While the venerable Lenovo T60p, a workhorse business laptop that's a common sight in airports and hotel lounges around the world, is currently available in a more contemporary (and consumer-friendly) wide-screen format, the traditional non-wide-screen version is among the first Lenovo systems to embrace Windows Vista. At $2,250, it's a solidly built laptop (with basic configurations that start at around $1,200) that blends performance and portability. It may not be terribly exciting, but if you need to upgrade to Vista and still keep that button-down look, this is your default choice.
The Lenovo T60p eschews the soft, rounded edges and brushed-metal accents of consumer laptops for a no-nonsense squared-off look, giving it a slim, sleek profile. The familiar matte-black case measures 12.5 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 1.1 inches thick. That's a little smaller than the wide-screen version of the T60, which measures 14 inches wide, and it may be too big for some fitted laptop cases. This version of the T60p is a half-pound lighter, weighing in at 5.3 pounds, or 6.2 pounds if you include the AC adapter.
The time-tested design includes traveler-friendly touches, such as sturdy steel hinges and a shock-mounted hard drive. The keyboard is one of the best laptop keyboards available, offering an extremely comfortable typing experience. The T60p also has both an eraser-head pointing stick and a touch pad, each of which has a set of mouse buttons (the top set includes a scroll button in the middle). Above the keyboard are three handy volume buttons--the extent of the ThinkPad T60p's dedicated multimedia controls--and a blue ThinkVantage button, which summons Lenovo's helpful preinstalled support-and-configuration utility.
The ThinkPad T60p features a 14.1-inch display with a 1,400x1,050 native resolution that affords a decent amount of screen real estate. Nearly every laptop we've seen in the past year has had a wide-screen display, so the squared-off display on this model is almost jarringly retro. As with all ThinkPads, a reading light tucked into the bezel above the screen lets you illuminate the keyboard when working in the dark (hit Fn + Page Up to turn it on and off).
Connections include VGA and three USB 2.0 ports, plus headphone and microphone jacks and slots for a PC Cards and an ExpressCard. Consumer-friendly extras, such as FireWire and a media card reader, are missing, but networking options include a 56Kbps modem, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Security features include a fingerprint reader and the ThinkVantage Active Protection System, which uses a motion sensor to park the hard drive in case of a fall.
Our $2,250 ThinkPad T60p review unit costs almost double the system's base price. For the extra money you get a 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and Windows Vista Business. For the $1,200 starting price, you'll have to trade down to a 1.67GHz T5500 CPU, only 512MB of RAM, and Windows XP Pro--leaving you with a system that's cheaper but has a much shorter useful life.
With such a high-end set of specs, the Lenovo T60p made short work of CNET Labs' Multitasking test, beating two other recent Vista laptops, the Lenovo ThinkPad X60 Tablet, with a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo L2500, and the Dell Inspiron E1505, with a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7200. But compared to a nearly identical T60p system we tested with Windows XP, it fell slightly behind in the Photoshop CS2 and iTunes encoding tests, suggesting that Windows Vista requires more computing power to run than the older XP operating system.
In our DVD battery-drain test, the default six-cell battery in the ThinkPad T60p lasted 3 hours, 19 minutes--decent but not spectacular and perhaps too short for a productive workday on the go. A bigger nine-cell battery is available for a reasonable $30 upgrade and should provide a nice bump in battery life.