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The midsize ThinkPad Z60m is a slightly less portable but more multimedia-oriented version of the similarly priced thin-and-light ThinkPad Z60t. Like the Z60t, the ThinkPad Z60m offers an optional titanium lid and an excellent design in addition to a bigger wide-aspect display, longer battery life, and the option of a discrete graphics card. Overall, the ThinkPad Z60m will suit business users and even some home users well, though those who keep a closer eye on their budgets should consider the more economical Acer TravelMate 4650.
The ThinkPad Z60m's case measures 14 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 1.4 inches thick. Its weight varies widely depending on how you configure it, coming in at 5.9 pounds with a black-plastic lid and a six-cell battery and 7.2 pounds with a supersturdy titanium lid and a huge nine-cell battery (which also adds 1 inch to the laptop's depth). The Sony VAIO FS680 ($2,049) weighs about 6.3 pounds, while the Acer TravelMate 4650 ($1,149) comes in at 6.4 pounds. The ThinkPad Z60m's AC adapter adds 0.9 pound.
Thanks to its excellent design, ThinkPad Z60m is a pleasure to use. The laptop features a wide, comfortable keyboard; an average-size touch pad with two corresponding mouse buttons; and a red eraser-head pointing stick that includes its own pair of mouse buttons, plus a third scroll button. Three more buttons for volume up, down, and mute sit in the upper-left corner above the board, along with a fourth ThinkVantage button that launches the robust preinstalled help utility. Like the ThinkPad Z60t, the Z60m has two holes under the laptop for draining liquid from accidental spills, and its arrow keys double as multimedia controls by pressing the function key.
Our ThinkPad Z60m test unit's broad, 15.4-inch wide screen had a very high 1,680x1,050 native resolution that helps graphics appear especially crisp and affords a large amount of screen real estate but makes text tiny. A 1,280x800 resolution screen is also available. The two speakers that flank the keyboard offer audio that's clear but not full bodied. The ThinkPad's classic reading light remains integrated into the upper edge above the screen, letting you illuminate the keyboard when the cabin lights dim.
The ThinkPad Z60m offers all the connectors included with the ThinkPad Z60t, plus a few that aren't. One S-Video-out port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a swappable media bay line the right edge; our laptop's bay came filled with a single-layer DVD burner. The opposite edge integrates one Type II PC Card slot, one ExpressCard slot, a four-pin FireWire port, headphone and microphone jacks, 56Kbps modem and Gigabit Ethernet jacks, and one VGA port. The front edge accommodates a wireless on/off switch, as well as a 3-in-1 slot for Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, and Secure Digital cards; a third USB 2.0 port lies on the back edge. Corresponding to these ports are icons that line the left and right sides of the keyboard. A built-in cellular radio, which connects to Verizon's EV-DO network, is available on select Z60-series models; see our review of the ThinkPad Z60t for more information about this feature.
The Windows XP Professional operating system came preloaded on our ThinkPad Z60m. Though the laptop doesn't ship with a productivity suite, it does include some nice security features, such as the TPM-like Embedded Security Subsystem and a fingerprint sensor.
Though our ThinkPad Z60m costs $2,299, it offers a satisfying selection of components for the price, including a fast 2GHz Pentium M processor, an ample 1GB of speedy 533MHz memory, a giant 100GB hard drive rotating at a brisk 5,400rpm, and a high-end ATI Mobility Radeon X600 chip with 128MB of dedicated VRAM.
In CNET Labs' productivity tests, the ThinkPad Z60m proved itself a solid, if not spectacular performer. It sped 32 percent past the Sony VAIO FS680, which carried a slower processor and memory, but it ran 16 percent behind the similarly configured Acer TravelMate 4650. In our Labs' drain tests, the Z60m's mammoth nine-cell battery clobbered both the VAIO FS series' and TravelMate 4650's smaller cells, lasting for 5 hours, 43 minutes compared to the VAIO's 2 hours, 14 minutes and the TravelMate 4650's 4 hours, 1 minute.
Lenovo provides a yearlong warranty with the ThinkPad Z60m, which is the standard among consumer laptops (though many business laptops ship with three-year terms). You can choose from several different warranty extension options; 24/7, toll-free phone support lasts for the length of your warranty. Lenovo's support Web site displays the requisite troubleshooting information yet lacks helpful elements, such as a user forum. For more detailed information about warranties and service plans, check out Computer Shopper's overview of 37 major computer vendors.
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|BAPCo MobileMark 2005 battery life in minutes|
Find out more about how we test Windows notebooks.
Acer TravelMate 4650
Windows XP Pro; 2GHz Intel Pentium M-760-2GHz; 1,024MB DDR2-SDRAM PC4300 533MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 128MB; Seagate ST9100822A 100GB 5,400rpm
Lenovo ThinkPad Z60m
Windows XP Pro; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; 1,024MB DDR2-SDRAM PC4200 533MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x600 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K100 100GB 5,400rpm
Sony VAIO VGN-FS680W
Windows XP Home; 1.86GHz Intel Pentium M 750; 1,024MB DDR PC2700 SDRAM 333MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 6200 128MB; Fujitsu MHU2100AT 100GB 4,200rpm