Lenovo ThinkPad Z61m UA1KLUK review

Price when reviewed

Looking at the core specifications of the ThinkPad Z61m, you’d be forgiven for wondering why it’s so expensive. In fact, we’re still wondering. The Z61m is aimed squarely at business users – hence, the inclusion of Vista Business – but this doesn’t justify the price.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z61m UA1KLUK review

For a start, the Core 2 Duo T7200 isn’t the fastest chip. 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory is fine, but in our application benchmarks, the Lenovo scored only 1.12 overall. The real problem is that Lenovo doesn’t make up for it elsewhere. The Radeon X1400 isn’t powerful enough for anything but the most basic after-hours gaming (it scored 8fps in Far Cry at 1,280 x 1,024), and the 120GB hard disk and 8x DVD writer are par for the course here. Integrated Wi-Fi and infrared are also standard across the board, while the lack of Bluetooth is disappointing.

Unlike the Sony, which goes all out for portability, the Z61m is a solidly built workhorse with a high-resolution screen. The 15.4in TFT boasts the same 1,680 x 1,050 resolution as the 17in notebooks here, but you’ll need decent eyesight to use this resolution all day, every day. At 3.2kg, the Lenovo is rather hefty, and the battery life of four hours under light use and two hours with heavy use won’t get you through a working day.

The Z61m is flush with ports: three USB, a mini-FireWire, a VGA and an S-Video out, a 4-in-1 media card reader, and both PC Card and ExpressCard/54 slots. For added security, there’s a fingerprint reader and a TPM encryption chip. There’s also a hard disk motion sensor and shock absorber for protection.

You can use the touchpad or the trackpoint, and there’s the usual keyboard light and a ThinkVantage button, which draws all the common settings into one neat interface.

For business users, the high-resolution TFT, wealth of ports and solid build quality won’t make up for the mediocre performance, battery life and heavy weight. The warranty may be short, but the laptop will appeal to business users who need a more portable notebook with longer battery life.

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