I finally got my Thinkpad T43p, Model #: 2687-E4U. I am extremely happy with the notebook, being the first notebook that I have ever owned. It took me 3 months to figure out what I wanted, and I finally settled for the Thinkpad. Before that I was looking into Asus Z70v, Asus Z71v, Dell 700m, Dell XPS Gen 2, Dell 6000, HP nw8240, and I acutally purchased the Dell 700m but the keyboard was just too small to type on for home use. I was going to return it back to Dell, but then I decided to keep it because with $449 that I paid for the 700m, I thought the price was too good to return it, and instead I use the 700m when I travel.
I also bought the Dell XPS Gen 2 and returned it because it's too big, bulky and heavy comparing to the Thinkpad. Of couse it's a lot faster in graphic performance with better speakers, screen, with 6 usb connection, 1 DVI port, and tons of bells and whistles that came with it. What I really want is the XPS Gen 2 to go into the thinkpad chassy, and that aint gonna happen as far as techinically and mechanically wise, and also I prefer the simple square boxy generic design over the flashy techniquecolor aerodynamic design. Pretty much the XPS Gen 2 and the T43p is in the same price range, but I opted for the T43p instead, because it suits my needs more than the XPS Gen 2.
How I stumbled upon IBM thinkpad was a total accident. One day I was in the thinkpad forum, and read up about the Thinkpad T model, and the more I read about it, the more I liked it. I realized then IBM was way overpriced, and there's no way that I could afford to buy it, not unless I was gonna plunge down $3000 minimum to buy the model with the specification that I wanted.
So anyway, while reading up on the Thinkpad, I stumbled upon the topic about EPP (Employee Purchase Program) which was constantly mentioned in the forum, and I found that with EPP, you can save up to 35% off from retail price. Since I have relatives that work for IBM, there goes a perfect opportunity to get a Thinkpad.
In the beginning, I was going to buy a preconfigured system, but then I realized for a preconfigured system with the parts that I wanted with EPP would still run me around $2350, and my budget wasn't that high since I already spent some of my money on the Dell 700m. So I decided to buy a fully customized system. I called up IBM and had my system fully customized, and then changed my mind and wanted just to buy the barebone system that comes with the CPU, and bought the wi-fi card and DVD burner from them. The rest I bought the parts elsewhere. Here is what the Configuation breaks down to:
Thinkpad T43p, Model #: 2687E4U, INTEL PENT 760 2.0: $1,011
Product Description: Pentium M 760 2 GHz - 15" TFT
Dimensions (WxDxH)13 in x 10.6 in x 1.4 in
Built-in DevicesStereo speakers, wireless LAN antenna, ThinkLight, Bluetooth antenna
ProcessorIntel Pentium M 760 2 GHz
Cache Memory2 MB - L2 cache
RAM0 MB (installed) / 2 GB (max) - DDR II SDRAM - 533 MHz - PC2-4200
Display15" TFT active matrix UXGA (1600 x 1200)
Graphics ControllerATI MOBILITY FIRE GL V3200 - 128 MB
Audio OutputSound card
TelecomFax / modem - CDC - 56 Kbps
NetworkingNetwork adapter - Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth
Input DeviceKeyboard, TrackPoint, UltraNav
PowerAC 110/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
Manufacturer Warranty3 years warranty
Seagate 100gb 5400rpm HDD: $180
2GB PC2-4200 533MHZ CL4 DDR2 200-PIN NOTEBOOK SODIMM: $210
9 Cell battery: $100
A/B/G Wi-Fi card: $28
DVD Burner: $190 (what a rip off for using IBM parts)
Grand Total : $1719 OUT THE DOOR
When it comes to built, design, portability, support, and system security, I think IBM is at the top of its game. This notebook is not for gamers nor multimedia entertainment users. Rather it's for professional business users with workstation comes in mind. There is no firewire, which I wish they have, no DVI port, no card reader, only 2 USB ports. What baffles me about this notebook is that it comes with parallel and serial port. I asked myself, these days who uses parallel and serial port? Instead of of parallel and serial port, they ought to add another 2 USB ports, which I find it's more useful. The graphic card as far as performance wise, is equivelant between Radeon X600 and Radeon X700. It's faster than X600 but slower than X700, which is not too bad for gaming, and also there is no wide screen.
I myself is not a gamer, and only use the notebook for autocad, and photoshop, and watch DVD. Therefore this notebook suits me just fine. Here is my impression on the notebook:
Built: The best in its class with magnesium and titanium compound built in the chassy. It's built like a tank.
