Lenovo has just revealed its latest Ultrabook, the ThinkPad T430u. And we were fortunate enough to be given some special time for an in-depth hands on with the ruggedly handsome Ultrabook.
First off, the tech specs. Lenovo Malaysia will be bringing in two specifications for the 14-inch T430u, one with an Intel Core i5-3317u processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk with 24GB mSATA SSD. The higher configuration comes with a faster Core i7-3517 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk with 24GB mSATA SSD. Both come with an anti-glare LED screen, NVIDIA GT620M GPU, Windows 7 Professional, and 3 years on-site warranty. Both models will come be available from the end of September, starting from RM3799.
Read on after the break for more.
Despite the 21mm uniform thickness, the T430u retains the iconic ThinkPad sturdiness. In fact, the 1.8kg Ultrabook somehow feels heavier than standard Ultrabooks. Perhaps it was the slight bulkiness of the laptop that makes it rather uncomfortable for carrying it around for long periods.
Otherwise, this is a ThinkPad on a diet. You’d think the thin and light frame would mean some compromises in durability, but this is definitely not the case here. There was little flex anywhere, even on the lid (which, unfortunately was a tad thick, both the lid itself as well as the bezel).
The screen hinge, which like most ThinkPads can be opened a full 180 degrees flat, is also a plus point. Most laptops these days have rather loose hinges that, once opened, would wobble. This is especially the case with the Ultrabooks, which leads to an impression that the laptop has cheap build quality. Luckily enough, the T430u has a very sturdy hinge, even better (subjectively) when compared side by side with the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
Another interesting aspect of the T430u lies underneath the laptop. The first thing that strikes you is that there are no visible screws to open the back cover. Instead, Lenovo has decided to go for a fresh approach, with a latch similar to the ones that opens a laptop battery, which opens the entire back panel.
Underneath the panel, users can remove the battery as well as the hard disk. The fan is easily cleaned as well. The memory modules are underneath another panel that forms part of the rollcage.
Unfortunately, the T430u is rather lacking in terms of I/O ports, with only two USB 3.0 ports in addition to the SD card reader, HDMI, Ethernet and MiniDisplayPort. Also disappointing is the inclusion of a physical hard disk with mSATA SSD instead of SSDs outright. In addition, the thick bezel also gives a bulky feel to the T430u. And worse, the speakers on this laptop were too soft.
Inside, Lenovo is also introducing the Windows 8-esque SimpleTap Toolbar, which displays all the user’s most used applications into large icons. Unfortunately we were not able to explore this feature more due to time limitations.
Nonetheless, the ThinkPad T430u Ultrabook is a solid addition to the ThinkPad family, and one we’re looking forward to reviewing when it becomes available at the end of this month.