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  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I think you should do a full review of it, just for giggles. I'm guessing that's not going to happen as that is time consuming, but it would be pretty awesome IMHO. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    If my dad sticks around long enough and doesn't need to use his laptop, I could install some tests and run them, but I'm not super keen on the time investment it would require. "Sorry ASUS, HP, Dell... I'm reviewing a six-year-old laptop instead of the system you shipped me a couple weeks back." LOL (Okay, so right now it's only an HP netbook I have to write up, but still....) Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Haha, fair enough. Reply
  • ViperV990 - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure if there's any netbook out there that's faster than this T42 :D Reply
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    What kind of screen does the IBM T30 have? I bought a T30 instead of a newer
    laptop because I wanted something that would last. It has a P4/2GHz, originally
    1GB RAM (now 2GB), originally a 30GB IDE (now a 320GB), and I've fitted it
    with a GigE card. Runs very nicely, and of course extremely robust.

    Thanks for the article!! Most interesting.

  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately, the only thing my LCD stuff will give me is that I connected to some sort of display. Astra32 for example tells me it's a generic display with an 18" diagonal! So the best I can say is that it's a 14" Flexview. :-( Reply
  • FH123 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I'm still using a Thinkpad T30 daily. Perhaps you'll find the exact specs of your machine here:

    If it's 14" or it's a lower resolution than 1400x1050, it's probably not IPS, otherwise it may or may not be.

    I completely agree with Jarred regarding use of a machine this old. Lack of SATA and hence SSD support and lack of H264 acceleration are the only glaring problems. Specific to the T30 is the memory slot issue where physical stress and heat tends to break the solder joints of the memory slots, particularly the front facing one. I'm running Windows XP with a single 1GB module in the rear-facing slot since the front one is broken.

    I bought a high-end Thinkpad T410s as an upgrade to my T30 back in spring, 8 months ago. Waste of money! I have not yet begun using it! While it's a lovely machine in most ways, it is badly let down by the screen. I completely agree with Jarred's position. In case of the Thinkpad T410s the screen is actually worse than anything else on the market, now or then, with a contrast ratio below 100:1 and black level of almost 3 cd/m2 according to In addition the vertical viewing angles are such that you cannot get a uniform color across the display, due to viewing-angle induced color shift. Inversion sets in so quickly on dark or mid-tone content that it's practically impossible to find a viewing angle where some part of the screen does not begin to invert while watching video. Bright and colorful web-content and business software is less affected. It's really only good for that, but combine anti-aliasing (ClearType) with the low contrast and it seems worse for my old eyes than the T30, even for business use.
  • Souka - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    " originally a 30GB IDE (now a 320GB), "

    Huh? If I 'm not mistaken, they never made a 320GB PATA IDE drive
    T30 only supports 2x512mb modules. I tried sticking a 1GB Module from a T40 into the T30 and it wouldn't boot.

    Far as the T30 vs T42 screen... I'd have to say my T42 screen is better overall...richer color, higher-rez (1440x1050 vs 1024x768), and better viewing angles (but not great anyhow)

    (Oh, I have both a T30 as a family laptop and a T42 for torrents as a 2nd PC for use while my main PC is compiling code or rendering 3d stuff)
  • Possum - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I have a 1GB module working in my T30. I'm using a 1 GB and a 512 MB module in the two slots, and they're showing up as 1.5 GB in Windows.

    The T30 screen looks like a TN panel from the vertical viewing angle characteristics.
  • some.other.guy - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link


    Wrong twice in just two sentences.

    Here is your 2.5" 320GB EIDE Drive: the <a href=" title="">WD Scorpio Blue 320GB</a>.

    And here is documentation that shows how to get a <a href=" title="">T30 to run a single 1GB DIM (as opposed to the 512MB x 2 DIMMS requirement you stated).</a>

    Just because you can't do it doesn't mean it can't be done.

    it just means that you can't do it.
  • Drag0nFire - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    It warms my heart to see this!

    I'm still chugging along with my 5 year old T43. It's not as quick as it once was, but I'm loathe to part with it because the display is so perfect for being on the go. The 1400x1050 display is just perfect when on the bus/train/plane.

    I'm going to need a new laptop soon, but I'll miss this one sorely.

    Thanks so much for all your advocacy for better laptop displays. I really hope it pays off.
  • Ben90 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I completely agree with the 1400x1050 resolution being perfect. Widescreen laptops are just so bulky in comparison. Its a shame its so hard to find the old aspect ratio laptops anymore. Reply
  • extide - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    x2 on the T43, I have one and I still use it. If only I could find a modern laptop with a screen (That 1400x1050 res is better than anything you can get now in a 14" class laptop!) and small size and form factor like that. The old T4x series was awesome, they made very efficient use of space, were very durable, light, etc. Just GREAT laptops. Reply
  • Souka - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Get a used T61 (did they ever make a T62?)

    Core2....SATA (so you can go SSD if you like)
    DDR2 or 3 (can't recall which)

    My $.02
  • Belard - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Might as well do a FULL review on a Commodore 64... or heck, maybe even an Amiga 3000. ;) Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    That would be even more awesome! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Funny you mention that. C64 was my initial introduction to computers back when I was ten or so. I begged my mom and eventually she got me a C128 (which was pointless 99% of the time since nearly everything was made for C64). I mostly played games (Goldbox D&D anyone?), but I also did some BASIC coding and other silliness. Then my dad started working for IBM, brought home a PC/XT one summer, and I've been PC ever since. Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    I wanted the C128, and got it. $350 in 1985 - if I remember right.

