On March 18, Lenovo announced the newest addition to its computing family – the ThinkPad T431. Coming on the market in April for approximately $950, this ultrabook has been designed with aesthetic simplicity in mind.
The T-Series was described as the “flagship” of the ThinkPad brand in a Notebook Review back in 2011. The series has consistently sold well and ranks highly in comparison to other laptop brands in customer surveys. Given its popularity, it would be risky tinkering with the design too much, which is the logic Lenovo has maintained. The series was created with business users predominantly in mind, and the T431 holds true to that philosophy.
With the ultrabook (a lightweight but powerful laptop) movement gaining ground, less is more when it comes to new technology. The T431 is the thinnest of the T-series to date. It has a 14-inch screen, weighs 1.63 kg and is only 0.8 inches thick. The traditional carbon fiber top and magnesium exterior guarantees that this ultrabook is no delicate featherweight. Its keyboard has been streamlined, and the placement of keys have been tweaked. An optimized trackpad has also been developed – it is larger and has a smoother surface.
The solid hardware specifications include Intel 3rd generation Core™ processors with Turbo Boost, 12 GB of memory, a HD+ screen and enhanced security.
Credit for the final product is shouldn’t just be limited to its designers. As part of the initial research for their creation, Lenovo interviewed individuals in the USA, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, India and Brazil. Targeting the “millennial” demographic, Lenovo talked with both ThinkPad and Non-ThinkPad users, who were consulted, shadowed and interviewed over nine months. As a result of this market survey, 26 aspects of the T-series design were altered, although the overall “look” of the computer remains in line with its predecessors. In the words of Vice President and General Manager of the ThinkPad Business Unit Dilip Bhatia, “We obsess over the pursuit of perfection.”
The Thinkpad series of laptop – which have evolved continually from the early IBM Lenovo products – are proving to be the company’s flagship brand in the USA. The entire series are viewed by users as reliable, durable and well-suited to business needs.
Initial reception to the T431s has been positive: the popular mainstay features of the T-series have been retained, but there is sufficient innovation in the new design to justify the cost of an upgrade. The lack of a touchscreen is the only drawback to the model. As the use of tablets and smartphones in businesses continue to rise, the inclusion of a touchscreen will soon be expected on all hardware models – although that might be a leap too far for the traditionally conservative T-series.
At any rate, the new T431s from Lenovo are likely to go down well with consumers once they hits the market, simply by virtue of its pedigree.