ThinkPad T43 review: ThinkPad T43

In CNET Labs' benchmark tests, our test ThinkPad T43 turned in a solid performance. Equipped with specs almost identical to those of the Compaq nc6230 and Latitude D610 systems that we tested, the ThinkPad T43 was slightly faster--most likely because of its speedier hard drive. Still, performance-wise, all three machines are essentially equal. Our ThinkPad T43 test unit shipped with a high-capacity battery (which costs extra) that lasted for a long 306 minutes in our drain tests--at least one hour longer than the Latitude D610's and the nc6230's much smaller, standard cells.

The ThinkPad T43 includes all of the ports and slots we'd expect to see in a business thin-and-light. You get Gigabit Ethernet, S-Video out, audio in and out, and parallel, plus one Type II PC Card slot and an ExpressCard/54 slot. It has only two USB 2.0 ports--probably enough for most users but fewer than the Latitude D610's four and the nc6230's three. Our test unit came loaded with Windows XP Professional; like nearly all corporate notebooks, it came without a productivity suite. IBM bundles some other helpful apps, however, such as IBM-branded versions of Sonic's RecordNow and DLA, as well as InterVideo's WinDVD and WinDVD Creator, for your various CD and DVD burning and playing needs. The ThinkPad T43's security features will reassure even the utterly paranoid: you get the Active Protection System, which, according to IBM, shuts down the hard drive if it detects "excessive" motion, as well as an Embedded Security Subsystem--a hardware encryption feature similar to a Trusted Platform Module (TPM).

IBM backs the ThinkPad T43 with a standard three-year warranty, longer than the industry-average one-year of parts and labor coverage. The term has some generous features, including onsite service and 24/7, toll-free tech support for the life of the warranty. You can choose to configure the system with a shorter or longer warranty, as well as other service options, such as next-business day help. Though IBM's support Web site offers plenty of troubleshooting tips on the ThinkPad T43, the site doesn't include the helpful user forums or real-time tech-support chat features in other support Web sites from Dell and HP.

Mobile application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

Battery life
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  

Find out more about how we test Windows notebooks.

System configurations:

Dell Latitude D610
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K80 80GB 5,400rpm

HP Compaq nc6230
Windows XP Pro; 2GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x300 64MB; Toshiba MK8026GAX 80GB 5,400rpm

IBM ThinkPad T42
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Fujitsu MHT2040AH 40GB 5,400rpm

IBM ThinkPad T43
Windows XP Professional; 1.86GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB 7,200rpm