IBM’s midrange R series of ThinkPad notebooks are one of its most popular so news of its decision to jump on the Sonoma bandwagon should please everyone (apart from its rivals).
The new R52 is the first to be dropped on a suspecting public (hey, everyone else has been doing it) and it takes on all the benefits of the new chipset that no-one is allowed to call Centrino 2: Increased Pentium M 533MHz Front Side Bus (FSB), DDR2 RAM, SATA hard drive support, upgraded 802.11 a/b/g wireless, High Definition Audio, the works.
What is specific to the R52 on top of this is a choice of either 14.1in XGA or 15in SXGA screen and the option of either separate or integrated graphics. It doesn’t weigh too much at 2.5Kg, and like all the latest IBM machines its hard drives are protected by the company’s own Active Protection System, which detects movement in the machine and stops reading the hard drive should it register a sharp nudge or fall.
In addition, the R52 has with an integrated drive bay that is hot swappable and comes with a DVD burner, while IBM claims users will get a remarkable seven hours of battery life (so close to the hallowed eight required for a typical working day). How IBM achieves this (via a second battery, or under a proper test such as MobileMark it did not go into) but like all company announcements, it must be taken with a pinch of salt until we can get it under lab conditions.
Quoting Gartner figures that between 50 and 80 per cent of IT budgets go on support and maintenance, IBM loads up the R52 with ThinkVantage Technologies: a range of software tools designed to enable SMEs to quickly deploy, connect, protect and support their PCs. It argues ThinkVantage will help drive down IT support costs which can only be a good thing, though I would argue better still is something that doesn’t go wrong in the first place (glass half empty?).
Out now, the configurable R52s start with a base model that costs £850 including VAT. How you bulk it up from there is up to you?