Reviews

First hand review of Lenovo T440s - How good is it?

I’m a long time user of Lenovo computers. Having gone through a T41p, T61, T420, and now the latest the x230 I’ve just received and started using the much anticipated Lenovo T440s. So, how good is it? How does it carry the Lenovo legacy of excellent build quality that we’ve come to expect from the Lenovo X- and T-Series? Let’s see, shall we.

Having owned a number of T-series and one X-series from Lenovo, you’d think I’m a bit of a Lenovo fanboy but it just so happens that before every purchase of the aforementioned computers, I’ve gone through extensive testing and settled for the computer that best catered to my needs of a serious computer for programming, writing, and surfing/mailing (which really goes without saying).

All but one time it’s been a Lenovo. I wanted a surf/mail/communication-unit for home and went with MacBook Air (2012 with Ivy Bridge).

This time, when purchasing the Lenovo T440s, I didn’t do my usual research. I felt comfortable that Lenovo wouldn’t let me down. I got my hands on this machine first thing and I got it with the following specs.

CPU: Haswell Core I7 4600U

RAM: 8GB 2600 Mhz DDR III

256 GB SSD (seems like it’s from samsung from what I can see)

Display: AVHA based 1920×1080 (the one sometimes referred to as IPS)

The rest is the same on all T440s i.e. the keyboard, trackpoint, trackpad (or is it called touchpad?) etc.

The Good

For those of you looking for a long winded review filled with benchmarking tests etc. Look elsewhere. Those of you who wants one guys completely honest opinion, stay and read on.

I won’t keep you curious any longer. There are some very good features of the T440s but they are far outweighed by the bad ones that I will talk about further on in this text.

The best is of course the keyboard. However, the T420 keyboard, the non chiclet, was way better. This feels more “plastic” and has a cheapish kind of clicky feeling to it. You’ll know what I mean when you try it. That said, I’m writing this review on it and I’d rather write on this one than on the Mac Book Air keyboard which is too shallow for my taste (though the build quality on that keyboard is a lot better than that of the Lenovo T440s).

Something I also appreciate a lot is that the T440s is silent. It’s not that it’s quiet or just has a slight buzz. It’s silent. Good. I can’t stand fan noises.

This is, however, where the good stops. The general speed and snappiness of the computer is quite OK. I don’t think anyone’s really impressed with the U-series of the CoreI7 but at the same tie it doesn’t let you down. 8 gigs of RAM and a speedy SSD also helps. No complaints there.

 The Bad

Writing about the bad features of a piece of technology in a review is always a balance act. You don’t want to go completely overboard since then it would seem like you are ranting or have an agenda or that you are simply one of those people who tend to exaggerate.

However, I cannot in good faith describe the screen on the Lenovo T440s as something other than disappointing. It literally breaks the deal. The build quality of the screen is so poor, I was thinking about sending the computer back but then I figured this is their best, at this point in time. This is what it was meant to be.

If you look at the top of the display, see image below, you can see how it looks like someone with small hands have manually put it together and had a little problem making it fit so they had to really squeeze. The bleeding is just ridiculous. If you are viewing the black bootscreen of Windows 8, it’s like looking at the Aurora Borealis.

I think I’ll stop there, about the screen. But take this to heart; you will not like it either.

After this, it’s clearly a “no buy” but I’ll go on and describe some other things – minor in comparison – that is clearly sub par.

The trackpoint – that I’ve been a fan of since day one using my T41 way back – is rendered useless by the new flat trackpad. The trackpad itself is quite OK. But quite OK doesn’t cut it. If you have used a Mac during the last 5 years you know what a trackpad should be. This one is not.

There’s nothing more that warrants mentioning on the bad side, but these two (three if you were a trackpoint user) things really puts a damper on the fine Legacy of Lenovo computers in the T-series.

A Couple of Reflections

Since I’m a Lenovo fan at heart i.e. I’ve really had more that good use of their earlier products, I want to just use a couple of paragraphs here for reflection.

Why is the Lenovo T440s so subpar?

I was reading another review that stated that they felt that it was the thinness of it i.e. making a computer this thin must come with a cost. That cost is a little less of a quality craftsmanship.

I think not.

Again, look at the thinnest computer out there, the Macbook Air. It’s quality through and through. I can press the edges of that screen and it doesn’t even attempt to start bleeding backlight.

I simply think that they’ve not done their job with this one. It’s clear to me, having had 5 Lenovos in the past that have been stellar (I even dropped one in the ocean once and it still made it after it dried off) that they did not try hard enough with the T440s. It’s a shame.

Conclusion

If you’re anything like me, you will have read this review thinking “Meh, that’s one man’s opinion. I’ll see what other reviewers are saying”. You want to still believe that the T440s will be good enough for you.

Believe me when I tell you that you will be disappointed with the screen and the trackpad. I’m like you. I wanted the Lenovo T440s to be great. I wanted it to be 5 out of 5. I read up on it, as much as I could given that it’s just recently become available, and I saw some mentionings of what I’ve found to be the real downsides but alas I didn’t believe it.

So, I have no choice other than to set this computer to a 2 out of 5 rating i.e. I cannot recommend that you buy this computer. See if the T440 or the T440p can be a better choice but as far as I know, they also have the same trackpad as the T440s and unless a subpar trackpad floats your boat, then I’d rather go for a refurbished T430 or T430s and use the trackpoint instead.

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