The Lenovo ThinkPad T430s is a solid business laptop. Although it's lightweight and thin, it still offers powerful hardware and an abundance of configuration options, including discrete enterprise-friendly graphics.
Pint-sized powerhouse. The ThinkPad T430s runs on an Intel Core i5 processor paired with 8 GB of RAM, which speeds through productivity tasks with ease. An Nvidia N13M-NS graphics card helps with more intense graphics- and video-editing related tasks, while Nvidia's Optimus technology automatically switches between the integrated and discrete graphics to achieve the best power usage. Time between charges can be enhanced by opting for a bigger battery.
The T430s' number of customization options is a major highlight. Along those lines, you may want to upgrade the comparatively small 320 GB hard drive to either a roomier model or a faster solid-state drive. The laptop is packed with lots of business-class features, including Smart Card and Express Card readers and an optional mobile broadband card.
As good as it gets -- almost. The slim and trim Lenovo T430s is a breeze to lug around all day, experts say, and more important, it has the traditionally excellent ThinkPad keyboard. Faithful ThinkPad loyalists might have a challenge adjusting to the glossy keys, which were switched from the usual matte finish to accent the backlighting on the keyboard.
The touchpad provides a generally excellent experience, although some reviewers find it a tad too small and occasionally prone to ignoring multi-touch gestures. The TrackPoint pointing stick, on the other hand, performs supremely well. Port selection is fairly robust and full of business-friendly connections, but lacks a consumer-friendly HDMI port.
Classic ThinkPad black. The notebook follows the typical ThinkPad black business look, which critics call attractive in an understated way. Audio sounds good, although Laptop Magazine calls it a bit hollow. The 1,600-by-900-pixel display is another mixed bag; it's sharp and bright, but lacks color vibrancy and suffers from slightly below-average viewing angles.
No complaints. Lenovo's one-year warranty is par for the course, but the company has a sterling reputation for both build quality and customer service. Two- and three-year protection and service plans are available for an additional cost.
A rock-solid value. The final sticker price of the Lenovo ThinkPad T430s depends on how you configure it, of course, but even the default $800 version offers a big bang and tremendous ergonomics for your buck.
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1. Laptop Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent The ThinkPad T430s earns an Editors' Choice award at Laptop Magazine despite its slightly dull onscreen colors. "The Lenovo ThinkPad T430s is a first-class business notebook that strikes just the right balance of power, portability and endurance," Piltch says.
Review: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s Review, Avram Piltch, Aug. 24, 2012
2. Computer Shopper
Review Credibility: Excellent The notebook gets another Editors' Choice award at ComputerShopper.com, as well as 4.5 stars out of 5, even though Bsales has minor qualms with the screen. "Business users looking for a balance between power and portability can't do better than the T430s," he writes.
Review: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s Review and Ratings, Jamie Bsales, Oct. 23, 2012
3. Notebook Check.net
Review Credibility: Excellent While this review of a European variant of the ThinkPad T430s isn't as enthusiastic as others, the all-around package earns a score of 84 percent. Ngo finds the screen too dim and the battery life too brief.
Review: Review Lenovo ThinkPad T430s Notebook, Allen Ngo, Sept. 30, 2012