IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T43
The T43 is the latest notebook from the T series of IBM's ThinkPad line. It is mean for those that are mobile a reasonable amount of time but still spend enough time at a desk. It isn't meant for the highly mobile or even those that are on the move the majority of the time. If you plan to be on the go anywhere between 40% and 60% of the time, this is a good choice for a notebook. Basically, this product is an "all purpose" thin and light
Like the R52, ThinkPad notebooks are not meant for the multimedia buff, audio/video enthusiast, gamer, etc. If you are expecting something of this caliber, you should be looking at Dell, HP/Compaq, and others. Granted, if you get a T43 with the MRX300 GPU, you can eek by for some light gaming, only at 800 x 600 if Doom 3 is on your play list. As it stands, this notebook is better suited for students, business or IT professionsionals looking for a thin and light notebook not too light on performance.
Make no mistake, Thinkpad notebooks should be expected to be priced at a premium compared to the notebooks in Dell's Latitude or HP's business series. In terms of TCO (total cost of ownership), the benefit will be a wider array of features that may reduce the chance that an RMA or servicing is needed in the future. Its higher cost could be considered an investment and will hold particular benefit for those that have data critical projects, as features like fingerprint security and APS provide a level of data protection.
Priced at $2,049, our system and other T43 submodels tend to run in the mid to high end price tag range of the T series. Unlike the R series, the T series doesn't really have a "budget" conscience option, as all systems use Dothan Pentium-M processors. There are no systems based on a Celeron-M CPU. Personally, we recommend sticking with a 14.1" display for 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 a bit less mobile. Our sample came with a 14.1" SXGA+, which gives us more desktop work space without having to contend with a larger screen. The disadvantage is obvious if you like to see everything large. The size of text and many icons can be changed via settings, but the general size of what you do in applications will be smaller. We don't find it to be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind. Other than that, the display on our notebook was crisp without any of the awkwardness we usually associate with non-native resolutions.
As for battery life, we recommend on adding the 9 cell battery or Ultrabay Slim Li-Polymer if you plan to go on the road beyond 3 1/2 hours. The down side of the Ultrabay battery option is that you obviously access optical media since the Ultrabay is occupied. Considering this is a much more mobile design compared to the R52, the likelihood you may need another battery pack is going to be high, especially if you are a student going to classes requiring a notebook or are a business professional needing plenty ofnon-tethered up-time.
This notebook is perfectly suited for day to day computer operations: emailing, word processing, work related projects, browsing, presentations, etc., especially if you are more concerned about general mobility than a price tag. It's adept for other scenarios, as well, due to its well developed integrated security (hardware and software) solution, which means this notebook is ready for the corporate deployment.
Remember rule number #1 when it comes to shopping: "you get what you pay for." While the T series is generally more expensive than other business notebooks, even those from Dell and HP, this business notebook is thinner and lighter comparatively. In a nutshell, the T43 continues the T series tradition of being a straightforward no frills professional thin and light notebook. Not short on performance, it is suited for the mobile business professional and, to a lesser extend, mainstream user and many in between. In the end, we are giving the IBM ThinkPad T43 a high 9.5 on the HotHardware scale. The only thing that would make this notebook deal sweeter would be a few price drops down the road.