    For games, it was C64 mode - but there were a handful of high-res C128 games... :(

    But I did work, BBSing (what we had before the Internet) which was done in 128 mode which kick'ed the C64 in the nutz. I had the 80col monitor which made BBSing and productivity far more usable.

    Then I went to Amiga 1000 > Amiga 3000, and I still have them and they still work. MS-DOS was always garbage next to AmigaOS, it would take WindowsXP to equal AmigaOS, and still - not in all areas.
  • Belard - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    I forgot...

    When my son turned 4, I gave him a used AMD-X2 system with a GF8600GT, 2GB RAM and since he's 6, has a 19" LCD monitor... Ah, he so doesn't know what OLD tech is like ;)

    He also likes to play with an old B&W Mac Classic that was given to me 10 years ago.
  • Tros - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Better displays?

    YES: What's the point of figuring out the difference between a NV 320M and an ATI-5650 if they both render like crap on a non-exchangeable LCD?
  • HilbertSpace - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    How many of these IBM laptops would have been purchased by some big company's IT department for their employees? The deciding factor there would be cost, rather than quality...

    Maybe the option should be in the consumer space. That could be one reason for Apple selling a lot of MacBooks, is that the hardware is quite nice (aside from the glossy screens). Although personally, I think people have used computers for so long they're just looking for a change of scenery (OS X vs. windows), and in a few years, things will swing in another direction.
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Yes, and a smart company would see that good quality, sturdy machines mean:

    Less breakages.
    Less downtime.
    Better productivity.
  • sgtwiltan - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Way more than the joe schmoes have bought in the Consumer space to the tune of tens of thousands up to hundreds of thousands which now out of warranty are getting extra love from second hand consumers who get bargain quality products.

    Part of the idea for screens viewable only to the one using it was an important due to privacy and company confidential information. It's the consumers who have basically been perpetuating the virus laden world who care about being able to show what they are looking at who have made the industry go to the widely visible LCDs and not the working stiffs who need to only do work.

    Don't believe the consumer market drives development for mass deployed systems. Reliability and standardization are what companies want and need.
  • Souka - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I have that exact laptop sitting on my desk with a minor upgrade(s)
    120GB 7200rpm Hitachi drive as primary
    100GB 7200rpm Hitachi drive as secondard (in place of the DVD burner)

    I thought about putting Win7 on it, but it runs just fine with XP and the extended battery (with hundreds of cycle counts) still gets about 4+hrs surfing the web, or 2.5hrs watching a DVD

    Excellent laptop.... I really miss the days.... Had a T61 for awhile, but didn't quite feel as solid.

    Would really get a kick out of a performance review! (use LCD and external LCD to compare framerates! :)

    My $.02
  • lbeyak - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I'm still using a Dell Inspiron 6000 that was bought for me (for university) about 5 years ago. It still works great for regular Windows stuff (running Windows XP), and olderish games (has a ATI Mobility X300 128 MB video card upgrade).
    Only thing wrong with it is the optical drive has all but died, and the screen might have a few tiny darker spots in some places.

    Regarding better displays, YES PLEASE!
    I am also a huge supporter of quality displays, and would love to see a wider variety of displays available for mainstream products (even if it is more expensive!).

    Note to LCD manufacturers: GIVE ME AN LCD BONER!
  • tomoyo - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I 110% care about lcd display quality. Because it's one of the few areas where I can definitely say we've completely REGRESSED. Cpus get faster and cheaper, video cards also, storage as well. LCDS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE. And honestly not that much cheaper. I bought my MVA dell 19" display many years ago for $210. While you can find cheaper ones now, they're all TN-film and none are nearly as high quality. It's amazing how terrible the innovation for computer lcds is. Even big screen tv lcds have gotten far cheaper and better. Now we have "240hz" led tvs for under $1000 or "600hz" plasmas. Meanwhile we have only a trickle of 120hz tn-film lcds for computer displays and NO ips/mva/pva/etc 120hz displays at all. Meanwhile somehow tvs can do 120hz without resorting to tn-film. I seriously hate the lcd market so much right now. Reply
  • velis - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    + 1
    And to go a bit further: I also hate sites like Anandtech for it. They are our mouthpieces, but remain silent just passively reviewing crap mfgs are putting out.

    Come on Anand, Brian et company, get vocal on our behalf. Your forums are full of posts about how crap todays monitors are yet you remain silent.

    While people that would be willing to spend dope on 3840x2400 displays are rare, they exist and so do people that would spend on 120Hz or on IPS or ....
    Manufacturers should be made aware of this. They should begin to realize that having a super über monitor on sale boosts their crap line sales because the forums would be full of OMG they have THAT 1337 monitor on sale!!! Not to mention all the happy geeks with parents too rich that would get to enjoy these monitors. And finally the average techie Joe who would finally be able to get a not_so_high_end monitor from this manufacturer, but still sufficient and worthy of the name "monitor".
  • velis - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Dam, don't know why I keep confusing Brian with Jarred :( Sorry Jarred, my apologies. Reply
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I totally agree that the monitor makes a HUGE difference in how enjoyable it can be to use your computer for long periods.
    Last xmas I upgraded my 5y/o 19" generic LCDs for a pair of Dell U2410s. OMG the picture is a million* times better. There were cheaper 24" monitors out there, but they were all TN panels and these are IPS (and matte).

