Lenovo ThinkPad T430u in-depth review – Part 1 (Overview)

T430u_hero_01

Price: $897 (as per configuration)

Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • 1.8 kg ultrabook
  • 2 x SoDIMM slots
  • mSATA/WWAN slot
  • 9.5 mm 2.5 inch HDD drive bay
  • Easily removable base cover (no need for screws)
  • Great keyboard
  • Great screen
  • Looks
  • 3 screens support on Intel HD 4000
  • Price

Cons:

  • No dedicated mute/volume control
  • No dedicated docking port
  • No spill proof or backlight keyboard
  • Only 2 x USB 3.0
  • No physical Wireless kill switch
  • Only 1366×768 resolution

Verdict:

Have the potential to be the greatest ThinkPad since the X30x, but let down by some software and ram upgrade quirks (or that i got a Lemon?). But this is a beautiful ThinkPad nevertheless, and something i will be treasuring for many years to come.

ThinkPad T430u

ThinkPad T430u specification

 

Overview

T430u specification

So continuing on from my previous ThinkPad T430u quick review, where i reviewed a pre-production machine, this is the more in depth review of the ThinkPad T430u that i recently bought.

The box opening experience of the ThinkPad T430u is typical ThinkPad, minimalist packaging and everything is recyclable (+1 for planet earth). Upon opening the ThinkPad T430u screen up, i discovered that Lenovo even laid a thin piece of recyclable screen protectors on the keyboard of the T430u, which is not something i have seen in the recent ThinkPad (and is very impressed by its inclusion). This goes to show you why ThinkPad T430u is a special ‘ThinkPad’ from the get go.

ThinkPad T430u with protective sheet

The build quality of this machine is very impressive, the lid surface finish of the T430u is different to most ThinkPads that i have used recently. This finish is similar to the ThinkPad X1 but smoother, which means there are less (or smaller bumps) bumps on the rubberised finish, but whatever the reason the ThinkPad T430u lid finish imparts that of quality and class (like the good old day of ThinkPads).

I can not recommend the ThinkPad T430u highly enough, it is simply the best Lenovo ThinkPad to date in terms of build quality, design and price/feature, (P.S. some may not agree but that is okay, this is my opinion only).

Read on for my full review. :)

If you are interested in the unboxing of the ThinkPad T430u, then i don’t have it. But LenovoVision does have one, so enjoy Kevin and Gavin’s narration of the T430u unboxing (remember folks they are the expert at this unboxing stuffs).

 

Next Page (Design/Hinge/Chassis)

 

 

Jin Li (lead_org)

I'm the Chief Editor of ThinkScopes.com, working from Melbourne Australia. I am currently a Microsoft MVP and a Lenovo Brand Evangelist/Advocate. My main interests are in technology, bioscience, marketing and obviously Lenovo products.

If you have any questions, comments or just want a chat about any topics related to technology, feel free to tweet me (@lead_org), email me or leave a comment in the post.

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35 comments

  • Pingback: Lenovo ThinkPad T430u in-depth review – Part 2 (Design/Chassis/Hinge)

  • Pingback: ThinkPad T430u Quick review

  • Hi Jin Li, Thanks for the fantastic review! It certainly helped in my decision to finally get one. I just realized that my T430u with an i7 comes with just 1GB of VRAM (purchased from the Lenovo US website). However your model comes with 2GB of VRAM! Further checks revealed that the asia pacific models come with 2GB. Any thoughts or insights into the performance differences? Appreciate any inputs.

    Melvin

  • Hi Jin,

    So are you going to put up the picture of the t430u? I think that is a major thing that customers are going to want to see if the low resolution screen is going to be a problem

  • Thank you for this great review!

  • I just received my Lenovo T430u 2,8ghz with 4gb ram and 500hhd comes with windows 8…..However I have a problem that my external hard drive doesn’t appear at all in my windows….could you help me out please..thanks

    • I already mentioned that I am using a Windows 8…..but I had a mac before and i heared that might be the problem is the format of the hard drive not the same as the windows format…

      also i have a problem with my cam..it doesn’t show i try to take pictures or use it on Skype but it gives me a weired picture “camera picture with diagonal line on it like the picture of nonsmoking area :)”…

      how to solve this problem!!…thanks again..merry christmas

    • Hi Billy,

      Can you post the problem on forums.lenovo.com? I can help you there.

      Regards,

      Jin Li

  • Hi. First of all thanks for your great work in doing these great reviews. I just spend the last 3 hours in reading your great reviews.

