Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lenovo IBM ThinkPad X60 Tablet

Lenovo's ThinkPad X60 is an ultra-light Tablet PC with a heavyweight punch. The X60 takes advantage of and positively upholds the excellent reputation of the IBM ThinkPad line of laptops. ThinkPads are slightly utilitarian in design, but this is part of their universal appeal. Even as an ultra-portable, the X60 may have enough sinewy power to give bulkier, high-spec laptops a tough run for the money.

Features and Design

The Lenovo X60 tablet PC, aka ThinkPad X60 Tablet, is billed as an ultra-portable 12" laptop that crams a lot of features into a relatively small package. The X60 is absolutely lightweight and travel-friendly at a reported 3.8lbs. Of course, this weight is sans-battery. When I placed the X60 on my digital scale, the weight was slightly higher than expected at 3.94lbs. With the 8-cell Lenovo IBM ThinkPad X60 Tablet battery attached (4-cell battery available as well) the weight of the X60 increased to 4.94lbs. This is still lighter than most competitive laptops.

Lenovo offers an optional expansion dock for the X60. This dock gives X60 users access to a 24/16/8/4/2.4X CD-RW/DVD drive, 4 USB 2.0 ports, VGA video out, an archaic serial port, parallel port, audio in/out, a secondary power adapter port, a fax/modem and a 10/100 LAN port. The expansion dock is ideal for execs and managers who have external monitors, keyboards and mice permanently set up at one or more work spaces. Moving the X60 between mobile/compact mode and docked/desktop mode is as easy as a single click in XP and releasing the undock lever on the expansion dock.

Without the "ThinkPad X6 Tablet UltraBase" expansion dock, the X60 is slightly less functional. It does not have an optical drive built-in, which means no CD or DVD drive. To use CDs or DVD on the go, one must have copied disk images to the hard drive with an included utility, or one must use an external USB CD/DVD drive. There are three USB 2.0 ports, a single 4-pin FireWire port, built-in SD/MMC card slot, dial-up modem port, infrared port, embedded WWAN, VGA video out, audio input and output jacks, and a much-appreciated PC Card slot for flash card readers, USB expansion ports, etc. Essentially, any expansion needs could be managed by way of PC cards or USB devices.

The 12" TFT screen is clean and bright. Surprisingly, the X60 doesn't take advantage of the highly popular widescreen format. It's odd using a near-square portable after being on wide-screens for several years. Additionally, the matte screen is limited to a 1024x768 resolution. The X60 doesn't have a dedicated graphics card - rather, it uses upwards of 128MB of system memory for video. Sadly, the X60 doesn't offer any DVI video out, even with the expansion dock. Finally, unlike many new laptops on the market, the X60 does not have an integrated webcam.

The keyboard measures just over 10" wide, which forces keys to be slightly smaller than on standard laptops, but near equal to that of other ultra-portables. The X60 however, superimposes a great number of Fn options on keys which makes it look a little hectic. Once the visual noise settles down, keyboard use is intuitive and fluid.

The internal hard drive (60GB to 120GB) is a 5400rpm SATA drive. If you want a 7200rpm drive for extra speed, Lenovo offers a 100GB SATA drive for an extra cost.

Like most IBM/Lenovo laptops, the X60 has a red mouse pointer nub smack in the middle of the keyboard instead of a trackpad below the keyboard. I'm sure there are thousands of people who prefer the nub. It's easy to get used to, but this techie thinks it's a misplaced oddity.

The X60 has a built-in biometric security device - a small fingerprint scanner located at the bottom right corner of the LCD screen. The scanner is about the size of a piece of macaroni, or the tip of a 6-pin USB plug. When the biometric security is enabled, it can be used for XP login, program/file/website access. This is an essential security feature where corporate competition and identity theft force people to be more protective of their data.

As for design, the X60 is pretty utilitarian. In a world of pretty MacBooks, Sony Vaios and Toshibas, the X60 looks Borg. It's a no frills, no pizzazz workhorse - albeit a tough, high powered, skilled workhorse that can run circles around competitive systems.

Amazing 4GB RAM Capacity

One of the most impressive and desirable aspects of the X60 is the fact that RAM can be upgraded as high as 4GB. That's right - 4 whole gigabytes of lightning fast PC2-5300 667MHz RAM. It's enough to make a geek break into a giddy sweat. Major kudos to Intel and Lenovo for such an awesome endowment.

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roshid said...

IBM going more advanced... It will really protect our data... nice going...


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Greenpower said...

Yes, before, we trust IBM, now we can trust Lenovo.