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The thin profile is possible due to the thin display on the ThinkPad T431s as seen in this photo. The display is not the brightest on the market at 250 nits, but the viewing angles are decent.
The keyboard is good as is expected on a ThinkPad and the unique trackpad is over-sized. More on the trackpad later.
Chiclet keyboard, glass trackpad
Lenovo has perfected the laptop keyboard and the one on the T431s is as good as any of them. The chiclet keys have good travel and typing is a good experience.
The keyboard has the expected red trackpoint stick in the middle for those who prefer that control over the trackpad. The trackpad is made of glass and has a good feel for controlling the cursor and performing the gestures for operating Windows 8.
180 degree display hinge
Lenovo has introduced a number of laptops with unusual lid hinges, the Yogas come to mind, and it seems designers couldn't help putting one on the T431s. This lid opens a full 180 degrees for those who find that useful, although this writer can't think of a use for it. It does mean that the display can be adjusted to any angle to suit any user.