Lenovo ThinkPad T400s hands-on and impressions

We know a lot of people out there who take any changes to the ThinkPad line very seriously, so it's easy to see why Lenovo didn't make any huge revisions to the T400 formula when designing the new T400s. Sure, it's slimmer, lighter, and all around sleeker than big brother, but it's still a ThinkPad, and it's still tough as nails. You might think of it as the internals of the T400 stuffed into a slightly thicker version of the X300's case -- it might not quite fit into a manila envelope, but it's still pretty easy to forget you've got it in your bag. Of course, it's hard to cut down on size without sacrificing performance, and the T400s is no exception -- although our tester's 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo was more than capable of handling our day-to-day workload, the only graphics option is Intel's integrated 4500MHD chip, and that means hardcore image processing and most intense gaming are out. Good thing ThinkPad owners are all business, right?

Other nice tweaks include a revised keyboard layout with larger escape and delete keys and tighter spacing, louder speakers and a mute button to make VOIP calls easier, a powered USB port for device charging on the road, and our favorite, a new texturized multitouch trackpad that's one of the best we've ever used. Seriously. In contrast to the hyper-smooth glass pads found on the MacBook Pro, the T400s's pad is covered in tiny nubs, which feel amazing under your fingers and make gestures like pinch-to-zoom feel more precise, even if they actually contribute nothing. It's pretty great -- we wish all trackpads were like this.

The only real problem we see with the T400s is the price tag. Starting sticker is $1,599, meaning size and weight have to be your foremost priorities if you're picking this guy over the straight T400, which opens at $750 and arrives almost fully kitted out for $1,500. On paper it's a no-brainer, but side by side the clean lines and trimmed-down looks of the T400s make it a much harder decision. We just wish we could get one with a real graphics card.