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on September 20, 2013
I've owned 6 ThinkPad T-series over the last 10 years, and with each new model have been steadily impressed by Lenovo's ability to first take on the IBM legacy, and later innovate and build on the line without sacrificing quality or a consistent professional experience. These are machines designed for getting real work done on, not specifically for watching movies or playing games. Oh, but then I received my T431s.

On paper, it sounds pretty great. Slim profile, "refined" design. I was disappointed by the lack of the NVIDIA graphics chipset, but willing to accept the alternative. Also the lack of an optical drive is annoying (you only hate it when you don't have it), but livable. The battery life improvements can never be bad. The weight improvement over the T4xx series is irrelevant to me... what does half a pound matter? It's not like I'm taking it on a race.

But when I went to install my preferred SSD and additional memory, I find the process takes a lot more screws - the whole bottom of the case has to come off. I also find a cheap plastic housing where previously there was a sturdy metal roll cage that enabled an older T400 to survive me stepping on it accidentally. The lack of a latch for the screen adds to a sense of "flimsiness". The screen is not as bright. The keys on the keyboard don't press down far enough. There are none of the useful status lights under the screen to indicating charging, disk activity, sleep, etc... but in case you cared, there is a cute-yet-useless red light in the logo on the back of the screen. Hooray. I also don't care for the back-lit keyboard... the LED keyboard light on older models was nice for reading notes on that thing called "paper" when I'm traveling.

And then there's the whole trackpad/trackpoint fiasco. I won't linger on it since many others already have, but why mess with a good thing? As a user with big hands who uses ALL the keys on a keyboard for a living, these big touchpads are a real nuisance... I'm constantly moving the mouse as I type which causes unending chaos in whatever I'm working on. So I buy ThinkPads because they come with a track point, which lets me disable the touchpad. Well the buttons are gone, and now I have to click the enormous touchpad to make it work; and the middle scroll button seems to be gone altogether. I don't even understand why they included the trackpoint if they were going to castrate it so.

So *why* -- after countless inexplicably-numbered increments of the T-series models -- did we get this complete redesign between the 430 and 431... that's just 1 digit! It's nothing like the 4xx models. Why must companies fix things that don't need fixing? Is it because the R&D team at Lenovo broke free of the chains of restraint, and were given one model to mess with? To try and reinvent the wheel that is my beloved Think series? I hope that's it. I hope they stop, and I hope we get back on track with what the T-series is known for: high quality business laptops that are reliable, have competitive hardware and that don't look and feel like every other laptop out there.

Bottom line: this is a great alternative to your run-of-the-mill Dell or HP business notebook. It is NOT an alternative to the prior T-series models unless you really didn't like what they were before (and in that case, in all seriousness, you'd probably be better off with a mac).

I returned the T431s and exchanged it for a similarly-equipped T430s, which at least I know will be good.
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on August 6, 2013
I got this product because I always loved Lenovo's excellent build quality. This laptop is not exception but unfortunately few innovations are really annoying. the biggest problem for me is the multi-functional touch pad which I can't get used to and drives me crazy. I must always carry a mouse with me because productivity using their new touchpad is really poor. So I'd suggest go to the store and give it a try first.

Also the material which laptop was build shows your fingerprints very easily. Difficult to keep it in clean.

Otherwise it's good.
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on June 26, 2013
I just upgraded my laptop to the Lenovo T431s and I'm blown away by the built quality and the performance of this laptop. My old laptop was a Dell that had a Core 2 Duo which would overheat quiet badly but the T431s runs super cool and doesn't overheat at all. The Lenovo T431s has a 14-inch screen and weighs only 1.56 kg. This makes it great if you are the kind of person who travels a lot. I travel a lot so this is a big plus for me. The Lenovo T431s is the thinnest and lightest T Series model that Lenovo has released. This laptop doesn't just look great but it feels great when holding it in hand too. ThinkPad laptops are known for being very reliable and durable and the T431s is no exception.

Lenovo has done a fantastic job at making it as thin and light as possible and it really shows when looking at it. My laptop came with an Intel Core i5, 4GB of DDR3 ram and 500GB HD which is super-fast for day to day tasks. It boots extremely fast and the screen resolution is pretty good. I just wish it came with a 1920 x 1080 resolution instead of 1600x900. Most laptops nowadays come with a 1080p screen and I don't know why Lenovo isn't making that the standard for their laptops.

Since my laptop came with a HDD, I'm thinking of getting an SSD so I can see the true speed of this laptop. Putting an SSD will make the laptop even faster than what it already is. I feel like HDDs really bottleneck laptops and computers and upgrading to an SSD will make the bottleneck go away for good. I will update my review if I decide to put an SSD in the future. The screen is readable at any angle regardless of the light conditions. The laptop comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports which is super fast. I do a lot of backup and transfer large files so the USB 3.0 will be quiet fast for that. It also comes with a fingerprint scanner that's on the side of the arrow keys. It's a neat feature to have but I don't use it.

The keyboard is the best thing about this laptop. It is a spill-proof keyboard which for me is great because I tend to spill sodas on my keyboard very often. The touchpad is also nice and smooth. I use my T431s for video rendering using the Adobe After Effects and it handles it like a champ. The battery life with the T431s is the best I have seen. It can easily last for more than 6 hours with the brightness turned down a little. This laptop doesn't come with an optical drive but I knew that before I got it so it's not really a big problem for me. I install most of my things from the USB port and I rarely ever use the optical drive. I have two 64GB USBs dedicated to installing programs and things like that.


