Lenovo ThinkPad T60p Review (pics, specs)

by Mandrake Reads (403,497)

by Dan R., Illinois USA

The Lenovo Thinkpad T60p (2623DDU) is an ISF certified workstation class notebook.  It took almost exactly four weeks from order via Lenovo.com to accepting delivery.  I’ve had it for a little over a week and so far it is a keeper!


Lenovo ThinkPad T60p (view large image)

Specs for ThinkPad T60 as purchased

  • T2500 2.0GHz Core Duo processor with Intel Virtualization Technology
  • 100GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • 1GB Ram PC2-5300 667Mhz
  • 15″ UXGA (1600×1200) Flexview screen utilizing IPS technology
  • ATI FireGL V5200 with 256MB
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network card, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth
  • Verizon CDMA 2000 1X EV-DO Wireless WAN card
  • It weights in at 6.4lbs with the 9-cell battery.
  • Price: about $2,800

I’m currently running Windows XP Pro on the system and I do plan on installing Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 on the system in the next couple of weeks.  While looking through the bios settings I noticed that Intel’s Virtualization technology by default is disabled so I will attempt to enable it as soon as I install Virtual Server.

Reasons for Buying

I bought this notebook because it looked cool of course!  Seriously though, I wanted a business class notebook that can still run Civilization IV and Star Wars-Empire at War if I wanted to.  I bought a Dell Inspiron 9300 last year and my wife took it over.  I don’t like to share my PC and I was using my business notebook (Dell Latitude D610) for personal use.  So I wanted a more powerful notebook that I could use for personal and work.


Author’s old Dell D610 on the left, new ThinkPad T60p on the right (view large image)

Buying Experience

I bought the T60p online from Lenovo.com on 2/27/2006.  The original ship date started at 4/3/2006 and it kept getting pushed back daily by one day.  It ended up shipping on 3/22/2006, before the original estimated date of shipping.  Shipping took 2 days; it sat in customs for about 10 hours.  It left Hong Kong late at night on a Wednesday and arrived by 9:30AM on Friday.

Build and Design

I like the sturdiness of this notebook.  If there was one complaint about it, it has to be the fact that the memory slots are underneath the palm rest.  This gives the palm rest a less sturdy feel.  It does flex a little on the bottom right corner but it is nothing that would make me return this.

The steel hinges give the system a slightly different look; one of more strength, no wobbling, andno twisting.  There is a little gap between the base and screen which gives it a slightly suspended in air look.


T60p collapsed open (view large image)


T60p right side view (view large image)


T60p left side view (view large image)

Screen

The screen is the BEST I’ve ever seen.  I’ve owned 7-10 notebooks in my life and this by far is the most sturdy (no ripples or flex like the D610) and the best when it comes to keeping its brightness and color regardless of what angle you look at it.  I constantly adjust the screen on my D610 because if I’m not looking at it straight on I get distortion.  I’ve also owned a handful of Dell notebooks besides my D610 and Inspiron 9300 and I always thought the screen was just fine even after hearing people complain on different forums about a “washed out look”.  Now I know what they mean.  It would be very difficult for me to buy another Dell unless they incorporate this technology.  If I had any additional requests regarding the screen I would prefer a 300 nits screen versus a 200 nits screen.  A little brighter would be nice.  At least it is better than the 150 and 180 on my Dell notebooks of yore.

Below are various pictures of the T60p next to a Dell D610 taken at various angles, the T60 is on the right — or easily recognized by the screen that is consistent with color and brightness from every angle imaginable.  The first picture is taken straight on and perpendicular to show how both notebooks appear at normal viewing angle.

The T60p IPS (FlexView) screen is astounding, no matter what the viewing angle:

 
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Speakers

The speakers are positioned in front of the notebook below the palm rest angled down.  I thought this was a very odd location.  When you actually use the laptop on your lap it muffles the sound.  I honestly don’t care much as long as it has sound.

Processor and Performance

The T2500 2.0Ghz Core-Duo processor is the latest in Intel’s line of mobile processors.  It is nice and fast.  On my first day I created a 6 CD backup set of the notebook while continuing to work on the laptop, there was no lag while simultaneously burning and working.  I usually have issues burning CDs and doing anything else at the same time so I was very impressed with the performance.  I continued to do virus scans, spyware scans and work on the system – again no lag.  I just thought that was so cool!  When I told co-workers I was getting the notebook one said how often do you do two things at once and my response was “all the time”.  If you really pay attention to what you are doing, I personally multi-task constantly.  As I write this review I have eight windows along with all the programs running in the background that you don’t even think of (and unfortunately, can often be unaware of).  If I want to switch to different programs and continue to work I won’t miss a beat.

I played Civilization II and Star Wars Empire at War so far at full 1600×1200 resolution; again no lag.  I don’t play any First Person Shooters (FPS) such as Doom 3 with my notebook, so I can’t test that.

Benchmarks

I did not format this machine, I’ve only added to it in terms of programs.  I did not change my video drivers so everything right now is stock, and so the results below for Super Pi and 3DMark05 should represent the true out of the box experience.

