Introducing a new quick-read format from your pals at UFO: the Negatory Review, where we aren’t allowed to say anything positive about the product in question.
Today’s victim: the workhorse, the brute, the yo-mama’s-tank of laptops: the ThinkPad T-series.
This laptop is @#!$ing ugly. Given that it was meant to be durable and useful, not pretty, I can kinda see it, but this machine catches eyes in all the wrong ways. It looks best when closed, and even then, its appearance is fatter than the average TLC star and less consistent than Sarah Palin’s speeches.
Keyboard and Trackpad
It’s difficult to Negatory-review a ThinkPad keyboard. Primary complaints:
- No Fn Lock key
- Gets dirty extremely quickly
- Engrish kerning on CapsLock key
- TrackPoint button integration adds failure points out the dillhole
The trackpad is adequate.
Almost as bad as the one on my dad’s 1999 HP luggable. Viewing angles are so bad that it’s impossible to be in tolerance for all of the screen at once, so you get one band of good color in the middle at any usable distance. Despite being LED-backlit, the LCD’s black levels are higher than Snoop and less accurate than Ted Cruz’s latest Pinocchio-grade BS. Further, calibration doesn’t do much when the color gamut is so piss-poor that any vivid imagery instantly becomes a color-blindness simulator. And I don’t think those cool color-blindness glasses can solve this. Oh, and call Casper, because his friends are living in the top half of this thing. The ghosting is the worst I’ve seen this side of a $30 Fry’s tablet. If this display has one quality that doesn’t make me want to buy a Chinese LVDS->eDP adapter and risk electrocuting half of the state, it’s that the response time is alright.
Speakers and Audio
While better than my dad’s 1999 HP luggable, the combination of a low-quality amplifier and completely OEM audio hardware that I’ve come to call “Realtek AIDS” no matter the brand is still clearly present in the audio output. The speakers can fill a room without distortion, if you’re into that commodity-1940-radio sound signature.
Speakers: 3/10. Audio: 6/10.
Now this right here is where the Negatory Review ends and the waxing-poetic begins. Repairability in consumer gadgets, especially field-ready and expensive ones like business laptops, is SO important (iFixit says it better than I can) that the super-vertically-integrated stuff coming out these days is actually upsetting. Apple, are you seriously telling me that completely soldered SSDs, RAM, and CPUs are good for large business deployments? Microsoft, can I replace the battery in the Surface Book battery dock in less than 5 minutes? No? Bye, Felicia.
By contrast, the T-series has long been the last bastion of real repairability. The keyboard comes out in less than a minute, the trackpad and palmrest in less than a minute after that, and then, just like Bill Cosby, you have complete access to everything you may want to fiddle with. Unlike with Asushit machines, parts are readily available and cheap.
Philosophy and repairability: a perfect 5/7.
In conclusion (everyone always tells me not to write that, but guess who lives my life? ME.) the ThinkPad T430 is an ugly, heavy brute with a focus on usability over form in every imaginable way. If you can deal with that, it might be for you.
Addendum: T430s review. A T430 with an eating disorder. The End.