Lenovo ThinkPad X60s

GCN Lab review

HIGH-SPEED: Lenovo went for extra power.

Pros: Excellent performance, EvDO comms

Cons: Short battery life for an eight-cell

Price: $2,161 (government)

Performance: A

Battery life: B+

Features: A

Value: A

|GCN Lab Reviewer's Choice|

While performance is often at odds with portability, some ultralight notebooks manage to provide both quite handily. The ThinkPad X60s from Lenovo is a good example.

The ThinkPad's Intel Core Duo L2400 processor is one of the fastest in the review, enabling the ThinkPad to perform on par with much heavier notebooks. In fact, its benchmark score of 7,124 was just slightly below the average of the bigger, full-featured notebooks we tested in May'most of which had faster dual-core CPUs than the X60s. Considering that at three pounds, eight ounces (the external optical drive adds 12 more ounces) the ThinkPad is significantly lighter than those other machines, it offers the best balance of performance and portability we've ever seen.

We can't quite say the same for its battery performance. The Core Duo L2400 is a low-voltage processor (15 watts) as opposed to an ultralow-voltage dual-core processor (9 watts). The CPU choice is a boon for performance, but doesn't maximize battery life. Although the ThinkPad's time of 4 hours, 9 minutes was respectable and middle-of-the-pack for this review, it wasn't what we might expect from the bundled eight-cell battery. The six-cell Vaio VGN-TX750p, for instance, has an ultralow-voltage chip and ran for 4 hours, 45 minutes.

Although the X60s' 12.1-inch display is average size for this lot, its regular, nonwide aspect makes it less useful for multitasking. We found the image clear and crisp, but not as bright as we would have hoped.

We found the keyboard to be reasonably comfortable, with the more commonly used keys all full-size and the rest (such as function keys) large enough to be isolated with a fingertip. The pointing device is, as we have come to expect in a ThinkPad, a pointstick which, if you like those little erasers, is among the best out there.

In addition to 802.11a/b/g wireless, gigabit Ethernet, modem and Bluetooth connections, the X60s also has an EvDO cellular modem with an antenna nearly hidden along the side of the LCD. It does not have an internal optical drive, but ours came with an external USB CD-RW/DVD combo drive.

The ThinkVantage suite of security and configuration tools is one of the easier to use, though we like the sheer extent of HP's tools better. ThinkVantage makes setting up the ThinkPad a much better experience through graphical menus that make security easy to understand.

Considering the great performance, we thought the list price of $2,299 was very good. The government price of $2,161 is even better. The X60s is well suited to virtually any mobile professional. Buy a spare battery and be on your way.

Lenovo, Triangle Park, N.C., (866) 458-4465, www.lenovo.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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