"Solid PC overall"on by Wildember
Pros Full featured, nice battery life, semi-water resistant keyboard
Cons Loud keypad, kinky IBM Access Connections, not enough USB ports
Summary Got a 1.73GHz 760MB supposedly 40GB HD (mine only shows 32GB overall with about 25GB available...no idea why) with built-in 802.11 card. Computer was contracted out of my grad school so I had no choice on setup or options. I got the laptop, charge cord, 56k modem cord (what's up with that?! who still uses dialup for grad school!) and a single piece of paper with how to turn the laptop on...wow, useful.
Opened the laptop and noticed the firm LCD connections, solid looking hinges and nice sized keyboard. Weight is OK, not the best for lugging around school with a bunch of books but not as heavy as my old Dell Inspiron 1100. This computer is much sturdier and more substantial feeling than my old Dell...though not nearly as nice looking in it's mono-chormatic black plastic.
I got it home and noticed the built-in IBM Access Connection for automatically detecting wi-fi points (after you configure it) and proceeded to set up the program to automatically recognize my home connection and school connections. Problem: program crashes sometimes and lags a bit between switching. The lag's not as bad but the crashes are somewhat unexplained since I've got really nothing setup on the computer. (I've since found that this MAY be associated with the way my school sets up it's access points so might be isolated to just me...joy)
The computer picks up signals nicely. I can pick up 4 access points in my apartment; not bad since I've got only 2 neighbors so the signals must be coming from elsewhere in the building. The battery life is not bad even with wireless running thanks to almighty Centrino...I've managed around 3.25 hrs with my wireless running (the card might've been powered down by the computer since it wasn't transmitting) while watching powerpoints in class.
Got the laptop to marathon through 2 lectures at just under 4hrs one day when I forgot my powercord. Much, much better than my old Dell which could get only 1.5hrs with a PCMCIA 802.11 card in and only on a good day.
The keyboard is a bit loud. Imagine 75 students in a closed room, each with this laptop, all typing away...it's like getting 75 old typewritters in your head. Not real noisy but kinda noticable; especially in the library. Feedback on the keys aren't bad, slightly firm, I get the feeling that I might be a bit tired if I have to do a marathon typing session though. I do like the built-in shortcut keys for volume at the top of the keyboard, out of the way but still accessable. Another unexpected plus: the keyboard can drain off something like 30cc's of H2O accidentally spilled on it, it comes out this little vent on the bottom of the keyboard (for those times you spill coffee, coke, beer, whatever on the keys...I hope I never try it out).
I really like the location of the ports; on two sides of the unit. This allows you to have the thing in your lap on the couch without worrying about the USB memory card breaking cause you can't see the port behind the computer's LCD (Case in point, my old Dell). Downside to that: not nearly enough USB ports. With everything using USB nowadays, you quickly learn that with 2 ports and a printer, mouse, PDA, USB thumb-drive and USB speakers you take full advantage of Window's hot-swap capabilities...MORE PORTS PLEASE! (and yes, I've heard of USB hubs but for the price I've paid for this thing...shouldn't I get at least 4 ports??)
The computer doesn't get that hot, I've had it in my lap for a while before and never had that "OMG I'm gonna burn something important" feeling like my Dell with it's Celeron-D did. The fan is also not nearly as loud, I actually don't get distracted when it turns on. (All hail the all powerful Centrino!) If the keys were only as quiet.
The wonderful built-in IBM light works wonders in dark rooms for seeing the keys and also at night time in the car when you're frantically craming for an exam on your 6 hour trip back from home.
I do wish there was an easy hardware button to turn the wireless card off, as it is you have to turn it off using software; not that big of a deal but the shortcut on my brother-in-law's laptop is far more convienent and so much easier to explain how to use to my mother-in-law.
I've never been a fan of the Red button for steering stareing at you from the center of the keypad, even with the sensitivity turned all the way up it doesn't feel "natural" the touchpad works well though I have to turn the speed of the cursor up to almost max to get it to feel comfortable to my fingers.
Last thing I'm not crazy about for this laptop is the power cord. Mine seems rather loose, I can almost always push it in a bit after it's been plugged in; especially if I move the computer any on the desk. The powercord also pulls out without too much resistance, not sure if it's a safety thing or if it's just a design issue but I almost wish it was more secure in it's plug.
Besides all of that the screen is crisp, it's brightest setting is ok under strong sunlight though it's still somewhat washed out looking. The speakers located on the front-bottomish part of the notebook sounds pretty nice conscidering they're laptop speakers, still need external speakers to make any kind of bass.
Overall, a nice computer, especially compared to what I moved up from, my Dell was somewhat of a disappointment the day I got it out of the box. This laptop has been pretty good, I've had it for about a month now, who knows what I'll think in 2 years when they switch it out for some equally overpriced IBM/Lenovo product...I'm paying $600/semester to LOAN this thing from my school...a ripoff if you ask me conscidering by the end of the 4 years I would've paid out enough for 10 Dell laptops...But there are definitely many worse things I could be using.
Buy with confidence, it's not the most smashing looking thing but it'll do your work for you. Plus, if you drop the thing you've got a chance that the HD's not dead thanks to the IBM active HD protection!
Pros Centrino technology pulls in the wireless networks.
Cons Heavy. Battery life needs improvement.
Summary I've had this model for about 8 months. Not as portable as my Fujitsu notebook but I was looking for a desktop replacement.
For real touch typists, you can't beat the feel of the IBM keyboard. I also like the pointer stick over the touchpad. The Fujitsu also has the stick.
The built-in keyboard light is great for working in dark places.
I was sitting next to a guy in court with a new Dell -- he said he could not find a wireless signal. I found one as soon as I powered up.
I think it's a great desktop replacement. DVD and stereo sound are good.
Pros Strong case even in a tough enviroment like school. Perfomance is great considering price
Cons Could be cheaper, only in black, not the lightest laptop
Summary I use this laptop at my high school north point. They are fully wireless thanks to are cisco network. We are the next geneation of schools and this laptop does fine in the abusive enviroment of are school.
Pros Connectivity, Features, Software Support and Recoverability
Cons Weight of the Laptop
Summary Good Laptop to buy and worth the money
Pros Good replacement for the desk top
Cons Too heavy, too big.