Lenovo ThinkPad T410 Review

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The Lenovo ThinkPad T410 is a 14.1-inch widescreen business notebook following a long line of Lenovo and IBM models before it. The T410 is offered as a full-size system and in a slimmed-down model called the ThinkPad T410s. Besides being much thinner, the primary difference between these two systems is the T410s is built around low-power components, and the T410 is more performance focused.

For those not completely in touch with the ThinkPad family, they all have one thing in common; they are all black with a nice rubbery texture on the exterior (except the Edge series). This has been a tradition going back well into the IBM days, which Lenovo has yet to change. Another prominent feature are the large stainless steel screen hinges, which many notebooks prefer to hide with plastic covers or other forms of camouflage.

Outside of the black paint and hinges, the ThinkPad series is pretty minimalistic from the exterior. Besides the small ThinkPad logo on the edge of the screen cover, the exterior is a blank canvas. The paint we mentioned above holds up very well to the abuse you might encounter in a typical day. Even on very old models, the paint takes a long time to wear through and resists all but the heaviest of scratches. The only downside is the fingerprints that can collect from oily fingers which you can make out in the photo below. These are simple enough to wipe off though and take time to build up.

The ThinkPad T410 review which Lenovo was kind enough to loan to us came equipped with a matte-textured WXGA+ (1440x900) resolution panel. This display panel comes standard with LED-backlighting and offers a reasonable brightness range. With about 15 levels to chose from, you can easily find a comfort zone no matter if you are working in a pitch-black room or a bright office. Color saturation seemed very reasonable, although most consumer glossy panels do have a slight edge. Contrast was about average, with black levels appearing dark gray but not completely black. Reflections off the matte surface were minimal at worst, keeping glare from bright overhead lighting or the Sun out of your eyes.

When most people hear the brand name ThinkPad, aside from the black case, the other thing that comes to mind right away is an excellent keyboard. The ThinkPad T410 is no exception. The keyboard is very comfortable to type on for hours on end and offers spacing and feedback that helps to reduce typing errors. Lenovo recently adjusted the key spacing to reduce the gaps between keys and also to lower the chance of food dropping into the framework. With great support the keyboard shows barely any sign of flexing under even the most fingertip-numbing typing. Feedback and noise from each key is nice, with a very mild click when each key is completely pressed.

Our Lenovo ThinkPad T410 came equipped with a midrange Intel Core i5 560M processor clocked at 2.66GHz, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive, and a NVIDIA Optimus NVS 3100M graphics card. The operating system is Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, making only 2GB of RAM an odd configuration, but it's a simple upgrade after the fact. The T410 had no trouble handling our daily needs while we reviewed it, using it at home or in the office, with office productivity applications, our web-based content management system, as well as watching SD and HD movies on our off-time.

For 3D-intensive applications the NVS 3100M graphics card works pretty well, although it ranks lower-midrange compared to the more powerful cards often found in 15 or 17-inch notebooks. What this translates to for the end-user is you might have to scale back settings in games to maintain consistent framerates at the screens native resolution, or wait a bit longer in CAD applications for objects to render. For the average user who purchases this system for a standard productivity-based day-to-day workload, the graphics card is more than plenty for decoding HD-video or handling Windows 7 Aero.

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