Let’s start with the keyboard – something that has always been legendary with ThinkPads. Typing on the Z60t is definitely a cut above most notebooks, but somehow the keyboard feels slightly more rattly than previous ThinkPads I’ve used. This is quite strange since Lenovo told me that the keyboard design had remained pretty much the same. It might just be my review sample, but the keys definitely didn’t respond with the same solid “thunk” as ThinkPads of yore.
Despite the ever so slight rattle when typing, the keys are a good size and there’s the perfect amount of travel, with a solid break. The Return, Shift, Caps, Tab and Backspace keys are all large and easy to strike. As usual with a ThinkPad, all the function keys are placed above the main keyboard, while you’ll also find the power button, mute button and volume controls. The small, round, silver power button just doesn’t look as good as the old oblong shaped one that IBM used to use.
Also the Blue IBM button has now been replaced with a blue ThinkVantage button. The result is very similar, although to be fair to Lenovo, you seem to get more functionality via the ThinkVantage button than you did from the IBM button. When pressed, the ThinkVantage button brings up a a list of handy utilities like backup, find wireless networks, manage my connections, migrate my system and launch maintenance tasks. This will be very handy for end users who might find trying to navigate a plethora of applications either difficult or bothersome. It’s this kind of extra attention to detail that has always made ThinkPads special, and it’s good to see that Lenovo is building on the base that IBM put in place.
Also still in evidence are the function menus. Whereas most notebooks will have toggle buttons to say, change between internal and external displays, with a ThinkPad you press that button and a whole menu of screen configuration options appears. It’s the same with the wireless configuration button – no toggling here, instead there’s a little window that opens and lets you configure the WiFi and Bluetooth functionality.