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Thinkpad X60 — the Tablet Goes Ultraportable 122

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the send-review-units-no-return-postage-necessary dept.
Rovi writes "Lenovo had a gift for Thinkpad fans this season- they finally released the successor to the X41 Tablet. The Thinkpad X60 Tablet weighs in at about three and a half pounds and has great tablet functionality. The updates from the older model include a 2.5" hard drive (the X41 used a 1.8"), automatic screen orientation, and an Intel Core Duo processor. For performance seekers some serious upgrades are available, such as a 120GB 5400RPM hard drive, 100GB 7200RPM drive, SXGA+ monitor, or up to 4GB of RAM."
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Thinkpad X60 — the Tablet Goes Ultraportable

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  • But will it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @12:35PM (#17353970)
    Run Linux or OpenBSD or my favourite, FreeBSD? Can I actually use the tablet features with those OSs?

    Just asking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by heho (837859)
      You would need a linux distro that has native support for the tablet to effectively use the tablet portions of the machine itself. Many of the tablet features, such as the "always-up" dialog toggle, and many other features interact directly with the Windows API unfortunately
    • You beat me to it - all that info but nothing to answer the most important question, will it run proper (Free) software, or am I shackled to Microsoft if I want to use the hardware? This post comes from an R51 running GNU, Mandriva Linux 2006 flavour, and very nice it is as well (tho' I broke the wifi support trying to get it to support EAP - that's what comes of tinkering with your kernel when you don't really understand what you're doing :( )
    • by captjc (453680)
      But Will it Blend?
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        blend schmend, the real question is how well does it make toast?
        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          by sethstorm (512897) *
          That's something that the T4*p series and the older A3*p series do as a function of their hot processors.
          Want toast? Make your own heatsink and launch Doom 3.
    • by jc42 (318812)
      Run Linux or OpenBSD or my favourite, FreeBSD?

      Well, if it's like the earlier models, it's selling with pre-installed linux in Asia, but in the US you'll be able to buy it only with MS Windows installed, and you won't be able to find the drivers for the proprietary components that don't work with any of the online linux distros.

      One of my questions would be whether it can handle languages like Mandarin and Arabic. Most computers sold in the US don't have software that do such things sanely, since everyone kno
    • by daevux (626542)
      Indeed it can. [shameless-plug] EmperorLinux [emperorlinux.com] offers the laptop pre-installed with any of the major Linux distros and full hardware support under the name Raven [emperorlinux.com]. [/shameless-plug]
      • by overbored (450853)
        interesting. i had spent some time investigating linux tablet support but never learned about this. have you used this? i'm mainly wondering whether it has 'true' tablet application support, or if it's just using the tablet as a mouse. (i'd consider true tablet application support to the constant high rate 133hz sampling, plus a filtering engine that 'smooths'/'sharpens' lines.)
  • linux support? (Score:2, Informative)

    by wwwrench (464274)
    So, I'd get one if it had linux support for the tablet functions. It seems like right now, if you really want to explore the full functionality of tablets, you have to be running a non-free operating system. One would think that IBM, with all its talk, would help in this regard. Anyone have positive experiences getting full tablet functionality under linux? Including word recognition...
    • I had been looking at the Lenovo tablet for some time, and one found an offering from Emperor Linux that supported several different distros on the Lenovo hardware (named "Raven"):

      http://www.emperorlinux.com/systems/tablet/ [emperorlinux.com]

      They also have a new "Wasp" tablet using the Panasonic Toughbook series.
      The pricing on these models is a little higher (especially with upgrades), but the warm fuzzy of not running proprietary software should be worth it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Provocateur (133110)
        That's quite an expensive warm-fuzzy you've got there ($1775, in fact). I just use my socks. Well, after they're washed, of course.
         
    • Lenovo != IBM (Score:3, Informative)

      by FatSean (18753)
      IBM sold off the laptop division quite a while ago.

