Straight from the ultra-utilitarian “business computing” masters at Lenovo comes the ThinkPad T60p. The T60p is a full-sized, full-powered mobile workstation designed for serious computing on the go. In Lenovo’s own words, this laptop is geared for “premier performance”. Given Lenovo’s solid reputation and the T60p’s impressive specs, we at Digital Trends wanted to see if the T60p is really as good as it’s made out to be. Read on to find out more about the T60p, what it offers and how it performs.
Features and Design
The Lenovo ThinkPad T60p is a sleek, professional looking laptop that doesn’t skimp on features. Usually reserved for strict business use, this particular ThinkPad is endowed with enough power and grace to find its way into mainstream use, even for creative applications. Inside and out, the T60p has a lot to offer.
The lower-spec T60p comes with a 4:3 aspect 14.1″ screen so common to laptops of yesteryear. The real beauty of the T60p comes out when it’s equipped with the optional WSXGA+ 15.4″ widescreen LCD screen. The 16:9 widescreen ratio is perfect for movies and HD recordings, not to mention wide-format spreadsheets, room for designing 11″x17″ marketing collateral, etc. In today’s age, laptops not sporting a widescreen LCD are less conducive to productivity and, let’s face it, they’re terribly uncool.
The T60p’s 15.4″ widescreen supports a native resolution of 1680×1050 pixels. That’s the top standard for 15″ laptops. Even the 15″ MacBook Pro comes with a limiting 1440×900 screen res. One debatable downside is the lack of a glossy screen. I’m sure some people will gag at the idea of a glossy ThinkPad, but an equal or greater number may appreciate it.
Like many laptops on the market these days, the T60p comes with several processor configurations, depending on how much power you need and how much money you want to spend. The base level processor is the 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo. Also available are the 2.16GHz and 2.33GHz Core Duos. The next step up gives users the extra speed and efficiency of Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors, specifically the 2.0GHz, 2.16GHz and 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo. If you can afford the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processor, Digital Trends highly recommends that you do so. Each of the Core 2 Duo processors are known to be much faster, more efficient and significantly cooler-running than their Core Duo counterparts.
Crazy 4GB RAM Capacity
One of the most impressive and desirable aspects of the T60p is the fact that RAM can be upgraded as high as 4GB! The Intel 945GM and 945PM chipsets found in varying models of the T60p allow for four whole gigabytes of lightning-fast PC2-5300 667MHz RAM. Intel and Lenovo earn major points for this drool-worthy spec.
Ports, Jacks, Nooks and Crannies
The T60p has plenty of connections and ports for peripherals. On the right side of the laptop, there are two USB 2.0 ports and the DVD-RW/CD-RW drive. On the front bezel, there’s only one button – the wireless radio switch. The infrared port is cleverly hidden in the front bezel. On the left side, there’s a port for VGA-out, a dial-up modem for ye olde school connections, a gigabit ethernet (LAN) port, 1/8″ audio in and audio out jacks, a single USB 2.0 port and a twin-height bay that accepts one 54mm ExpressCard and one PC Card (PCMCIA). The power cable plugs in to the back of the laptop, and the bottom of the T60p reveals a port for connecting to a docking station. One thing that seems to be missing is Firewire support. Not a single 4-pin or 6-pin FireWire port. Woops.
The Left Side of the T60p
The Lenovo T60p laptop is a solid, well-constructed business laptop. With the world full of poorly built electronics that might break if breathed upon too hard, it’s nice to know that this Lenovo has some backbone. Of course, the more substantial construction means added weight. The T60p weighs in at 5 lbs. 2 oz. without the battery and 6 lbs. 4 oz. with the battery. Compare this to a 15″ MacBook Pro that weighs 5 lbs. 10 oz. with the battery. The difference is 10 oz. or .625 lbs. This might not seem like a lot on paper, but one’s shoulder certainly begins to feel the extra weight when carried for a long time. On the upside, carrying an extra half-pound will help you burn a few more calories throughout the day.
Lenovo ThinkPad T60p
Lenovo claims that the 15.4″ T60p should get upwards of 6 hours of battery life starting from a full charge on the 6-cell battery. 9-cell batteries are supposed to provide upwards of 9 hours, and using the 9-cell battery together with a drive bay battery should give upwards of 11.5 hours. Maybe if you’re running DOS.
In my tests (using a 9-cell battery), I found that the T60p gets good battery life (about 4 hours), but this is nowhere near the Lenovo spec. The only way I was able to coax more uptime from the T60p was to dim the screen way down and prevent use of the CD/DVD drive. So long as data is pulled from or saved to the hard drive and not an external device, the T60p gets much better battery life. For a sturdy, higher-performance 15.4″ laptop, this is understandable and entirely expected. Turning off the wireless modem also saves a little battery life. The 9-hour claim for a 9-cell battery seems really far-fetched, even for obviously biased marketing material.
In short, if you’re looking for a laptop that will run full-tilt on battery for the duration of a cross-country flight, and if this is your primary concern, you’re looking at the wrong type of laptop. You may want to check out some of the X-series ultra-portables made by Lenovo.
Lenovo ThinkPad T60p
The Lenovo T60p comes with Windows Vista, so there’s absolutely no confusion about whether or not the T60p is capable of handling the next gen operating system. For those who don’t want to deal with a new OS, the T60p can be configured with Windows XP Home or Pro.
