So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM
Lenovo's ThinkPad notebooks have often been a benchmark by which other manufacturers have been judged.
- Sturdy construction, comfortable keyboard, dual pointing devices, keyboard light
- Only 1GB RAM, slow hard drive, no webcam
It might not look pretty, but the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM sure feels good to use. You should definitely consider it if you want a laptop that will be comfortable to use either on the road or in the office and you don't need a lot of speed for taxing tasks.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
For many years ThinkPad notebooks have been the benchmark by which other notebooks have been measured, purely because they are so well engineered and sturdy. If you don't have a need for speed and don't care that your laptop isn't available in five shades of blue with pinstripes, then the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM should be close to the top of your shopping list.
The slightly wedge-shaped Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM is a 14.1in laptop that is primed for business users and students who can afford it. It's not a model that's geared towards entertainment, but it is perfect for long sessions of typing and staring at the screen. Its keyboard is extremely comfortable to use: big keys, responsive bounce-back and no out of place keys to trip you while you type.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM's screen is held to the base with latches when it is closed. It has strong hinges that will keep it in place if you use it on public transport, although heavy bumps will cause the screen to move. It has a native resolution of 1280x800, and it's not a glossy screen so it can be viewed in any environment without suffering reflectivity problems. Its side viewing angles are adequate up to around 130 degrees, but its vertical angles could be better. We love the fact that the screen isn't too bright; it's bright enough to be viewed while outdoors but it won't burn your eyes when you use it at night.
A light built into the screen shines down on the keyboard, making it slightly easier to type in the dark without having to switch on a bedside lamp. The light is useful, but it's time that Lenovo looked into making the keyboard backlit instead.
At 14.1in, the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM is comfortable to use while on the road. However, if you use the maximum performance power mode and don't disable the wireless adapter its standard battery will run out of juice fast. In our DVD rundown test it lasted 1hr 39min. It will give you over two hours if you employ a balanced power profile and don't run many intensive tasks.
The unit won't get hot while it's resting on your lap for long periods of time, even if you've been running intensive office applications. It has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 CPU and integrated Intel X4500 graphics, but only 1GB of RAM and a relatively slow 160GB hard drive. This configuration returned a score of 80 in our WorldBench 6 suite, which is a sluggish result. More RAM and a faster hard drive would benefit this machine greatly.
The hard drive only recorded a transfer rate of 12.77 megabytes per second while copying data from one folder to another. In our MP3 encoding tests, the ThinkPad T400 6473TBM finished in 1min 7sec, which is exactly what we were expecting.
For anything more than creating office documents and browsing the Web, this laptop probably won't be of much use unless you up its RAM and give it a faster hard drive. It produced a very low score in the Photoshop portion of the WorldBench 6 suite, so editing photos might be frustrating.
Its performance in taxing applications aside, the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM is a pleasure to use. It comes with a TouchPoint device as well as a trackpad, and it has buttons for controlling volume. It comes with an Intel Wifi Link 5300 wireless networking adapter, which can run in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums at up to 802.11n speed. You also get Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, three USB 2.0 ports, a D-Sub port, a DVD burner, and SD and ExpressCard/54 slots. The only thing it's missing is a webcam.
If you're looking for a solid laptop for the office or the classroom, the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 6473TBM is hard to pass up. It's very comfortable to use, and despite not being powerful it is useful for running office applications, and even watching DVDs now and then.
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