Lenovo ThinkPad T410 Specifications and Features

You probably have a pretty good idea of what a ThinkPad Classic laptop looks like, but features are still important. The T410 is available with CPUs ranging from an already fast i5-520M up to the i7-620M, with or without discrete graphics. Every standard feature is available, along with several extras catering to business and enterprise users. Given the target market, the pricing and build quality are higher than most consumer laptops, but the current sale puts the T410 in reach. Looking for a laptop to last you through the next four or five years? Look no further.

Lenovo ThinkPad T410 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-520M (2.40GHz/2.93GHz Turbo 3MB L3)
Core i5-540M (2.53GHz/3.07GHz Turbo 3MB L3)
Core i7-620M (2.66GHz/3.33GHz Turbo 4MB L3)
Chipset Intel QM57
Memory 2x1GB to 2x4GB DDR3-1066/DDR3-1333
2x2GB DDR3-1066
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro NVS 3100M
Intel HD Graphics IGP
Display 14.1" LED Matte 16:10 WXGA+ (1440x900)
14.1" LED Matte 16:10 WXGA (1280x800)
Hard Drive(s) 320GB 5400RPM HDD
250GB-500GB 7200RPM HDD
320GB Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9320423AS
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Networking Gigabit Ethernet (Intel 82577LM)
Intel WiFi Link 6200 AGN
ThinkPad 802.11bgn
Intel WiFi 1000/6300 or WiMAX 6250
Mobile Broadband
Gobi 2000 3G with GPS (Optional)
Bluetooth (Optional)
Audio HD Audio (2 speakers with mic/headphone jacks)
Battery 4-cell
6-Cell 2.6Ah
9-cell 2.8Ah 94Wh
Front Side Flash Memory Card Reader
Cover Latch
Left Side Smart Card (Optional)
Hard Drive Bay
3 x USB 2.0
Cooling exhaust
Right Side ExpressCard/34
WiFi On/Off Switch
1 x eSATA
Headphone jack
Ultrabay Slim Optical Drive (DVDRW)
1 x Powered USB 2.0
Mini 1394a FireWire
Kensington Lock
Back Side 56K Modem
AC Power Connection
Cooling exhaust
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 32/64-bit
Windows 7 Professional 32/64-bit
Windows 7 Ultimate 32/64- bit
Dimensions 13.13" x 9.41" x 1.09-1.26" (WxDxH)
Weight 4.91 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras 2MP Webcam (Optional)
89-Key keyboard
5-in-1 Flash reader
Warranty 1-year depot warranty
2-year and 3-year available
Accidental damage and onsite available
Pricing Starting at $1265
On sale through March 31, 2010 starting at $919
Review system: $1940 (on sale for $1494)

In terms of features, the T410 includes everything you'd expect, plus a few extras not found on competing laptops. It has four USB 2.0 ports, with one port that you can set up to provide power even when the laptop is off (i.e. for charging a cell phone, iPod, or similar device). It has an eSATA port and mini-FireWire, providing all the external interfaces users are likely to need. An optional docking station connects via the bottom of the laptop, providing for additional USB and video outputs. The T410 includes a VGA output with DisplayPort as the digital output option; single-link resolutions will work fine with a simple adapter, but if you want to run a high resolution 2560x1440/2560x1600 LDC you'll need an active adapter—which can cost $100. Ideally, you'll want an external LCD with native DisplayPort support if you plan on using an external display (Dell LCDs like the U2711 or U2410 are a good option), or else grab a docking station for DVI support. The Lenovo T410 also has an optional Smart Card reader for business users, ExpressCard/34, and a flash memory reader. The optical drive is in an Ultrabay Slim SATA bay that's 9.5mm high, and with an optional adapter you can easily remove the DVDRW for a second HDD/SSD.

As mentioned, the CPU options are quite limited compared to many companies: you can get an i5-520M on the "low end" (which is hardly a slow CPU), a midrange i5-540M like our test unit, or you can go all out with the i7-620M. Note that the 620M is still a dual-core plus Hyper-Threading design, not to be confused with the quad-core plus Hyper-Threading CPUs like the i7-720QM. The only discrete GPU available is NVIDIA's Quadro NVS 3100M. Unlike the Quadro FX line that's optimized for workstation duties, the Quadro NVS is in essence a long-term availability (18+ months) business equivalent of the GeForce line. The NVS 3100M has similar specs to the G210M/G310M: 16 SPs (CUDA cores) and 64-bit memory interface running at around 1600MHz. The exact clocks on the NVS 3100M in our test system are 606/1468/1620 core/shader/RAM; the last G210M laptop we looked at had clocks of 606/1468/1580, so the only difference is in the RAM clock. Also note that driver updates will have to come from Lenovo, which is keeping with the corporate IT target audience.

