Now that I’ve used a ThinkPad T40 for a while, I see a lot of
virtues in it. First and foremost is its battery life. I’ve been running
this PC unplugged for a total of about three hours so far, installing lots
of software making the disk spin and powering a USB GPS unit on the plane,
and the power gauge shows I still have 60% capacity and estimates that I
have another 3:39 to go. This is with the extended battery option; the
regular battery should have about two-thirds the duration, and I’ll have
a lot of experience this week to see if that’s true.
I also like the T40’s look versus the T30. It’s noticeably thinner and
sleeker. However, it is not lighter! Picking it up for the first
time is a real shock; it feels like it has sheets of lead inside the case.
This model T40 has a built-in Cisco Wi-Fi card. It has worked every bit as well
as my old Orinoco PC card, which in turn worked better than any other
Wi-Fi card I’ve tried. Some of the other models have Intel Wi-Fi inside
them, and the reviews of their range have not been good, so I’m glad to
have the Cisco. We’re thinking about moving to all Cisco Wi-Fi access
points at work, which would allow us to use Cisco proprietary security
protocols that are better than WEP.
Finally, the T40 has USB 2.0 ports, which are much faster than the USB 1.1
ports on the older ThinkPads. For routine use this doesn’t matter much. But
I’ve been migrating to new hard drives just about weekly for more than a month,
and each time I do, I have to move about 15GB from disk to disk. I have a
nice USB external hard drive case that I use for this, and it takes less
than an hour on the T40 versus about a day on the T30.
So is the T30 no good? Not at all. It is just as fast as this new T40,
has just as good a screen, may weigh slightly less, and can do everything
the T40 does if you add PC cards for Wi-Fi (and USB 2.0 if you really
need it). I’m going to recommend that we provide the T30s we’ve already
bought to those laptop users that mostly “commute” with their PCs, taking
them from office to office, and office to home, where they can easily
plug them in if they need more than a couple of hours of use. The T40s,
with their excellent battery lives, will be a great choice for users
that do a lot of travel, using the PC on the plane, between flights, at
customer sites where it’s hard to reach an outlet, and so on.