Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with built-in 3G

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with built-in 3G
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with built-in 3G
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with built-in 3G
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with built-in 3G
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Integrated Vodafone 3G Internet, Sturdy design, Excellent monitor, Easy to use

Cons

  • No DVI output

Bottom Line

With 3G Internet built-in, this is an excellent notebook for business users who demand a superior product and excellent build quality.

Would you buy this?

If you have seen a ThinkPad in the last 10 years, chances are you know what the T60 looks like. For corporate and business users, consistency is the key and Lenovo seems to live by the idiom of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Cosmetically, the ThinkPad T60 appears the same as other ThinkPads, but looks can be deceiving. The upgrades come in the hidden details, the things that make the notebook more reliable, sturdier, easier to use, and, in the case of this model, unique. This is the first notebook on the market that has integrated wireless Internet via the Vodafone 3G network. Behind the battery compartment is a slot for a SIM card which allows for easy connection to the Internet without the need for a PCMCIA modem.

The design of the T60 is in keeping with the ThinkPad aesthetic. The entire notebook has a matte black finish with metal hinges attaching the monitor to the base. The keyboard is flush with the casing and has a low compression depth making it comfortable and responsive to use. The trademark TrackPoint pointing device is still present together with scroll toggle, left click and right click buttons. In addition, the traditional touchpad is included in what Lenovo calls the "ThinkPad UltraNav" system, allowing you to use the TrackPoint, touchpad or both.

Like many notebooks we have reviewed of late, the T60 also has a biometric security fingerprint scanner which we found worked incredibly well and can be used with any application that requires password authentication.

The chassis of the T60 is reinforced with a magnesium alloy making it very sturdy. When picking up the notebook from the base, there is barely any bend or flex as the motherboard and internal components are protected by a roll cage of sorts. This protection also extends to the display as the outer casing and bezel is also comprised of a magnesium alloy.

The T60 has an adequate range of connection options including three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet and 56Kbps modem ports, a 15 pin D-Sub connection for an exterior monitor and standard audio connections. There is also a PCMCIA slot and a switch on the front of the unit to activate or deactivate the wireless options. This unit is Bluetooth and 802.11 b/g WiFi capable. File transfers via infrared are also supported. We would have liked to see a DVI output on the unit to allow connection to projectors for high quality and high definition images as we feel this would be handy for presentations, however, the D-Sub connection should suffice for the most part.

Naturally, the first thing we checked as soon as we turned on the unit was the new integrated 3G capabilities. Connecting to the Vodafone 3G network was simple and we experienced very few drop outs. We took the unit on a train trip from our office in Sydney to the suburbs of the inner west and at no time did we experience any drop outs. We expected to lose connection as we came into the underground stations of the CBD but happily chatted away on messenger without any problems. We draw your attention to the photographs included with this review, particularly the images of the battery compartment and the monitor. The SIM card slot sits just behind the battery and the 3G antenna is permanently attached to the side of the monitor. The 3G capabilities of this notebook are phenomenal and extremely easy to use.

We tested the 15.4in monitor with DisplayMate Video Edition and found it to be of exceptional quality. The viewing angle was impressive; avoiding colour shift for the most part and maxing out at around 160 degrees. The maximum resolution of the monitor is 1400x1050 and it exudes bright images, clear text and rich colours. However, the high gloss finish of the screen is very reflective and does result in a mirror effect under florescent lights. As this is a business-oriented notebook, this finish may become problematic.

Under the hood, the T60 has a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo T2400 with 512MB of DDR2 RAM. We tested the performance of the unit using World Bench 5 where it scored 85. This is a reasonable score for a unit with these specifications and the system will easily handle most business applications.

It should also be mentioned that a sticker on the unit declares the notebook as "Windows Vista Capable". Windows Vista requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM to run comfortably, so the RAM on the T60 will need to be upgraded if you intend to move to the new operating system when it is released.

The ThinkPad T60 has mid-level graphics capabilities due to the installed 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 graphics card. Considering the ThinkPad series is not meant for gaming, this isn't really an issue. We tested the graphics capabilities with both 3DMark 2001 and 3DMark 2006. The older edition is a better test for low or moderate performance graphics subsystems, however we also like to use the most recent version of 3DMark for notebooks that score over 10,000 in 3DMark 2001. This unit garnered a score of 10020 in 3DMark 2001 and 748 in 3DMark 2006. This is quite a good score and indicates that the notebook will competently run graphics intensive programs like video and image editing software while also being able to play a wide range of games, especially those older than a year or two.

We tested the life of the standard battery using MobileMark 2005. We ran the MobileMark 2005 Productivity test to determine how well the battery performs under office productivity conditions. The test returned a result of 241 minutes - a favourable score and more than adequate for most users needs.

The level of performance achieved by the T60 in our tests combined with the fact that this is the first notebook on the market with integrated 3G Internet, makes this is an impressive product. We predict it will become a favourite with business buyers.

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