CNET.co.uk is dedicated to the average consumer, so it's not often you'll find a purely business-focused laptop on these hallowed pages. But when a laptop is too good to ignore, we'll turn a blind eye to the fact that it's designed for stuffy business types.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T61p is just such a machine. It's filled to the brim with new, high-end components, is built like a tank and more importantly is the first laptop we've used that comes with an ultra-wideband (UWB) chip -- the stuff that allows wireless USB and wireless HDMI. It's available to buy right now from a starting price of just over £1,600.
In case you didn't already know, IBM sold its PC division to Lenovo in 2005. Lenovo now has permission to use the IBM name and associated branding on its products until 2010. The T61p shuns the IBM name but keeps the ThinkPad moniker -- just as it keeps the angular, matte black chassis design pioneered by IBM all those years ago.
It's fairly dull looking, make no mistake. The angular styling and understated colouring makes it the complete antithesis of laptops such as the Sony Vaio CR series. But don't let that put you off -- as strange as it may sound, the laptop has an air of functional elegance about it. Just one look in its direction is enough to tell you it's packing some serious hardware.
The lid is very understated, playing host to nothing more than a small ThinkPad T Series logo. But things are far more intriguing once you lift the lid. Here you can see the very familiar IBM keyboard layout which includes a blue-coloured return key, blue ThinkVantage shortcut button and, of course, two types of mouse controller. Lenovo gives you the choice of using a touch-sensitive trackpad or, above this, a separate TrackPoint 'nipple', which has its own dedicated selector buttons.
The T61p has a fingerprint reader for secure logins. But instead of sitting between the mouse selector buttons, as is common on consumer laptops, it's positioned out of the way on the right-hand side. Also notable is the lack of a webcam at the top of the screen. Lenovo obviously thinks Web conferencing isn't a popular enough feature, so it's replaced it with a ThinkLight -- an LED bulb that can illuminate the keyboard in dark environments.
The vast majority of the T61p's ports are located on the left side. There's an analogue D-Sub VGA port, modem and LAN ports, a pair of audio jacks, USB and an ExpressCard slot. The front plays host to a memory card reader and on the right there are two more USB ports.Features
Under the matte black plastic, Lenovo has fitted what it describes as a 'roll cage' -- two skeleton-type enclosures that protect the motherboard and LCD screen in the event of a fall. It doesn't pretend it's as tough as a Panasonic ToughBook but it affords the laptop a degree of protection absent from most of its rivals.
At the heart of the system, Lenovo has opted for the latest Intel Centrino components. The CPU is a 2.4GHz Intel T7700 CPU, the fastest we've seen in a laptop thus far. This is paired to 2048MB of DDR2 667MHz memory, making the core specification as potent as you'd expect from any laptop.