OK. The drive is on the slow side, but it's cheap, and any SSD is better than a HDD.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#17 Post by cb474 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:48 am

I think the T440s looks like a nice computer. But I can see both sides of things, both those who feel like it's too much of a departure from the old ThinkPad ways and those who appreciate its design for what it is.

My biggest critiques of the T440s are:

1) Why did they get rid of the LEDs? I can't really see any reason for this other than to save some tiny amount of money.

2) I guess it's not super important, but I'm going to miss the ThinkLight. This whole glowing backlit keyboard thing is just dorky to me and I don't see why people are so in love with it, other than because everything that Apple does must be mindlessly emulated. Along these lines, I guess I'll also miss the color coded keys and yellow power port. Not really functionally that important to me, but they were part of the ThinkPad brand, what made them distinctive and recognizeable. I can not imagine any rational marketing reason for diluting one of the most recognizable brand identities in the world. This just seems like a bunch of engineers wanting to make their mark or reinventing the wheel or confusing new and different with necessarily better.

3) No ultrabay, pretty much speaks for itself as a step backwards. And generally seems like more of a pain to open up and change memory, hard drive, etc. But at least you can open it.

4) I use both the touchpad and the trackpoint. But I don't understand this trend towards enormous glass touchpads. Every time I try one on a Mac, I can't get it to work right, it doesn't detect my finger, the pointer randomly jumps around, it's totally annoying. Also a large touchpad is just a bigger target for one's palm to cause mistakes while one is typing. I am completely happy with the small touchpad on my T61 and X301. It never crosses my mind that I wish it were larger. It's just more mindless emulation of Apple.

5) Most importantly, why after the X301 is Lenovo unable to make a genuinely lightweight and feature packed notebook? The X301 is lighter than the T440s, has just as many ports, and(!) has an optical drive/ultrabay. It's also basically the same dimensions. The X1 Carbon is the same weight as the X301, but sacrifices on ports and has no ultrabay. (And the original X1 was inexplicably much heavier than the X301.) It's like the technological/engineering capacity of Lenovo has gone backwards and they can only make notebooks with less features at the same weight or that are heavier and still have less features. I just don't get it. Ultimately, I also really do not care about thin as much as weight (especially when thinner doesn't even equal lighter).

I don't know how they did it with the X301, but if they can't improve on that design, then they should just update the motherboard/cpu, cram in a higher resolution 14" screen (for which there's plenty of room) and they'd have a way better notebook than the X1 Carbon or T440s. As it is, I feel that for better or worse the T440s is probably in my future, since it's about as good as Lenovo has done with a relatively light and more fully featured notebook, since the X301, and at some point I'm going to need the processor upgrade.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#18 Post by ssd_thinkpad » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:15 pm

cb474 wrote:As it is, I feel that for better or worse the T440s is probably in my future, since it's about as good as Lenovo has done with a relatively light and more fully featured notebook, since the X301, and at some point I'm going to need the processor upgrade.
I think you nailed it with this. The T440s feels like an upgrade from the x301. The x301 would be a perfect notebook with a better display, and the T440s has the best display I have seen. I even used a UXGA IPS on my T60.

It's a personal preference, I do like the decision for removing as much LEDs as possible. I do not think it was made because of saving some money, but because of the new look. The keyboard LED looks good, and I did use it once. Once you have the case open, it is very easy to swap harddrives. Once you have it open, it is serviceable like any other thinkpad .It is really a pain opening it while not breaking some of the latches. I hope it is easier for me to open it the second time. For the weight, you have to take into consideration that the "empty" T440s includes something like the x301 "bay battery" already inside. You can remove it and have a lighter notebook. Or you can remove the external battery and only work with the internal one.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#19 Post by cb474 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:35 pm

