Aside from an HP Sleekbook 14, a Dell 910 netbook and the awful Samsung NC10 (A replacement for my blown 910) back when they were fashionable i’ve never bought a brand new laptop. Instead i’e relied on hand-me-downs and workplace cast-offs to provide my portable computing.
After a succession of laptop failures with cracked screens, dunked hardware and general brokenness i’m now on my backup-backup-backup laptop which is a rather bent and chipped HP Elitebook 6930p. Needless to say the wife isn’t happy. I’ve been eyeing up replacements from PC World namely the Lenovo 320s which features an SSD, FHD display and thin profile but breaks the bank at costing almost £400. Even with laptop trade-in (if they’d take the 6930p) that’s still £350.
Needless to say i needed to look at something else.
My criteria is:
- FHD Display
- 4th gen+i7 processor
- Big touchpad (for that modern look)
- SSD (optional)
- think and light profile
Having scouted around eBay, refurbished and second hand laptop retailers i stumbled upon what i am calling the find of the year.
A gorgeous Lenovo Thinkpad T440S Ultrabook (2014/15)
The T440s ticks all but one of my boxes and adds many more i never knew i needed. As for the compromise, i’ve had to install an SDD. The best price i’ve found for a Lenovo Thinkpad T440S on eBay is £220 inc delivery for a fully working clean machine with a minor crack in the bottom casing next to the vents.
Needless to say the T440s Thinkpad puts the 320s to shame in terms of specs:
- Mil-Spec construction
- Original Ultrabook sticker
- Intel vPro 2.1Ghz-3.3Ghz 64bit Dual Core I7 (4th Gen) CPU
- Windows 10
- Integral 4gb ram
- Additional 4gb ram
- 14in FHD 1080p IPS display
- Large button-less trackpad
- Internal 3 cell battery
- Hot swappable additional 3 cell battery
- AC Wireless card
- WWAN 3G card
- Thin and light design
…plus being a business machine you can tear the T440S down to nuts and bolts and build it back up again very easily which i discovered when installing a budget friendly 120gb mX300 SSD from crucial.com.
Needless to say i’m hooked and thinking of staring a Thinkpad collection.
Yes the T440s looks like a black slab but then again the simplicity of design really appeals to me. This machine “means business” and is not afraid of saying here I am, deal with it!
Yes the T440s is a bit thicker than the ultra-slim ultrabooks you’re probably lusting after but then again the build quality is amazing with little if any flex across the entire machine. Whats more this Thinkpad has all the ports you need and even supports adding 2 external monitors. Lenovo Thinkpad machines are built to last and there’s a massive community of Thinkpad owners still using 20 year old machines without many issues.
The screen is gorgeous with fantastic viewing angles due to the T440s FHD IPS display. It’s not touch unfortunately but an upgrade could be on the horizons.
The touchpad takes some getting used to as i’m not used to the downward travel as it clicks. I’m used to double tapping which also works. Its smooth, multi-touch capable and overall works well. If you’re a fan of Thinkpad Trackpoints this probably isn’t the laptop for you as the physical buttons have been integrated into the single touchpad panel which i believe feels strange. Its not an issue for me.
Everyone raves about the typing experience and its OK if you like that sort of thing.
Battery life in the T440s is fantastic even with the supplied used batteries and i easily get 6 hours out of it.| If you want larger capacity then there’s a massive 6 cell external battery you can upgrade to and its probably worth while refreshing the internal one too. I don’t have much use for hot-swapping having only one battery but it certainly makes for an unusual party trick.
I’d have preferred a quad core I7 CPU but there isn’t one for this model. You also cant upgrade the CPU and would have to switch to the chunky T440 or chunkier T440P the latter having a dedicated GPU but missing the swappable batteries. Its also limited to 4gb on-board and +8gb additional RAM which isn’t great, but enough for every day use.
And lastly the wife is happy and hopefully the T440s will survive many years of abuse by my 2 year old son. I’ve also got my eye on the Lenovo Thinkpad T440s’s little brother the X240 so stay tuned to see if i find a similar spec’d at a good price.