      • I will say.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Junta (36770) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @01:15PM (#17354236)
        Towards the end, IBM's choice of laptop hardware and their BIOS ACPI tables worked very well with Linux. IBM's support may translate some, since Lenovo started from a good position and were not necessarily inclined to deviate for no reason (Also, Lenovo bought the employees too, so the tendency would be strong). My biggest concern is if they continued to take care to do the ACPI tables properly or not going forward, but having the same firmware developers gives me hope.
      • by fm6 (162816)

        Yes, IBM sold the Thinkpad line to Lenovo. But the IBM logo continues to appear on Thinkpads, including the X60 [unhunter13.free.fr]. Apparently IBM also sold the temporary right to use the IBM logo to "sustain sales momentum" [zdnetasia.com].

        So it's a natural mistake to look at a Thinkpad and infer that IBM still plays some role in its development and deployment. Like many such branding exercises, Lenovo's use of the IBM logo is just a bit dishonest.

    • by nurb432 (527695)
      Why would they help out? Thinkpads are not their product anylonger.

      Speaking of,what is up with the ibm logo on that picture of the tablet?
      • by Koenkai (1043322)
        When Lenovo bought IBM's PC business, they also bought the right to use the IBM logo for five years...which means they can use it until 2009.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LunarCrisis (966179)

      Just to clarify, since the parent post might have been misleading, there IS support for the tablet under GNU/Linux. I'm quite happy with my X41 tablet running gentoo (had to install from a knoppix live-USB though), the thinkpad buttons and screen rotation work fine, and support for high precision tablet coordinates and pressure sensitivity work great in GIMP, Inkscape and Xournal (minus pressure since Xournal doesn't use that). Hibernation with Suspend2 seems to work fine too.

      What isn't really available,

      • x60 pen does have an eraser.
      • by Babillon (928171)
        Just out of curiosity... Why in the world would you use The GIMP for drawing? The thought of that just makes me want to hurl.

        If it's because you don't want to fork out the cash for Photoshop/PSP/Painter, that's understandable. But OpenCanvas (the old free version that allows networking) is far superior to anything The GIMP could crap out.
      • I'm getting one of these X60 tablets, and I plan to run Linux on it. Do you have any links to information that would be useful to me? How much effort did it take for you to get all this working?

        What isn't really available, and I'm sure this is what the parent post was talking about, is handwriting recognition software. AFAIK there isn't really any available for GNU/Linux (please reply if I'm wrong here).

        Well, there's stuff like XStroke, but this post [tieguy.org] doesn't sound very encouraging. One thing I have found

        • I'm getting one of these X60 tablets, and I plan to run Linux on it. Do you have any links to information that would be useful to me? How much effort did it take for you to get all this working?

          Thinkwiki was very useful for me (even though their installation guides were for a different distro), though I'm not sure how much x60-specific info they have. That and the gentoo handbook were the main resources I used. Screen rotation "just works" with newer video drivers, X, xrandr, etc., but the tablet itself was a little tricky, since I needed to compile a patched version of linuxwacom to get the on-demand rotation support.

          This probably won't be an issue for you unless you are installing gentoo, but

    • Re:linux support? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nostriluu (138310) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @04:04PM (#17355256) Homepage

      I ran Debian on a Toshiba M200 (1.6ghz Pentium M, 2 GB RAM, 7200rpm HDD, dedicated NVidia video card). Good specs (at the time) for a 4 lb system, plus the tablet features. It was fast enough, and had a high res (but small) display so it was my primary dev system, although like the x60, it's a convertible, not a true tablet (big difference).

      I never did focus on word recognition since I consider it awkward, and I didn't end up exploring the MS tablet integration features (some of which sound interesting) much before the XP partition died of a virus. Unfortunately, under Linux it was a challenge keeping the stylus, touchpad, rotation, power management, and video out working (or not). Not to mention the proprietary SD card reader. I'm no expert, but it was an unreasonable amount of very frustrating try-this, scanning outdated bulletin board conversations, etc work, and the implementations kept changing so if one thing is fixed, another breaks. This was 2004 - 2006, btw.

      I did use it for some occasional drawing, and it was nice to be able to fold it down for some situations.

