I’ve had my X60 for a few months now, so I’ve developed quite a few opinions about it. But first things first, the specs:
- 12 inch 1024×768 screen
- Intel Core Duo T2400 1.83ghz dual core processor
- 2GB of system memory
- 100GB hard drive
- Built in intel wifi, 3 USB ports, one firewire, SD slot, PCMCIA slot, GigE port
Looks: The X60 looks pretty much like any other Thinkpad. Classic and black. If you like Thinkpads, you like the X60. If you don’t, then well, there aren’t any pleasant surprises in store.
- Keyboard illuminator light. Not sure I like it better than the Apple backlit keyboard, but it works pretty much just as well. Plus you can use it to illuminate other things than the keyboard.
- Battery life. I get an average of 5 hours+ with the large battery with my average use pattern. 6 to 7 hours is not unheard of either. On my Powerbook G4, I used to get 2.5 to 3 hours tops.
- Wireless disable switch
- Keyboard feel. Thinkpads are known for their nice keyboard, and the X60 lives up to the reputation. But there are a few gotchas (see below). Also, overall, I’d say I prefer the Powerbook keyboard. It had switches that required less effort to press down.
- Keyboard Drain Hole. Nice to know its there, even though I haven’t needed it yet.
- Sudden movement detection and hard disk parking. Every laptop should come with this.
- Build. It feels as sturdy as the T series.
- It’s light. Even with the bigger battery.
- Heat. It doesn’t get very hot, even under heavy usage
- Quiet. It has a fan that runs sometimes, but it isn’t very loud.
- Thinkvantage software. Some of it is marginally useful, most of it is useless. The only thing I use are the volume control OSD, the external monitor profile switcher, and the undock menu. I tried the network location manager thing, but found that it sucks compared to Apples version, so I just uninstalled to use to the basic XP stuff
- No touchpad. I know they don’t have space, but the nub hurts my finger after a while.
- Scrolling sucks. Two fingered scrolling is definitely the right way to do this. Aside from not working very well, the middle button + nub scroll doesn’t even work in a large number of applications.
- No ports on the back. Ethernet is on the left, and power is on the right. This means that whenever I’m hooked in, I usually have cables coming out both sides, which is kinda ugly
- Keyboard Gotchas. They added the windows key, which makes the control and alt keys very small. I don’t mind the control key so much, since i remap caps lock, but having a small alt is really annoying. Also ESC is a small key right above F1, and I always hit F1 when I mean ESC, which gives me the help menu in Vim. The backspace is only a normal sized key, and backslash is a half-sized key.
- Screen. XGA is too small to get any real work done, though its fine for doing non work stuff. At this form factor, its hard to complain. My bigger complaint is the poor viewing angle of the screen. It seems particularly bad on the vertical axis.
- No DVI. I can tolerate XGA on the builtin screen, but not being able to hookup to a Flat panel in digital mode totally sucks. And worse yet, even the docking station doesn’t have DVI. I seriously hope this is the last X-series with this misfeature.
- Sound quality: isn’t the best. Sometimes it picks up noise from the network. Standard set of problems that come with cheaper sound parts. Oh well, hardly any laptop gets this right
I guess it seems like I have more complaints than things I like. But all in all, this is the best laptop I’ve ever used. The positives generally outweigh the negatives, which are more like minor annoyances anyways.
There are definitely a few usability things that I miss from the Powerbook, but they’re not fatal. Some of it is just what you get for using Windows I suppose.
The X60 has definitely redefined my expectations for battery life in a laptop. If only for that reason, I’ll probably be stuck on this sub-notebook form factor for a long time to come. Though if Apple did manage to ship a similar form factor machine with comparable battery life, I would seriously consider switching back.