IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad R52
The R52 is the latest notebook from IBM's ThinkPad R series. It isn't meant for the highly mobile or even those that are on the move the majority of the time. But if you plan to be occasionally on the go, this is a good choice for a notebook. It's not completely performance driven like the G series, but the R uses Centrino components that make it more travel friendly.
Also keep in mind that the ThinkPad R52 is not targeted at multimedia buffs, other audio/video enthusiasts, or gamers. Granted, if you get one with the MRX300 GPU, you may be able to get in some light gaming, but this notebook is better suited for students, business professionals, the IT guy, and those looking for an all-purpose notebook without an extremely high price. Given that competing notebooks may be cheaper, why go with IBM? Well, IBM is banking on the TCO (total cost of ownership) factor of owning a notebook, basically all the costs not counted in the initial purchase, i.e. the cost of repair is reduced, with IBM's APS technology, for example, reducing the chance of having to RMA a damaged hard drive. For someone that wants to avoid possible hassles in the future with downtime for repairs, servicing, replacement, and otherwise, IBM is the way to go. And with thorough software enhancements, IBM notebooks are that much more tempting, which is something that other companies can take a cue from, especially in their OS reinstallation tools.
Priced at $1,749, our system and other R52 submodels tend to run in the mid to high end price range of the entire R series. Though, there are R52 notebooks that use Celeron-M processors that are in the $1,000 range. Personally, we recommend sticking with a 14.1" display with an XGA resolution. Going to 15.0" should be done with a native SXGA+ resolution, but we tend to avoid the 15.0" display sizes because they increase the profile of the notebook and make it less mobile. As for battery life, we recommend the 9 cell battery or Ultrabay Slim Li-Polymer if you plan to be on the road beyond 4 hours. The down side of the Ultrabay battery option is that you obviously can't access optical media since the Ultrabay is occupied, but you don't get a portion of the battery sticking out the back side of the notebook like you do with the 9-cell battery.
For normal day to day computing, the R52 is a good choice. It's ideal for e-mailing, word processing, work related projects, browsing, presentations, light mobility, etc. Given all this, the R52 is a well rounded notebook suited for everything that the mainstream user needs in a semi-mobile notebook. In the end, we are giving the IBM ThinkPad R52 a solid 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.