What Is a ThinkPad?


ThinkPad is a brand of notebook computers from electronics manufacturing firm Lenovo. Originally produced by IBM, the ThinkPad series has been continually updated over the years to include the latest computer hardware and operating systems, making them appropriate for professional and personal users alike.


  • IBM first produced ThinkPad laptop computers in 1992. Throughout the '90s, IBM used new processors, hard drives and color LCD displays in each revision of the ThinkPad. The computers also ran the latest version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, starting with Windows 3.1 on the first ThinkPad models. In 2005, IBM sold the ThinkPad brand to the Chinese company Lenovo, which continues to produce ThinkPad notebooks in partnership with IBM engineers.


  • Every ThinkPad has included a color LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, with newer models featuring screens capable of displaying higher resolutions and greater color gamut. ThinkPads are traditionally black, though models have used various materials including titanium, plastic and magnesium alloys in their construction. This gives ThinkPads a durable case, making them attractive to professionals for field use. NASA has even sent ThinkPads into space with astronauts.


  • One notable feature of many ThinkPad models is the keyboard. Some ThinkPads feature the distinctive "butterfly" keyboard, which expands when the laptop is opened to produce a keyboard that is wider than the notebook enclosure. Other ThinkPad keyboards could tilt or pivot to produce a comfortable typing angle. ThinkPads were also among the first laptop computers to use a pointing stick for input. Later models added a trackpad.


  • As of early 2010, the ThinkPad series includes six different computers. The R series uses 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors and features either a 14.1 or 15.4-inch screen. The SL series is intended for small businesses and includes a 2.53 Core 2 Duo processor and a gigabit Ethernet networking port. The ThinkPad T series is a more powerful business laptop with 256MB ATI Mobility FireGL V5250 graphics. The X series is a consumer-level laptop weighing only 1.1 kg. The X series Tablet adds a touch-sensitive screen. Finally, the top-of-the-line W series uses screens up to 17 inches and a 7200 RPM hard drive.


  • Since the first ThinkPads in the early 1990s, reviews have been generally positive. Technology critics have cited the ThinkPad's rigid, durable construction, reliability and overall value. New models have been quick to adopt the latest processors or input and output ports, earning further praise. One complaint is the fact that ThinkPad designs have changed very little, with current models resembling old, outdated machines.

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