One feature that definitely stands out for the mobile crowd these days is the LCD. First, the LCD is a matte panel—hallelujah! Like many business laptops, the ThinkPad Classic bucks the glossy trend in every way, so you won't need to worry about fingerprints or smudges on the chassis or LCD. Going a step further, the LCD also bucks the 16:9 aspect ratio trend, providing users with a very usable WXGA+ (1440x900) native resolution. Personally, this is the perfect resolution for 14" laptops, and it's great to get something other than a standard 1366x768 LCD. (WXGA 1280x800 panels are available on some of the T410 models; the WXGA+ is a $30 upgrade.) Unfortunately, while we love the matte panel and the higher resolution, contrast ratio is poor, as are the viewing angles. The LCD is still perfectly useable, but outside of providing a good working resolution, it doesn't impress.

The input options on the T410 are worth some discussion as well. The T410 comes with the standard TrackPoint device with a multi-touch touchpad, and our test unit includes an optional fingerprint scanner. Some people love the TrackPoint device and others dislike it; personally, there's no beating a regular mouse for accuracy, but I was able to use both the TrackPoint and touchpad without any complaints. The touchpad has a nice lightly textured surface that enables you to feel the edge of the tracking surface without having to look at it, and the multi-touch features worked flawlessly. If you don't like either the touchpad or the TrackPoint, you can use the included software (Fn+F8) to disable either one or both devices. My only issue with the touchpad is the placement of the two buttons; they're located on the curved edge of the chassis, a little too close to the edge for my taste. My natural instinct is to reach a bit higher up, which puts my finger partly on the touchpad and causes problems. This is a minor complaint, however, and one I'm sure I would adapt to if the T410 was the only laptop I used for an extended period of time.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the T410 is the keyboard. Forget chiclet keyboards or keyboards with flat keys packed too close together in order to have "100% standard" key size. The T410 includes beveled and contoured keys that feel very much like a regular desktop keyboard. In comparison to other laptops, this is easily the most comfortable keyboard for typing that I've used on a laptop in a very long time—and it fits this into a 14.1" chassis! There's far less hand and finger fatigue for me after typing on the T410, and keys have a satisfying "click" without requiring too much force. The only complaint I have is a minor one with the keyboard layout: the Fn key. Some prefer this key to be in the bottom-left corner, but I like to have the Ctrl key there, with the Fn key moved in one spot. (Edit: Thankfully, you can switch this in the BIOS, as readers pointed out.) The new T410 keyboard also adds some convenient features like double-sized Esc and Delete keys to make them easy to find, and dedicated Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys. Another cool feature is a quick "zoom" function accessed via Fn+Space that swaps between the current resolution and 800x600 in about half a second. We'd prefer a 16:10 aspect ratio for the lower resolution (i.e. 1024x640), but if your vision isn't great it's still a quick way to zoom in on smaller text without the need to use the change resolution dialog.

Overall, the ThinkPad T410 is exactly what we would expect from the classic Lenovo laptop. It's very comfortable to use, built extremely well, and it delivers excellent performance courtesy of the Core i5 CPU and discrete GPU. There are a few options missing from the T410 that some users might want, but Lenovo caters to these desires with other models. If you'd prefer switchable graphics so that you can get better battery life, the T410s (shipping in April) adds that feature, but it costs quite a bit more—it also has a multi-touch LCD option and a couple Intel SSDs to choose from. If you have no need for a discrete GPU, the T410 is available without the Quadro NVS for about $100 less.

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  • erple2 - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    You need to compare the ThinkPad (Lenovo's business line) with the business line of other companies (like HP, Dell, etc) at the same price/capabilities point. I've spilled several liquids (granted, mostly just water) on my keyboard of the Elitebook I've gotten from work, and they drain out as they should. No damage (that I can tell) from the spill. The drive cage also has a pretty good protection built in.

    I have never compared the Ideapad (more consumer-driven) line to other business notebooks of other manufacturers, so I can't make those comparisons. Though a quick glance over the Ideapad website shows lots of glossy screened consumer glitzy features that I also don't like on other consumer based laptops.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    IdeaPad is definitely more for consumers IMO. As for HP business laptops, I've got an HP ProBook that I'm working on reviewing as well, so stay tuned to see how that compares. Unfortunately, determining reliability is a bit beyond the scope of a 30-day product evaluation, as they all tend to work well within that time period. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    By PSU do you mean the power brick? Because I know they changed the plug between the T43 and the T60.

