Thursday, January 3, 2008

lenovo thinkpad R61i (or: a tale of two laptops)

Back in the day, we all knew who made the best laptops: IBM. Not because they were the cheapest or sexiest machines around. They were the toughest. They were tanks. You could drop it four stories and run it over with your car (though this was before SUVs were so popular) and the damn thing would be just fine. Of course, they were way too expensive for your average middle-class highschool kid to ever get.

When I was at MSFT I managed to get a company-issued Sony Viao TR5GP. I loved the Viao itself: it was small, portable, sexy, and not too slow. I hated Sony though. They refused to make drivers available for download or even seperate install; you had to buy the recovery DVD for $10 and then use it to fully recover the OS. Of course, doing that brought all the OEM crapware with it. So it was a constant struggle.

Now I find myself in need of a notebook once again. I will need one for the move, and Sara has been wanting one to use around the house. I disqualified Dell, because their machines are all flimsy crap. And I disqualified Toshiba because they're ugly and seemed to always have weird issues that weren't really problems, per se, just quirks. So my thoughts naturally turned to ThinkPads.

I bought the R61i because I wanted something cheap (as close to $500 as possible, newegg had it for $699). I wanted something reliable and sturdy. Its main purpose in life will be a web browsing machine and a mstsc machine. I need something to help me find an apartment when I get to California. Also, something to do on the plane.

It came last night, and I like it very much. Lenovo does not seem to have ruined the ThinkPad. It doesn't have the cute IBM logo, and it doesn't seem quite as sturdy as I remember (what is these days?), but I may have just built it up in my mind over the years. It does seem better than all the Dells I ever used at MSFT. They keyboard is nice and clicky. The screen is bright and clear. The USB ports are plentiful. It came with a nice assortment of crapware, but I uninstalled it all. It did require something like 62 Windows Updates out of the box, which was dissapointing, but what can you do? It's Windows.

Anyway, what I am getting at is just say no to Dell; buy a ThinkPad.

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