      Having a vendor supported model would be a tremendous boost for Linux, and people like myself who want full vendor support. The kernel and the environment are of course separate, so it would really just take a 'certified' list of open source friendly hardware.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grcumb (781340)

      Anyone have positive experiences getting full tablet functionality under linux?

      I can't speak for this tablet, but I do know that Lenovo as a company not only supports Linux on their desktops, they ship it as the default OS for their domestic-consumption PCs.

      I'm working on a systems integration project for a small nation in the South Pacific. The Chinese government provided all the IT equipment through its foreign aid programme, and every Lenovo machine we received had Kylin linux [kylin-linux.com.cn] installed, along with a

    • by einar2 (784078)
      Although, the hardware of tablet PCs is supported by Linux this does not mean a lot without software. Why do you want to draw on the screen when there is no handwriting recognition to make anything usefull out of it?
      I write these lines on a compaq tc4400 and I love this device. The convertion into a tablet was for me just a gag. However, meanwhile I use the device mostly as a tablet. The way to operate directly on the screen feels very intuitive.

      However, from day one I said goodby to linux.

      BTW: It ru
  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @12:40PM (#17353998) Homepage
    If the tablet is facing a mirror, will the display properly orientate itself to be readable in a mirror?
    • by NeuroKoan (12458)
      I think the proper thing to do would be to turn into a mirror itself, and then you could have your very own hall of mirrors at any time.
    • by cybereal (621599)
      You've misunderstood the term "orientation"...

      If you use a Clay Aiken signature pen the screen will turn all rainbow-colored.
  • Great commercial. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skitz0 (89196) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @12:46PM (#17354036)
    When does the regular show come back on?
  • IBM versus Toshiba? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Makito (518963) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @12:50PM (#17354082)
    The X60 looks like a Toshiba M400 without a CD/DVD drive - much like the M200.

    My question is, how does the Core Duo 1.8Ghz Low Voltage CPU performance compare to the standard Core Duo 1.8Ghz CPU in the M400.
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday December 24, 2006 @01:02PM (#17354152) Homepage

      My understanding is that they should perform identically. The low voltage one was just able to pass the test at that voltage where the "normal" one would have failed the test at that low voltage. They make them all the same, then bin them based on which tests they pass. The exception to this is if they have high demand for 1.6 GHz chips but are producing lots of extra 1.8 GHz chips they may re-mark them and sell them as 1.6 chips (which is why sometimes the slow speed grades overclock so well).

      This is my understanding. It's a bit like military spec chips. They perform identically, they are just designed for different conditions (in this case, less voltage).

      • by Makito (518963)
        That's good to know. I was a little suspicious that they might have tuned down the FSB bus speed to help acheive the lower voltage, but if that's the case. Time to swap out my M400's power hungry CPU for this one instead...
        • by MBCook (132727)
          In mobile processors, that may indeed be the case (I hadn't thought of that). But I know that there are low power versions of server/desktop chips that are designed for blades and such that obviously they don't pull such tricks on. You'd have to look up the specs at Intel's site, I'd guess, to be sure.
      • As the author of the article states, "1024x768 resolution could use an upgrade".

        What he failed to mention though, was that this resolution was already very poor and uncompetitive in a well-featured tablet PC back in 2004 !!! As a clear fan of his X41t and X60s, I think he's reviewing the new Lenovo through rose-tinted spectacles.

        I looked at the X-series along with many others when I was researching for my own tablet PC some 2+ years ago (before that I had a Thinkpad), and the Toshiba Tecra M4 [notebookreview.com] tablet came o
        • What he really failed to mention is that the X60t has a choice of three screens: a regular 1024x768, a 1024x768 touchscreen/outdoor readable, or a 1400x1050 SXGA+ screen. Granted, it still has Intel graphics, but a 6200 isn't that much better, and since the X60t is (much) lighter and smaller than the Toshiba it's worth it.