ssd_thinkpad wrote:I think you nailed it with this. The T440s feels like an upgrade from the x301. The x301 would be a perfect notebook with a better display, and the T440s has the best display I have seen. I even used a UXGA IPS on my T60.
I'm not sure you understood my post. I would not call the T440s and upgrade from the X301. It's a step backwards in almost every respect, except that it has a better display and processor (and I guess USB 3.0 is nice). But as an overall design I think it pretty much only goes backwards. It's just that it's the best that Lenovo has done, lately, for a fully featured lightweight notebook. But I would not put it on the same level as the X301.
ssd_thinkpad wrote:It's a personal preference, I do like the decision for removing as much LEDs as possible. I do not think it was made because of saving some money, but because of the new look.
This is part of the problem with many of Lenovo's choices. They seem to be about looks, rather than functionality. Assuming you're right, to get rid of the LEDs just because they do not match a new more streamlined (and let's be honest, MacBook copycat) design is putting form completely over function. Not only is that dumb. It goes against the ThinkPad brand, which was always about function over form and at its best function and form conjoined. I think this is a marketing mistake. In the short run, Lenovo it getting lots of sales by making the ThinkPad more and more like other notebooks, but in the long run, once there is no difference, there will also be no reason ThinkPads couldn't just disappear in the face of whoever figures out how to do the same thing cheaper. I don't know any marketing principle by which undermining one's own brand identity and product differentiation is considered a good business decision.
ssd_thinkpad wrote:For the weight, you have to take into consideration that the "empty" T440s includes something like the x301 "bay battery" already inside. You can remove it and have a lighter notebook. Or you can remove the external battery and only work with the internal one.
If you removed the external battery on the T440s you have a gaping hole on the bottom, with to which to collect dust and lead to problems. If you removed the internal battery, you'd still only have a notebook that is equivalent in weight to the X301, not lighter. Either way, you would turn the T440s into a notebook with only a 24 Wh battery. The X301 with the six cell battery gives you 44 Wh, plus you could still have the optical drive or an extra hard drive in the ultrabay and the X301 would still be lighter than the T440s (or equivalent, perhaps to a T440s, minus one of its batteries).

So there's 1) No way to put the T440s in the same weight catergory as the X301. It's heavier and you get less features for it. The X301 at it's heaviest has more battery capacity, more features, and is still lighter than the T440s. Your solution only maybe makes the T440s as light as the X301, but removing yet more features form it and making it even more inferior to the X301.

So I will say again that I don't know what's going on at Lenovo, but they seem to be unable to design a notebook as well as the X301. There is just no reason more weight should also equal less features and less battery capcity, unless you have a fundamentally inferior design. This applies to the X1 Carbon as well. It gives up a lot of ports and the ultrabay and the removable battery and still is not lighter than the X301. If the X301 was the best they could do, they should just go back to that design with an upgraded motherboard/cpu and display.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#20 Post by mikemex » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:22 pm

cb474 wrote:This is part of the problem with many of Lenovo's choices. They seem to be about looks, rather than functionality. Assuming you're right, to get rid of the LEDs just because they do not match a new more streamlined (and let's be honest, MacBook copycat) design is putting form completely over function. Not only is that dumb. It goes against the ThinkPad brand, which was always about function over form and at its best function and form conjoined. I think this is a marketing mistake. In the short run, Lenovo it getting lots of sales by making the ThinkPad more and more like other notebooks, but in the long run, once there is no difference, there will also be no reason ThinkPads couldn't just disappear in the face of whoever figures out how to do the same thing cheaper. I don't know any marketing principle by which undermining one's own brand identity and product differentiation is considered a good business decision.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#21 Post by ssd_thinkpad » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:06 am

I see the T440s more as an industrial notebook where they focused on the basic needs: best keyboard, best display, best battery life, sturdy, easy to service(*).

* For the computer guy at the company, not the average user as the opening of the machine is not intuitive. Once you got away with the latches, the rest is as easy - if not easier - than on previous models. There are only screws on the back side.

I have never needed to know when a harddrive was accessed (if there is something wrong, I will find out soon anyway - and if everything's fine, I dont need to know). I know about the wireless lan as its status is displayed on windows taskbar. I would even be more happy if Lenovo disables the green power LED on the power button once the display is on. It's really up to personal preference. I am sorry you do not like the current setup of the T440s. Maybe the Tx440(p) models include more status lights.

