A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Office Depot would start selling ThinkPad T43 (see our T43 review) and ThinkPad Z60t (see our Z60t review) notebooks online and from their bricks and mortar store. This would be the first time there's been a major push of ThinkPad notebooks into retail stores in over 5-years. So on a slow Friday afternoon we decided what better to do than go and harass some Office Depot employees and take pictures of the new ThinkPads on display?
On the left the ThinkPad T43, on the right the Z60t -- notice the marketing text was cleverly hidden by both ThinkPad notebooks and checkout the cool "Office Depot" logo integrated into the fish tank screen saver (view larger image)
The Z60t and T43 are the only ThinkPads on display at the moment, but they were quite prominent and had their own end of aisle display. The fingerprint reader in our humble opinion is a minor feature of the T43 and Z60t series, but as you can see in the images below the display designers didn't think so. A giant fingerprint and geeky "Security made simpler, p@$$w0rds at your fingertip " saying was emblazoned on a sign beneath the two fingerprint reader equipped ThinkPads.
ThinkPad display in Office Depot, they're really playing up the fingerprint reader aspect for some reason (view larger image)
The price on the T43 configuration available was actually quite reasonable, $1,449 for a nicely configured machine (1.73GHz Pentium M, 60GB HD, fingerprint reader, 15" screen, 512MB RAM, XP Pro, 802.11b/g):
$1,449 for the T43, not bad for the available configuration (view larger image)
Meanwhile, the ThinkPad Z60t was priced at $1,999 and we didn't feel it was as good a deal given the fact it had similar specs to the T43 but was $500 more. Plus if you check Z60t prices online they're much cheaper. But the Office Depot salesperson told us they'd be having sales in the future. We promised not to tell anyone about that though.
ThinkPad Z60t on display at Office Depot (view larger image)
We asked if there would be any stock of the ThinkPad X41 or the ThinkPad X41 Tablet PC machines and the friendly Office Depot folks said "yes" there would be, apparently when they come in they will go beneath where the T43 and Z60t currently are. We hope that doesn't mean the big fingerprint logo would be chopped out.
Overall it's great that people will now be able to walk into a national chain retail store and see ThinkPad notebooks on display, many potential buyes hear great things about ThinkPad notebooks but don't have access to seeing what all the fuss is about. Also, some people still just prefer to buy from a store you can walk into and that wasn't an option for ThinkPads until now (although there were a few smaller bricks and mortar retailers with ThinkPads over the past 5 years, they were few and far between).
So if you live in the U.S. then next time you pass your local Office Depot stop in for some paper clips, and maybe toss a ThinkPad in the cart while you're at it.
T43 purchase label thing with specs (view larger image)
ThinkPad Z60t purchase label thing with specs (view larger image)
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