Recently I switched my work laptop to the Lenovo ThinkPad T410. My experience so far is pretty good, it’s been comfortable, well performing and features everything you need from a business laptop packaged with some serious horsepower. But, as the headline implies, this is not what I wanted to write about.

One of the minor changes this laptop has over my older laptops is the combo audio jack. A minor change that, in practice, changes the way you use audio with the laptop. First and foremost, your old two jack headphone+microphone combo can’t plug into the machine any more, there is only one jack. Lenovo’s decision to go with the combo audio jack is probably the result of the common combo jacks found in most modern mobile phones. Using the same mobile phone headset with the laptop only makes sense. But why eliminate an additional jack? You can provide two combo jacks or combine a combo jack along with a standard single multi functional jack that can take either headphones or microphone input. This way, there is support both for the combo audio plug and older dual plugs setups.

If you want to stick with your old dual plug Headphone + Microphone headset combo, you have two options:
1. A speaker and headphone splitter to split the single combo jack into two standard jacks.
2. A far reaching solution is the Plug & Play external USB Sound Card which features the old style two jacks. Obviously this is using a shotgun to hunt mosquitoes kind of solution.

Obviously, a different solution will be to retire your current dual jack set and get a new combo plug set that fits the standard headphone/microphone combination port.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T410 features two ultra sensitive built in microphones that perform very well. In the private case of the T410, it is possible to use the single available jack for headphones in combination with the built in microphones as long as you sit at a reasonable distance from the laptop.