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Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet

Compact Lenovo Tablet PC convertible has illustrious history
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

As we approach the end of the first decade of the third millennium, it is easy to forget that the original IBM ThinkPad was a pen computer, and a tablet at that. That was all the way back in 1992 or so. Consumer tastes dictated a switch to a notebook convertible format, and pen computing fans fondly remember the ThinkPad 360PE and 750P. For a good while there were no IBM Tablet PCs at all, but when the ThinkPad line became part of Lenovo, that changed again.

The Lenovo X61 Tablet PC is an exceedingly attractive machine. It is a notebook convertible that can be used as a standard laptop, as a slate, or anything inbetween. With a 12.1-inch display, the X61 is a very compact and handy machine that weighs less than four pounds with the standard 4-cell battery (or just a bit more with an extended battery that boosts battery life to seven hours).

Lenovo went all out with the display. Customers can choose between two 1024 x 768 pixel XGA displays, a wide-viewing angle version and one with a touch screen in addition to the active digitizer that comes with all X Series Tablet PCs. There is also a 1400 x 1050 pixel "SuperView" high resolution version that claims full sunlight-redability.

A 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor provides a good combination between economy and performance, and customers can pick from a wide variety of shock-mounted 5400 and 7200rpm SATA drives. If there's one flaw in the design, it's that we've come to expect an internal optical drive even in an ultra-portable like the X61. Panasonic and others have shown that it can be done. As is, if you need an optical drive it's either an external plug-in drive or Lenovo's ThinkPad X6 Tablet UltraBase.

Else, the X61 has lots to offer. There's a PC Card/ExpressCard slot, a SD card slot, a fingerprint reader, three USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth, WiFi, and optional embedded WWAN. And who doesn't love that sleek ThinkPad design that's unsurpassed after all these years?

Added/changed: Added 02/2008
Form-factor Notebook Convertible
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo L7500/L7700 LV
CPU Speed 1.6/1.8 GHz
OS Windows Vista Business
Chipset Intel GMA X3100
Standard/Max RAM up to 4GB PC2-5300 677MHz,
Disk/drive SATA: 80/120/150/250GB 5400rpm; 60/100GB 7200rpm; all are shock-mounted
Card slots 1 PC Card Type II with 34mm ExpressCard adapter, 1 SD
Display type Transmissive TFT: sunlight-viewable "SuperView" (190 nits); outdoor-viewable with touch screen (150 nits); super-wide angle (195 nits)
Display size/res 12.1-inch/XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) or SXGA+ (1400 x 1050 pixel) SuperView
Digitizer/pens Touch/1
Keyboard/scale Integrated 100%-scale with TrackPoint
Ruggedness standard
Housing Magnesium-alloy
Size (WxHxD) 10.8 x 9.6 x 1.2
Weight 3.8 lbs. (4.25 pounds with 8-cell battery)
Power 4 or 8-cell Li-Ion (up to 3 and 7 hours, respectively)
Interface 3 USB 2.0, video, RJ11, gigabit RJ45, audio in/out
Interface Intel 3945ABG/4965AG/4965AGN, Bluetooth, embedded WWAN options
List price Starting at 1,346 (as of September 2008)
Contact www.lenovo.com
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