Full Launch Review – Lenovo ThinkPad T400s, specifications, gallery and video

June 23, 2009

We give you the full facts and the only full in depth review of the Lenovo ThinkPad T400s plus a full features video. Over the last couple of months a lot has been written about the new ThinkPad 400s, most of it having missed the mark by a mile! One of the biggest mistakes Tech journalists have been making is assuming the T400s will replace the T400.

<– Go Straight To the ThinkPad T400s

Well as usual, we are here to put the facts straight and tell you it won’t replace the T400. The ThinkPad T400s is a new model, an addition to the ThinkPad T Series line up.

The Lenovo ThinkPad 400s is a product of a particular design philosophy and one the ThinkPad team in Raleigh are very proud of. An enormous amount of thought has gone into the new addition to the T series line up. Not only has the T400s been the subject of an ergonomic study to make sure that the keyboard design is just right, it has been designed to fit into the corporate IT work flow with minimal effort.

The ThinkPad T400s has also been put together with the Soloprenuer and all the lonesome one man IT support jocks out there who need a powerful, light, fuss free notebook with maximum accessibility where it counts.

Design, a ThinkPad philosophy.

To quote Francisco Carias, Worldwide ThinkPad Marketing Product Manager, ‘The ThinkPad T400s is the child of the latest generation ThinkPad T Series and the award X301 ultraportable’ and brings together the best of the ThinkPad T400’s phenomenal performance and the X301’s superb portability. The T400s carries over the same port location and design of the ThinkPad X301.

The ThinkPad t400s weighs in at a pound over the X301 and a pound under the T400, will support up to 8gb of DDR3, has the option of the Intel SP9400 processor at running 2.4ghz or the SP9600 chip running at 2.5ghz. Hard drive options up to 250GB SATA or 120GB SSD FDE SATA. We understand that the new Samsung 250 GB SSD Drive will be available in the US, but not at launch.

So right from the outset the ThinkPad T400s comes in very light, and very fast in its class and is the thinnest and lightest T Series every at 3.9 lbs and  0.83 inches!

Many Unique and Notable Features.

We had the opportunity to spend personal time on a one to one ThinkPad T400s Technical Briefing with Francisco Carias, Worldwide ThinkPad Marketing Product Manager, and David Critchley, Worldwide Segment Marketing Manager for the ThinkPad T Series and it becomes apparent straight away the innovative thinking that has gone into the design of the T400s.

First of all the keyboard has been subject to an ergonomic study that features a larger Esc and Delete key, and because we are all spending more time at our notebook, even during those precious coffee and lunch breaks, the keyboard is now ‘crumb proof’!  The top bezel has also had Audio Mic Mute and Audio Mute buttons added for privacy and extra functionality whilst conferencing.

The TrackPad is flush with the keyboard palm rest and has a textured ‘feel’ for easy location, and for all of us ThinkGeeks, the left and right click mouse buttons have had the red line treatment added that we all know and love!

The battery now sits under the base of the T400s to allow for better port placement at the rear.

Thought has also been given to upgrade access and the ThinkPad T400s has a ‘one screw’ trap door that allows installation and upgrades to the WLAN and WWAN modules and the Memory.

Let’s take a look at some of the more unique features that really do make the Lenovo ThinkPad T400s stand out as a superbly thought out and designed machine.

Neat, but lower down the list are the new ‘Smart Indicators’. These include individual Microphone Mute and Speaker Mute with LEDs, Caps Lock Key with backlit LED, Power Button with LED indicator which lights up the LED button with a soft light around the outside, but the one we really love and that is a real innovation, the integrated Fingerprint Reader with new LED status indicators.

The Fingerprint Reader features LED’s to the left and right which glow green when a swipe is requested and orange on a miss swipe. They will also glow to the left or right to indicate which way the finger print is miss reading. Now here is the really cool bit, and where the Finger Print reader turns intelligent. We’ve all left a meeting, hotel room or had a flight called and had to close down in a hurry. Or like me you may be in the habit of just closing the lid when you’re moving from room to room.

So this where the Fingerprint Reader on the T400s gets smart, open the lid and swipe your finger and the notebook powers on, registers the swipe and puts you back to your saved work! Power-on or wake-up from suspend or hibernate states, directly from the fingerprint reader. What a really neat idea, and a useful and practical one at that!