          Of course, the downside is that the SXGA+ screen is backordered or something -- according to Lenovo's website, my X60t isn't scheduled to ship until February. : (

    • Just a quick correction, not that it really affects your post. But, IBM sold off the Thinkpad line to Lenovo. So, this isn't really IBM versus Toshiba, but Lenovo versus Toshiba.
  • I thought these have been out a while. I've seen them at microcenter for months...
    • by heho (837859)
      Technically no its not new, its been "available" on the market for about a month now, however Lenovo had no stock available for them, however shipping on these machines is still 1-2 weeks delivery time - fairly reasonable for ordering directly through Lenovo's website.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ultraportables are 2.5 pounds and lighter. 3.5 pounds is just too much.

    Some companies (Apple, IBM(Lenovo),Acer, etc) just do not know how to build small and light. If Sharp, Sony, Fujitsu, Samsung can build 2 pound laptops and lighter why cant Lenovo and Apple?
    • by Chas (5144)
      Maybe because those other manufacturers are sacrificing too much weight for durability. It's VERY rare to see a badly built Thinkpad line.
      • by xetovss (17621)
        Though I know its not heavily reported but the Thinkpad R40 line has an issue of where it will stop seeing any UltraBay drives, and the Thinkpad A31 will stop seeing the sound and modem devices both of which require the replacement of the system board as its an issue with the southbridge chip. Also the T40/R50 series of laptops with ATI video chips has an issue where the video chip will come loose causing intermittent video(pressing down on the video chip will make it work for a lil while). That happened to
      • by softweyr (2380)
        Maybe because those other manufacturers are sacrificing too much weight for durability.

        Most of those ultra-light "executive jewelry" machines are lightly built and lightly used. The boss uses it to mangle his email on the road, and mostly carries it around to show others he's important enough for the company to blow three grand on a useless piece of junk for him to tote around. Apple and IBM build laptops designed to last, and so they weigh an extra pound over the ultralights. If you're footing the bil

    • by syncrotic (828809)
      Those 2lb ultraportables make major compromises of functionality for size. The X60 is essentially sized around its 12.1" screen, while a lot of the machines you're talking about have 8.9" displays, 1.8" hard drives, and previous generation CPUs.
    • by modeless (978411)
      This computer is heavy because it is a tablet (with a reinforced screen and hinge). The non-tablet X60s is thinner and lighter (2.7 lbs). Not the lightest on the market but the lightest with a keyboard I'd want to use for any length of time. Those tiny Sony things are atrocious.
  • I visited the Lenovo web site this AM looking for a machine for my daughter to use in grad school. Parts availability and the 3-year warranty add a lot of value. Where'd the warranty go?
    • by gelfling (6534)
      You can purchase different repair service contracts which is where the warranty becomes worthwhile. Otherwise they just stare at you and tell you to ship the machine back to them.

      I purchased a 3 year local depot drop off repair service contract as well as Lojack for Laptops. They added about 170$ to the cost but if the unit is dropped, broken at least I can go somewhere locally and get it fixed, they know who I am, what the terms of the agreement are and so on. And if it's stolen or lost, Lojack makes and a
      • by rfunches (800928)
        I purchased a 3 year local depot drop off repair service contract as well as Lojack for Laptops.

        Lojack for Laptops sucks. It's Windows only and requires IE. Plus they reserve the right to terminate the contract if your computer doesn't connect to their servers after x days.

      • by gp310ad (77471)
        A service contract is not a warranty!
        Totally different animals.
        No 3 year warranty = no Lenovo for me.
    • If you are looking to purchase one with 3 year warranty check out this site, 3year accidental damage are only $150 http://www.universitycomputers.com/ePOS?this_categ ory=92&store=210&item_number=560R-IB-6364U&form=sh ared3%2Fgm%2Fdetail.html&design=210 [universitycomputers.com] . Its a good deal
  • Color me cynical but when I hear something is long overdue I wonder if it's been thrown together quickly out of desperation. This model or models which check in at 4+lbs are not ultraportable. One would think that with a smallish screen it would come in a little lighter.

    Moreover, Lenovo clearly has a demarc between consumer models (N series, V series, etc.) and their corporate customer brand (Thinkpad). I have to wonder how they're going to support a consumer model like this out of the corporate channel sin
    • by jgennick (59014) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @02:00PM (#17354538) Homepage
      But in either case, if you Joe Shmoe picks one of these up for your own use, what kind of support are you going to get from the channel that typically handles big customers who buy hundreds or thousands of units at a clip?

