Lenovo ThinkPads get jazzed up

It’s not black! That was our first thought when we unpacked Lenovo’s ThinkPad Z60t, one of a new line of ThinkPads that departs from the traditional all-black color scheme for the first time.

The lid on the thin and light Z60t is silvery titanium, which lends pizazz to the design and protects it from damage more effectively than the black plastic lids do.

We love the new lid, but if you’re a die-hard ThinkPad traditionalist, you can still order the Z60t and its desktop PC replacement cousin, the Z60m, with the black lid.

Multimedia features
Another departure from the IBM ThinkPad tradition is Lenovo’s inclusion of multimedia features, such as a DVD burner, a 14-inch widescreen display and arrow keys that double as disc-play controls.

Lenovo also touts the PC’s new audio design, which supposedly improves the sound by locating the speakers on either side of the keyboard.

But we were disappointed with the quality, which sounded tinnier than we think a multimedia laptop should.

The DVD burner is a great addition. But be aware that this is a single-layer burner rather than one of the new double-layer DVD burners.

The double-layer burners allow for nearly double the storage space of single-layer burners and let you fit long movies onto a single side of a DVD.

Fingerprint reader
In addition to the jazzed-up new lid and multimedia functionality, you’ll still find all the great ThinkPad features fans have come to know and love, such as the excellent ThinkVantage package of security, rescue/recovery, productivity and hard- drive protection features.

The computer also has a fingerprint reader that allows you to replace passwords, including the power-on password and hard-drive password, with a fingerprint.

We applaud Lenovo for adding a dimple in the plastic just above the reader to help with proper finger placement because swipe-style scanners can be tricky to use.

As with previous ThinkPads, the Z60t comes with a trackpoint and touchpad so you can choose your favorite navigation method.

And if you spill liquid on or near those devices, two drain holes underneath the keyboard help mitigate damage.

The notebook features audio in/out jacks and a Secure Digital card reader conveniently located at the front of the unit. It also includes IBM a/b/g wireless networking — which is the equivalent of 802.11a/b/g — three USB 2.0 ports and a Super-Video port in addition to the standard set of ports and jacks.

Our review unit came with the standard seven-cell battery that provides as much as four hours of life.

The Z60t ranges in weight from 4.77 pounds to 5.17 pounds depending on the configuration. Our unit, which came configured with a 2.0 GHz Intel Pentium M processor, 100G hard drive and 1G of memory has a price tag of $1,999.

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