Writing down my thoughts once ince a while

What is so special about Lenovo laptops?

with 7 comments

If that’s the question you are going to ask me when you finish reading this, I should answer it now: I’ve never seen higher quality for the price – 1k bucks in my case – in any laptop I’ve had so far. I’ve had Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba models, worked with Acer, Asus models, got a feeling of Vaio laptops and I’ve also used an IBM ThinkPad a very long time ago. Getting this Lenovo reminded me of the old ThinkPad and I realized there’s nothing compared to it.

Even from long ago since I first used a ThinkPad, I remember how sturdy and well built it was. With time I saw more and more of them and I got the impression that all were the same looking black boxes but that isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s their trade of quality, symbolising their robustness and design for business and travel, true mobiles that you don’t have to worry about too much when you travel

Now before I start, I have to be honest about one thing. This laptop isn’t really mine to use all day, it’s my dad’s. I’ve never had my own laptop yet. Everything I’ve worked with was either my dad’s or the people I work with but also my friends’. Either way, I’ve always had to do more than just use one of the laptops; I almost always had to install the operating system, configure something or fix stuff that broke. Probably because everyone that knows me knows that I’m the best man they know for the kind of job they need to get done. πŸ™‚ — This is also the reson why I didn’t title this post “New laptop” to go with the trend I’ve been following lately. πŸ˜›

So my dad now practically owns a new Lenovo ThinkPad R61i after putting the “sell the old laptop to buy a new one” plan to execution. Great thing about the selling part is that the buyer was the company I work at and since I’m the tech guy there I’m going to be the one using it all the time. Yay! πŸ˜€

Now more about the new laptop:

1. Specifications

The product 89329XU has the serial L3F1501 and came with the following configuration:

  • Intel Core2 Duo CPU T5250 @ 1.50GHz with 2MB L2 (which is dual-core enabled and 64bit capable)
  • 1x 1GB SODIMM 667 MHz 1.5 ns (4GB maximum capacity)
  • Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Memory Controller Hub
  • Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (Intel GMA X3100, up to 256 MB)
  • 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
  • 1x external PCI Express Slot (a total of 5)
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
  • Broadcom NetLink BCM5787M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
  • Ricoh RL5c476 II CardBus (1 external slot)
  • Ricoh R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (1 external port)
  • Ricoh R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro/XD Host Adapter
  • 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) IDE Controller
  • HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-T20N, DVD-RAM writer made by LG-HITACHI AFAIK (attached to SATA and is hotswappable)
  • 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) SATA AHCI Controller
  • HITACHI HTS54161 120GB 5200RPM Hard Drive
  • SONY 92P1141 battery @ 10.8V, 56160mWh, 6 cell

All that was pretty much copy-pasted from the output of the lshw command.

2. Build

The Rx series are known for having a similar durable build to the Tx series but at a lower price. Nonetheless the R61i is definitely the sturdiest, most intelligent and well built laptop I have ever used before. And the most expensive I’ve bought to be honest (well my dad bough, but I will keep referring everything to myself as if I did all the magic). My family doesn’t usually have $1000 to throw away on a gadget and I would need three monthly paychecks to raise that much money. Unfortunately there are much more important things I need to spend money on than a laptop but fortunately one-timers happen.

The build shows no squeaks, no flexing and it never heats up! That’s the most amazing part! The is no venting from the bottom so you can truly lie this one down on your lap and not worry about heat injuries to your skin or overheating the laptop.
Pressing the back of the LCD doesn’t show any colour effects. It has two wifi antennas at the screen top and left sides so the screen is not perfectly centered.

Lenovo and Toshiba side to side 2Lenovo and Toshiba side to sideThinkPad R61i bottom sideThinkPad R61i keyboard frontThinkPad R61i keyboard lighterLenovo and Toshiba AC adapters side by sideLenovo and Toshiba AC adapters side by side 2

The classic IBM black plastic finish is perfect. Makes me wonder why everyone else isn’t using it and why producers like Toshiba and Dell choose to do thin painted plastic finish which is easily scratched and show the black plastic underneath. With IBMs/Lenovos if you scratch the black matte plastic it remain black and less noticeable. Now how can that not be smart? Is that more expensive than painting the plastic?