Lenovo ThinkPad T400s Review

Communications’ and Security – plus VIOP Optimized

The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s has also had some thoughtful communication and security features built in. Apart from the obvious like WWAN, WiMAX, WLAN, Bluetooth®, and Ultra-wideband (UWB), the ThinkPad t400s has been optimized for VIOP and Web Conferencing and you can jump straight into your VIOP app with the Fn+F6 Hotkey

The T400s has a 2 megapixel camera for truer image consistency and better performance in low light conditions. To improve sound quality when conferencing two Digital Array microphones have been built in, which provide a cone of sound and minimize any external noise from either the room itself or your own tapping on the keyboard.

The ThinkPad t400s of course is compatible with Lenovo ConstantConnect and ConstantSecure (SMS Kill Switch!) via the optional 34mm Express Card Slot

Let’s get Visual.

The wideview 14” LED WXGA+ Display runs at 1440×900 resolution, but just in case that isn’t enough for you the ThinkPad T400s comes with dual external display support. Plug in two monitors via the VGA and DisplayPort out, or connect a monitor via the new Lenovo USB-to-DVI Plug n Play Monitor adapter!

What else is good? Well, the T400s features 3 USB ports which is no big deal in itself, until you take a closer look. One port is standard USB 2.0, the second port is powered USB 2.0 so that you can recharge your phone or any other device, even with the notebook switched off. Now, the 3rd USB 2.0 port is the one with the real innovative feature because this is a dual USB/eSata port! You can run an eSata external hard drive or a USB peripheral device.

Coming to a T400s Conclusion.

There is no doubt in our minds that when we put everything together, the new ThinkPad T400s is an outstanding notebook, truly outstanding with some really fresh thinking wrapped up in the traditional ThinkPad T Series package that we all love. The new enhanced ThinkPad T400s has been designed to allow lesser mortals to enjoy some of the features and benefits of the ThinkPad X300 without breaking the bank.

Both the large enterprise and the Soloprenuer can have the best of ThinkPad T Series and X300 Series features, at a much lower system price than a full blown ThinkPad X301.

The ThinkPad X301 is a truly outstanding ultraportable, it’s the best in its class, bar none, but you pay heavily for the privilege of owning the best. Added to that it starts to struggle a bit if you start to throw anything really heavy at it.

That won’t be the case with the ThinkPad T400s. With a starting price of around $1599, and it’s combination of excellence in design, innovative features and lightweight power, the ThinkPad T400s should have buyers queuing at the Lenovo website.


Processors Options – Intel® Core™2 Duo SP9400 (2.4GHz, 6MB Cache, 25 watt) or  Intel® Core™2 Duo SP9600 (2.53GHz, 6MB Cache, 25 watt)

Operating Systems choices – XP Professional 32 downgrade – Windows Vista® Home Basic – Windows Vista® Home Premium – Windows Vista® Business – Windows Vista® Business 64

Dimensions – 14″ Wide – 3.91 lbs/1.77kg with optical drive –  21.1mm x 337mm x 241.0mm (6-cell battery)

Chipset/CPU – Intel® 4500MHD/Core™2, SV Small FF, 25W

Displays – 14.1″ wide LED WXGA+ (1440×900) Graphics – Integrated Intel® GMA 4500 MHD

Memory – 1GB/2GB/4GB DDR3 1067 MHz Hard Drives from 80GB SSD to 120GB SSD with 250GB SSD available at a later stage – 120GB to 250 GB 5400rpm SATA

Supported WLAN Cards Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 5300 (3×3) – Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 5100 (1×2) – • Intel® WiMax WiFi Link 5150 (1×2) –  Realtek Wireless B, G, N Card

Integrated Communications – WWAN, WiMAX, WLAN Bluetooth®, UWB Constant Connect Support – 34mm card (US and Canada Only) – Constant Secure Support (US and Canada Only)

Ports and Slots – 1 Standard USB 2.0, 1 Powered USB 2.0, 1 USB/eSATA –  VGA, DisplayPort, Mic/Headphone, RJ45 –  Optional 34mm Express Card or 5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader – Combo Microphone in /Audio out

Additional Features – Integrated 2MP Camera –  Multi-Touch TouchPad Optical Drive options –  DVD ROM –  CD-RW/DVD Combo drive – DVD recordable multiburner or Blu-ray™ DVD

Security – Integrated Fingerprint Reader with LED ‘Smart Indicators’ –  Trusted Platform Module –  ConstantSecure (WWAN models)

Battery – 6 cell Li Ion Prismatic Battery for up to up to 5.5 hrs or 3 cell Ultra Bay battery: up to 8.5 hrs with 6 cell battery


16 Responses to “Full Launch Review – Lenovo ThinkPad T400s, specifications, gallery and video”

  1. Karakasa on June 23rd, 2009 3:23 pm

    This little thing will make a huge home-run among all PC-users looking for a notebook with decent performance, but no curtailment in mobility! Heck, I remember myself complaining about the size and weight of 14.1″-models in the last three years (both by Lenovo and HP) and many other people reminiscing about the good ol’ T40-models. Anyway, you never want to go lower than 14.1″ – even with a weight like the X300′s. Chances are, in fact, that the T400s will kill demand for X300. Thus, this is the 14.1″-model they were supposed to release in the first place! Now they just need to price it in cheap enough.

