Lenovo ThinkPad T430 Review: The Best Just Got Worse

by Reads (3,204)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 8
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 7
      • Usability
      • 7
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 6
      • Features
      • 7
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 7.14
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Great keyboard (see cons)
    • 15 hour battery life with 9-cell
    • Excellent build quality
    • Input/output port variety
  • Cons

    • Non-standard keyboard layout
    • Poor 1366x768 screen

Quick Take

The ThinkPad T430 is still "the king of 14-inch business notebooks" but the keyboard might not be changing for the better.

\"LenovoThe Lenovo ThinkPad T430 continues Lenovo\’s tradition of nondescript all-business designs placing that value function over form. The exterior is made of a strong carbon-fiber reinforced plastic which doesn\’t flex. The finally textured surface allows users to get a solid grip of the device. Overall the build quality is superb and among the strongest of any notebook we\’ve tested, thanks in part to the metal roll cage and strong chassis. Along with excellent build quality users can also expect long lasting performance thanks to the 94Wh 9-cell battery that gave a whopping 15 hours of battery life during our standard test. The T430 also shows its admiration for the business class with its wide variety of ports. It has expected USB ports but also has DisplayPort (albeit a mini version), a SmartCard reader (a $10 option), an ExpressCard/34 slot (good for adding 3G cards) and a pair of fast USB 3.0 ports.

The T430\’s keyboard is a departure from Lenovo; instead opting for the increasingly popular Chiclet style keyboard with extra spacing between the keys. The feel of the keyboard is actually quite nice offering encouraging tactile feedback, even considering the low travel of the keys. While the feel of the keyboard is good, the layout is less than satisfactory, meaning that buttons are not where they usually are. The Home, End, PgUp, PgDn, Insert, and Delete keys are all over the place instead of being cluster neatly at the top right.

The standard screen is also subpar offering 720p screen (1366×768 resolution), though it does have an anti-glare coating. However, that\’s about all the screen has going for it, as the color reproduction is poor leaving colors looking dull and unimaginative. The biggest problem however comes back to the 1366×768 resolution, which makes multi-tasking all but impossible.

Even though there are a few downfalls to this machine, it still remains the king of 14-inch business notebooks. The obvious down side is the 1366×768 resolution screen, which is just two small to multitask efficiently. Luckily there is a higher resolution option of 1600×900 available to alleviate this problem. Secondly there is the keyboard. While the new Chiclet keyboard feels for great, it\’s all for not if users don\’t know where to find the keys. Excluding these few things the T430 is a solid device. The Chassis strength is excellent; providing little flex, and the battery is 9-cell battery is unbelievable providing a whopping 15hours of battery life. Not to mention that it has a plethora of input/output ports including a Display Port with audio. The Lenovo T430 offers reasonable value starting at $849.


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