Lenovo Thinkpad T440s – 6 months in

I’ve now had the Lenovo Thinkpad T440s as a work machine for the past 6 or 7 months. Here are some short observations, things I like, things I don’t like, things the broke, etc.

Things I do not like:

  • The gorram touchpad. Get it out of here! Horrible the way there is like a single button (the size of the entire touchpad), and a certain area for the right mouse button etc. Just unusable in my opinion
  • The keyboard used to be better… now it resembles something that comes from Cupertino, and is not as comfortable to use as the previous thinkpad-y keyboards
  • No more nipple buttons! How am I supposed to use the trackpoint (a.k.a. the nipple) without the two buttons below the keyboard? I’m not, that’s how! External mouse is basically an absolute necessity
  • They’ve slimmed it down so much the keyboard leaves marks on the screen when you have the lid closed. It’ll only get worse, and I hope it doesn’t permanently damage the screen. I do have a screen-filter in between so hopefully that protects the LCD slightly.

Things I like:

  • Screen is great. 14″, FullHD (yes, It’s not 1440p or whatever). You could get it with either a touchscreen or not. Obviously mine isn’t a touchscreen, as I was buying a laptop, not a tablet
  • 256GB SSD. Not the fastest out there, but I like
  • Connectivity. With the docking station, I have enough ports to fill my needs. USB 3.0, 2x Display Port (which I have connected to my two external Dell screens), etc. etc. I’ve missed the optical drive a few times. But not enough to get an external drive to lug around
  • The overall form factor, size and weight

Things that have broken or failed more than once, or annoyed me

This list is longer that I would like. Compared to previous Thinkpads that I have used or owned, this is unusual

  • SSD. Started failing when I was saving files (for instance), and eventually stopped being detected at boot. Replacement was sent by Lenovo, and I swapped it out. In hindsight, do not do this on your own. The case is a bitch to open. Get their onsite tech to do it.
  • Keyboard. Broke a button while fiddling with it. A piece of plastic came off and the button was forever broken. My fault entirely. Ordered a replacement keyboard, swapped it out. Easier than the SSD. A bit harder than some Thinkpad models in the past.
  • The piece of metal that keeps the ethernet cable in place! This is incredibly annoying. For some reason, the ethernet cable doesn’t *click* into place anymore. Something is missing. Not sure this is a warranty thing. I’ll just survive, I think. I use it in the dock about 70% of the time anyway
  • Issues with the external screens, when docked. I have two Dell U2713HM screens attached via Display Port cables to the dock. Randomly, the screens will go blank, even when the laptop is securely seated (and locked) into the dock. Sometimes resolutions get messed up, so that one screen has a lower resolution. This might be a Windows 8.1 issue too, but still, annoying. Issues waking up from sleep, or power save
  • Serviceability. I wish it was easier to open the case. Granted, I don’t have to do it. I can get their onsite or whatever to do it. But I liked how you could open the slot for memory, or the hard drive, or whatever, and not have to rip the entire case to bits. Screws are also not enough, there are plastic clips that *will* break if you are not careful when opening the case. I wish it was more like my T410s, where everything, more or less, was behind it’s own hatch and/or easily replaceable
  • Not available with more then 12 GB memory. Why? Why the I7 processor, but then limit the memory to 12GB? Doesn’t make sense in 2014…

Not sure I can recommend this laptop. There are a lot of annoying things with this machine. When docked, it works mostly great, and with the 256GB SSD, I7 processor, and with it’s dual DP ports supporting large external screens, it is a powerful rig. But a lot of annoying issues. Not sure what I would get, if I didn’t get this one. Apple is out, never liked HP.. what other business type machines are there that I would like? Dell? Always thought they were a bit clunky.. I dunno.

2 Replies to “Lenovo Thinkpad T440s – 6 months in”

  1. Hey Grelbar, just to let you know someone has read your review. I recently ordered the T440s just to have a look at it and was pretty sure about it, the only thing that put me off was the touchpad and not knowing if the right-click will work better with updates and newer firmware installed. Maybe you know of this?

    The keyboard seems like one of the best to me, certainly better than with Macs or the Dell XPS 15 that I had also considered, but sorted out because of issues with rescaling its high display resolution and the whole system causing too much heat.

    Just today I’ve had a closer look at the X1 Carbon 2014 as an alternative to the T440s, but the keyboard and the adaptive keyrow put me off. Also, compared to my configuration for the T440s (1TB SSD Samsung Evo, 12 GB RAM), it’s worse (512GB SSD, 8 GB RAM) for the same price. Still it seems it even has a better display than the T440s.

    So, with 14 inches, good battery life, a quality screen and usable SSD and RAM, there are only so few options left it seems. What do you say – would you recommend the T440s – and would you recommend it over the X1 Carbon 2014?

    Cheers

  2. Hi, and thanks for commenting!

    I’ve just given up on the trackpad entirely, so I’m not sure about the right-click issue. Using the trackpoint, the clicking is still not comfortable to me. It’s further away than I’d like, and the tactile feel just doesn’t feel right.

    As with any review, my views are subjective. You might like that keyboard, or you might hate it. Personally, having owned maybe.. 6 different Thinkpads, this is not the most comfortable keyboard out of the lot.

    I actually have a colleague who has the 2014 X1, he has no complaints (I asked), but then again, he’s not a power user or anything. With that configuration, you can be pretty sure the T440s will not disappoint performance wise. As for the display, I would say that’s a definite strong side of the 440s. Out of those two, I would pick the 440s, simply because it has more I/O ports without a port replicator, and because of the performance (though you probably wouldn’t see much of a difference here). The 1440p screen on the X1 is enticing, though…

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