The x301 felt definitely very good in my hands, and it was feeling so light. It's some years ago when I bought it new (I paid 50% more than for my current T440s). Will the X1 Carbon get an update? It is designed to be very lightweight. From an engineering perspective, are there any ways to make this notebook even lighter? It's made out of magnesium from what I know which is very light already. The FHD display might be heavier than a regular TN panel. I used a Let's Note Toughbook from Panasonic (the manufacturer where you can pay up to 4.000 USD) and it's business line is very lightweight, although thinkpads are much more sturdy and can take a beating.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#22 Post by Stevo » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:29 am

ssd_thinkpad wrote:I owned around a dozen thinkpads, and this is definitely the best build, the unified rubberized build is a pleasure to touch. The FHD screen is amazing, if you display a black page, there is a bit of backglight bleeding on the bottom. The display is unbelievable good. The Th(i)nkpad "i" shines read on the outside, if you turn your notebook on and work with it, the only LED you see is the green power on light. Wonderful.

I removed the eight screws at the bottom as displayed on lenovoservicetraining.com, but I could not remove the base cover. At the hardware manual you are told to also take care of the latches. The screws can not be removed completely. Some screws can, but it is hard to. The two screws in the middle can not be removed from the base cover. Unlike the x220, the base cover screws are of different size. Inside the thinkpad looks nicer and cleaner than before.

I swapped in my Windows 8 hdd from my former thinkpad, after two restarts it boots fine. It is crucial to download either T440s LAN or WLAN drivers so you can connect to the internet and install lenovos system update. The HDD removal is very easy, as is the battery removal if you want to upgrade later to a internal battery. Sony and Sanyo are the only producers for batteries, Panasonic does not manufacture their famous batteries for this model.

The sound is good, its the best I had on any notebook. TPFanControl works fine, on bios settings the fan turns itself off if the temperature is a bit below 50 Celsius.

The keyboard is an improvement from before, the keys do feel much better, the typing experience was better on the non-island keyboards. It's my first day with this keyboard and I like it. In contrast to the x220, my hands rest nicely on the palm rest. The touchpad feels great, too.

The Power Connector connects from both positions. Apple bought Lenovos former fingerprint manufacturer, and because they do not sell anymore, Lenovo had to find another solution which does not allow you to start with a wipe.

It's an amazing sturdy and lightweight notebook which I can fully recommend. It looks very elegant, too.

Sounds very encouraging. Surprised it was difficult to remove the base - have you been able to do it yet?

S
Stephen

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#23 Post by pianowizard » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:28 pm

ssd_thinkpad wrote:I used a Let's Note Toughbook from Panasonic (the manufacturer where you can pay up to 4.000 USD) and it's business line is very lightweight, although thinkpads are much more sturdy and can take a beating.
Don't generalize from just one isolated experience. You owned a Let's Note B10, and then concluded that Panasonic's entire business line is less sturdy than all Thinkpads.

I have owned not that many Toughbooks either, only three Y Series models, but that's enough for me to know that all Toughbooks aren't the same. My first Toughbook was a CF-Y4, which felt surprisingly shoddy and I too was tempted to think that all Toughbooks were that bad. But the CF-Y5 was orders of magnitude stronger, in fact more solid than virtually all of the 45 Thinkpads I once owned (except perhaps the 600E). My current Toughbook, a CF-Y7, is not as sturdy as that Y5 but is definitely much better than the Y4.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#24 Post by cb474 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:46 pm

ssd_thinkpad wrote:The x301 felt definitely very good in my hands, and it was feeling so light. It's some years ago when I bought it new (I paid 50% more than for my current T440s). Will the X1 Carbon get an update? It is designed to be very lightweight. From an engineering perspective, are there any ways to make this notebook even lighter? It's made out of magnesium from what I know which is very light already. The FHD display might be heavier than a regular TN panel.
I have read that the touch displays are heavier than the regular displays. But given that all models (until now) of the X1 and X1 Carbon and T4xxs had TN displays (I think--I'm feeling lazy about checking), I don't think this accounts for the weight difference from the X301. I am still curious why the X301 was able to be so much lighter than notebooks with fewer features, no ultrabay, smaller batteries, etc. If I had to guess, I think that despite all the talk about "carbon" (in the X1 Carbon) and magnesium, etc., that perhaps there really isn't as much lightweight case materials in the newer notebooks as there was in the X301. After all, the X301 was a very expensive computer, suggesting perhaps that a lot of money really was spent on the lightweight materials. Whereas the direction with all subsquent ThinkPads has been to radically drop the price, suggesting perhaps that there's not that much lightweight case material in them. Anyway, I'm just speculating, but that seems like a likely suspect, since the displays, keyboard, hard drives, cpus, etc. probably have not changed much in weight.

