Oct 27, 2007

Lenovo ThinkPad R61 Reviewed

  • Rating: 83 Very Good
  • Rank: #4 on PC World's Top 10 All-Purpose Laptops chart (September 2007)
  • Price: $858.00 - $1,574.99 at 19 online stores.
  • Pros: Comfortable keyboard
  • Cons: Poor sound

What you get for the money: Some R61 configurations cost as low as $670 but are bare-bones. Recently, however, an R61e with 2GB of memory, Windows Vista Home Premium, and an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU could be configured for $989.

The ThinkPad R61 has plenty of cool features, including the ThinkLight, an LED that illuminates the keyboard so you can type comfortably in low lighting. ThinkPad keyboards are among the best, and the R61's keyboard is no exception.

The laptop's modular bay lets you hot-swap devices such as a dual-layer DVD drive or an extra battery. The battery in our review unit lasted a healthy 3 hours, 19 minutes. And the 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500-equipped R61 performed well in our speed tests, earning a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 80. The 14.1-inch-screen model weighs 5.8 pounds, a bit lighter than other laptops in this price range.

Worth noting: In a recent survey, Consumer Reports readers ranked Lenovo tech support as second only to Apple's. The survey also found Lenovo and Compaq laptops tied in needing the fewest repairs among eight leading laptop brands.

Drawbacks: Lenovo ThinkPads are designed more for business than pleasure, so shoppers seeking slick multimedia features should look elsewhere.

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