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Shot Gun Wedding Review of the Lenovo ThinkPad T410

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About every three years I get a new corporate laptop.  Highly secure; “don’t mess with me – strictly business”; the corporate standard.  This is simply to say that this laptop and me is something like an arranged marriage.  Or, a shot-gun wedding.  Not my choice but I’ll “learn to love it”.  Maybe.

So, since it’s sitting here I thought I would write a short review.

Background

This is now my third ThinkPad.  My first one was a T41, the second one was a T60, and now the T410.  The T41 had the IBM logo on it.  Then IBM sold the PC Division and the ThinkPad brand to Lenovo.  When Lenovo took over ThinkPad I noticed a decrease in the quality of this line of laptops.  The T41 seemed much more of a solid machine, it had a better display than the T60, and a much better keyset.  The basic design and layout of the ThinkPad has remained essentially unchanged through these three models with the exception of the biometric device with is on the T410.  What has persisted is that “red eraser gizmo” stuck between the G and H keys.  Who uses that?  Let’s all agree that that that “pointing device” was a mistake.

The machine came with Windows 7 and it’s the pretty standard stuff. 

General Observations

  1. Price.  The price for this laptop seems very high compared to other models with the Intel Core I5 chip and similar size hard drive and memory.  For example, the Gateway, ASUS, and HP have models that are priced in the $600-$700 range where the Levono 41o is about $1,000.  (price and specs)
  2. Keyset.  To people who use a computer all day the feel of the keyset is very important.  The keyset on the Lenovo ThinkPad T410 sounds hollow when you type on it.  When I buy a laptop an important consideration is the feel of the keyset.  I have two HP Laptops, a DV6 and DV7, and I prefer the feel of these keysets.
  3. Screen.  The Lenovo ThinkPad T410 has a LED backlit screen.  Very sharp and clear.  In fact, it’s so bright that I have to tun the brightness down from the maximum brightness.
  4. Ports.  The Lenovo ThinkPad T10 has plenty of ports.  Four USB ports. eSATA, Firewire, and VGA

Unique features of the Lenovo ThinkPad T410

  1. Cooling Design.  Does anyone use thier laptop on their lap?  The design of most other laptops has a cooling fan intake on the bottom of the case.  So, when you place this on your lap or on a table with a table cloth chances are the air intake will be restricted.  The ThinkPad has a different and much better idea.  All three of my previous ThinkPads including the T410 has air intake from the sides.  Therefore, hard to overheat this laptop.  Excellenet design.
  2. Think Light.  Never seen this on any other laptop.  The ThinkPads have a small LED on the top of the inside of the lid that can be used to illuminate the keyset.  This is useful when you need to type in a darkened room where you might be taking notes on a presentation or giving a presentation.  If you use your laptop on an airplane the light comes in handy in a darkended cabin.  Some laptops from Sony now have an illuminated keyset – good idea.  I used a Logitech illuminated keyset for my desktop machine.  Best keyset I every used.
  3. Biometrics.  This is about the best thing in the world.  The Lenovo ThinkPad T410 has a fingerprint scanner.  It is easy to set up and use.  To set up the biometric fingerprint scanner you invoke a utility which will gather your login credentials (user, password, and domain) and then record your fingerprint.  The fingerprint scanner is always active even when the laptop is tuned off.  To gain secure access to the laptop with the biometric device enabled simply swipe your finger across the biometric device.  After a successful scan the ThinkPad will turn on and securely log you in.  Slick!

Conclusion

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  If I had a choice I would not purchase this laptop.  It’s not a good value for the money, the keyset does not have a good feel and I just wouldn’t.  Battery life is about 3 hrs – depending on power settings.  One positive is the size.  The 14.1 inch size is great for people who have to travel and the LED backlit display is bright and crisp.  The biometric device for secure login – which requires no typing of a user, password, or domain – is great.  Match this up with an encrypted hard drive and your corporate data is more secure than without these features if the laptop is stolen or messed with in an unsecure location.  Laptops in general would benefit from biometric security – but not sure how much that adds to the cost.

Windows Experience Index Comparison

Here is a comparison of three machine I had handy.  My desktop, my HP DV7 Entertainment PC, and the Lenovo ThinkPad T410

HP Desktop with AMD dual core 2.4 GHz.  w/ GForce 9500 Video Card

HP DV7 Entertainment PC AMD Turion X2 Dual Core Mobile RM-74 2.20 Ghz

Lenovo ThinkPad T410 Intel Core i5 M 520 2.4 GHz

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Written by frrl

February 6, 2011 at 6:09 am

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