Lenovo Says "Customer Insight" Prompted New ThinkPad's Curious Design Changes

Paul Lilly

Even the shade of black on the new ThinkPad is different from before.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the ThinkPad T431s, a new business-class Ultrabook from Lenovo that's the thinnest T series ever built. That in and of itself isn't surprising -- PC manufacturers are making a concerted effort towards building thinner and lighter Ultrabooks and noteboks -- but some of the design changes are certainly interesting. Lenovo bid adieu to a handful of signature features, including the right and left buttons below the trackpad.

The trackpad on the T431s is now a single box with a multi-touch glass surface that's clickable on all four corners. According to Lenovo, it's optimized for Windows 8 gestures, click functionality, and integrated TrackPoint behavior for an improved user experience all around.

Speaking of the user, Lenovo said that "customer insight" served as the "key ingredient" in the redesigned T431s.

"The ThinkPad T431s is the first device featuring Lenovo's new design, which represents a comprehensive examination of user experience and input," said Dilip Bhatia , vice president and general manager, ThinkPad Business Unit.

The trackpad isn't the only new design. Lenovo changed the surface texture so that it's no longer rubberized, and even the shade of black has been changed to "Graphite Black."

Other features include a 14-inch display (1600x900), Intel Ivy Bridge processor options, up to 12GB of memory, hard drive and solid state drive storage options, two USB 3.0 ports, backlit keyboard, improved cooling, 720p webcam, and Windows 8.

You'll be able to order the T431s in April starting at $949.

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