After a few leaks, including the latest just this past week, the ThinkPad T431s has officially come out from behind the curtain today. The specs are, well, as expected. It includes a standard 14” 1600 x 900 resolution 250 nit display with matte finish, up to 12GB of RAM with 4GB being fixed, an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 3rd generation processor and of course Intel HD 4000 graphics.
But it’s not so much the internal specs as what’s on the outside that matters with the T431s. The T431s design is somewhat radical for a ThinkPad, it does away with the dedicated click trackpoint buttons in favor of a giant touchpad with integrated buttons. It reportedly took Lenovo and Synaptics 2-years of work to get the drivers “just-so” and working in a manner that will mimic dedicated buttons. We’ll see if that’s the case when reviewers and users actually get it into their hands.
The entire design is even more minimalist than even former ThinkPads, it does away with all latches and knobs and media keys are now simply integrated into the function buttons that serve primarily as media style buttons, a la the Mac. The bezel is now much thinner and the overall profile is also thinner than the T430s was, coming in at only 0.80-inches. Like many Ultrabooks, the 3-cell battery you get is sealed so you can’t easily change that out or upgrade. However, unlike other Ultrabooks you get a docking station connector on the bottom, a VGA monitor out port for legacy users, mil-spec ruggedness and the ability to upgrade RAM.
Other features included with the T431s are the giant touchpad that supports up to 20 different gestures, Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS, 720p front facing web camera, two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet port, standard 320GB HD with optional upgrade to SSD, 4-in-1 SD card reader, Bluetooth 4.0 / Wi-Fi / WWAN for Internet connectivity and the option for a backlit keyboard. Availability starts in April and pricing will be $949 for the base configuration.