      I'm an individual, and I've generally gotten very good service from IBM on Thinkpads that I and my family own. I've never been stuck on hold. That's a great thing right there. The worst incident I ever had was when a rep sent me the parts to replace my own LCD panel, and she did that at my request, not fully realizing that I didn't have a clue. To IBM's credit, they took all the parts back once I realized I was out of my depth. Then they took the Thinkpad back and fixed that too. And all under warranty.

      I'm sure other's mileage may vary, and surely there must be some bad experiences out there, but I've found Thinkpad service to be top-notch, so much so that there are only two brands of notebook that I buy these days: Thinkpad and Apple. (Apple, because that's what you need for OS X).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by crazy.tyae (711237)

      Color me cynical but when I hear something is long overdue I wonder if it's been thrown together quickly out of desperation. This model or models which check in at 4+lbs are not ultraportable. One would think that with a smallish screen it would come in a little lighter.

      Lenovo has been doing quite well, so I don't think this could be called a desperation move. 4+lbs is a bit hefty but you could always use the 4 cell battery which allows the unit to come in under 4 lbs. On the screen, this is certainly not smallish for an ultra-portable - average perhaps. I'm willing to accept the extra heft in return for the durability of the materials used to construct the tablet.

      I have to wonder how they're going to support a consumer model like this out of the corporate channel since obviously there are zero corporations out there who are going to stock their inventories with this.

      Although I've heard some horror stories regarding the standard "depot" service, I've also heard a tot

    • by syncrotic (828809)
      First things first, the fact that your employer has ridiculous IT policies doesn't mean that all of them do. You're just giving us an anecdote and then using that to imply that no company would ever spend a relatively small amount of money to equip their staff with decent hardware. I'm sorry your job sucks; start looking for a new one.

      Granted, a tablet is not something that most people really want or need, but let Lenovo worry about selling enough of them. The tablet, while not a huge success, has carved it
      • by gelfling (6534)
        Actually my employer is the former owner of Lenovo. I actually have some insight into how this works. Next, Lenovo support for consumer machines is in fact different from support provided for corporate customers. That difference is a hugely complex iteration of all the customizations that corporate customers demand such as custom hardware and software images. Believe me, it's real and one of the drivers for why Lenovo no longer belongs to IBM. The overhead to keep those corporate customers is enormous. Next
  • 4 hour run time. I'll pass. Wake me up when they make something competitive with Panasonic R5
    laptop or Electrovaya tablets.
  • Yet only 3GB is addressable compliments of Intel's Napa platform.

    Might be worthwhile to wait for Santa Rosa platform in April/May. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrino#Napa_platfor m [wikipedia.org]

  • Battery life (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by abradsn (542213)
    My question is...
    Does anyone have a laptop/tablet that can last for 4 to 6 hours on a battery. I'm sick of 5 minute battery life, and would be willing to use a 300mhz laptop if I could use it to read on for 4 or 5 hours.
    • My HP dv4000 I bought a year ago lasts 6-6.5 hours with the extended 12 cell battery (and it has an ATI x700 in it too) after undervolting, ATI Powerplay, and making sure the HDD turns off when possible. Sure, the battery sticks out a bit, but I always laugh at people who's laptops die after 4 hours. :P Just don't expect amazing battery life and a high powered laptop. Keep your CS:S and HL2 skills on a desktop where they belong.
      • ... and sacrifice mobility.


