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Costlier but Sturdier.. Thumbs up..
Apr 26, 2006 04:12 AM 9601 Views
(Updated Apr 26, 2006 07:32 AM)

User friendly:

Reliabiity & Satisfaction:

Value for Money:

Service & Support:

I have had opportunity to watch a lot of different models of Laptops on campus, & after more than a year of experience with maintaining many different types of laptops (when the guys and gals mess them up) I am happy that I chose to go with an IBM than a Compaq or any other..

To name a few, I have seen Compaq, Acer, Toshiba and recently HP-Compaq (the latest Model)

My laptop is a IBM Thinkpad R-51 series model. One of the most expensive (almost one and half times costlier than the closest competitor - Compaq)

I'll list down all the details of my machine and comment on them if necessary.

Along with the reason why a feature is different from Other brands.



One year Replacement Warranty

Three year Carry-in Service warranty (Replacement at Extra cost)

Lifetime Technical Support warranty

Other brands usually DO NOT give the Three year Carry-in warranty, but they also must be offering it now. Please check it before making a decision.


Drivers update feature on IBM Website:

You get a software (IBM Software Installer) which automatically checks, downloads and updates your Device Drivers. So all you need is an Internet connection. This software picks up the update from where it dropped off, which might be due to a failed Internet connection.. The whole update takes one night at 100kbps connection..

(NOTE: On Dialup it'll take forever the first time you update.)

But another good thing is you can easily choose what to update and what not to, which is a GREAT feature.

Other brands come with just a CD, so every time you have to format and reinstall, it'll take atleast one whole day.


Keyboard and Mouse Layout:

Many people might not think of this as a problem, but believe me it is a BIG Problem. This is because your brain gets used to clicking certain special keys (like Del, Esc, F1, PgUp and PgDn) and when you suddenly start working with a different layout, it takes time for you to get used to. And again, when you work with normal Keyboards, same problem arises.

IBM maintains the Keyboard Layout as your old trustworthy Desktop. No problems here.

The only problem with the Keyboard is that it doesnt come with a Windows key.

The Touchpad is standard on all, but R51 comes with a Trackpoint, which if you get used to makes you atleast twice as fast as with the Touchpad.

Other brands: Almost all the other ones that I have seen change the Layout, and it becomes quite a bit of a hassle.

Other brands usually dont come with a Trackpoint, but do check this feature.


Size, Sturdiness, Bulkiness, etc

Small manageable size.

Moderate to heavy weight (depending whether you are carrying the Power Adapter)

Stylish looks - It does not look like an ugly Box but like a REAL Notebook. This is a personal opinion of mine and others might prefer different looks. Performance-wise this thing DOESNT matter at all.



NOTE: I assume that you will be maintaining your Laptop by running all the Maintenance tools in Windows, updated Antivirus and Antispyware software and Registry cleaners. Without all these, there is NO point in going for ANY LAPTOP, or for that matter any computer, because no matter whether it is an IBM or not, you will end with an ABACUS or at most a Pentium 1 series computer.

Enough gyan there, now on with the review...

I have not seen performance degradation until I subjected the Laptop to several heavy processes at the same time.

Video Card: can make let you play some games, but not the high end graphics ones. But then ANY laptop is NOT MEANT for gaming. It'll let you play games like CounterStrike, Empire Earth, NFS 5 (NOT Underground & Hot Pursuit), but thats all.

Sound Card: is good enough for listening to music.

Speakers: is where IBM fails. Their capacity is highly limited and if you want to watch movies, then you HAVE TO have headphones.

Ports & Devices: All the ports are quickly accessible, but there are three bad things.

1. USB ports are only 2 in number and are located very close to each other. So they get occupied sooner, but attaching 2 devices at the same time becomes a problem.

(Review edited, Courtesy: ANNUBHAV_SHUKRE)

Addition: I would like to mention that I have personally not faced any major problem because of this, because one usually doesnt need to attach more than 2 USB devices at a time.

2. SD Memory Card Port is NOT present, so you cannot use the SD Memory Card from your Camera and attach it directly.

(Review edited, Courtesy: ANNUBHAV_SHUKRE)

Addition:Usually Digital Cameras come with support software and a cable that can be used to quickly transfer photos. And for data transfer, USB Pen drives have become popular anyways.

3. Bluetooth is NOT available. I did not ask for it, but I think you can get it for a little extra price.

Other brands: Except for the 3 problems above, IBM is as good or better than other brands.


Product Recovery:

You will need this feature in case

  1. you have somehow managed to mess up your laptop beyond repair.

  2. the laptop has become very slow from prolonged use and reformatting will make it fresh again.

In either of the cases:

IBM does not, repeat DOES NOT come ANY CDs whatsoever. What these brilliant guys have done is that they have reserved about 4 GBs of space on the Hard Drive itself, which has got all the files needed for formatting and reinstalling Windows with all the standard software.

Norton 90 days version

RecordNow (without capability to burn Video CDs)

InterVideo DVD (for watching DVD Movies)

All Device drivers (but you will need to update them again)

It is better than Other brands because even if you are not comfortable with reinstalling Windows, it'll do it for you. No issues about installing Software and Drivers.

It is NOT better because it eats up your 4 GB of space.

My verdict: Let it eat that space. Helps you in the long run..

WARNING:Please do not format the HDD using a standard Windows XP CD just to recover this space. If you ever need to reinstall everything, you wont have any CDs and the only option will be to take your almost dead IBM to the nearest Service Center and I am not sure whether they will charge you for this brilliant action of yours!!!


I got my IBM for Rs. 62500 (Taxes extra), but this was in January 2005 and that too because it was under Student discount then. The actual price was Rs. 67500.

The latest I have heard is that the prices have gone up.

Please check the prices because anyways, laptop prices fluctuate rapidly.

In any case, expect IBM prices to be around one and a half times more than the nearest competitor, which is usually Compaq.

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IBM Thinkpad R51