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Lenovo IBM ThinkPad T60p - IBM ThinkPad T60p
So, the specs of the T60p are pretty impressive, memory aside, just as you would expect in a mobile workstation. But there's so much more to a serious mobile computer than what goes on inside, and here the ThinkPads have always excelled. There are three major interaction points on a notebook, the keyboard, the pointing device and the screen - despite the obvious need to get these fundamental areas right, you'd be surprised how often notebook manufacturers get at least one of them wrong. Thankfully Lenovo has made no such mistakes with the T60p.
The keyboards on ThinkPads are legendary and this example is no exception. It's hard to describe a ThinkPad keyboard to anyone that has never used one. At its most basic level, every single key on this keyboard feels completely separate from the surrounding keys - no matter how hard you strike a key there isn't the slightest hint of flex. Now, many notebooks these days have little or no flex in their keyboards, but it's just different with a ThinkPad - each key just feels individually engineered for the highest possible performance.
The ThinkPads also have seven row keyboards, while most notebooks have only six. This means that you don't get as many functions doubled up on the same key and there's less need for the Fn key. If there's one thing that's wrong with the ThinkPad keyboards, it's that the Fn key is located at the bottom left corner where ideally, the Ctrl key should be. Other than that, the layout is pretty much perfect - the Tab, Caps Lock, Shift, Return and Backspace keys are all large, as they should be. Also, if you use the cursor keys regularly, you'll appreciate the fact that the plastic underneath these keys is moulded so it's easy to slide your fingers into place without looking.
Above the main keyboard you'll find a small silver power button (although I still prefer the old black ones), volume buttons and a mute button. Also here you'll find the blue ThinkVantage button - this used to be the Access IBM button on the old ThinkPads. ThinkVantage is a suite of very useful utilities such as Rescue and Recovery - this is a superb piece of software and it allows you to schedule regular backups of your machine and restore to any checkpoint. The great thing about Rescue and Recovery is that a systems administrator can configure workers' notebooks to backup every time they connect to the company network, thus ensuring that there is a regular snapshot of everyone's notebook, without the end users even knowing it's happening. It's features like the ThinkVantage suite that have made ThinkPads such a big hit with big corporate companies over the years, although other notebook manufacturers are offering similar packages now.