Lenovo stuck with the same tried-and-true design elements for the X61. The magnesium-alloy-backed frame, which protects the system against wear and tear, and its pitch-black ID are identical to those of the rest of the ThinkPad line. Unlike many of its competitors, the tablet comes with a standard-size screen and only one option for resolution, 1.024-by-768. The matte screen finish is more advantageous for office work (as opposed to multimedia), but the screen allows for less vertical scrolling in tablet mode.
With its unmatched full-size keyboard and unique TrackPoint pointing- stick technology, the X61 provides the best typing experience I’ve found on a tablet-hands down. Tablet mode is where the system comes more in line with its competition. Writing recognition is superb and can be further improved by Vista’s Tablet PC Pen Training application. And the included digitizer pen has a rubber grip in the middle, increasing the comfort level.
The X61’s 66-Wh extended battery boosts the unit’s weight to 4,4 pounds. The system is stocked with features, including three USB ports and one FireWire port. The only thing missing is a built-in optical drive, omitted in order to keep the X61 as light as possible. (Those who can’t live without one can opt to purchase an additional 2-pound docking station with a built-in optical drive.) In the end, every convertible tablet is a compromise: Either you want the lightest system possible, or you opt for a heavier system with the ability to watch DVDs and install software.
The X61 also adds mobile broadband. You can choose between Cingular’s HSDPA and Verizon’s EV-DO services, indicated by the antenna bump on top of the screen.
Another concession to keeping the weight down is a low-voltage dual-core Intel processor. Even with 2GB of RAM on board, ULV processors have a tough time keeping up with Windows Vista, which will take up more precious space over time, ultimately slowing down your system. Still, the L7500 processor is a good choice if you want a good balance between performance and battery life. The processor’s low power consumption allowed the X61 to rack up 5 hours 17 minutes on the MobileMark 2007 test. That’s 32 minutes better than the performance of the HP Compaq 2710p, its closest competitor in this area.
Despite a slew of impressive convertible tablet entries, the X61 is standing up to the competition and making the changeover easy for many would-be tablet converts. Lenovo’s time-honored design is still winning formula.Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Short ReviewPrice range: $1,934 directCheck This Out:HTC Advantage: Phone, Laptop in OneGateway C-120X: A Pint-Size Tablet PCSamsung Q1 Ultra: A Just Okay UMPC