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GBM InkShow: Lenovo ThinkPad T400s with Multi-touch

ThinkPad_t400s_touchscreenA few weeks ago I asked if you would use a clamshell style notebook with a touchscreen display. The responses were very favorable to the idea and I finally got a chance to try out just such a machine. Lenovo was kind enough to send over a pre-production ThinkPad T400s for us to play with and I recorded a video of my first experiences using it.

The ThinkPad T400s is a thin and light 14″ notebook that weighs just under four pounds. It does carry a premium compared to the T400 and the touchscreen is a $400 option. The touch-enabled T400s is about half a pond heavier and .8″ thicker than the standard T400s.

The optional touchscreen can recognize up to four fingers at a time. This allows users to manipulate 3D objects in applications like SpaceClaim.

GottaBeMobile InkShows are sponsored by Mobile Demand, a company that makes rugged Tablet PCs like the xTablet T8700

The ThinkPad T400s came with Microsoft’s Touch Pack and a utility called Simple Tap. This program allows users to control several of the system’s functions with touch. You can reshuffle the layout of Simple Tap and add icons to launch applications.

I think having a touchscreen on any notebook is a good thing, but there are a couple of challenges.

The technology is cool, but after playing with Touch Pack, Collage and Simple Tap I wanted to find something a little more productive to do with my four fingers. Unfortunately there just aren’t that many applications that support multi-touch in Windows 7. I hope that software developers and web publishers will find more ways to cater to touch users.

With an iPhone or tablet the touchscreen is stationary against your hand or whatever surface you’re working on. All-in-one PCs with touch displays are also stationary. If you tap too hard on a notebook’s display it will move backwards or lift the front of the machine off of your desk.

The ThinkPad T400s is an impressive machine and the touchscreen is very smooth and easy to operate. If you’re going to fork over $400 for this option you should have a solid plan for how you’ll be using multi-touch.

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3 Comments

  1. Clayton

    09/16/2009 at 8:31 am

    Man, I’d like to be able to afford one of these… Great video Xavier!

    Reply

  2. hi

    09/17/2009 at 1:46 pm

    Can I just upgrade firmware, install Windows 7, and install the touchpack?

    I bought a Lenovo x200 tablet a few months ago. My tablet has “multi-touch”. By that I mean I can use one finger or a Wacom pen to interact with the screen.

    Reply

  3. Daniel Fernandes

    09/18/2009 at 12:50 am

    Lenovo is one of the most trusted company. The Lenovo ThinkPad T400s has an amazing touchscreen. The keyboard is also very comfortable, typing is very easy. It is quite heavy in weight. The battery life disappoints a lot. People who are fond of gaming, this laptop is of no use. The only highlight is the amazing touchscreen. In terms of performance, its nice but not great. For more details refer http://www.techsoft.org/review-of-the-lenovo-thinkpad-t400s-touch-laptop.html

    Reply

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