Design: very plain and simple boxy design, with nothing flashy.
Weight: for a 15" notebook, it's lighter than most notebook outthere. I weighted the notebook with the 9 cell battery, and it came out to be exactly 6 pounds.
Dimension: 13 in x 10.6 in x 1.4 in. Thinner than most 15" notebooks out there, and it's easier to carry around than 15.4" wide notebooks.
DVD Burner: This DVD burner is expensive costs almost twice as much as the typical notebook DVD burner (i.e. Nec, Toshiba, Sony, HP, Asus Burner), and it can only burn at 2x, even thought it said 4x in the spec. The burner does not have dual layer burning capability. In my opinion the Nec-6500A is the best burner out there on the market, as far as speed, accuracy, and productivity, and it's also a dual layer burning capability and also 8x burning which is 3 times as fast as the IBM burner. With the IBM burner I get a coaster every now and then, with the Nec burner I never do. Unfortunately the Thinkpad can only fit 9.5 mm thickness DVD slot (by that I meant the height of the slot), and not the typical 12.7 mm thicknessDVD slot on most notebooks.
LCD Dispay: It's a very beautiful matte finished dispay made by ID Tech (a Japanese company), 15.0"UXGA, with 1600 x 1200 native resolution, 200 brightness, and 400 contrast ratio, 262K color, with 160 degree viewing angle. What I liked about this display is that when I view the screen below it's native resolution for text readability, the text is still clear and with little blurriness and distortion, comparing to other notebook that I have viewed. The color is rich, saturated and vibrant, but almost as good as the Dell 700m display. The 700m is a little brighter and a little more contrast, and color richness, but not by much, and to me the 700m is as good as the Xtra-Brite in the Sony, Toshiba, and Fujitsu notebook. But that is expected because, the 700m and the rest of the Sony, Toshiba, and Fujitsu LCD come with high gloss reflective screen, which will add color richness, intensity, and contrast to it. Look at your photos, with high gloss finish always look more vibrant than matte finish photos, and the same applied for LCD screens.
Noise: it's not as quiet as the Dell 700m, but it's quiet enough for me to accept. I can barely hear the fan when I am in a very quiet environment, and the fan noise is like a very low humming noise which is very acceptable. the only time when the fan comes on full force is when it boots up or when it goes into CPU intensive applications, but other than that , most of the time it run quietly in the background which barely noticable. If I put my ears right on the notebook or next to the fan then i will hear it, with the 700m I could not hear it even with my ears next to it. I only hear it when the fan comes on during booting or CPU intensive applications.
Keypad: The best of its class. I vouch to say that no one makes keyboard like IBM. It's feels firm to the touch, just like a desktop keyboard, and it's very quiet keyboard, with full size keys.
Touchpad: the keys on the touchpad is very good and solid to the touch, and the pad is good but not as good as the Toshiba touchpad. when I move my finger from one end to the other end of the touchpad in the Toshiba, it will coordinate one end to the other end of the LCD screen. in the IBM I would have to do it twice to cover from one end to the other end of the LCD screen.
Speaker system: The speakers are average for general purpose, and it's not geared torward multimedia notebooks, but yet it's loud and clear audio quality with very little base, which most notebooks are, and therefore I am fine with it.
Battery: This notebook with fully charged 9 cell battery lasts me a 5 full hours with the lowest dim setting on the LCD. with wi-fi on I get 4.5 hours.
Navigation Stick: Personally I prefer the stick over touchpad. It gives me more control and accuracy than the touchpad. The navigation stick is very smooth to glide across with terrific control. I love it.
Boot Up Time: It takes 50 seconds to boot up into Windows
Shut Down Time: It takes 45 seconds to complete shut down
Security: The security is top notch on this notebook. Once you set password, no one can hack into it. If you loose your password, there is no way you can use the notebook even if you changed the hard drive still you can't use the notebook, nor can you boot into safe mode or Administrator. That is good because if you notebook got stollen, then there is no way anyone can use it, once you set passwords. Unless there is a very good programmer to bypass it.
In conclusion: What can I say about IBM notebooks that hasn't been said already? It's one of the best notebooks out there on the market a far as built, quality, portability, security, functionality, and support, as long as you don't have gaming and multimedia in mind. I am glad that I bought this notebook, and indeed patience does pay off after 3 months on decision.