The Lenovo X61 Tablet three years later

In a previous post I had talked about the rate of decay and the usefulness of a fairly shiny new X61 tablet. Now three years later it’s time for a quick update on how it’s travelling.

Lenovo Thinkpad X61 Tablet

As you can see, the tablet is pretty much the same as it was at 3 months old. There are legends about how hard-wearing ThinkPads are. After lugging it back and forth from work, and on vacations, for three years it’s looking like a role model for laptop longevity.

The screen is a bit blotchy with grease now, I haven’t found a good cleaner that I trust to not melt or damage the surface, so I put up with a dirty screen. The screen is also pulled away at the bottom exposing some glue that picks up dust and won’t let it go, but the problem is just aesthetic.

The pen is still held together by sticky tape.

The hard disk is now a 500GB Seagate 7200rpm drive, and I have added 4GB of RAM. The battery is now a non-Lenovo battery that works fine except that the Lenovo power management software courteously questions my commitment to safety and morality every time I log in. The original battery went stone cold dead with error messages from the power management system along the lines of “Get this battery thing outta me NOW! Stat!” when it was just over 2 years old.

None of the keys have come off the keyboard. The marvellous screen-rotating and reversing hinge feels as firm as the day it came out of the box.

The biggest problem is still Vista and the load of Lenovo crapware required to keep it alive. It has always taken a long while to boot and get settled (5-10 minutes), so I’m tempted to start from scratch with Windows 7, but haven’t made the investment in time yet.

5 thoughts on “The Lenovo X61 Tablet three years later”

  1. I’ve just ordered a new Macbook Pro to replace my dented MacBook Pro 2,2 (which I believe is a little older than your Lenovo). I’ve always thought that the TiBooks and (pre-Unibody) MacBook Pros were actually rather delicate compared with the bulletproof plastic “icebooks”, but — aside from dents — the Macbook has survived quite well (I feel quite guilty replacing it, but the 3GB RAM limit is the kicker.)

    If I were going to buy a Windows laptop, I’d definitely go Lenovo.

  2. We have a 4 year old white MacBook that is still fully functional. However, it shows a few cracks and scratches, particularly along the edge of the trackpad near the magnetic catch. A relative works at an Apple service centre and says that the 2-4 year old plastic MacBooks all have fragile edges and a lot come in for service, but it’s something designed out in the most recent generation.

    Lenovo seems to have sustained their durability standards over the post-IBM years. Pleasing aesthetics and usability aren’t allowed to get in the way of a functional product.

    They’re not in the same league as the new MacBook Pro range for durability or desirability. When was the last time you saw a Lenovo used as a prop in a TV show?

    The >=15″ MBPs look great. i5 and i7 processors are pleasantly snappy and the battery life is unbelievably good.

  3. I just took delivery of my new MacBook Pro which, as you suggest, looks like a very solid machine (unlike my MacBook Pro 2,2). The funny thing is that my experience with Thinkpads was generally negative (if you recall, our projects with Lilly involved a stupendous number of top-of-the-line Thinkpads), but then it’s quite possible that the problems Lilly had with Thinkpads were a fraction of what they’d have experienced with Toshibas, say.

  4. Definitely upgrade to Windows 7. My X61 tablet runs about twice as fast (literally) on Windows 7. There were programs that would barely run on the original vista install that now go 60 frames/sec.

  5. Windows 7 on this machine is like getting a new system. Lenovo has allows the drivers in place. This 4- year-old X61 is now the most reliable machine I have ever used.

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