Fingerprint reader now on ThinkPad

Integrated fingerprint readers are becoming more common on portable computers such as tablets, handhelds and notebooks, and IBM has recently followed suit. Fingerprint readers are now available on selected models of the thin and light ThinkPad T42.

Fingerprints can replace BIOS and Microsoft Windows passwords on the notebooks, and you can use them to authenticate to IBM's Embedded Security Subsystem.

That means you can use a fingerprint to access existing IBM Client Security Software applications such as Password Manager, Windows password replacement, File and Folder Encryption, and certificate protection.

The reader is the slide type that is standard on notebook computers and other mobile devices. This type of reader has a small rectangular footprint that you slide your fingertip across.

An easy-to-follow wizard helps you enroll two to 10 fingers. It takes some practice to get the hang of swiping your finger the right way, but overall, we found this reader easy to use.

You can order the T42 with either a 14.1-inch or 15-inch thin-film transistor display. Both versions are about an inch thick. The smaller one weighs 4.5 pounds, and the larger starts at 5.3 pounds.

All T42 models come with IBM's ThinkVantage Technologies, which include the Embedded Security Subsystem;

rescue and recovery software; Active Protection System, which guards against damage from drops; and a hard-drive shock absorber.

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