    I'm looking to replace my old laptop soon and about 80% of my decision is going to be based on the reviews of the screen and the overall build quality. Even the slowest i3 or AthlonII are plenty fast for anything I'd be doing on it, so performance reviews don't really matter much (I'd rather get a cheap CPU and upgrade to a SSD)

    Keep up the good work on the reviews!!!
  • yzkbug - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    OMG! Thanks for this article. Also, notice how thin the screen bezel on his dinosaur. Every notebook manufacture should read this. I would be glad to pay extra for a good quality non-glassy screen and a thin bezel. As matter of fact, I have been postponing buying a new notebook several times already only because of this. Reply
  • BugblatterIII - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I have a beautiful T60P, which unfortunately I drowned. In fact I recently spent £125 on a new mobo to try to revive it, but to no avail.

    The viewing angels were fantastic, but more than that it has a 4:3 aspect ratio! 1600x1200! So much better for coding!

    You haven't been able to get 4:3 for years and now it's even becoming difficult to find 16:10.

    Every laptop I've ever bought has been chosen because of the screen; I now have a Dell XPS Studio 16.

    Some manufacturer needs to realise that they could make a killing on premium laptops by including an RGB backlit IPS screen.

    And please, offer 4:3! We don't all spend all our time watching movies and playing games, and for pretty much everything else 4:3 is far better.

    Ever tried using a 24" monitor turned to portrait? Trust me, it's the best way to use a monitor on a PC.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I wouldn't agree that using a 24" monitor in portrait is ALWAYS the best way to go, I prefer windows side by side when I am using multiple ones, and I imagine it would cause issues in games. I do love having the rotating monitor for editing pictures in vertical orientation though. Reply
  • BugblatterIII - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    For games, movies and the PS3 I turn it back to landscape. For the vast majority of my time on the PC portrait is far better though.

    At home I don't normally need side-by-side windows, and when I do there's the laptop's built-in screen and TV both waiting to show a second screen.

    Pretty much everyone who comes round comments on it and loves it, and in fact my gf now has my old 24" monitor and has it in portrait. As long as you have a 1920x1200 resolution it's great.

    But in the end what suits me may not suit you.
  • Blackswift - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    HP EliteBook 8540w and 8740w with optional DreamColor panel.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Actually, Dustin has the 8740w review nearly wrapped up, which is part of why I wanted to quick put this out there. Problem is, the DreamColor panel is a whopping $550 upgrade. I can buy a nice 24" IPS for less than that! Anyway, review is coming real soon.... Reply
  • notebookgrail - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I have a HP 8740W(top of line business laptop) with IPS panel and its awesome. Atleast there is 'a' choice now though its costly. Reply
  • Blackswift - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    see this
  • bji - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    It will be 6 years old next month. It's a Panasonic Y2-E, which is a 1.4 Ghz Pentium M based system. It was upgraded to 1 GB of RAM and a 30 GB SSD drive (IDE, but still much faster than the hard disk).

    It has a crappy screen, always did. However, its claim to fame is that it is the lightest 14.1 inch laptop ever made (3.2 lbs!), is extremely solidly built (holding up incredibly well with almost zero wear and tear 6 years on), and is fanless. With no HDD in there it is completely silent. Also it has 1400x1050 resolution, which is not awesome, but still better than most laptops today.

    I love it like no laptop before or since and just wish there was a reasonable fanless replacement.

    I don't even bother to run Windows XP on it anymore, I just run Linux; it's fine except that the hibernate function breaks every other kernel/Xorg upgrade :(
  • mino - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    1400x1050 on 14" screen IS AWESOME. In today's market.

    Once you need a replacement, you will understand ... :(
  • HexiumVII - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I remember the good old days when i was going to college where most of the laptops had non TN panels. It was a time that laptop LCDs generally surpassed larger panels. The best were Sony Viao, man were those nice. 16/10 was starting to become the norm also, and reflective screens was pretty much mandatory, but I like them. Of coarse laptops generally started well over $1k. Ah the good old days.

    Heres to upcoming laptops with high resolutions, good viewing angles, 120Hz, deep blacks, and accurate color gamut.
  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    As an owner of both a T42 and a T60 with Flexview/IPS LCD's, this article definitely interested me.
    I am reluctant to upgrade to laptops that use newer hardware simply because of the LCD being of poor quality these days.

    This article definitely was a blast from the past, but I have to ask: Was there a misinterpretation of the model?

    The article states:
    "The T42 I'm looking at has an SXGA+ (1400x1050) display, which works out very nicely on a 14" chassis."

    If I remember correctly, Flexview/IPS displays were available ONLY in the 15" form factor, so if this laptop being reviews really was a 14.1" T42, I don't think it had the highly desirable IPS screen.

    Further information is available here:
    Note that the section under Flexview Displays only lists 12.1" tablets and 15" laptop models as coming with an IPS screen.

    Jarred: Was there a typo with the laptop size or was there a mistake with the assumption of a Fleview being in all T42's?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    My bad... I thought all T42 models would be 14" (4 = 14 made sense to me), but there are both 14" and 15" LCDs. This unit is indeed a 15" panel -- I busted out the tape measure to be sure. :-) Reply
  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Thanks Jarred, good to hear!
    But yeah, they have 14 and 15 inch models for each of their series (T42 was just a series.)

    I would've been interested to see how it would've stacked up if it was properly restored to its original specification though, but I'd imagine panels compatible with the T42's are quite rare nowadays.

