Ergonomics and Aesthetics
I really like the design of this ThinkPad. The casing is housed in textured plastic that is soft to the touch and feels nice, though it may show scratches after a lot of use. The touchpad uses a bumpy surface that's a little weird at first, but you get used to it. The screen hinges are very stiff and the screen itself is rigid thanks to a reinforced area at the top. The latch system for holding the screen down seems a little old fashioned, though.
One very interesting feature about the layout of the ports is that on the right side it places a USB port right above an eSATA port and what's cool is that the eSATA port will also work as a USB port. It also has a 4-in-1 memory card slot and a DisplayPort, but no HDMI. I liked that there were no ports anywhere on the front. Another great feature is the always-on USB port on the back. This lets you use the port to recharge devices like your phone or iPod without having to turn the computer on, so long as it's plugged in. All the USB ports are 2.0. It would be nice to have the newer USB 3.0 option, but it wasn't available on this model.
As for the keyboard, it looks and feels great, and it's very quiet. The keys are of normal size and Lenovo placed the PrtSc, ScrLk, Pause and Insert keys above F9-F12 in a brilliant space-saving move. It also gives you a full size Esc key and volume controls. I did not, however, like the placement of the Fn (function) key to the left of the Ctrl key because I kept hitting Fn-Alt-Del instead of Ctrl-Alt-Del when logging onto a domain. This is a common trait on ThinkPad laptops, but that doesn't make it less annoying.