* Prices may differ from that shown
Ah yes, yet another main Christmas present which isn't fully functional. It's been the same every Christmas, whether it be CD players or laptops, something always goes wrong and have to be fixed or returned to the shop. This is the same with my new laptop.
The IBM ThinkPad T23 2647 - yes, that is its full name - was a second hand laptop my dad managed to get a hold of from a friend. This is a corporate laptop, which used to belong to a well-known bank but as they now have brand new laptops, they were selling off the old ones. Don't get me wrong, these are still in pretty good condition with Pentium III processor, but if something better comes along, why shouldn't they go for it.
The T23 also comes in the 2648 range or you could try other laptops in the T range - T20, T21, T22, T23...
The T23 has been designed for use with Windows XP but mine came with Windows 98.
The LCD screen is a very well sized 14.1" TFT. With any LCD screen, you will notice if you press on the screen, it looks like you are running your finger over a puddle of water and if pressed hard enough, it will damage the screen by leaving permanent marks. As mine is second hand, there are already several marks. If you accidentally break an LCD screen, you must also wash your hands immediately!
Do you try and work when it's dark? Well, instead of trying to see the keys from the light of the screen, just hold down the blue 'Fn' at the bottom left corner of the keyboard and press the 'PgUp' at the top right and a little light will come on to the top left of the screen. It is a clear light and bright so even though it isn't going to light up the room, it enables you to see the keyboard without straining your eyes! This is called the ThinkLight (tm) and it does say you shouldnt use the laptop for long periods in the dark.
One of the main things you may notice about this laptop compared to others is that this one does not have the traditional touch pad mouse. On opening the back the LCD screen, you will see the keyboard and the red button above the letter 'B'. I literally had absolutely no idea what this button was for and even asked if it was a panic button! After accidentally pressing it when the laptop was on, I noticed the cursor starting to move - "COOL!!" In addition, where you would normally find the mouse on other laptops, you have the left and right mouse buttons which contain a red line at the end of them and below that is the Scroll Bar. It acts like the roller ball on a mouse, which enables you to quickly scroll through pages - just press it, hold it down and use the arrow keys to move up and down. This button is lined with a small blue line.
If you dont like the sound of the TrackPoint or you feel the strain in your wrist, you can attach an external mouse, as there is a connection for it at the back.
This is the best keyboard I have ever used. My mum was watching me typing up a review and my fingers were just flying over the keys! The reason I prefer this to a normal PC keyboard is the fact that they keys lie practically flat so you do not have to worry about accidentally pressing a button while typing. One thing that does get in the way is the TrackPoint. It is slightly raised higher than the letters and because it is made of rubber with an almost sandpaper feel to it, you can catch it easily when typing. This doesn't really matter as you are only moving the cursor but when using the TrackPoint, you could press the letters 'b', 'g' or 'h' (the surrounding letters).
This laptop is lucky to contain two 2.0 USB ports, connection for a mouse, the external power source, network and telephone connections, connection to a monitor instead of (or as well as) the LCD, an LPPT printer port, and another which is like the opposite of the monitor one (it has pins).
This was the one thing in this laptop that was not working. Because there are much newer laptops on the market, parts are becoming harder to find for this one and it seems the T23 is not a very popular laptop. I have searched high and low for a new CD-ROM / CD-RW drive only to find I will have to buy through IBM at the cost of £175 for a CD-RW!!! Because this laptop was second hand, I have no doubt that this is probably around the same price as my Dad paid for the laptop itself!!
The reason these things are so expensive is the fact that it is an internal drive and an oddly shaped one at that. These drives are called IBM Ultrabay 2000 drives and all you do with them is open the catch at the right hand side of the laptop and pull out the drawer. You can then push the drive into place and lock the catch and away you go!
Like the CD-ROM drive, the floppy drive goes into exactly the same place. This was supplied with the laptop and the product number is 05K9204 which can be entered into a search engine and one should pop up but as with the CD drives, are getting harder to find.
Because I knew I was going to have large files Id like to transfer from computer to laptop or the other way round, instead of paying a huge amount for the new CD-RW drive, I decided to buy a Flash Drive Pen which can range in memory. These just plug into the USB drive and you can drag files into it. My dad got me one, only for us to find out you need the CD drive to install it! Im still waiting on a CD drive so this could take a while. (If using Window XP, you do not need to install drivers and could use it straight away).
