ThinkPad T540p

I just got my new ThinkPad T540p yesterday. I had previously ordered a T440s but sent it back because I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the FHD display. The T540p is exactly what I’m looking for.

I ordered the model with the high DPI 2880x1620 display. For years I have used ThinkPads but complained about Lenovo’s inexplicable decision to use really crappy TN displays in their flagship laptops. I can’t complain anymore. The display in the T540p is stunning. The display is bright, and text is sharp and crisp. Video and pictures pop off the screen. In short, it is everything that the shitty, blurry, fuzzy and dull monitor on my T430s isn’t. The resolution is slightly better than the 2560x1600 found on the MacBook Pro, and while Lenovo doesn’t use a snappy marketing term like "Retina", make no mistake: the T540p is every bit as good, if not better, than a Retina display. Lenovo has even seemed to solve the scaling problem that some Windows OEM’s have with their high DPI displays. Metro apps look amazing, and even on the rare occasion when I go into the old fashioned Windows desktop, icons and text are a useable size. The high res display does not make them so tiny that they can’t be seen without a telescope.

While the display was the big selling point of this ThinkPad for me, the rest of the laptop does not disappoint. Build quality is excellent. The keyboard, as you would expect, is terrific. The T540p has a full keyboard with a numeric keypad. It puts the letter keys slightly off center, and I was making a lot of typing errors on the first day until I got used to it. The numeric keypad is nice to have. There are no more hard drive indicator lights or other traditional ThinkPad elements. Lenovo has gone for a more minimalist feel. While I personally prefer the more traditional ThinkPad design language, like the blue "enter" key and the ThinkVantage button last found on the T420s, the new design is attractive and functional. The chiclet keyboard, while despised by ThinkPad purists, is as good as the old one. The 256 GB SSD is really fast. Boot times are about 3 seconds. There is a full complement of ports; no dongles or adapters needed.

The T540p is not thin. It is not an ultrabook. However, I didn’t buy it thinking that it was an ultrabook. I wanted a mobile workstation, and that’s what I got. It is not especially heavy, though. If I had to carry it around a lot, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I have a couple of nitpicks. The thing comes loaded with Lenovo crapware that is mostly useless. I spent a lot of time deleting junk that I will never, ever use. Lenovo should offer a "Microsoft Signature" option to get a stock Windows experience without the useless crapware. For some reason, Lenovo ships the T540p with Windows 8, forcing the user to waste more time updating to 8.1. Why not preload 8.1? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

All in all, this is the ThinkPad I have waited a long time for. I am extremely pleased with it.