The Lenovo ThinkPad X61 uses Intel's Santa Rosa mobile processor. Otherwise, it's the same light, sophisticated ultraportable laptop PC as the earlier model; like the Lenovo X60, it lacks an integrated optical drive but offers dazzling battery life.

This 1.6kg X-series member goes to the top of our list of ultraportables for mobile professionals. Our Lenovo ThinkPad X61 test unit, with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 processor and 2GB of DDR2-667 SDRAM, earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 speed score of 75, which is tops among currently tested ultraportable PCs. The extended-life four-cell battery is excellent.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X61's bright, 12.1in screen and keyboard might feel a bit close at first, but the cramped feeling quickly goes away. The keyboard has no touchpad, but the eraserhead pointing device is first-rate and easy to acclimate to. The usual nice touches found on Lenovo keyboards, such as volume buttons and a one-press launch of the recovery system, are also present.

The UltraBase docking station adds four more USB ports (for a total of seven) as well as legacy parallel and serial ports. In addition, the modular optical drive has a side release, so you can swap with one hand between an optical drive, a second battery, or a second hard drive (those are optional accessories). Including the base, which is easy to snap on and off, the Lenovo ThinkPad X61's total weight is a little over 2.7kg.

OUR VERDICT

The great performance and features, and its reasonable price, make the Lenovo ThinkPad X61 our current top choice of ultraportable.