    I hope you can find and review a proper T60p at some point. The Boe-Hydis UXGA (1600x1200) IPS/Flexview is very highly regarded for the T60, which I believe was the last run of IPS displays before Lenovo finally killed them off.
  • BugblatterIII - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I have the T60P with a 15" 1600x1200 FlexView screen. I got it three years ago and even then I had to go for a superceded model to get the screen. I also had to order it from the US on ebay (I'm in the UK).

    Sadly it drowned and I haven't been able to revive it. I still think of it as the last great laptop screen.
  • dsgreenaway - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I have a T40 upgraded to 100 GB 7200 Hardrive plus 2 GB memory and Win 7 (replacing original XP Pro).

    It hasn't had heavy use over the years and still feels so solid. I added a larger battery so it runs 4 to 5 hours internet use. The 14.1 screen is not great but is a very nice size and the general package size is very comfy for lap use. I still use it for internet, Skype, and for tourist travel use. The keyboard is a great pleasure and the wifi card ("b") still connects very well with good bars. Win 7 is a definite upgrade from XP and with the larger task bar graphics and such is better for older eyes. The graphics is Radeon 7500 which unfortunately has no driver for Win 7, so it pulls in a generic Microsoft supplied driver. The Radeon under XP could drive a 1920 x 1080 panel and even larger. Too bad it can't be used natively on Win 7. Of course, the point about HD video not running well is true on mine, too. Wish it had modern video, I could hold onto it for a long long time. The Centrino 1.5 processor is still adequate for the uses I make of it.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Jarred, thank you for this article. I think you should tell ASUS, HP, and Dell "Sorry, but I only review laptops with 4:3 screens now".

    Ah, 1400x1050. One of the reasons keeping me from upgrading my 5 year old laptop. 1440x900 is a step backwards, and it's staggering how common 1366x768 has become.

    What do I value in a laptop?
    1. 14-16" with 1050 vertical pixels
    2. Fast SSD
    3. Dual core Intel CPU
    4. Good keyboard and touchpad

    Dell can't do #1 or #2. Lenovo can't do #1.

    You asked what's it gonna take to change the status quo. Well let's start with some basics. For starters, can Dell get some common sense and not only offer crappy/slow/expensive Samsung SSDs? Can major companies' websites for selling laptops list what the hell the screen resolution is, along with whether it's matte or glossy? Can't laptops ship with optimized UI's like what I do on my own?

    A 16" 1680x1050 LED IPS matte would own.
  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Sounds like a T60 would be for you.
    Unfortunately nowadays you can only find them used.

    T60 at 15" gave you 2 choices of IPS: 1400x1050 or 1600x1200
    Along with having SATA instead of IDE, for SSD goodness, a max CPU of I believe T7600, and a decent ATI FireGL for video. Only downside is its 3GB ram limitation.
  • mino - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Are you sure about those 3GB?

    That 7600 is a 64-bit chip so if it takes 2GB sticks (has to for 3GB), 4GB shall not be a problem.
  • DarkRogue - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Yeah, it's a limitation of the platform or something.
    Regardless of 32bit or 64bit Windows, it will only have 3GB of ram available to it.
  • Belard - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Yeah... agreed on the screen on todays notebooks are pretty poor, they use the gloss to improve the screen contrast.

    Lenovo higher end T-Series (T410 / T510) have optional upgraded screens. You can get a 15.6" which has 1600x900 or 1920x1200... the price goes up quite a bit... but they do have that options.

    Todays ThinkPads are not quite as tough as yesterdays, but they are (A) Cheaper (B) much more powerful.
  • notathome - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I have a Thinkpad R51 With very similar specs. 2.0 Ghz Pentium M, 2GB RAM, Radeon 9000 w/64MB, WD 160GB 5400 RPM HD (replaced), and same exact IPS panel. It does everything I want it to. It even plays back SD video from the internet flawlessly. Reliable and durable. Geeks give me a hard time for it being so "old" but hey, for $100 4 years ago it is not bad. Reply
  • wintermute000 - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I used a T43 for a couple of years as my main work machine and have never seen better build quality in a PC laptop. Solid as a brick, old school IBM keyboard and perfect form factor to boot.

    They really rock as home servers if HD space is not a concern. Perfectly adequate for running a LAMP stack for a low intensive app (obviously the HD is going to be a massive bottleneck for any intensive IO, but for 1-4 user personal website/DB etc. its fine)
  • solar75 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Anand, I am a proud owner of two IPS Flexview laptops -- T60 and T60p -- manufactured in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Absolutely loving them, and watching the distasteful world around us with great sorrow. Nothing else has come close so far, and you absolutely right in bringing up your points.

    I am sticking with my FlexView laptops until some decent modern alternative becomes available.
  • solar75 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Sorry, I just noticed that it was Jarred who wrote the article. Thanks a lot, Jarred -- it warmed the heart :)) T60 and T60p were the last of the noble kind... Reply
  • solar75 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    ... the last before stupidity, greed, and regress won. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Any recollection on just how much extra it cost back in the day to upgrade to the Flexview panels? HP does have their DreamColor option on a couple systems, but it checks in at a healthy $425 to $550 upgrade (the lower price being on the 1080p 15.6" model). Ouch! Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    AFAIR the upgrade was in the $200-300 range.

    But we need to keep in mind that it was NOT coming on top of el-cheapo TN panels like it is today.
    The standard panel was still an MVA/PVA oner, even if only XGA.
  • mino - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Also, $300 on top of a $2000 piece is much different game than on top of a 1000$ piece ...

