Although pointing devices rarely get as much attention as keyboards, it must be said that ThinkPads are also a cut above the rest here. IBM actually invented the TrackPoint, so it comes as no surprise that ThinkPads have the best examples of these devices. Nestling between the G, H and B keys, the TrackPoint allows for accurate and simple pointer manipulation without the need to move your fingers away from the keyboard. Below the Spacebar are three buttons – the left and right buttons mirror the buttons on a mouse, while holding the middle button allows you to scroll through documents using the TrackPoint. Of course if you simply can’t get on with a TrackPoint, the T61 also has a very good touchpad.
To the right of the touchpad and below the cursor keys is a fingerprint scanner, so that you can secure the T61 and its data biometrically. So, if you’re no good at remembering passwords, you can lock (and unlock) your T61 with a simple swipe of your finger.
But a lot of what makes ThinkPads special sits under the surface. Take something simple like switching between display options. On most notebooks this is a simple toggle function – internal screen – internal screen and external monitor – external monitor only. But with a ThinkPad the display options at your disposal are far more useful. Hitting the display options button (Fn + F7) brings up a menu from which you can select Presenter Mode (so the machine won’t go into standby or screensaver), Presentation on Projector and Internal Monitor at either 1,024 x 768 or 800 x 600, Clean Desktop Presentation on Projector and Notebook and a couple more options. You can even make your selection using the mouse pointer for ultimate ease of use.
The option of specifically setting up the display to output to a projector at a set resolution makes it extremely simple for anyone to give a presentation, without having to manually setup dual displays on their notebook, or actually alter the desktop resolution of the machine. I know there’s one TrustedReviews forum member who will welcome this simple, yet effective solution to the notebook/projector resolution discrepancy issue.
There’s similar functionality when it comes to wireless networking. While there is a hardware switch for the wireless antennae, pressing the wireless configuration button (Fn + F5) doesn’t just toggle devices on and off, it brings up a menu screen which allows you to configure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or both, and again you can make your selections using the pointer.