Lenovo ThinkPad X60 (63638mm)
- ThinkVantage software, rugged design, excellent battery life
- No optical drive
For tablet users this small, light tablet PC will offer hours of casual usage away from a power source and will comfortably handle a good range of commonly used software. The standard ThinkPad chassis is rugged and is easy to hold onto. The 8-cell battery protrudes from the edge of the unit, which looks a little strange in notebook mode, but acts as a great grip when in tablet mode.
Price$ 4,299.00 (AUD)
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The Lenovo ThinkPad X60 Tablet PC is a hybrid notebook and tablet PC that is easily converted by rotating the screen. It is similar in build to the Thinkpad X60 (Model: 170693M) notebook (non-tablet) which we looked at earlier, but its tablet functionality adds a little extra flexibility, ensuring it will be particularly useful in specialised environments, such as hospitals and warehouses.
The Lenovo X60 Tablet has 1GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM, but uses a low voltage Intel Core Duo L2500 1.83GHz CPU, which offers better battery performance at the expense of processing power. Like the Thinkpad X60 (Model: 170693M), this unit doesn't include an optical drive for installing software or backing up old data although the included 100GB (5400rpm) hard drive is more than large enough for a business tablet.
The different battery modes (which can also be customised), allow the user to adjust the machine's performance to suit their battery needs. Regardless of which setting we were on however, it performed impressively. Even at the maximum performance setting and running with a full workload (encoding, rendering, multi-tasking), the Lenovo X60 Tablet managed to continue running for three hours and 50 minutes. Under less taxing circumstances this unit should last considerably longer, which is a great result for a portable unit like this.
The overall design aims for ease-of-use when in tablet mode and it offers a number of quick-access navigation controls to facilitate this. The 12.1in screen, which runs at 1024 x 768, automatically rotates the perspective when shifting between modes, but a screen rotate button is not far away if it needs to be done manually. There's also an escape key for tablet mode, as well as directional controls and an enter button. A dedicated CTRL+ALT+DEL button, for quick access to the task manager when in tablet mode is a very handy feature. The screen was responsive to the supplied stylus when hand writing and navigating Windows XP Professional.
The Lenovo X60 Tablet is as tiny as the notebook version, fitting easily in one arm, and was comfortable to carry around. Weighing 2.1kg it's not too heavy, but could be too much if lugged around for a long period of time. The chassis gets warm, but doesn't get unbearably hot by any means, so it should remain fairly comfortable to carry.
It doesn't have the embedded 3G card that we saw in the original Thinkpad X60 (Model: 170693M), but it still offers Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 and it also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity, as well as a 56k modem. Lenovo's ThinkVantage software can be accessed at the press of a button in either tablet or notebook mode and allows quick control over power management and network connections among other things. We found it handy when setting up both wireless and wired network connections, the connection profiles were simple to use when switching from one network to another.
Another useful function of this software is the quick access to display profiles, which comes in handy when outputting to another display, such as a projector for presentations. For added security the machine can be locked using a biometric fingerprint reader, which is conveniently placed near the screen for access in tablet mode.
Three USB 2.0 ports are available for additional peripherals or external storage devices. There's also a FireWire port and a PC card slot for other devices. A VGA port allows connectivity to an external display.
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The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
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