    It is just that everything got so much cheaper that a quality screen, be it mobile or desktop, seems expensive.
  • solar75 - Friday, December 17, 2010 - link

    IT WAS AROUND $200-250. Reply
  • systemBuilder - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    The 14.1" IPS panel was only offered for a short time on "special" models. I think it was only offered on the T42 (not T42p) and I have a 2373-H6U which came with it. It required the ATI 9600 (fastest video processor on the T4x series of CPUs) and so the 14.1" IPS was not offered on the T42p. The SXGA+ was not offered with the standard ATI 7500, even though it's possible to take a standard T4x and change out the screen AND VIDEO CABLE to connect an SXGA+ to a 1024x768 system.

    No replacement 14.1" IPS panels are available, as far as I am aware. They would probably sell for higher than original MSRP if made available today !!!
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Can only agree with other people. I've been holding of on buying a notebook for very long time because it's annoying when you can't pick the parts yourself and have to go all compromise and get a crappy screen on top of it.

    95% of consumer laptops are unusable for me because the come with the now standard 1366x768 resolution even on 15" screens. And if one manufacturer actually offers a higher resolution it sure will only be available in glossy.
    HP, Dell, Sony, Lenovo,... please stop this crap. For browsing you could more or less just cut of the screen left and right because the space will go unused anyway. The only thing it's useful for is watching movies (and gaming) but that's IMHO a very small fraction of costumers that actually do that on there laptop while the later isn't possible on most of the systems anyway.
    99.9% of costumers are completely uninformed. So the look at the price. Hence they buy crappy displays. For many people it's the only computer and they actually mostly use it at home indoors were glossy is acceptable but mostly they just get used to it because they don't know anything better.

    I mean I've seen people working with a broken/dirty mouse that was 100% unusable but they claimed not to notice. Got used to it, thought it was normal. It's amazing sometimes.
    My companies default resolution is 1024x768. IT sets it like that on all new computers in year 2010. Of course standard panels have 1280x1024 Resolution and you can imagine that it looks like crap. I have not seen 1 person that changed the resolution themselves which everyone could. I usually tell them when I see it. And now the funny part mostly from old people: "Oh no, now everything is so strange and small. Please change it back". They jused got used to it.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    The vast majority of people lack sensitivity and common sense. IT setting non-native res is inexcusable. Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    You've go a little typpo here
    "but the above and below angles are all but useless on the [T42]" should be "[Dell]"

    On a more important note - AT should consider doing "used notebook" reviews - you know, the type you see in Car magazines.

    As it stands right now an T42/43 along with X40 are in a real-world competition to today's low-end products like netbooks. Yet they rarely get mentioned, if ever.

  • wtfbbqlol - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Jarred Walton wrote:

    "And with a modern IPS display, the iPad manages a stunning near-1000:1 contrast ratio. For obvious reasons (touch screen), the iPad has a glossy, scratch-resistant coating, but even with the 20% "matte contrast tax" you can easily make matte IPS displays that achieve 750:1 or higher contrast"

    With the usual puck-on-the-screen method of measurement; a glossy screen won't make a difference I believe. A glossy screen only alters the perceived contrast in the presence of ambient lighting.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    My figures are based off of experiences with recent panels. Most glossy 768p displays are still doing around 250:1, but when I test inexpensive matte panels (ThinkPad T410, Dell E6410, HP EliteBook, etc.) they tend to be around 200:1. So in my experience the matte panels are always lower contrast even with a "puck on the screen"... but then, it's not the *same* panel, so who knows for sure? Reply
  • eatbuckshot - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    This has just put the greatest smile on my face seeing this article. I was planning to write a rather lengthy suggestion/post at concerning the unique leading edge features of legacy thinkpads before the hand off to lenovo that should be reintroduced into thinkpads again. I've gone through many brands and generations of laptops: Acer, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Asus, before i got my first Thinkpad, and well, I've never been so satisfied(Of course, this is a matter of opinion, but I appreciate the beauty of simple sleek timeless design that offer the greatest utility along with the robustness that just gives peace of mind and satisfaction.

    Anyways, I've been hanging on to the remnants of the amazing tech that IBM pursued with their Thinkpads such as the 15.1" QXGA (2048x1536!! IPS)with the R52 and I've been trying to upgrade them to today's standards thanks to the dedicated Thinkpad communities.
    So it's certainly possible to piece together a Thinkpad with the IPS screen that's comparable in this day and age:
    The absolute best combination can be achieved if the mobo from a 14.1" 4:3 t61p was swapped into a 15.1" t60p body with either a UXGA IPS or QXGA IPS display (the UXGA is brighter, a bit more contrast and color than the QXGA), That way it would have an nvidia quadro fx570 128mb (8600 GT), can have up to Intel Extreme x9000, and 8 GB of ram, SSD

    While only dual core, the x9000 can now be overclocked on a majority of laptops, thanks to throttlestop
    The UXGA panel can be driven at 100hz and the qxga at 89hz (there's also a sxga+ ips screen which i imagine can be driven at 150hz or above, all of which I have tested myself)

    Unfortunately, these are low res as this is hosted on my school's account but a few photos showing uxga ips comparison, and qxga, and other misc stuff:
  • riderfou - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I am a great fan of Anandech for many reasons but one of them, as a photographer, is the details on laptop screens !
    I recently purchased a lenovo w510 with the "high end" wide gammut screen version, it would be nice to add this kind of laptop to the review. Best from the past vs best we can get now, makes sense no ?!
  • Bass - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I currently own a T400, and I must say that the display was definitely the weakest link in an otherwise solid system. The viewing angles are horrendous, and the color accuracy was a joke. I now own a Dell U2211H and currently use that as my primary display when I am at home, and the difference really is night and day. Hell even my roomate's Acer TN display offers vastly superior to most laptop LCDs. In general, Monitors (and Keyboards) have been the most overlooked peripherals of most systems these days, and I think it is a real shame that consumers don't really care. Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    This is called "business as usual". Lenovo, like most companies - wants to sell the most amount of computers, and to do that - they sell T-Series notebooks starting as low as $850 and up to $1500 fully loaded.

