Lenovo ThinkPad X60 review

£1122
Price when reviewed

We thought we’d have to wait until Intel released the Ultra Low Voltage version of the Core Duo before we saw a dual-core update to the ThinkPad X series, but Lenovo had other ideas: a fully grown T2400 processor sits inside this machine, which speeds along at 1.83GHz when connected to the mains. The end result is a phenomenally fast ultraportable notebook.

In reality, its predecessor – the X41 – was fast enough for most uses, with a 1.5GHz Pentium M chip in place. But by increasing the frequency and including two cores rather than one, the X60 reaches another level: overall, its score of 0.85 is only 15 per cent slower than our reference desktop PC, based on the 3.2GHz Pentium D, and you can feel the difference compared to the X41 simply by loading Office apps. The X60 blasts through everything apart from hard-disk-intensive tasks, making it far more suitable as a main PC.

Lenovo has also made some interesting changes to the chassis. Whereas before the emphasis was skewed towards weight, the X60’s emphasis is on robustness. The hard disk is now shock protected, while the top and bottom covers are made of magnesium alloy to give an added level of defence.

One slight drawback to this new design is weight. Where the X40 tipped the scales at 1.5kg with its extended battery attached, the X60 does so at 1.65kg. It’s worth noting that this eight-cell battery will be bundled with most SKUs of the X60. You’ll also be able to buy a four-cell replacement; according to Lenovo, this reduces the weight to 1.45kg.

For most people, though, the larger battery is the better choice, as it offers phenomenal battery life. Even under intensive use, it kept going for three hours, 41 minutes, while it lasted for a record-breaking ten hours, 31 minutes in our light-use tests: both significant improvements over the X40 even with its extended battery in place.

IT managers who have deployed the X40 series should note that the power supply, battery design and docking base have changed, so you won’t be able to share these accessories. And with the X6 UltraBase costing £126, that’s a significant investment. The cost of these extras is one drawback of choosing the X60 too; either look for a deal that bundles an optical drive at the time of buying, or prepare to pay £250 for a DVD writer to slide into the docking station bay.

Lenovo would argue that the hardware cost is only one part of the total cost of ownership equation, of course, and it includes its usual comprehensive (and, to some, bewildering) array of ThinkVantage technologies to help make managing and protecting ThinkPads easier. For instance, activate the Away Manager before you hand over the X60 to a user and you can be sure that the hard disk is regularly defragmented, that spyware checks are run and that backups take place, as all these tasks can run in Whisper Mode – using spare CPU cycles – or whenever the notebook is left idle for a certain period of time.

There’s a lot of emphasis on protecting data too, with Rescue and Recover on hand in event of a virus striking or a user deleting some vital system setting. Quite apart from being able to salvage files, we’re still amazed by the fact you can access the Internet to download updates without booting into Windows, which could be a lifesaver. Some X60 models will also be shipped with a fingerprint reader, which – together with a Trusted Platform Module – adds an extra physical layer of security.

The model on review here, the UX05DUK, includes a 60GB 5,400rpm SATA hard disk and 512MB of RAM, but a range of configurations will become available. Intel’s 802.11a/b/g wireless module is standard, and there’s now a hardware switch to activate it easily, while Bluetooth is optional; our review system didn’t include it. Other connections include infrared, three USB 2 ports, an SD card reader, a Type II PC Card slot, plus a newcomer to the X series, mini-FireWire.

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