Lenovo ThinkPad T42 2378 (Pentium M 745 1.8 GHz review: Lenovo ThinkPad T42 2378 (Pentium M 745 1.8 GHz

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great value; excellent performance; bulletproof IBM design; Gigabit Ethernet; great service and support.

The Bad Lacks FireWire; no flash media slot; mediocre battery life.

The Bottom Line The ThinkPad T42 is a good choice for business professionals looking for a top-notch laptop at a reasonable price.

CNET Editors' Choice Nov '04

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IBM's first Dothan laptop is the thin-and-light ThinkPad T42, an update to the popular IBM ThinkPad T41. The T42 is almost as fast as the best-performing Dothan we've tested, the Dell Latitude D800. Battery life for the ThinkPad T42 was also good, although it wasn't able to outlast the HP Business Notebook nc6000 in our Labs' tests. But with an eye-pleasing sub-$2,000 price tag in its base configuration, the new ThinkPad T42 is perhaps the best value among laptops equipped with Intel's latest Pentium M upgrade.

For a laptop offering the latest in processor technology, the IBM ThinkPad T42 is strikingly modest in its design (which is par for the course for the all-black ThinkPads). We tested the larger model, which has a 15-inch screen and weighs in at 5.7 pounds (6.5 pounds with power brick and cord), measuring 13 by 10.6 by 1.3 inches. The smaller model has a 14-inch screen and weighs less than 5 pounds, but it is still a good deal bulkier than IBM's new ultralight, the X40 . As on all IBM models, the metal hinges connecting the T42's lid to the body are tough as nails and well suited to day-in, day-out business use.

The IBM ThinkPad T42's keyboard is broad and comfortable, with plenty of room toward the front rim for your palms. You get a touch pad and a pointing device that nestles in the middle of the keyboard. We also like the simple buttons above the keyboard, including volume controls and an Access IBM button that directs you to support and troubleshooting information.

In October 2004, IBM refreshed the ThinkPad T42, adding an optional fingerprint sensor for security. Hardly noticeable, the small, embedded sensor strip sits near the keyboard. By simply brushing your finger over it, you can log on to Windows without having to bother with typing in your username/password combination; you can also use it to protect the laptop at power-up.


The IBM ThinkPad T42's fingerprint sensor

The included security management software, which is easy to set up, wisely advises you to register more than one fingertip, should you injure the one that you use most often to the extent that the reader can't recognize it. (Our reviewer's documentation also informs us that because the sensor reads the electrical characteristics of your fingerprint, a severed finger will work on the sensor only for about 15 minutes, after which its electrical properties degrade. Good to know.) We found the sensor reliable, impossible to fool, and easy to program. It would often ask us to rescan our finger once or twice, which was slightly annoying, but it never locked us out or authenticated the wrong person.

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Where to Buy

Lenovo ThinkPad T42 2378 (Pentium M 745 1.8 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB HDD)

Part Number: 2378R5U Released: Oct 19, 2004

MSRP: $1,999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 19, 2004
  • Installed Size 256 MB
  • CPU Intel Pentium M 745 / 1.8 GHz
  • Weight 5.1 lbs
  • Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo - removable
  • Graphics Processor AGP 4x - ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 - 32 MB DDR SDRAM