    In a world in which anyone can go to Walmart and pick up a 15" HPaq/Acer notebook for $400, selling a ThinkPad for $2500~5000 would be near impossible.

    Lenovo is limited to the displays that are available. While not as good as many of todays notebooks, the matte screen is worth it to me. Its a work computer. And compared to construction and support, I've not seen anyone do better. To some degree, IBM is still involved.

    Lenovo has gone to DECALS for letters on the keys like everyone else... :( Guess it saves enough money to go THAT CHEAP. But hey, in 1996 - I paid $22 for my keyboard which has REAL keys, using it right now.

    Now, Lenovo has done a very good upgrade to the ThinkPad keyboard (the CTRL<>Fn keys are still WRONG) which is great to work with and I look forward to when I upgrade my R61 someday. The Touchpad is very very nice. Pretty much every notebook on the market has the APple-style flat-island keys, ugh.
  • Voldenuit - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    There was a lot of talk about the shift to TN and widescreen panels on the lenovo blogs a while back.

    The gist of it was that lenovo was forced to move to these panels because no one was making 4:3 IPS screens anymore.

    Thinkpad screens have never been particularly good (Thinkpad user for 10 years now) anyway, so it's no surprise to see the T42 score in the middle of the pack. I'd classify the (TN) screen on my X300 as 'atrocious', but as a lightweight workhorse, it's still the best fit for my needs at the moment.
  • habbakuk87 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I am using a R 50e Thinkpad and it is working very good. Praise to be IBM. I totally get the build quality , hinge quality and the need for better LCDs. I need my eyeline to be within specific position especially when watching videos. Reply
  • gbtidi - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I picked up an Thinkpad T60 a couple of years ago in an auction by a company that was upgrading its workstations. After fitting a new HDD and a new wireless card, it runs OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.5 perfectly. 1400x1050 matt IPS 4:3 screen (a bit dim, but fine for coding), solid chassis and keyboard, 4 hour battery and fast-enough Core 2 Duo. Not bad for £75! Reply
  • Markstar - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    ...I just bought a T60 from Ebay recently to replace my (even older) laptop. The 15" also has an IPS panel but even the 14" are very nice since you can barely find the 1400*1050 resolution anywhere. Upgrade it with an SSD and a decent CPU (it goes up to the T7400, but imo, any 1.8GHz dual core is enough for most user's needs) and you have something that makes sense another 5 years.

    I also started equipping friends and family with this. As has been said - the screen resolution is extremely nice, it's sturdy, the keyboard is nice, you still get tons of replacement parts for it and it's quick enough for pretty much any non-gamer.
  • Markstar - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Oh, and did I mention that these beauties go for less than 200 bucks nowadays? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I'm considering doing the same thing, but the ones I have been seeing have been more like $400-500, guess I'll have to keep looking. Reply
  • max40watt - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Hmm, that's my exact laptop... I received it upon entering grad school and eventually upgraded it to 2gb of ram, then switched out the harddrive a couple of years ago to a 160gb (can't recall the brand, but it was reviewed as one of the fastest notebook ide drives).

    Aside from some problems with the fan, it is still happily running along, although I do occasionally wish I had entered grad school a year later as that incoming class all received core duo thinkpads/macbooks. Ah well.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    You have to remember that a $1200 notebook from 2005 is equivalent to a $1500 notebook today. Also, a $400 subnotebook would only be around $300 in 2005 dollars. Now imagine going to the store and asking for a $300 notebook. You'd have gotten laughed out the door. Reply
  • james.jwb - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    For me, viewing angels are the most important thing, period. I cannot stand the metallic sweeps of TN panels. The first new laptop to throw an IPS panel in and price it at the middle range is going to make an absolute killing. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I bought my T43 new on Ebay for $1400 in January 2006, 15" IPS and X300 graphics. Still using it primarily because of the screen. I maxed out the RAM and added a 100GB 7200RPM HDD years ago, unfortunately there is a SATA to IDE bridge in place apparently so it still uses IDE HDDs and I can't pop in a normal SATA. I would love to be able to upgrade this to any C2D and add an SSD, would be fine for everything I use it for. I am considering buying a T60 for these reasons instead of something newer, though unfortunately the T60 already looks more generic than the classic IBM Thinkpads. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    They're actually not atrocious in a lot of iPod's okay for what it is, my new 24" Dell is too (and there IS large variation in TN quality...well, you can tell that from the charts, which are mostly all TN panels).

    But IPS/MVA/PVA are SOOOOOO much better...I feel sort of like I could reach through the screen after using even an older MVA/PVA panel after having used a TN one for a long time. I'd gladly pay the price difference, and I bet the price difference would be less anyway if they just phased out TN panels.