Notebook Time
Lenovo ThinkPad T60p (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 15s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 18s
 Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 53s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)  1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo)   1m 15s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 HP DV4170us (Pentium M 1.73 GHz)  1m 53s
 Sony VAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s

 

 Notebook  3DMark 05 Results
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60p (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI FireGL V5200 with 256MB)  3271 3D Marks
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2092 3D Marks
 Lenovo ThinkPad Z60m (2.0GHz Pentium M, ATI X600 128MB)  1659 3DMarks
ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz, ATI X300 64MB graphics)  727 3DMarks
 Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2530 3D Marks
 Quanta KN1 (1.86 GHz Pentium M, NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600 128mb)  2,486 3DMarks
 HP dv4000 (1.86GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)  2536 3D Marks
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4157 3DMarks

Heat and Noise

I had some noise issues with my first AC adapter.  I ordered a new one and it is much better.  The old one screeched and was very annoying.  I’m not sure what was wrong.  Other than that there are no noise issues with the T60.  With the DVD player you can actually adjust the speeds to reduce the noise level.  That was the first time I ever saw that type of setting.  I left it at the default speed since it is not an issue anyway.

The T60p gets a little warm on the bottom upper left hand corner, but not too bad and I can still use it in my lap if need be.  The palm rests don’t get hot at all.

Keyboard and Touchpad


Keyboard and touchpad area for the T60p (view large image)

This is a nice and sturdy keyboard, but I guess ThinkPads are known for this. There’s only a slight flex if you press really hard.  Just no complaints here.  The trackpoint rocks!  I have one on the D610 that is much smaller and you feel like you have less control over it.  Sometimes after long periods of use the one on the Dell has a mind of its own.  I have had no issue with the Thinkpad trackpoint.  It’s bigger, softer and it feels like I have more control over it.  This is my first Thinkpad and I was expecting the same thing as my Dell so it was a nice surprise.

Wireless

This thing has Bluetooth, the Intel 3945 wi-fi card and the Verizon WAN card but so far I have only used the Intel card.  I’m not planning on activating the Verizon card because I never have an issue finding access at hotspots.  That may change in the future — if in a pinch I can always use the Verizon card which costs $15 for 24 hour access.  Reception throughout my house and at work with my Intel card has been great.  I’ve read complaints about the Intel card but I have not had any issues.

Input and Output Ports

The following ports, slots and buttons are available on the T60p:

  • Ports:
    • 3 USB 2.0 ports
    • dock/port replicator
    • Display-out
    • AC adapter port
    • RJ-11 (Modem)
    • RJ-45 (Ethernet LAN)
    • Audio line out for headphone/speakers
    • Microphone
  • Slots:
    • 1 Type II PC card slot
    • 1 ExpressCard 54 slot
  • Buttons:
    • Power on/off
    • Volume up/down/mute (3 buttons)
    • Wireless on/off
    • ThinkVantage shortcut button (shortcut to system support, security and diagnostics suite)
    • Battery lock and release


    Left side view of D610 on top of T60p (view large image)


    Right side view of Dell D610 on top of ThinkPad T60p (view large image)


    Back side view of Dell D610 on top of ThinkPad T60p (view large image)


    Front side view of D610 on top of ThinkPad T60 — notice the T60 is the thinner of the two thin-and-light notebooks (view large image)

     

    Battery

    I don’t run on battery too often.  It’s definitely longer to charge than to drain.  I keep all of my settings high (screen brightness, processor speed) so I probably couldn’t get more than 2.5 hours with my 9-cell.  I’m usually near an outlet so it is not an issue.  The battery is heavy though, I’m still considering a 6-cell battery just to make the machine lighter, but I haven’t decided yet.

    Operating System and Software

    I’m running Windows XP Pro on this laptop, so there’s nothing special to speak about there.  What I do like is the client security password manager that comes with the system.  It creates a virtual partition on your hard drive which you determine the size of and you can store all your passwords there.  So regardless if I’m logging into the system or opening a browser and logging into my bank account all I have to do is swipe my finger on the finger print reader and it logs me in. 

    Conclusion

    I am really happy with my purchase so far.  The biometrics security and the IPS screen is my favorite part.  For anyone considering a different notebook that doesn’t use IPS technology, they should think twice.  The IPS screen is a huge difference.  I believe this is a must buy notebook for any business user where security and durability is important.

    Pros

    • Flexview screen using IPS- Best screen I’ve ever owned on a notebook
    • Keyboard- Alps
    • Classic business black color
    • Trackpoint
    • Overall is a very sturdy build
    • Intel Core-Duo is fast!

    Cons

    • AC adapter- first one I had was noisy, it doesn’t have a ground post
    • 9 cell battery is too heavy
    • Slight flex in the palm rest
    • No firewire, no multi-card reader, no DVI (I could care less about a s-video port)

    Pricing and Availability: The T60 is available from Lenovo.com or other retailers:

    Lenovo Thinkpad T60p (2623DDU) Price comparison from web retailers

    Other ThinkPad T60 Reviews:

     




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