- Fantastic build quality
- Phenomenal keyboard
- Fingerprint scanner
- Quiet
- Runs cool
- Spill-proof keyboard
- Amazing touchpad surface
- Light, thin and sleek
- Good overall performance


- 1600x900 is okay but it's not 1080p

Overall, the Lenovo T431s is an outstanding laptop and is even better for someone who travels or just wants a very light and thin laptop. I have been using this laptop heavily for a week now and have not experienced any problems. I am very impressed with the phenomenal build quality of this laptop. Lenovo has another winner in their hands with this laptop. The spill-proof keyboard is the best feature this laptop has in my opinion. The only negative I can think of is the resolution which is 1600x900 but it's not a deal breaker for me.

My main rig:

Case: Corsair 900D
CPU: Intel Core i7 4770K (still experimenting)
Ram: Kingston 16GB of RAM
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
MB: ASUS Sabertooth Z87
OS: Windows 7 64bit
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on May 20, 2014
I've used thinkspads almost exclusively in my professional career as a software engineer but this one convinced me to consider alternatives.
The overall experience is pretty poor - here are my highlights:

* touchpad is unusable in Linux
* poor Wifi component (especially compared to my W510)
* no dedicated GPU (google hangout causes all two cores to pound at 100%)
* display touches keyboard when closed
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on November 25, 2013
At this point I've had the Lenovo T431s for 8 months and have not suffered any catastrophic problems. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other issues which prevent me from recommending this particular unit.

The average user interacts with a computer in three ways:
- Utilize the mouse or TrackPad to click, select, and enter information
- Receive information from the monitor
- Enter information through the keyboard

The TrackPad is a complete abortion. There's *no* part of its form or function about which I can say something positive. It's a "click-pad" that I think was meant to be an upgrade, but its execution is so laughably poor that I thought it was broken when I first used it. The resistance which prevents the entire pad from being depressed, and thus executing a mouse click, is so weak that I routinely end up clicking when I don't mean to. It's not merely frustrating; it's jarring and disruptive. I use the TrackPad daily because I'm a student and often am not working on a proper desk with a mouse.

As a primary input device a TrackPad needs to be so perfect that I forget I'm using it. With this abomination it's all I can think about. I've learned extra keyboard shortcuts so I don't have to use it. It's so bad that I updated this review a few months after it was written to drop the rating from 2 stars to 1 star.

Somehow Lenovo managed to find a display that is far too dull while still failing to produce decent blacks. It's a low resolution screen that isn't bright enough and has only adequate dynamic range. Whites are `off-white' and blacks are more like charcoal-grey. I frequently find myself adjusting the angle of the monitor to try and get a better picture. It's good enough for word processing or spreadsheets. Considering that you will spend quite a bit of time looking at the display there are far better laptops out there for much less money.

I've heard people rave about the ThinkPad keyboard but I'm not impressed. On the positive side it's relatively comfortable to type on for long periods and it's probably more forgiving of mistakes than many others. The negative is that it's not backlit, too frequently fails to register key presses, and it feels a bit mushy to me. Overall it's *meh*.

The processor is underpowered and there is too little RAM to handle heavier workloads. The proprietary (rectangular) charging port means you better have your cord with you because you probably can't share cords with other ThinkPad users. My classmate's ThinkPads all have a round charging port. It seems like everything about this model is purposely stunted. Thanks Lenovo!

On the plus side it is wonderfully quiet, relatively sturdy, and fairly light which makes it usably portable, by which I mean it's something people will actually carry with them instead of leaving it on the desk in favor of a lighter device. Also, it's such a piece of garbage that I don't mind tossing it in my backpack.

The power button has an LED and there are tiny LEDs in the [Speaker], [Microphone], and [Function Lock] keys. That's a really nice touch and I appreciate their inclusion, but Lenovo neglected to include a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) status / activity LED which would tell me at a glance if the system has locked up or is just busy because it's so underpowered.
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on November 27, 2013
After one very frustrating day with this laptop I have given up and returned it.

Windows 8 has is useless without a touchscreen. So why is it installed on a laptop with no touchscreen?

The "click pad" on this machine is the worst thing I have ever used. It is exactly like the desktop Apple click pad devices I have had to used on rare occasions. The whole pad moves up and down like a trampoline.

Function keys now relegated to secondary status as tiny footnotes under "special" hot key functions like brightness and volume. And those controls have been rearranged from T430.

The screen is really nice. That was the main reason I got it. But the rest of the machine is too annoying to deal with.
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on September 6, 2013
I've owned at least 10 ThinkPads/Lenovos over the years and consider myself a "fan". However, this is VERY poorly designed/executed laptop. The biggest problems are the keyboard and track pad. The keyboard is flaky and inconsistent, especially the space bar. This results in lots of "mis-typed" words. The T431S uses a single integrated track pad vs. separate buttons. I've had other laptops with similar designs, but the T431S' track pad is too large and awkward (even after tweaking). The top "buttons" are easily missed and require too much pressure. The middle section seems too sensitive, causing your palm to send the cursor in wild directions and activate unwanted Windows 8 gestures/swipes. Admittedly, most new laptops require some time getting used to - keyboard layout, track pad, etc. I've had my machine for 3+ months, use it every day/all day and remain very unhappy with it. The T431S lacks adequate USB and HDMI ports as well as a touch screen. I was aware of the lack of a touch screen when I ordered it, however, for the money, seems like they should have included one.

On the positive side, the weight and thickness are great. It is also quiet and cool. Build quality is solid and it is a good looking unit. Performance, screen, and battery life a acceptable. Instant-on is a blessing, although this is a Windows 8 feature not a Lenovo feature.

Overall, I hate this machine and think there are much better Lenovos and other laptops available in terms of usability and value.
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