    I also get incredibly annoyed by how people comparing other technologies to LCD are always comparing it to TN. They seem oblivious to the fact they're comparing it to the worst type of the technology, that there even are different types (TN? No I'm talking about LCD!)

    *Sigh* I need Dell to release a 24" monitor with LED lighting AND IPS. Or maybe there's a small HDTV that would work for me...I should have looked in to that more...
  • tk_don - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Jarred Walton,

    Thanks for a good, well-written article.

    I'm a bit suprised and very doubting of the validity of the measurements though. I know the screen is 6 years old, but seriously even WHEN NEW, the black point should never exceed 0.3 cd/m2 (backlight turned all the way up).

    Here are some measurements done by someone else on the thinkpads forum, which i seem to not be able to post a link to here.

    And these seem to match the typical CR of 400:1 stated by IDtech, or 500:1 for Hydis. For LG i don't know.

    Also, my own measurements show a color gamut of approximately 48% NTSC, compared to the 37% you measured.
    So i'm kinda thinking something doesn't sound right here.
  • tk_don - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    "Here are some measurements done by someone else on the thinkpads forum, which i seem to not be able to post a link to here."

    That sentence sounds a bit off now that there are no links - sorry about that. But they are measurements done by a "WPWoodJr" in a thread titled "Laptops galore - 5 Thinkpads in for evaluation.".

    It's not meant as critisism, i'm just puzzled (about the black value). The gamut can be decreased by UV light, and admittedly the 48% result was achieved on a new-old-stock screen, so forget that point :-)
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I've got an IPS 30" display that's getting old and I now have image persistence, so perhaps that's part of the problem. I did run the tests a couple times though and the figures are consistent. There's also variance among panels, so maybe this isn't one of the best samples of this particular panel (or maybe it was just used more and is starting to lose quality). Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    I know my T43 turned in a better color accuracy number (around 1, I'd have to look and see if I could find the old data) when newer, but that was also using an i1D2 with the stock software, different colorimeter and/or software could make a difference. Reply
  • Yangorang - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Funnily....I just got rid of my T42p and got a EliteBook 8440p as you put up this article...
    My T42p has lasted some 6 years but just recently it started having the garbled screen issue so I finally decided to upgrade to something a bit more modern. I loved the 1600x1200 resolution screen though and wish they still had those around...
  • morth - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I've had this discussion with a good friend in the laptop business. In a nutshell, the panel makers only want to make wide screen, glossy panels since that's what the TVs use. Can they still make a 4:3 panel, sure, but they'll charge an extra $300 per panel if you order a few million of them. Adding that much on a machine in the $1500 range is a non starter, never mind something in the $600 range. So, while the high end market might be willing to tolerate that expense, the volume just wouldn't be there to get the better price which means a 4:3 option would be even more expensive. Reply
  • mike8675309 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    A good article.
    I have no problem with wide displays if only they would provide a high resolution display, and 1080p is not high resolution. People have either forgotten or never experienced the the strive for improving Monitors back when CRT's were king. Then the strive for pushing LCD panels to be better. The stupid HDTV came out and everyone stopped at 1080P. WTF? Seeing two word documents side by side doesn't do me any good if I can't read more than 1/2 of a paragraph at a time. I really don't understand why the market isn't demanding better.

    To put it into context that maybe a laptop company can understand. If you make a good laptop, something with good video that is hardware accelerated, has fast (not fastest, just fast) multi-core CPU's, 4gb of memory and has a 1080p 17" display with decent battery life for $1200. I'd pay $1500 for that same machine but with a 1920 x 1200 display. Make it IPS, and I'd call it $1600. Hit that sweet spot and you might find yourself a regular customer. As it is, I have to find one machine with the right stuff, option it up, and then ride it for as many years as I can stand since there is nothing else compelling out there that doesn't require cutting corners. I will pay you more for such a laptop, and I will by more often!
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    > I really don't understand why the market isn't demanding better.

    It's because "the market" consists of idiot consumers and not enough people care.
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    My company uses Lenovo for PCs, primarily T400s/T401's for most users and despite the screens looking pretty poor not a single user (out of over a 1,000) has ever complained about the screen quality. Similarly I'm regularly asked for advice buying budget laptops and despite the screens looking pretty poor on the lot of them not one person has complained, if anything quite a few have been impressed with the brightness and contrast from the glossy display and LED backlighting.

    I'm not saying this is the way it should be but looking around general forums and people around me, LCD quality seems to be of very little concern which makes it no surprise notebook companies are ignoring it. At least there are a few gems out there, I currently use a Vaio Z series with the superb 13.1in 1600x900 display and also have the XPS 16 with the 1080p RGB LED display which is another great screen.

  • slagar - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I think when it comes to screens, the majority of laptop buyers can't tell the difference in the majority of products, but they can tell the difference in price.
    I've done this myself - not knowing 'the specs' of a product or set of products, when looking at them in a computer shop, I find it hard to tell which screen is the better buy. Usually (I suppose like most consumers) I'm just drawn to the one that "feels right". ie. it probably has the nicest contrast, and maybe the resolution/dot-pitch look about right.

    This is why I rely on Anandtech, so I know what I'm going to purchase ahead of time ;)

    But it is a shame that it is so hard to find matte displays, something I do notice, and something that has prevented me from upgrading over the last few years. It's also sad to see how modern LCDs compare to old ones such as in this article. Here's to better screens in laptops!
  • Akv - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    I am a bit nostalgic too.

