Here are the not-so-numerous connectors available on the dock station:
The network, modem, D-Sub and one USB connector are copies of the notebook’s appropriate connectors – you can’t use the notebook’s ones if you have attached the docking station. A COM port is not so necessary today, so you only get two more USB connectors, one LPT and PS/2 ports. The selection seems limited, but once again, this notebook is meant exclusively for work. The side panels carry no connectors at all:
The optical drive is on the left panel. The big lever on the right panel disconnects the docking station from the notebook. It is big because you have to apply some serious force to take the notebook off. I really wonder why they put a lock there if the pressure of the lever is so high. A corporate user might need it, but I doubt a home user does. Ordinary users tend to ignore any attempts at making simple things more sophisticated. The blocking of the notebook’s connectors when it is installed on the docking station is done simply:
They are just covered by the plastic juts and you just can’t use them even if you wanted. The drive is removable, so you can replace the ordinary combo with a DVD-recorder if necessary.
You can also put a full-size battery into the docking station to increase the notebook’s battery life time. The only problem is that the X40 ceases to become a compact notebook in this case. Its dimensions and weight with the docking station connected go beyond the limits of the compact class, while without the station it is nearly the worst notebook tested in this review in terms of functionality and ease of use.
You can’t complain at the performance of that ThinkPad. Its speed comes naturally from its configuration. The battery life is long, considering the characteristics of the employed battery, but on the other hand, a notebook from a famous brand should be better in this respect. A little over one hour in the full load mode is just too little for a person who intensively uses his/her notebook. And I can’t imagine a top manager who takes a suitcase for the docking station, additional battery and other accessories, on a business trip. I think he’d just buy another notebook instead.
So, my feelings towards Lenovo’s produce are rather indifferent. The dinosaur seems to be degenerating now. The new products look much worse than IBM’s original ones. The quality of the earlier IBM products is still here, but the notebook with this configuration and characteristics will only be interesting for corporate clients and for IBM’s admirers who refuse to consider any alternatives. I think Lenovo won’t be successful by simply using the renowned brand. The old generation of IBM users will go away, while the new and fastidious user won’t get allured by the brand alone.
So, as far as this comparative review is concerned, I don’t recommend you to buy the notebook from IBM if you need something more than just the “office minimum”. The ThinkPad X40 is far inferior to the rest of the participating devices in terms of functionality and ergonomics, but comes at a rather steep price.