I am getting a CD drive from the person we got this laptop from which could mean it goes back to having the original DVD-ROM drive it should have had at the start.
If you are on the move, you are not going to have an external power source to connect the laptop to but after using this laptop daily, I am very happy with the battery life. It says this battery is supposed to last 3.5 hours which is adequate if you are travelling. I prefer to keep mine on the external power source because it brightens the LCD and there is a lot more freedom to keep programs running without watching the battery life drain away. On first use, the battery went down to 24% then I found it was down to 3% a few minutes later! A warning beep is given off to let you know as well as the battery checker changing from green to orange on screen and it flashing on the laptop hinge. When power becomes exceedingly low, the screen brightness will decrease in order to try and save some power.
The external power cable for this laptop is quite long in length so you wont need to sit next to the plug if you need to use the laptop. It has the plug at the end, a bit of cable, a rectangle block which can become warm if left on for a long time then more cable and the connection to the laptop.
If you do find the battery is not living up to expectations, you can buy another, which should mean the 3.5 hour life is restored.
This laptop has a vent at the left-hand side (if the laptop is on your lap, it will be near your knee at the side). I find that will continuous use this becomes warm and then can be quite hot and the fan will start up more and more to try and cool itself down. It may feel nice on a cold day but you will need to make sure there is nothing blocking this vent which could lead to it over heating and blowing up.
When you open up the LCD screen, there is a ThinkPad button above the F2 and F3 buttons. You can press this and it acts as the instruction manual for the laptop an added bonus is it is interactive. It gives very helpful advice about the running of the laptop, how you can save battery life, information on ports, connections, drives, multimedia, problem solving and how you can get in contact with IBM. If you click on any of these menus, it will take you to a traditional Windows help file with contents, index and search. Usually if you are looking at anything directly relating to the laptop, you can click on a number and it will give you information on whatever that number is pointing to.
When you close the lid of the laptop, you can automatically make your computer hibernate. This is a very good feature, as it doesnt seem to use much energy at all when this feature is activated. When the lid is closed, there are indicators on the right hinge. The first is the battery, the second is a moon, which is for hibernation, and the third relates to the Ultrabay 2000. When there is no drive in, the light will not be on but will come on when one is connected. It looks like an arrow with an X at the right.
Because a bank owned this laptop, it came with some virus protection and extra applications, which I have no use for and no idea how to use. Other than that, the main ones you will know are Microsoft Office, Acrobat Reader 4.0, Real Player, Media Player, Paint, Calculator etc. Some of these are out of date and could do with updating on my system and I have added extra ones to be of more use with my needs e.g. Post-It notes etc. And when I get a CD drive, Ill be able to install others.
This laptop comes with Internet connection a 56K modem as all my other computers have had but I do find that while a PC will run at 44,000 bps, the laptop feels the need to only run at 38,666 bps! I dont really feel much difference in this, as I have not had the luck to be blessed with Broadband. This laptop has been on a network in the past which means it tries to connect to the network and asks for the password twice before I can connect. Not sure how to get rid of this but if you are buying the T23, there shouldnt be a problem with this.
At last! A computer with sound! This laptop has Crystal SoundFusion which has equalisers and when the volume is up, it very clear. It has been such a change to have sound but this is good!
As above, this has been on a network which means I need to login every time I switch on the laptop, bring it back on from hibernation etc. It is a good security feature though because it prevents others from deleting your files etc.
Infra Red! This laptop does have Infrared which means files can be added from mobile phones and other infrared compatible electronics.
PC card. There are two sockets for PC cards and although I have no use for them, they are there if needed.
If you dont want others to hear what you are listening to, there is a socket for earphones and another for a microphone.
Overall, I am very happy with this laptop. It is light, which means I am able to take it places, which will be useful for my time abroad. The only place you do need to be careful is Spain as they can have a change in the polarity of the dc voltage, which can cause the connection to be broken. The internal drives make it a lot easier to carry round rather than large external drives and because you have the TrackPoint, who needs a mouse?! I will only be completely satisfied with this laptop when I do get a new CD drive as at the moment, I have limited access to the things I am able to do with it I cant add additional programs which will be useful for Uni.
If you are buying this laptop new, you will probably get instruction manuals, software, and of course it will be supplied with the external power cable. I was lucky enough to receive a case with mine as well as my Dad buying a new one (which is slightly smaller but still useful). A highly recommended laptop!
The price of a T23 2647 is probably around £500 to buy one new but I can't find any at the moment at any specific shops.