    I am using since 3-4 years a T500 from my company. And now in preparation for a dissertation I want to upgrade my private notebook (Dell-17inch inspiron) into a lenovo product. I am doubtfull to choosse the t430u or a edge e330 with i5. T430u will come to me for 600bucks, the edge e330 for 400 bucks.
    As i can see the weight of both notebooks are comparable. What makes me doubtfull about the e330 are the hinges, I will use them often and a lot. What do you recommend, to choose? Best thanks and regards to you.

    Merry Christmas.
    /BR H

    • Hi Haluk,

      I just given my E330 to my aunty. It is an okay product for what the price, but the hinge area is something i worry about too. If it was me, i would get the T430u rather than the E330 if price wasn’t a factor of consideration when choosing the laptop.

      Regards,

      Jin Li

    • Dear Jin Li,
      Thanks for your suggestion. Now a few weaks later I have made a little research on possible alternatives:

      1) T430u with an 3317u processor 1366×768, 500GB HDD for 620Euro

      2) T420 with regulat I5 with 2520M 500GB 1366×768 for 430Euro.
      Requirements (in priority order) are durability, performance, upgradability, mobility.

      Which one would your recomment? Thank you so much for your suggetion in advance. BR and HAVE A GREAT YEAR ! ;)

    • I think i would go with the T420 with i5 for 430 Euro. The T420 would be more upgradeable with its removable CPU and ultrabay.

    • Dear Jin Li,
      thank you for your suggestion. Finaly I made it I now own my first private laptop :)

      I´ve choosen a T420 mit I5 (2,5GHz), and 1600×900 screen, fingerprint etc for 470Euro. Now I cant wait until my shipping arrives :) Thank you so much for your kind support. Take care.
      BR

    • @Haluki,

      Fantastic news!

      Regards,

      Jin Li

  • Pingback: ThinkPad T430s And T430u Differences

  • Is it ok to keep my Lenovo T430 always plugged to the AC…or will it damage the battery life….

  • Can you possibly talk about the performance of the machine? I know that the laptop is considered an ultrabook but I don’t want to compromise on performance or durability. How does it compare to the T430? These are the two models that I’m considering. As a college student, majoring in a computer related field the T430u would be the perfect fit.

  • Thank you for the great review. I am consider buying an T430u or T430s, but worried about the PWM flickering of the LED backlit screen. Almost all product across the Thinkpad line have this issue. Could you do an additional test: when the brightness is set to 50% and swing your finger left and right in front of the screen, can you see multiple shadows of the finger? If possible, could you also do it on T430s? Thanks!

  • having trouble with x200 purchased online, os not found. What can I do? chrispanaczek71@gmail.com

  • Jin Li,
    thanks for the review. Why do you prefer the t430u over the more versatile t430s? Aren’t they the same weight?

    • Hi Gary,

      It is the same weight. The main reason why i prefer the T430u is because it doesn’t overheat like the T430s with its full voltage Sandy Bridge CPU. Also it is only half the price of the T430s. So it is a versatile machine for a great price.

      Regards,

      Jin Li

    • Jin, thanks for the reply! Is the heat and price also the main reasons you prefer the T430u over the X1 Carbon? After trying both T430u and X1 Carbon, I feel that the build quality of the T430u is actually sturdier even though it is not a roll cage structure.

      Gary

    • Hi Gary,

      The reason that i like the T430u is the pricing point and the fact that i can upgrade the RAM and HDD (it also has SATA). The X1 Carbon is like Apple Macbook Air, you can’t upgrade anything on the machine.

      Regards,

      Jin Li

  • Dear Jin,

    I am interested in the T430u. Currently a student, who uses more for productivity and casual gaming plus a little bit of Autocad.

    Should I go for the i5 with more memory or i7, which comes with more memory?

    Will the higher processor increase the heat and reduce the battery life of the t430u?

    Kindly advise me.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Eric

    • Hi Eric,

      Sorry to have responded to you so late. Personally i think the processing power difference between the i5 and i7 dual core are minimal. As such i would recommend the i5 and more ram + SSD. This is the setup that i use personally. The i7 on the T430u doesn’t really increase processing power, as such it also doesn’t produce much more heat or have a drastic affect on the battery life.

      Regards,

      Jin Li

  • I have a t430u since one week as a company laptop. I must say is one of the worst machine I tried in a while. The display is terrible, beside the low resolution is kind of washed out and very tyring.
    The trackpad is a joke.
    Really, can’t see the point of getting this crap. MAybe the keyboard, if you’re writer…

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