*

Aside from the virtues of the X301 versus all pretenders to the lightweight throne, does anyone know if the T440s will be able to boot from an ssd on the internal M.2 slot? I suppose that would, for me, make up for the lack of ultrabay, since I like to use it for an extra hard drive.

*
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#25 Post by ajkula66 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:21 pm

cb474 wrote:It's too bad there's not a smiley face that does Edvard Munch's silent scream
You just made my day. Thank you.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#26 Post by cb474 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:01 pm

ajkula66 wrote:You just made my day. Thank you.
You're welcome. :eek: [It's the best we got. All you have to do is picture the tiny little hands raised up to the side of its head.]

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#27 Post by Ibthink » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:55 am

Yes, booting from an internal M.2 SSD should definitely be possible.

On Youtube, you can find a video of the X240s with an M.2 SSD, which is used for the OS. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTQgzDBvxb4

*

The real advantage of the X301 was its integrated DVD drive, which gave this model a unique flexibility, because you also could use a 2nd battery or an 2nd HDD. This option is gone on the T440s, as not many users still need an DVD drive on the go (at home, you always can use an external DVD burner) and a design with DVD drive is more expensive and more difficult to develop.

The room of the DVD drive is needed and used:
- T440s has 2.5" HDDs/SSD, the X301 uses 1.8" SSDs
- 2 batteries are standard on the T440s, it has more battery capacity than the X301 (in their standard configs, if you compare the X301 with Ultrabay-battery vs. T440s with 6-cell battery, the T440s also wins, 67 Wh vs. 95 Wh)
- The X301 does not have a DockingPort, the T440s has one

In general, both are very good designs.

The X301 indeed used very expensive materials, especially for the lid (it used a Carbon Fiber, which was extremly expensive at that time).
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#28 Post by pianowizard » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:03 am

cb474 wrote:I have read that the touch displays are heavier than the regular displays.
Indeed. For 13" to 15" screens, touch panels are 0.4 lbs to 0.6 lbs heavier. This is partly why Sony's Pro 13 is the most amazing laptop on the market now: 13.3" 1920x1080 IPS touchscreen at only 2.34 lbs.
cb474 wrote:But given that all models (until now) of the X1 and X1 Carbon and T4xxs had TN displays (I think--I'm feeling lazy about checking), I don't think this accounts for the weight difference from the X301.
The weight difference between the T440s ("starting weight of 3.5 lbs") and the X301 ("starting weight of 3.16 lbs including the optical drive") is most certainly not due to the T440s' touchscreen, because the latter weighs 3.5 lbs only for units with a non-touch TN 1600x900 screen. A T440s with 1920x1080 touchscreen should be around 4.0 lbs.
cb474 wrote:I am still curious why the X301 was able to be so much lighter than notebooks with fewer features, no ultrabay, smaller batteries, etc.
As I have said many times on this forum, the X300 and X301 were Lenovo's last truly impressive Thinkpads. I personally liked the X201s even better, but the design of the X3** was more revolutionary. The only widespread complaint I've heard about the X3** is their lousy screens, but the particular X301 that I have seen actually had a decent screen, much better than that of the T430 I saw a couple weeks ago.
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Re: T440s First Impressions

#29 Post by ssd_thinkpad » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:53 am

I weighted it without external battery1.432 kilograms which is
3.157 pounds. With M.2 hdd you could safe more than 70g I guess.

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Re: T440s First Impressions

#30 Post by pianowizard » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:04 am

ssd_thinkpad wrote:I weighted it without external battery1.432 kilograms which is
3.157 pounds.
Thanks. So, this is a lot heavier than you expected (I think you said 2.7 lbs). I wouldn't want to use a laptop with the external battery removed anyway. If it's not too much trouble, would you mind weighing your T440s with the external battery but without the internal one? This is just to satisfy my curiosity, not to help me decide whether or not to buy a T440s. I definitely won't, since it would not be enough of an upgrade from my Panasonic CF-Y7.
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