    A note on the warranties: I don't know if they still have the site set up (my T43 went out of warranty a few yrs ago) but it is worth checking if they still track warranty periods by serial number. They at least used to have a site set up where you could check whether a certain system was still in warranty. Important if you are thinking of buying used or selling, no need to deal with receipts or anything, they track what coverage it has.

    Part of the reason I have not upgraded is the loss of the Flexview screen. I love my 1400x1050 IPS screen, most don't match the resolution and I'm not sure any match the viewing angles.
  • DukeN - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    Amen brother - can definitely say agree with everyone in there.

    I can not even fathom using another laptop after having a W500 and T61/T60 the last few years.

    Great matte screens, standard power bricks and amazing build quality - no creaking, loose hinges or plasticky feels after years.

    I wonder if the screen quality is noticeably improved in the W series, or the T410s.

    Some great promos came out here in Canada in March, lots of folks bought really nicely outfitted T410s' for $1300ish after taxes.
  • ekul - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    I had a thinkpad (T42) through my last employer and I miss it everyday. The keyboards are amazing, the hinges take any abuse you can offer, the thinkvantage driver program makes sure you always have the newest drivers and did long before windows 7, they are quiet and they are unobtrusive. Everyone I know who has used a thinkpad on a regular basis comes around to the conclusion they are the best.

    I spent nearly 4 years lugging that thinkpad around both my and client locations. It still looked like it had just come out of the box. It never put a foot wrong. Meanwhile, I had clients on their 3rd or 4th dell latitudes that had suffered various calamities from broken screens, dead motherboards to overheated cpus.

    I almost forgot the absolute best feature. Standardized powerbricks means you can forget yours at home and IT has some spares sitting in their desk and it just works, regardless of what model you have. One of those features where once you need it you realize the brilliance of the engineer who fought for it.
  • jonup - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    The function key is at the wrong place!
    We both a few R61 about two years ago and they had a superior hw than anything else in the office and they ran slow as hell. They were ugly, heavy and did I mentioned the function key? Thank god they got passed down to the staff so I do not have to hear the managers complaining about them all the time!
  • Xenoterranos - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    There's actually an option in the BIOS to switch the functionality of the ctrl and fn keys. They'll still say fn and ctrl, but they'll operate they way their locations are supposed to!

    I bought this laptop after being disgusted with a compaq that literally disintegrated after only 2 years. Screws where falling out of the thing!
    I replaced that with a cheap (500$) acer that barely lasted a year before the power plug broke off the motherboard.

    For me, the deciding factor was the 3 year accidental damage protection for 160. (with student discounts). I got mine 20 days after they where announced :)

    And for anyone wondering about thinkpad vs macbook build quality, you could probably bash a mac into pieces with a thinkpad, and still use the thinkpad afterward :)
  • jonup - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    "both" should read "bought" Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    As a former fan of Thinkpads, I have to say that this unit seems like a big disappointment, though the review "sounds" positive, there are a lot of problems pointed out that make the laptop actually sort of "meh".

    In any case, in IBM's defense, not knowing about the new ones, if I need a part for the IBM thinkpad line, IBM is usually not only the quickest and best source, but also the least expensive. Case in point, a customer damaged their hearsink/fan assembly. Cheapest price for a replacement was IBM parts, who had it in stock (5 year old laptop) shipped it 2-day for about $68, and it came with screw hole covers (stickers) to replace any that lost their stick after replacement.

    Now, Lenovo might have similar service, but the failure rate of the laptops that I see is way up (anecdotal, to be sure) and the quality is down. Of course, the same has happened with Toshiba, as they all race to the bottom. But IBM I always felt was more like Apple in putting quality over "low, low prices".

    In any case, I think it would be crazy to buy this laptop. "The blah blah blah is wonderful for the business user". Business users should continue to switch to the much more pleasant MacBook Pro and throw VMWare on it if they need Windows. Then they can use the kick-butt snapshots, which you should be talking about, and talking to niche vendors about getting their dragging rears in gear to natively support the platform. This will help the business long term, and probably the Lenovos of the world as well. They shouldn't be able to count on the trapped consumer any more. They might even have to spend some time trying to improve the product.
  • Drag0nFire - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    I actually think the T410 is fine for a 14 in chassis. The T510 (15 inch) is much less palatable competitor to the MacBook Pro. It actually comes in at 1.5in thick (and let's not even talk about weight)!

    Also of note, although the T410s was advertised with switchable graphics, Lenovo later dropped this feature.

    I'm a long time fan of thinkpads, but I think the Lenovo is shifting in a very negative manner to respond to threats from "cheap" laptop manufacturers (Acer, Asus, HP). The T series used to be in the same category as the Macbook pro, a premium machine. The premium category is gone from the Lenovo line-up. You simply can't build the elegance of a 15in macbook pro for a base price of $800.

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