When you take a look at Thinkpad series, they all are similar. That's really the point of this design--simply the best. There is no fancy stuff or wow factor for folks around, but if you give it a shot, you will know this plain design has fulfilled with magnesium alloy and pretty study plastic, give this system a strength. You will find no flex anywhere in this machine, even on the screen.

Thinkpad X61 Tablet Thinkpad X61 Tablet

Well, to whom you are new to Tablet PC; you may like to know what is really a distinct between notebook and Tablet PC. It's mostly the screen that matters. For Tablet PC, you will have an active digitizer, mostly from Wacom, and swivel screen so that you could put your machine into tablet mode.

Actually there are 3 types of Tablet PC available: -

  1. Slate Tablet PC -- this doesn't have keyboard attached.
  2. Convertible Tablet PC -- this is what Thinkpad X61 Tablet is; like notebook, but can change to tablet mode.
  3. Hybrid Tablet PC -- there is only a few on the market, e.g. HP TC1100. The thing is you could detach the screen from the keyboard completely to use the same way as slate one. Plus, you can attach a keyboard whenever you want touch-type, faster way to input your information.

Now, you may get the idea and you probably are the same as me which I don't think Slate Tablet PC could fulfil my needs. As a result, I got the convertible one as you see.

Well, the main thing which concerns me a lot before buying tablet PC is the hinge. Instead of 2 hinges at least to support the screen, tablet PC has only 1 and it provides swivel screen capability also. When I first got Thinkpad X61T, I did feel it was a bit fragile since the screen could be tilted a bit on both left & right side. However, from almost-full-year heavy usage, I haven't seen any sign of wear. Which is a good news here. Therefore, it's just the matter of design that couldn't do more sturdy in term of feeling.

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X61t X61t X61t - screen X61t - tablet mode X61t - Tablet mode w/ CD case X61t in-hand

Yes, as the photos shown above. You can write while in notebook mode, but it's just not that comfortable since the screen is not solid at that point; you'd better put it in tablet mode or just have some help from CD case--to have a comfortable angle to write.

IMG_0178 IMG_0179

It's really simple black-box design. There is nothing changed much from the predecessors.

 x61t - outside LED status x61t - LED status

This is the basic Thinkpad feature. You will be able to know whether your machine is sleep or not with only a glance. Even though the lid is closed or opened, "no problem!"

Tablet PC features

x61t - hinge x61t - back hinge

Swivel screen is rock solid; seems like it will last forever. Though it can be rotated only one way, clockwise, not both way like some systems. Thus, Lenovo doesn't forget to remind you the direction you need to turn screen around. They probably are aware of broken hinge =) if you turn it in opposite way forcibly. I found this is annoying me a bit because sometimes I just want to turn the screen to the person next to the right of me too. I just can't!

x61t - tablet buttons x61t - navigation button

Since in tablet mode you will not able to use anything on keyboard side, fingerprint sensor needs to be on screen side. Also, buttons on screen side are intentionally designed for using in tablet mode. Power button with lock power button switch which is to prevent accidentally power button press are the first in line. Ctrt+Alt+Del--tiny button, rotate screen, Tablet shortcut menu and Esc button are next in line. I was surprise to find all these buttons need very hard press to register, unlike the keyboard & mouse. IMO, it's good to prevent accidentally press but it's too much because a button height are on the same level as chassis already and the most important one has the lock already. I see no reason why they have to make any extra protection like this. For the navigation button on the right is great! very soft and firm when using it, but I rarely use it since I mostly use pen to control in tablet mode. Unsurprisingly, the only button I really use is rotate screen one =)

Screen

The construct of this is very robust. No matter how hard you press the border or the screen itself, you will not find any of ring occurred like when you press regular LCD. If you leave the fact that this screen is not super bright, this is the splendid screen you can get. Fantastic screen angle, uniform brightness throughout the screen in contrast to Thinkpad X61/X61s screen which is not so great.

 screen-side-view screen-tilt-back-front

X61t - screenThere is almost no invert or wash out color. It's almost 180 degree viewing angle on both left-right and up-down side.

On the left side, it shows how good back light on this screen is--there is almost no visible leakage. Nonetheless, some will find this matte screen is too dim to their favor. grainy screenBut to me, I prefer matte screen to glossy one any day since I can't stand the reflect on glossy screen, especially when you are using in tablet mode in a room with a lot of light. It's hurting my eyes!

For graininess, most people told that all multi-touch screens are grainy. Honestly, I have no clue since from what I see it's in normal condition. It doesn't have any graininess like the right picture shown--that's what I can tell so far.

I probably have to have very grainy screen and not-grainy one sit side-by-side first. Then I could tell much more detail on that. I will do comparison when I get HP tx2500z in hand though.

Input devices

keyboard layout For the keyboard, there is no question about how well Thinkpad keyboard is: well constructed, nice size and space between button Although the keyboard is firm--no flex by any mean, I don't really think this Thinkpad keyboard layout is great. Instead putting all home, end, PgUp, and PgDw as the function of arrow keys could be better. By the fact that, when you want to use PgUp/PgDw, you are likely to use arrow keys as well. IMO, they are just too far away from each other. Well, I prefer this layout than putting all 4 buttons as new column on the right like many manufacturers like to do.

Also, Thinkpad always has something people afraid of--TrackPoint. It just the matter of preference whether like touchpad or trackpoint. For me, I hate Touchpad & love TrackPoint. 

X61t keyboard trackPoint

There is very little click sound when touch on this keyboard & mouse button and you also feel very very soft & responsive on every buttons. You will find very hard to find the keyboard to match this.

Array of ports

X61 Tablet provides enough ports for everyday use. Something extra like eSATA would be nice to have, but as you know, Thinkpad doesn't have any fancy anyway. :'(

X61t - right

Right: 4-pin IEEE1394, 2*USB port, Headphone and Microphone jack, modem RJ11, power jack, and Kensington lock

X61t - left

Left: air-vent, USB, VGA port, Ethernet port, SD & PCMCIA slot, and pen silo.

X61t - front

Front: Wireless switch and the screen latch switch.

X61t - back

Back: the battery!

As you see, they all are on the side. Frankly, I don't like this much since I prefer to have Ethernet port on the back or at least tend to the back rather than tend to the front like this. It's a mess when connect all of them. Lenovo might think that they offer UltraBase, but they should think that not all of customers purchase that!

Dell Latitude XT (top), Thinkpad X61T, HP tx2500z (bottom): adapter Dell Latitude XT (top), Thinkpad X61T, HP tx2500z (bottom): adapter

The adapter is just normal size as anyone expected.

Audio-related

X61T - speakerThis area probably is the less significant things on any notebook/tablet PC especially on small machine (<13" screen.) The mono speaker you see on the right places on the bottom of the machine around center of palm rest. On the maximum volume, you will be able to hear clearly if and only if you are in quiet environment. With AC on (or fan on), you will barely hear a sound--only mosquito noise you will hear. Although that's fortunate, it is not up to my expectations. If it's only a bit louder, I won't complain.

The built-in microphone is on the screen side. Its sensitivity is great, on the other end will be able to hear anything you said normally, but sometimes you will get an strange noise [like when microphone is close to speaker] when making a VoIP call. It's annoying sometimes, but acceptable. Odd things I found is microphone jack is not working as it should. In other words, when I plugged my microphone firmly, it didn't work. I had to loose it a little, then it would work. I still have no clue either this is the defective or the strange jack itself. I tried with several microphones which work flawlessly on another machine; the results were the same. However, I don't have time to send to repair center anytime soon. Probably right before warranty is about the expire, that will be the time.

For spec & performance, please go on