Lenovo's no stranger to ultraportable notebook space, with a host of lightweight 11 to 13-inch systems in its ThinkPad X, ThinkPad Edge, and IdeaPad U Series. The company even introduced its first UltraBook, the consumer-friendly IdeaPad U300s this past fall, but thus far, the OEM best known for its business offerings hadn't announced a ThinkPad UltraBook. Enter the ThinkPad T430u, the first notebook to meet both the high standards of Lenovo's ThinkPad T Series and Intel's uberslim Ultrabook initiative.
Like other ThinkPads, the T430u has a soft-touch matte black finish and dual array microphones with keyboard noise suppression for enhanced conferencing. Like the ThinkPad X1 and Edge Series notebooks, the T430u uses an island-style keyboard rather than the traditional style found on other T and W series ThinkPads. However, we don't know yet whether this keyboard will have the same amazing level of tactile feedback as the X1 or the less satisfying feel of the Edge keyboards.
At 14-inches and under 4 pounds, the T430u might remind some of Lenovo's slim ThinkPad T420s, but its starting price of $849 is significantly lower than the its older brother's $1,149 MSRP and its projected 6.5-hour battery life should eclipse the T420s's 5-hour mark. At 13.4 x 9.3 x .8-inches, the T430u should be just a bit thinner than the 13.5 x 9.1 x .8-1-inch T420s. Unfortunately, the T430u is only listed as having an HD screen so it sounds as if, unlike other T series, it will not be available with a 1600 x 900 screen option. The screen is also glossy rather than matte, which makes colors pop a bit more but tends to limit viewing angles.
The ThinkPad T430u includes a host of full-size ports you won't find on every other Ultrabook, including Ethernet, HDMI 1.4, and 2 USB 3.0 connections. Other key features include your choice of an SSD or up to 1TB of hard drive storage, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 720p webcam, and the latest Intel Core i processors, which probably will mean Ivy Bridge CPUs by the time this notebook hits the market. Lenovo hasn't announced an expected cold-boot time, but promises this ultrabook will resume from sleep in under 3 seconds.
Lenovo expects to ship the T430u in Q3 or 2012, by which time it could come with Windows 8 preloaded.