Lenovo ThinkPad T61 / 14.1-inch LaptopsReviews

You can't tell by looking at the familiar squared-off matte-black chassis, but the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 delivers dozens of subtle improvements that make it the widescreen machine to beat among thin-and-light business notebooks. This 5.2-pound classic isn't perfect, but it's darn close.


Behind the 14.1-inch screen, Lenovo has added a magnesium-alloy inner shell to better protect the display, similar to the internal rollcage added to the bottom of the chassis a few years ago. Lenovo claims that the screen is now 25 percent more resistant to breakage than previous models.

The 1440 x 900-pixel widescreen was plenty bright and delivered crisp, vibrant images. Default font sizes are on the small side, but the higher resolution works well with Vista's sidebar widgets. The matte screen cuts down on glare and doesn't cause as much blurring as other matte finishes we've seen (think of it more as a satin finish). Viewing angles are fine side to side, but the screen washes out when viewed from above.

The keyboard is as comfortable as ever, and we're happy to see both the TrackPoint pointing stick, with a central scroll toggle between the mouse buttons, and a touchpad with its own buttons. The white LED ThinkLight above the screen sheds just enough light on the keys in a darkened room, and the handy volume and mute buttons sit above the keyboard's function keys. The touchpad is a bit on the small side (to accommodate the TrackPoint's mouse buttons). Volume from the T61's speakers is good enough for private listening but is barely adequate for use in a presentation.

The T61 delivers all the typical ports, including FireWire and both PC Card and ExpressCard slots, but there's still no memory card reader. As for security, this notebook offers a fingerprint reader for use with the standard TPM circuitry. And security-conscious businesses will appreciate the ability to disable the I/O ports in the BIOS to prevent data from being off-loaded.

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