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Lenovo's new ThinkPad T60p is a very successful--if pricey--attempt to bridge the gap between the ultraportables and the desktop replacements.
Laptops increasingly seem to be divided into two camps. One is the ultra-portables you can carry these light-weight wonders all day, but they lack the power, input and display capabilities to actually be useful for more than short periods. In the other camp are the powerful desktop replacements they have large displays and keyboards and processing power, but they can cause physical injury to those who run with them through airport terminals.
Lenovo's new ThinkPad T60p is a very successful if pricey attempt to bridge that gap. This laptop, descended from Lenovo's T43 line, has desktop power; a very usable keyboard; good input capabilities; a bright, powerful 15-inch display; and is highly connective. Yet at less than six pounds, it's an amiable travel companion.
With the T60p Lenovo continues the Thinkpad tradition of delivering desktop power to road warriors. This new Thinkpad comes with a dual-core processor, the 2.16 GHz Intel Centrino Duo, and optional built-in wide area networking via Verizon's 3G EV-DO cellular data network.
It's also one of the first laptops with both dual-core processing technology and built-in wide area networking via Verizon's 3G EV-DO cellular data network. Those capabilities, along with Lenovo's long-standing security, usability and enterprise management features, make this a highly appealing option for road warriors and a viable desktop replacement for many users.
The standard ThinkPad T60 line starts at about $1300, but the T60p series, which Lenovo considers its mobile workstation line, starts at over $3000 and the T60p I tested was fully loaded and cost a bit more
than $3800. Yet, at 5.8 pounds, including a standard long-lasting battery, the system falls squarely in the middle of the weight range of current laptops.
But while it's relatively light, the T60p is unusually powerful. It is one of the first laptops available with Intel's Centrino Duo mobile-optimized twin-core processor operating at 2.16 GHz. With a gigabyte of RAM and a 100 GB serial ATA hard drive, this laptop's performance is easily as brisk as mid- to high-end desktop PCs. I noticed no drop-off in speed and processing power compared to my day-to-day desktop computer, which specs out at 2.8 GHz and 512 MB of RAM.
That strong performance was augmented by equally strong display capabilities based on the ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 chipset with 512 MB of on-board RAM. This enabled a crisp 1600x1200 resolution on the unit's 15 diagonal inches of viewable display. This particular video adapter supports OpenGL, which means it can be used for graphics-intensive business applications like AutoCAD. It also supports an external display at these same specs, a necessary capability for a laptop that could be used to replace a desktop machine.
Given all these capabilities, its nine-cell battery performed admirably. Rated for as long as 5.2 hours, it provided more than four hours of usage while constantly connected to a wireless network, which causes greater-than-normal power drain.
In addition, the T60p comes with a built-in combo DVD/CD-RW drive, although it's hardly a multimedia powerhouse. Its built-in speakers sounded tinny and it doesn't have a slot for flash storage such as Compact Flash or SecureDigital. And its video capabilities, while strong for graphics-intensive business applications, doesn't even pretend to be appropriate for gaming.
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