Lenovo ThinkPad T61 6466 review
Nobody ever got fired for buying... oh. Solid but also quite stolid, and very pricey.
Review Date: 16 May 2008
Price when reviewed: inc VAT
Reviewed By: James Nixon
Originally an IBM product, the ThinkPad range now belongs to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo.
Henry Ford would have approved: you can have one in any colour you like, as long as it's black. In this group, the T61's angular exterior cuts a very businesslike figure, just as its maker intended.
Like all ThinkPads, the T61 is very robust. Try as we might, we couldn't get the display to flex at all. The lid is secured by a catch at one side, and clicks shut firmly, so there's no chance of objects sneaking in to scratch the screen.
Inside, instead of the 14.1 inch displays so often seen on Lenovo's business notebooks, the T61 has a full 15.4 inch widescreen, making this a business laptop that would also be fine for watching the odd DVD. The bright, well-lit display has a matt finish, rather than the glossy coating favoured by many multimedia models. Glossy screens increase contrast and make colours more vibrant, but in everyday use they can be prone to distracting reflections. In any case, the Lenovo makes a decent entertainment machine: colours were vivid, and the battery lasted an hour and 50 minutes in our demanding DVD playback test.
What the Lenovo can't do is play games. The integrated Intel 865 graphics chipset wouldn't even run our Call Of Duty 2 3D graphics benchmark. For general purposes, however, the combination of an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor and 2GB of RAM powered the Lenovo to a very creditable 2D score of 189%.
There is a catch, though: part of the reason the ThinkPad appeared so fast in this test was because it came with Windows XP Professional, which taxes a system's resources rather less than the newer Vista operating system. There's nothing wrong with Windows XP Pro - it's preferred by some business users - but you might be disappointed to miss out on Vista's more attractive look and feel and extras such as Media Center.
Despite great build quality and battery life, the T61 isn't a laptop you'd relish buying for yourself.
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