Review: Lenovo ThinkPad T400
October 2, 2008
In July 2008, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad T400 14.1-inch widescreen, which is based on Intel's Montevina/Centrino2 notebook platform. The ThinkPad T400 supplants the 14-inch versions of the ThinkPad T61.
The biggest single change for the ThinkPad T400 is that this generation of the T-series does away with 4:3 screens entirely - only widescreens are available now.
The ThinkPad T400 offers a choice of card slot configurations, but these configurations are different than they were with the ThinkPad T61. All come with an Express Card slot, but the second slot can be either an PC Card slot, a 7-in-1 media card reader, or a SmartCard slot. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) believes that most configurations will ship with either the PC Card slot or the 7-in-1 media card reader.
The ThinkPad T400 includes many of the newly available Montevina features. Such optional features include Ultra-Wideband (UWB), WiMAX, and Intel's Turbo Memory 2.0.
When configured with an LED backlight, the ThinkPad T400 and the related ThinkPad T500 are the first ThinkPad T-series models to receive a Gold rating from EPEAT. All versions of the T400 and T500 are Energy Star 4.0-certified.
Several notes when ordering a ThinkPad T400:
See ISC's Notebook Computer Purchasing Guide for more configuration hints. As of October 2008, configuring a ThinkPad T400 to the Mid-Weight Notebook specification can be done for approximately $1,650. The University's Computer Connection has two T400 configurations available.
Windows Vista Performance
ISC tested a ThinkPad T400 with 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo P9500, 1066 MHz 3.0 GB RAM, ATI Mobility Radeon 3470 discrete graphics card, and 320 GB hard drive. It received a Windows Experience Index base score of 4.6, with individual scores of:
These scores suggest that Windows Vista performance will be excellent for most users on a ThinkPad T400 configured in this manner.
For 2008, Lenovo has moved to rationalize the naming conventions and marketing strategies of its ThinkPad line: in the case of the T400, T is for the model line and 4 is for the screen size (14 inches with the 1 truncated). It seems reasonable to expect that the model following the T400 will be the T401.
ISC sees the ThinkPad T400 as one of the best (if not the best) mid-weight notebooks available in late 2008, though competitors such as Dell are closing the gap.
When correctly configured to the mid-weight notebook specification in the Notebook Purchasing Guide, the ThinkPad T400 is approved for general use at the University.
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (October 2, 2008)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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