This is all you get and I wouldn’t even call this selection of interfaces scanty. Two USB ports, one of which is originally reserved for the optical drive, might be insufficient, while such little things as a video output, FireWire and a digital audio output are not to be mentioned – this notebook is meant for work, not for play! If you buy such notebooks for your employees, you can rest assured that they won’t be having too much fun with them.
The bottom of the notebook presents some reading matter to you:
Numerous informational stickers and a connector for a docking station are typical of IBM products. The speakers, doing double duty as air inlets, are located in the bottom of the front part of the case:
The sound will be bad if you have the notebook on your laps, but again – have you forgot already that this notebook is meant exclusively for work? So, the real problem is not that the sound is bad but that the air inlets are blocked by your laps. This is not so good for the “ideal work tool” concept.
The input devices don’t need long descriptions. You’ll understand everything in an instant if you have ever dealt with an IBM. If you have not, I’ll give you some facts. IBM still ignores the Windows and the Context Menu keys, but they do put a label “Designed for Microsoft Windows XP” on the notebook and this operating system is recommended as preferable on the IBM website, although the user loses some OS-related functions without those keys. For example, the shortcuts involving the Windows key are absolutely and irritatingly unavailable. The rest is quite common, though:
The traditional “Access IBM” button is long known to all admirers of the company, but I want to say thanks for the volume control and mute sound buttons. This is already something above the bare minimum. The separately placed Print Screen, Scroll Lock and Pause keys are handy, too:
I can’t say the same about the cursor-controlling devices, however.
IBM’s implementation of the pointing stick is in fact the best existing, but I think a touchpad is still much better than any TrackPoint. A TrackPoint does not give you the same positioning accuracy and you cannot avoid touching it accidentally with you fingers and moving the cursor randomly as you’re typing text. Well, as I said above, there are many people who like this device, even despite its drawbacks.
There is one feature of the ThinkPad X40 that I would like to see implemented on other notebooks as well. It is the keyboard highlighting lamp built into the lid. It does help a lot in the evening and in darkness.
The screen is generally good, with uniform backlighting, large viewing angles, lush colors, natural reproduction of body tones, and without any clipping. The maximum brightness is not very high, and the matrix is not very fast, but the latter thing is not relevant for an office machine.