TrackPoint vs. TrackPad
Most IBM/Lenovo laptops come with the little red nubbin (TrackPoint) that is used for moving the mouse. I’m not a fan of the TrackPoint – at all. The Lenovo T60p, however, comes with the red button as well as a nice, moderately sized TrackPad for scrolling and controlling the mouse with the tip of a finger. I’m happy that the T60p gives users both options. Lenovo should be pleased, too, because it means more people are likely to buy the T60p.
The ThinkPad T60p has a keyboard LED lighting system that illuminates the keyboard for more comfortable use in low-light situations. It’s called the “ThinkLight.” The MacBook Pro has a sub-keyboard lighting system that illuminates the keyboard from underneath and through the keys. The ThinkLight is a small LED light not under the keyboard, but on the topmost bezel of the LCD screen. The LED light shines down onto the keyboard with what seems to be equivalent to a single candle power. While the LED aims directly at the keyboard, it illuminates a much wider area than intended. The ThinkLight is certainly a noble idea, but it really fails to impress.
Let Your Fingers Do the Locking
The T60p comes complete with a fantastic biometric security system. The fingerprint reader is located on the front-right quadrant of the laptop and is a little larger than the tip of a USB plug. Biometric security can be set for a single user, a user and administrator or multiple authorized users.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T60p Fingerprint Scanner
The Lenovo T60p comes with a powerful 256MB ATI Mobility Fire GL V5250 video card. This is more than enough for any type of business application. It’s sufficient for nearly all Photoshop tasks. Video editing and gaming are also a breeze with the generous 256MB of video memory. Very few laptops have more substantial video cards. Those that do are typically much, much more expensive and attract very specific types of buyers with exacting needs.
Sorry. The T60p does not come with Bluetooth as a standard item. You’ll have to shell out a little extra cash for that.
While the T60p doesn’t have Bluetooth built-in, it does have 802.11a/b/g as a stock feature. To get the newest, hottest, fastest 802.11n wireless card, buyers can upgrade for $249 more. $249 seems like a lot (and it is), but 802.11n is much faster and has far greater wireless range than 802.11a/b/g.
The T60p uses SerialATA (SATA) drives for higher speed data transfer. The T60p has an integrated hard drive protection mechanism that helps prevent damage to the hard drive if the laptop is ever dropped or suffers a jarring movement. When activated, the “HDD Active Protection System” spins down and cushions the hard drive to brace for impact. This can prevent data loss and physical scratches and other types of damage to the disk platters. Even if you don’t understand how drives and drive protection systems work, trust us – you’ll want it.
The 8x DVD-RW/CD-RW drive is a necessity for on-the-road business. In the T60p, Lenovo supplied a removable “multirecorder”, which is fancy speak for a drive that reads and writes many formats of DVDs and CDs including DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and even dual-layer DVDs.
Additionally, the DVD drive can be removed to allow for an additional bay-shaped battery.
The DVD Writer
Setup and Testing
Setting up the T60p is quick and easy. The T60p is fairly self-sufficient, so Lenovo doesn’t have to include many accessories in the product packaging – just the laptop, battery, power brick, modem cord, replacement TrackPoint nubs and the Windows Vista DVD.
Setting up Windows Vista on the T60p is pretty fast, thanks to the Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM and SATA drive. The length of time between removing the T60p from its packaging until Vista is up and running is negligible – in my case, it was done long before my fresh cup of coffee got cold.
A cold boot revealed that it takes approximately 44 seconds for the Vista desktop to appear, and 1 minute 8 seconds for the entire OS to load and for boot-related hard drive activity to cease. That’s pretty fast, especially considering the nature and size of Vista.
With 2GB RAM, applications like Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Picasa open in about 2 seconds. With 4GB of RAM, these apps open almost instantly. Other programs like Photoshop and Flash Professional open in about 6-8 seconds. By ditching the sidebar gadgets and tweaking some performance options, Vista and other programs seem snappier. The overall performance of the T60p is impressive.
The T60p is probably overkill for most casual users (you know the type – e-mail, web browsing, music & home photos), but it’s better to have too much power than not enough.
The only thing I found annoying while using the T60p was the internal fan. It runs constantly and it’s a little louder than I’d expect. Of course, the fan keeps the laptop running nice and cool – barely a degree or two above room temperature. Even idling, my MacBook Pro feels warm in comparison.
The Lenovo T60p is an excellent laptop with tons of positive features. It’s fast, relatively battery-efficient and has a gorgeous 15.4″ widescreen LCD with an impressive 1680×1050 screen res. The Hard drive and RAM are upgradeable post-purchase and the built-in DVD burner covers all the popular CD and DVD formats. What can’t be upgraded or enhanced internally can generally be added as a peripheral. The T60p is a very complete package and it is very reliable.
Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are typically marketed towards executives, professionals and mobile “road warrior” types whose careers and economic futures depend on fast, reliable and robust equipment. The T60p is a machine that will satisfy those types of critical needs while still allowing for fun and creativity in between megamerger negotiations.
I would absolutely recommend the T60p for corporate and personal use.
• Vista capable
• Super fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor
• Amazing 4GB RAM capacity
• Respectable battery life
• Biometric security
• A little heavy
• Thick LCD bezel
• 802.11n and Bluetooth not standard
• No FireWire ports