        As an owner of an Inspiron e1705 with a core 2 duo T7200, and an geforce go 7900gs cross flashed with the 7900gtx bios and overclocked while attached to a WUXGA display, I can confidently say that I love my laptop, and because of the dual 8 cell non-exploding lithium ion batteries it still has great battery life. Although it's a little heavy, it's still nothing like what laptops used to weigh! Hell, my first laptop weighed more than my desktop.
    • My fujitsu t4010, with a modular battery (ie swap out the CD drive) gets on average 7.5 hours without wireless and 6.5 with wi-fi turned on. It's slightly slow by today's standards (pentium m 2.1) but it is worth it for the battery life.
    • by ASCIIMan (47627)
      My Dell D820 consistently gets around 4-5 hours with the 9 cell battery. When I add the 6-cell media bay battery in place of the DVD writer I usually get 6:30 to 7:30 hours.
    • by dsoltesz (563978) *
      I just got a Fujitsu Lifebook 1610 convertible tablet/notebook [shopfujitsu.com] with the 6 cell battery pack, which brings the weight up to 2.5 pounds from the 2.2 pounds it weighs with the 3 cell pack. I'm getting 4 to 7 hours depending on how I'm using it - movies, books, drawing, etc. I'm very happy with the 1610 - it's actually the tablet I've been waiting for. 2.5 pounds is still too heavy, but the UMPCs that are coming in around 1 pound require so many add-ons (portable keyboard, USB-RJ45 dongle, etc.) and too tiny sc
      • by wikinerd (809585)
        What a wonderful notebook [shopfujitsu.com]. Unfortunately, I see no GPRS/UMTS/HSDPA antenna built-in. I wonder why notebook manufacturers keep releasing subnotebooks with no built-in Internet capability. An innovative company has released Flybook [flybook.biz] which can connect to the Internet with up to 1.8mbps speed through HSDPA 3G networks. While it's true that you can just put a PCMCIA card and have 3G in every laptop, I think that the internal antenna worths the extra money. All high-end PDAs, like HTC Universal, have 3G connectivi
    • My X41 tablet running GNU/Linux with the 8-cell battery (actually makes it much easier to hold in slate/portrait mode) lasts about 5 hours on battery with automatic CPU scaling on. It scales the clock speed down to 600Mhz when not in use, such as when you're reading =). I'm not sure if/how this works in Windows, but I'd be surprised if it didn't have a similar feature. Not because I any sort of faith in Windows, but because I don't see IBM/Lenovo putting in features that aren't usable from Windows.
    • by wikinerd (809585)
      My IBM laptops last about 4 hours, and my HTC Universal PDA with broadband Internet and Opera browser lasts up to 8 hours. Manufacturers often sell extended batteries, and if not then you can always carry with you more than 1 battery and change.
  • by WMD_88 (843388)
    1400x1050 (SXGA+) resolution on a 12.1" screen? That's suicide! XGA on a 12.1" is relatively small as it is.
    • People have to stop thinking that higher resulotion means the graphics are smaller. Things like fonts specified in pt (which is a physical size, not a number of pixels) should appear the same size on any display. Of course, if you want to make use of the extra detail by making everything smaller, that's your choice.
      • Ideally, this is true; in practice a lot of applications and web pages break if you run at > 100 dpi. If you increase font size on many (if not most) web pages you end up with a bunch of unreadable, overlapping, and truncated items. Flash based web pages are worse as they have no zoom, you might as well break out a microscope to read them.

        Application software fares somewhat better, most apps under linux handle high DPI reasonablly well, but there are still a lot of windows apps which were designed using
        • by syncrotic (828809)
          There's a simple solution to the web browsing issue: use Opera. It's the only browser with zoom that works the way it should.
          • I'll have to give Opera another look. The laptop is fairly old and a lighter weight browser might be easier on it anyway.
    • I've ordered one of these with the SXGA+ display. On Windows, you'd be right because it doesn't have a resolution-independent display. However, I think I'll be okay because I plan to use KDE on it.

      • by WMD_88 (843388)
        I'm curious...how independent is the UI in KDE? I know in Windows you can change the font DPI (doesn't look great, but works), and OS X will probably have a complete feature like this in 10.5.
    • by Sloppy (14984)
      Are you saying that having more pixels, somehow makes things harder to read? It sounds to me like the display should be pretty sharp.
  • Problem number one: CPU crippled by Lenovo [thinkwiki.org]. Is this model also affected?
    (Short story: Lenovo disabled hardware virtualization in BIOS, one of selling point of Core processors)

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