    I'm not going to do thorough reviews either but I still have a hunch we got better quality for the money a few years ago.

    I agree about the resolution and - oh shocking - I even wouldn't mind getting a new laptop today with Windows XP...
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    Thank you for contacting Lenovo, the makers of ThinkPad and ThinkCentre products.

    We apologize. As per the information HD,HD+ and FHD stands for “High Definition”, High Definition + (extra features) and Full High Definition. However to know more about the same, please contact the Sales at: 866-428-4465
  • LoneWolf15 - Sunday, December 12, 2010 - link

    I'd like to thank the Anandtech staff for doing a cool review like this. It not only brights to light that laptops haven't always improved over time, but it brings back reminders of what makes a good product a good product.

    We just received 20 ThinkPad T42 systems as a donation (I work in IT, but for education). Not one has play in its hinges. All of them have keyboards better than anything you could buy by walking into a Best Buy. And they have this great LCD. And this is on a system six years old.

    And as said here, they can beat the snot out of netbooks.
  • Leindstay - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Still using a 2006 T43 as my main laptop. 1.7Ghz Pentium M, 2 GB of Ram and a 160 GB IDE drive, about the same as the reviewed T42 (but mine cost me about 900$ back in 2006 as it has a TN panel)
    It's run Windows 7 perfectly, yesterday I was using it with 5 Firefox tabs open, 5 IE7 tabs with 1 tab being a H264 security camera video, another separate remote security camera viewer software, 2 Office 2010 documents and several pdf documents, all were open at the same time and everything was responsive and lag-less.
  • PeterO - Saturday, December 18, 2010 - link

    Jarred, thank you voicing what otherwise seems lost in a shrinking pool of hardware diversity.

    I work in Windows & Mac OS X environments and carry two laptops. Every year-end I'm offered replacement hardware on both fronts. I'll give you my T42 when you take it from my cold dead hands...

    Funny, it's not from falls off the desk or from diet Coke, coffee, beer, and scotch spills on the keyboard; nor is it from fighting tropical humidity, desert heat, or fire ants trapped in the optical bay; nor is it even the (ghastly) repeated transits with DHL --- something that makes UPS cargo look like a weekend at the Four Seasons. No, what may tip my hat for a new Windows laptop and forgoing my lovely screen is my burgeoning love affair with SSD, and a possible project near a dust bowl --- nothing survives the desert sand. --- Oops, forgive me, I've digressed with an impromptu ThinkPad testimonial. Back on point...

    Steve Martin (actor, author, musician, playwright) has a great term that captures the essence of what the T-42 highlights here. He calls it a "De-provement."

    “…my term for, when you’re very happy with a piece of software, and then they improve it, and then it’s no longer functional and they’ve taken out your favorite part, I call those, ‘De-provements’.”

    --- Steve Martin,

    ps: oh, and to the guys at work reading this, may I remind you -- yet again -- that the fire ant episode _preceded_ the squished Twinkie in the drive bay. Therefore, the ants were not drawn to any sugar or some such remnants. Are we clear?? Maybe the ants were looking for shade. Lord knows, I was.
  • systemBuilder - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    In 2006 I determined that the T42 with ATI 9600 was the fastest T4x laptop that IBM/Lenovo was offered, so I bought a 1.8 Ghz with an IPS display for $2200. My son jumped on the screen within 1 year. Sadly, I replaced the screen with a samsung non-IPS panel. That was 90 minutes of pure hell, and 13 separate attempts to get the screen back together again (interspersed with 2 necessary coffee breaks to keep my sanity.)

    Today, my whole household runs on these laptops. We have a T42, T42, T42p, T42p (for my mom). All of them are SXGA+ 1400x1050 displays ~ the perfect sized high-res display (not too fine like a UXGA display). They run for 6 hours and they run cool. They are all 1.8 Ghz (the step-up from the 1.7 Ghz gets you a 745 processor with 50% more cache memory and a substantial 30-50% speed boost.) The uniprocessor in these machines is faster than many single cores of a duo offered today.

    I just bought my most T42 SXGA+ for $130 on ebay, these laptops, with ATI 9600 graphics, are still very capable and useful machines. And, nobody has ever beaten these keyboards.
  • Calista - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    I own a T60 15" with a 1400x1050 Flexview display, and apart from the fact it's very dim it's no doubt one of the very best laptop screen I have seen. It may look less impressive in your charts than modern displays but it's only because all the measurements was made head-on. Do the same test but measure from a +/- 5 angle and watch both contrast and color accuracy go down the drain using any other of the panels. +/-5 degrees is the difference of your head moving less than 3,5 cm up or down, assuming a distance to screen of 40 cm. Not much at all.

    But I'm happy to notice that now, less than two years after this article was written, IPS is once again getting more and more common. Still rare for sure, but the writing is on the wall and I'm sure that in another two years it will be even more readily available than today. The iPad (and to a lesser extent other Android slates) have shown the common consumer that better alternatives than TN exist.

    The world is slowly becoming a better place. : ]
  • binary010101 - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Amazingly, the T42p is still a decent laptop. You'd think it would be slow compared to laptops a decade later, but the T42 Pentium M CPU gets the same geekbench score as the 2013 Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E135 AMD E2-1800. The T42p screen is higher res than today's 720p standard laptops, and it's 4:3 which many find better for increased vertical space. You can get a T42p on ebay for $50. Reply

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