Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

This no-nonsense, frill-free laptop is all about minimum fuss, but we struggle to see how it can command such a high price point.


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CNET Rating
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When contemplating the T440s, it's rather obvious that Lenovo's engineers prioritise functionality over form. Looking like a throwback to the boring black blocks that were laptops in the early 2000s, it's not the kind of laptop that customers buy to match their Jimmy Choos. Rather than spend several hundred dollars on fancy cases or speakers designed by rappers, Lenovo has instead delivered a laptop that is designed to do one thing — get the job done.

Editor's Note: The Lenovo ThinkPad T440s is available in a number of customisable configurations, including touch-enabled and hybrid mechanical hard drive options. Our review is based on the supplied configuration and the quoted price at time of review.

Design and features

Thick black plastic is the material of choice for Lenovo's ThinkPad T series range, and the T440s doesn't go against the grain, using it throughout the construction. The case doesn't use any fancy designs to make it look skinny or light — it's a simple, black rectangular design. Opening the screen reveals the 14.0-inch screen, which comes with the very crisp resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Yet it's not a touchscreen, which is hard to fathom in this day and age of Ultrabooks, particularly given the $1999 price point. No wonder this T440s model ships with Windows 7 Pro, as the lack of a touchscreen would make Windows 8 a painful experience.

Also missing is any form of backlighting for the keyboard, a mysterious omission. However, we should point out how good the keyboard is for typing, with the Precision Keyboard design one of the best we've seen for heavy typists. The concave key design feels just right, and the amount of resistance on each key is also perfect.

If only the touchpad was as good, with left-clicking feeling clunky and inaccurate. A small pointing stick, also known as a nub, sits in the middle of keyboard, though we're not sure if many people would prefer to use this instead of the touchpad. But it's a ThinkPad staple, so we'd have been aghast if the nub had gone missing.

Connections, performance and battery

So far, so average, but let's see what resides inside. Intel's popular Core i5-4200U CPU features twin HyperThreaded cores that max out at 2.6GHz under load, and Lenovo has given it a rather slim 4GB of DDR3 memory to work with.

Despite the high price and having plenty of room for one, there's no sight of a dedicated GPU, instead relying on Intel's mediocre Intel HD Graphics 4400. Long term storage duties are handled by a single 256GB SSD. At this price it's not unreasonable to also expect a larger mechanical drive included for backups, but Lenovo has left it to the single SSD.

It must be a respectable model though, as the T440s performed extremely well in the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, with a score of 2625 being slightly faster than most of the competition. Given the lack of a dedicated GPU, the gaming performance was surprisingly high, scoring 4643, less than 20% slower than laptops that include NVIDIA's GT740 GPU. PowerMark's battery test puts the laptop under the heaviest possible load, and the T440s managed to last 253 minutes, a rather average result compared to everybody else.

If there is one area where the T440s excels, it's in the connectivity department. Three USB 3.0 ports deliver high speed access to peripherals, while SD Combo Card reader and Smart Card reader will service the niche who use these extras. Strangely there's no HDMI output; Lenovo has instead supplied Mini DisplayPort and VGA outputs. At this price we also expected to see 802.11ac, and were yet again disappointed by its absence.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated Test

  • 1889
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 1602
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 2231
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 2215
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 2625
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 2394
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • [CRASHED]
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 1727
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 1690
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 1844
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


3DMARK 2013 Edition - Cloud Gate

  • 5101
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 2165
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 4590
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 4030
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 4643
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 4667
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 5597
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 3847
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 2080
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 2432
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


PowerMark - Battery Life (minutes)

  • 270
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 289
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 198
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 276
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 253
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 243
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 257
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 229
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 231
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 261
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


Conclusion

The ThinkPad T440s is a strange contrast in pros and cons. Offering excellent productivity performance with a crisp display, it's then hobbled by the lack of a touchscreen and missing GPU. But most of all we simply cannot see how Lenovo can justify such a high price point for this product specification when the competition is so fierce.

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lalex81
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"You aren't paying for looks"

lalex81 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Great screen, keyboard and speed

The Bad:Touchpad is inaccurate

I found this review quite harsh against the Lenovo T440s when it has plenty of advantages over the competition. Great speed, a larger screen (14") than most competitors, the best keyboard in the market which is not only great for typing but is also spill and dust resistant.

And the understated looks for me is a pro not a con.

Lastly one of the best features Lenovo has is you can upgrade the laptops yourself with just a screwdriver. Hard drive too small? Buy a bigger one online and replace it in a couple of minutes. How many brands let you do this at the moment?




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User Reviews / Comments  Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

  • lalex81

    lalex81

    Rating8

    "I found this review quite harsh against the Lenovo T440s when it has plenty of advantages over the competition. Great speed, a larger screen (14") than most competitors, the best keyboard in the ma..."

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