A Solid Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X41

For years the ThinkPad line of laptops has been synonyms with IBM. The IBM ThinkPad series has always been a rock-solid laptop for any businessperson on the move. The latest models from Lenovo (who bought IBMs hardware business in 2005) are striving to keep that reputation.

Most recently I had the chance to test the ThinkPad X41 ultra light laptop for a few days. My unit came nicely equipped with an Intel Pentium M 1.2GHZ processor, 40GB hard drive, 1GB Ram, DVD RW drive, 12.1″ LCD display, Windows XP and integrated Ethernet and Wireless 802.11b/g adapters. The X41 came in at a light 2.7 lbs. and measuring .81-1.06″(h) x 10.5″(w) x 8.3″(d).

The ThinkPad’s all black and boxy design won’t make heads turn when you open it in your local Starbucks, but the solid feeling titanium composite cover makes you feel like you can step on it, drop it or back over it with your car and your data and hardware will come out unscathed. The X41 boasts a full-size keyboard, meaning the keys are spaced 18.5 mm vertically and 18.2 mm horizontally, which provided ample room for touch-typing and a more solid feel when keys were depressed then other laptops I’ve used. The screen brightness was excellent and crisp, and I found it very easy to open and close the unit with one or two hands. The unit also gave a nice crisp click to let me know it was securely closed.

The X41 came with me on a client presentation and photo shoots. Prior to my client presentation I started up my X41 at Starbucks and was able to easily connect to their WiFi network, quickly check my email and make some final edits to my PowerPoint presentation. The X41 performed like a champ during my presentation, taking less then a minute to start-up from hibernation and launch my 5 MB PowerPoint presentation while powering an external flat screen monitor. The X41’s standard battery lasted a little over 3 Ã?½ hours. You can add an extended battery that delivered a very good 5 Ã?½ hours, but added almost a pound to the weight of the X41.

A highlight of the ThinkPad is the company’s renowned ThinkVantage security suite, which comes on every Lenovo system. The X41 also comes with a built-in fingerprint reader and TPM (Trusted Platform Module), a hardware chip that secures your passwords and works in tandem with the fingerprint reader for even tighter security. Lenovo’s Rescue and Recovery suite is a solid backup solution, much better than the solution that comes with many laptops. The entire suite is tied to one interface, and to get started all you need to do is press the blue Access ThinkPad button.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X41 is great for any frequent traveler, or anyone looking for a small yet powerful laptop. It’s an outstanding choice among the ultra portable laptops currently on the market from Dell, Gateway or Toshiba. You can find the Lenovo ThinkPad X41 and other ThinkPads at lenovo.com for prices starting at $1,499.

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