Lenovo ThinkPad X61s review

A well built ultraportable, but does it live up to our expectations?

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Our Verdict

Outstanding usability in an ultraportable chassis, but battery life is poor


  • Small and lightweight
  • Great usability
  • Good software package


  • Disappointing battery life
  • Inferior performance

Lenovo's ThinkPad range is known for its outstanding build quality and keyboards.

The ThinkPad X61s (£1304 inc. VAT) is an ultraportable offering and provides a dependable business tool, but battery life and performance fail to impress.

The 1.4kg chassis is slim, light and ideal for carrying in hand luggage. It is also impressively strong, but the 142-minute battery life won't suit long journeys.

Speedy internet on your Thinkpad

The keyboard is one of the best around and provides outstanding comfort and accuracy. A tiny light built into the screen illuminates the keys when necessary. A pointing stick is used to control onscreen actions and will be loved by some and hated by others.

Performance is average, but suits basic business use. The low voltage Intel Core 2 Duo processor keeps the laptop from overheating, but is unsuitable for high-performance multi-tasking.

Storage options are mixed. The 120GB hard drive is impressive for such a small laptop, but there is no built-in optical drive, so you can't access CDs or DVDs without investing in an external drive.

Vodafone Mobile Connect software helps you quickly set up your wireless HSDPA broadband connection. It makes it easy for beginners to get started.

Internet connection speeds are impressive, largely due to the pull-out aerial built into the screen panel, which allows for a broader signal to be received.

Simple system maintenance

All Lenovo laptops include proprietary software tools to make system configuration and maintenance quick and easy. A quick-launch key above the keyboard provides instant access and helps keep your laptop running at its best.

The 12.1-inch screen is bright and sharp, but its low 1024 x 768-pixel resolution means you'll struggle to work with more than one window open. Its standard TFT coating eliminates reflections, but reduces colour and contrast.

3D power is low and only suited to the most basic multimedia use. The integrated Intel graphics chip can be used to run multimedia presentations and basic photo and video editing, but anything more is out of the question.

A well built laptop

A key selling point for business users is the three-year warranty. However, while parts and labour fees are included, you'll need to pay all the delivery costs in the event of a fault. This is a contrast to laptops such as the HP whose warranty covers all such fees.

Although the Lenovo ThinkPad X61s is outperformed most of its rivals, its usability and build quality is high. Unless you need to work for long periods away from mains power, this remains a great business laptop.