First look: Lenovo ThinkPad S430 review

Tim Danton takes a first look at the Lenovo ThinkPad S430 during CES. The good news is, he's pretty impressed so far...

Lenovo-ThinkPad-S430-Thunderbolt.

We laid our hands on a hand-built Lenovo ThinkPad S430 at the first CES press event of 2012, CES Unveiled. Packing in a treasure trove of up-and-coming technology, there's much to like.

The key here is the port on the left, namely Thunderbolt. We expect this to be a big theme of CES 2012, with the weight of the industry moving behind the inevitable successor to USB.

And so it should. To quote Lenovo, Thunderbolt allows you to "transfer a full-length HD move in less than 30 seconds and back up a year of continuous MP3 playback in just over 10 minutes."

Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture will also make its debut with the S430, with our Lenovo spokesman making it clear that this would be one of the flagship products at the time of launch.

This helps the 14in S430 to shed some weight and girth compared to the ThinkPad S420, which it replaces. The main stats are "under 4lb" and "less than 20mm thick" according to our insider, which is quite respectable for a machine that includes either a DVD burner or a second hard drive.

The other enhancements are less eye-catching but welcome nonetheless. Keyboard junkies will appreciate the larger cursor keys and what Lenovo claims to be a quieter click. This latter aspect was rather difficult to judge in a crowded hall, but the keyboard itself was enjoyable to type on.

Lenovo also includes a number of technologies to improve speech recognition and voice-over-IP performance, including dual-array microphones and software enhancements.

It adds up to a tasty sounding laptop that should pack decent performance (a separate graphics chip will be included for those after-hours games) and enormous battery life.

As ever, the proof will come when we get a chance to test the S430 in our Labs.

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