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Lenovo ThinkPad SL400

>> Saturday, February 7, 2009

Slide the ThinkPad SL400 out of the box, and you might think you mistakenly purchased a particularly boxy Sony Vaio. Open the laptop up, however, and you'll soon discover it's a standard issue ThinkPad that Lenovo outfitted with a glossy, black lid. Without the magnesium alloy shell protecting the back of the screen, the plastic lid feels soft flexing when pressed. The plastic wrist rests, however, feel much sturdier.

Overall, the SL400 feels like a substantial machine it's bulky and rather thick for a 14 inch laptop, running from 1.3 inches thick along its front edge to 1.5 inches thick at the back edge. Like all ThinkPads, the SL400 boasts an incredibly comfortable keyboard, a red track point, and blue Enter key. Below the keyboard sits a touch pad and second set of mouse buttons. The touch pad's matte finish and vertical and horizontal scroll regions make it highly functional, and the mouse buttons are soft, quiet, and responsive.

To the left of the keyboard sit a blue Lenovo Care button that calls up a small window with helpful links to system management and security tools. Below the Lenovo Care button are volume up, down, and mute buttons.

Five small, green glowing icons adorn the front edge below the touch pad, informing you of your wireless, wired, and Bluetooth connections as well as whether you're running on full battery power or in sleep mode.

On the angled bottom half of the front edge reside three small air vents and a Wi-Fi power switch. A large vent sits on the left side for the GeForce 9300M GS graphics card.

While the laptop is by no means noisy, it does emit a fairly steady yet low hum and stream of warm air out its left side. The side edges are sloped and narrow toward the bottom of the laptop. It helps lessen the ThinkPad boxy appearance somewhat, and while some reviewers have complained that the ports are difficult to reach, I did not find this to be the case.

I have an old, bulky USB key and was able to connect it to all four of the system's USB ports without a problem the overhanging top edge did not interfere. The ThinkPad SL series is available in three sizes, the 13.3 inch SL300, the 14.1 inch SL400 we reviewed, and the 15.4 inch SL500. The standard SL400 wide screen display offers a 1,280x800 pixel resolution our review unit included a $50 upgrade that bumps you up to a still very readable 1,440x900 pixel resolution and includes Lenovo's AntiGlare option.

In general, we think a matte finish is the better option for the screen of a business laptop, and Lenovo's AntiGlare screen lives up to its name. (Lenovo also sells an SL400 configuration with integrated Intel graphics, but choose that and you lose the higher resolution option.) Even when sitting with two bright, sun filled windows at our back, the screen was very readable with glare and reflections kept to a minimum. We still found colors to be vibrant when viewing photos or movies, though we did find a stuck pixel in the upper right hand corner of our review unit.


Game_Lover February 8, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

Wow...nice review about Lenovo
I pray this blog will will grow as you expect.

Good job

KwaxKwax March 8, 2009 at 11:16 AM  

This SL400 is another good Lenovo laptop. I also found the article about SL400 in

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