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Lenovo Thinkpad T61

The Lenovo notebook that takes part in our today’s test session belongs to a slightly different category than the previous two solutions. Nevertheless, we decided to include it in this article because it will help us demonstrate what Santa Rosa platform is really capable of when it is fully charged. In other words, Lenovo Thinkpad T61 is an expensive high-performance business notebook designed in 14-inch form-factor.

In fact, the size of Lenovo Thinkpad T61 is very similar to that of Asus A8Sc, however the exterior design of our hero wouldn’t let us compare them side by side with the Asus solution. Lenovo Thinkpad T61 is another example of classic looks developed by IBM many years ago. It is made of solid black plastic that is pleasantly velvety to the touch on the outside and grainy on the inside, with sharp edges and corners. In other words, a “black box”. However, Thinkpad brand fans hardly expect anything else.

However, you shouldn’t be misled by the classic looks of the Lenovo Thinkpad T61: it is stuffed with some very progressive components – Santa Rosa platform. Besides Core 2 Duo processor on Core micro-architecture supporting 800MHz bus, it also uses a discrete Intel PM965 chipset and external Nvidia Quadro NVS 140M graphics card optimized for 2D modes and boasting very low heat dissipation of only 10W.

Despite pretty typical configuration, Lenovo Thinkpad T61 costs a little more than the Asus A8Sc we have already talked about before, because the Lenovo notebook boasts a few additional advantages. Firstly, it is equipped with 1GB Intel Turbo Memory module that speeds up the boot time for the most frequently used applications. Secondly, the notebook is equipped with a biometric fingerprint sensor, a TPM module and supports Intel AMT remote management technology that defines it as a Centrino Pro solution. And thirdly, the case of this mobile computer doesn’t just look originally, it is also enhanced with a special Top Cover Roll Cage cell structure that protects its when dropped. By the way, the hard disk drive in Lenovo Thinkpad T61 is also set in a special anti-shock chassis with an overload sensor that parks the heads in case of emergency.

The screen of the Thinkpad T61 is also unusual. Despite its standard 14-inch size it supports better widescreen resolution than most of the competitors: 1440x900. Lenovo doesn’t use mirror matrix finish in their Thinkpad series, which prevents the screen from flashing in the sun or bright light. There is a spot above the screen for a web-cam, which was absent in our configuration. The status LEDs are right below the screen and they are of noble green color instead of traditional blue.

The keyboard of this solution can undoubtedly be regarded as one of the best in the industry. It is not only highly reliable and moisture protected, it features large convenient keys and ergonomic layout. Besides a standard set of keys, Lenovo Thinkpad T61 keyboard also has a few additional Back and Forward keys built into the pointer control set. There are 4 additional keys above the keyboard: three for sound volume control and one for launching brand name software suite.

Another traditional Thinkpad’s peculiarity is the availability of a trackpoint manipulator besides the traditional touchpad. Unfortunately, being so close to the touchpad, the trackpoint sets certain limitations. Namely, the touchpad work surface is too small, which you can really feel especially due to large screen resolution. However, the trackpoint featuring three keys (the middle one enabling scrolling) can make up for this drawback.

Unfortunately, Lenovo Thinkpad T61 cannot boast the same variety of ports and interfaces as many other notebooks of the same size and weight. Its sides only carry three USB ports, an IEEE1394 port, D-Sub out for external monitor, two analogue audio-jacks, Gigabit network port and modem connector. Moreover, there are external slots for PC Card and ExpressCard that may be replaced with a card-reader in some configurations. I have to admit that the few connectors are also not very conveniently located. USB ports are aimed vertically, while the headset and mic connectors are situated on the very front edge of the notebook.

As for wireless interfaces, Lenovo Thinkpad T61 supports Bluetooth 2.0 and features Intel 4964AGN adapter that enabled Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g.

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