3. Functionality and Performance

Writing about this part seems a little rushed since I didn’t get enough time to test it (my dad is salivating over it right now, I’m sure he’s fallen in love). As soon as I installed Ubuntu on it, which took me 2 full days with not too much sleep, dad took over. I’m glad I convinced him about Linux in time. πŸ˜€

I installed Hardy Alpha 4 since there’re some things don’t work on Gutsy’s kernel. I could have installed the Hardy kernel on Gutsy or compile my own but since Hardy is due in April, I felt like it wasn’t rushing. I installed the 64bit version and so far it’s been running perfectly from what my dad says. There was an issue with Flash movies but that was fixed.

The laptop has all the standard functionality of a laptop, like suspend buttons, volume buttons (yes buttons, not wheel), but it has a docking interface, hot-swappable dvd-writer drive and hard drive (thanks to AHCI support) and a cool redish neon lamp to light your keys when you’re in the dark.

The LCD is great in my opinion. The left right viewing angles aren’t too wide but perfect for work and colours are crisp and it has more than enough levels of luminosity. The integrate X3100 isn’t ideal for high end games but great for your classical OpenGL game like those based on Quake/UT engines. In other words nothing that required pixel shaders a lot. There is also a VGA and S-Video output available to drive external monitors and a TV.

What I love about this laptop compared to the old Toshiba is that it has a more sturdy keyboard. The “S” key broke on the A100 once and I had to fix it. Its keyboard feels flaky and sensitive while the ThinkPad’s feels rock solid.

I might get back on the performance category when I get to test it more through. So far it’s running great. My dad says it’s faster than the Toshiba A100.

4. Conclusion

I’ve never seen a better laptop! There’s nothing more I can say! I like it and I want one for myself!


Written by brokenthorn

February 9, 2008 at 23:08

Posted in hardware

Tagged with , , ,

7 Responses

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  1. been asking the same question myself since my friend mentioned the thinkpad every now and then. i am using a vaio right now and was thinking of buying a macbook (running windows) only for portability reasons.
    kind of sad that you have never owned one…by just reading this review, i would’ve thought you’re a laptop collector =)


    September 29, 2008 at 04:22

    • why would you buy a macbook to run windows on it? That would by like purchasing a BMW and then switching out the engine for that of a ford focus.


      April 23, 2010 at 06:09

      • No idea at this time… :/


        April 23, 2010 at 21:33

  2. @Dominique: Heh! ^^ Thanks!
    No, I’m even close to a laptop collector and I throw away old parts that are no longer working, so I can’t be called a parts collector either. I collect nothing :P. I don’t know how you thought I was a collector.

    On the serious side, I’m still happy about the laptop, it’s running great, shows no signs of aging or misuse defects… it’s just perfect. Battery still runs it for a couple of hours, Ubuntu runs great on it, though there might be some wireless connection issues at the moment with the current kernel version due to a major API change in the wireless subsystem… now I’m thinking of buying my first UMPC: the Acer Aspire One or the Asus EEE PC, I haven’t decided yet. Apparently one of the EEE PC models advertises a battery life time of 6 hours… Hmm…


    September 30, 2008 at 21:06

  3. Thanks for this review. Am about to pick up this model used and was looking for a good review.

    oh btw ubuntu is unix not lynux lynux is unix as well but lynux is not ubuntu πŸ™‚


    February 5, 2009 at 08:32

  4. @Brian: It’s a great gadget! I don’t know if you could ever regret buying this… except… you could look for some newer model I’m sure. This one is rather old as well as the post. Prices have dropped too. πŸ™‚

    Oh btw, Ubuntu is technically Linux as Linux, technically is Unix. I’ve been using Linux for 8 years. I’ve only just started tinkering with BSD.

    Linux is a derivative of UNIX, through replacing MINIX.

    If you were not sure about my wording, when I talk about Ubuntu, I am referring to the distribution while when I talk about Linux, I am referring to the general GNU+Linux combination, usually known as Linux distributions (Linux + a software distribution, like GNU).


    February 6, 2009 at 22:17

  5. Sony VAIO VGN-FW510F/B
    We usually purchase the business line of Sony laptops so this was the first retail model we have bought in many years, so far no complaints, it is pretty fast, well as fast as it can be with Windows 7 anyway. Definately like this model for home use and design work, end user is a graphic designer.


    April 8, 2010 at 06:18

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