Lenovo ThinkPad T61 review

£870
Price when reviewed

As is typical for any laptop bearing the ThinkPad logo, build quality is a real highlight with the T61. Twin catches keep the lid firmly closed and stop anything sharp scratching the display when the laptop’s in a bag. Tilt the lid back on those strong metal hinges, and both it and the base are impressively resilient for a laptop that weighs just 2.4kg.

Lenovo ThinkPad T61 review

Despite the small frame, Lenovo has stretched the keyboard right to the edges of the T61’s chassis, a design choice that allows for a spacious layout and good typing position.

But whereas most laptops have made the leap to the widescreen format, this model houses a traditional standard-aspect 14.1in display. This wouldn’t be an issue if the resolution was appropriately high, but the 1,024 x 768 panel can’t match the 1,280 x 800 displays found in the most basic widescreen laptops.

The benefits are fairly limited. Legibility improves, but the Windows desktop becomes far too cramped for any serious multitasking. If you want to run multiple applications then you’ll need to resort to an external monitor, or just get back in the habit of working with one screenful at a time. Image quality is beyond reproach, but there just isn’t enough of it to work comfortably with.

Elsewhere, the features and specs are much closer to the standard we expect from Lenovo. An Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor is partnered with 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard disk – a combination that powered the T61 to a decent result of 1.17 in our benchmarks.

The ThinkVantage software suite offers an impressive range of backup options. For example, press the blue ThinkVantage button while the T61 is booting and, even if you can’t get Windows to boot, you can still transfer your documents to a USB flash drive.

If multitasking is on the agenda, the display’s 1,024 x 768 native resolution will almost certainly prove limiting. But if you can stand that, the Lenovo T61 is an exceptional business laptop.

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