ThinkPad T431s: Lenovo rethinks its black brick

New ThinkPad looks totally different. No, wait...

Lenovo ThinkPad T431s review

With the T431s as the vanguard, Lenovo (HKG:0992) says its new ThinkPads will be very different. But also very familiar. Out go various latches and buttons, in come a trendy trackpad and thin bezel. But at least it's still got the famous mid-keyboard nipple trackpoint.

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Agam Shah reports:

[Its] external appearance isn't changing a great deal, but it is getting considerably thinner and lighter. ... [It] will go on sale next month for US$949...[it] weighs 1.36 kilograms (3 pounds), or 24 percent less...and it is 20.6 millimeters thick, or 21 percent thinner. ... [But it] still has the little red tracker button in the keyboard.

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The ThinkPad remains the top brand for enterprises, according to IDC.

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Lenovo also reduced the bezel area around the display in the T431s and put a 14-inch screen. ... The hinge is also more flexible and can tilt the panel through 180 degrees. ... The T431s comes with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. ... OS options include Windows 7 or Windows 8. ... [It claims] nine hours of battery life...and the display [has] a resolution of 1600 x 900.  MORE

Jon Mundy adds:

The new laptop drops a number of T-series staples. ...new touches include a redesigned track-pad...though it's notable that the display isn't touch-compatible. ... [It] features ethernet, VGA, Mini DisplayPort and two USB 3.0 ports. There's also an SD card slot.  MORE

Lenovo's Kristy Fair gushes, natch:

...tweaks to this hallmarks’ design come only after hours of excruciating and detailed thought. ...we want to retain the right amount of ThinkPad-ness...under the influences of consumerization’s focus on simplicity, interoperability and connectedness. ...more than 26 aspects of ThinkPad’s visual design changed, but...only the most ardent fan could find all of them.

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We unified the clickpad by integrating the trackpoint buttons. ... [It] now has five buttons which you can customize for Windows 8 gestures via the device driver. ...we now have direct press multi-media buttons...over the Function row. However, we’ve incorporated a Fn lock...if you want F1-F12 to be your prime. ... We hid the speakers so you hear them but don’t see them...and changed the placement of the fingerprint reader. ... We also enriched the black color we’ve been using for 20 years.  MORE

But Gorgi Kosev thinks Lenovo's lost its way:

I [don't] care if the laptop weights 1.5kg or 2kg or if its thin. But I do care about...the physical buttons. [I'm] not sure that the touch area will truly be able to replace them.

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All I wanted from Lenovo is a high-quality IPS display and less flex of the body [but] Lenovo decided to optimize weight by adding perforations to the support.

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I guess I'll just have to look somewhere else for my next laptop.  MORE

And Peter Levi mentions his own deal-breaker:

First thing I thought was “that would be great with a touch screen”. Oh well...  MORE

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