  2. Karakasa on June 23rd, 2009 3:25 pm

    Oh, by the way: centered screen and longer UltraNav buttons – with red lines! How the heck did they dare to take that out in the first place? However, I don’t need any fancy LED-lightning – unless for the whole keyboard.

  3. Lenovo Thinkpad T400s - Stress testing with Matt Kohut and the DOW | on June 23rd, 2009 3:31 pm

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  4. Ian Orford - Editor, ThinkpadToday on June 23rd, 2009 3:33 pm

    We all missed the red lines Karakasa, after all they are ‘signature’ ThinkPad. And as far as the ‘fancy’ LED’s go. This is no frippery, this notebook was NOT designed by HP or Apple!

    The LED’s on the keyboard do serve a purpose and and much to the functionality of the notebook

  5. DWi on June 24th, 2009 12:46 am

    I would have liked to have seen more photos in this review.

  6. Tachyon on June 28th, 2009 12:44 pm

    This sounds great, but with one exception, screen resolution.
    1440×900 is just not enough to do any real work on. 1024 is the minimum useful vertical resolution IMO.

    I’d rather have the old 1280×1024 res than 1440×900. However, they need to at least get the 1650×1080 screen in there. Then we are talking about a real killer laptop.

    Screen issues aside, this sounds brilliant.

    I have to agree with the T4x comment. I went 770x to a T43p to a T60. The T60 was a step backwards in many ways, in my opinion. Hopefully the T400s will get the ThinkPad’s back on course.
    I do have to say that I’m glad Lenovo has resisted the urge to add a lot of useless bells, whistles an blinking lights that plague other supposedly business oriented laptops. Yes, I want a lot of features, but I want them to be useful features that will help me do my job, not weight adding, battery sapping crap.

  7. S Giovannini on July 5th, 2009 11:51 am

    Well, thanks to this new model, the price of the x301 is coming down, down to earth. For myself, a 1 lb. difference in weight is a big difference in the ultraportable world. I am preparing to purchase one, and I still like the x301 better if I can get it for about the same price, as portability is more important than a step up in processor speed that I do not need. And the new version of the x301 with the su9600 (dual core at 1.6) is plenty fast enough for any notebook work-related task in the legal field. I also do photography, but leave that kind of editing work to one of my two desktops.

  8. Ian Orford - Editor, on July 6th, 2009 10:35 am

    Looks like the X301 is perfect for you Stephen, and you are correct, 1lb can make a great deal of difference when you are looking for true ultraportability.

    There is no better notebook than the ThinkPad X301 if thats what you need. Check back here before you make you purchase because there will be a special ThinkPad X301 Coupon Code coming up.

    If you can’t see one then contact us and we will check on the status for you.

  9. Lenovo ThinkPad T400s Review : on July 9th, 2009 1:50 pm

    [...] Review by [...]

  10. del boy on September 2nd, 2009 8:13 am

    Hopefully the next generation of T series laptops will accommodate a Quad core processor. I realise the W700 accommodates a Quad core, the only thing is it’s just to heavy. For the T series to reign supreme it must go Quad core.

    Lenovo needs to start thinking about future proofing it’s laptop systems.
    Does the T400s have a swappable processor or is it hardwired to its mother board.

    Make no mistake there are numerous applications that would eat up the current T400s specs especially when it comes to multitasking.

    The T400s DVD drive is upgradeable to a Blu ray drive. Blu Ray is best viewed with a res of 1080. I not sure if a res of 1440×900 would do blu ray material any justice.

  11. on September 2nd, 2009 12:26 pm

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  16. Ash on February 12th, 2010 1:44 am

    I have been a great fan of ThinkPad actually I consider myself as a ThinkMan when I use computer due to my IT Career. Anyway I have been using ThinkPad since early days like T40 or for myself and have dealt with hundreds of ThinkPads. Overall I like T400s a lot and its really lightweight and rugged. I have never owned a X301 but handled it. I would say stick to the 14″ laptops regardless of the weight as sometime it becomes painful to scroll the screen left-right-left-right. Once I get a X301 or latest models I will write a in detail opinion. Long Live ThinkPads :-)

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