Review IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Notebook

Rhinoceros. The Z series of the Think Pad series provides the advantages of a wide screen display and is optimized for business use. The notebook should prove its usefulness by the help of high-quality components and a robust reasonable case. How it actually performs, you can read here.

IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Logo


The Thinkpad T61m is like all the other notebooks of the Thinkpad series black.  Only the red track point in the middle of the keyboard, the metallic hinges and the blue enter key, which extends over two rows, are colored differently.
Even the very individual form, which reminds on a rhino, can not really compete the design of other notebooks. Be that as it may, the potential buyer of a Z61 is not likely to look for design highlights.

The surfaces of the black case are completely out of plastics and do not really feel high-quality. Still, the brawny notebook, has sufficient flexural rigidity and pressure resistance. Yet, there are two points of criticism regarding flexural rigidity of the case:

First of all, there is a  weakness above the keyboard in the center and another one in the region of the Ultrabay slot. In both regions the case clearly deflects under pressure.
Furthermore, the Ultrabay slot stuck out, because of a disproportionately big gap above the DVD drive. This is still there, even if one replaces the drive by  an Ultrabay additional battery.

The hinges are typical IBM. Geometrical - angular - metallic. They work as they look like. The display can be precisely positioned and the hinges should be able to fix the display's position even after years. The display is securely locked by a ramshorn hook. However, if closed, one can detect a slight wobbling of the display.

Another striking feature of Thinkpad notebooks is the display which is formed according to the Clamshell principle. If closed, it covers exactly the base unit and prevents the penetration of dirt and foreign objects in the interspace between display and keyboard.

The Thinkpad Z61m's interfaces are reasonably ordered. Only the S-Video port is placed for our taste a little to far to the front.

Front side: No ports
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Interfaces
Left Side: Fan, VGA-Out, Fan, Modem, LAN, Audio, Firewire, PCCard/ExpressCard
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Interfaces
Back Side: USB 2.0, Battery, Kensington Lock, Battery, Power Connector
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Interfaces
Right Side: S-Video, DVD drive, 2x USB 2.0, Kensington Lock
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Interfaces

Input Devices

The Thinkpad Z61n establishes the same good reputation which IBM notebooks achieved during the last years. It is even better than some keyboards offered for desktops.
Typing is very user-friendly with optimal travel and feedback of each key. Even when typing quickly one is able to unerringly hit the keys and the noises are without any anomalies.

The keyboard has a clear and reasonable layout and the keys are of good size.

Not only the keyboard, also the Thinkpad's track point is outstanding. Both are comfortable in use and feature user-friendly keys. A small point of criticism: The touch pad could be a little bigger.

Touch pad
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Touch pad
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Keyboard


Color Diagram
Thinkpad T61m Display Measurement

The T61m's display is a matt 1280x800 pixels WXGA TFT panel in Format 16:10. Besides the reviewed panel, there are some other displays with a variety of resolutions available (1024x768 - 14", 1280x768 - 14.1", 1440x900, 1680x1050, 1920x1200 - all 15.4").
Especially, the 1920x1200 variant seems to be a little too optimistic regarding the visual acuity of the users. At a fineness of 147 dpi the contents of the display are really very small.

The maximum brightness of the display was measured very good at 161.4 cd/m². The illuminations was slightly below-average at 75.2%.

The color diagrams uncover somewhat uneven color curves and a clear deviation of the blue color curve. This results, as usual, in a representation of warm colors.

Distribution of brightness
Maximum: 161.4 cd/m²
Average: 139.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 75 %
Black: 0.2 cd/m²
Contrast: 759:1

Because of the low black value of only 0.2 cd/m² the calculated maximum contrast of the display is excellent at 807:1.

Furthermore, it should be possible to use the display outdoors without big troubles, because of  its non-reflecting surface and a sufficient brightness of 160 cd/m².

Regarding stability to the vantage point the display horizontally as well as vertically has an adequate big area of operation. Vertically, you can observe that the contrast diminishes at very acute angles, however, the colors stay more or less unchanged. At very acute angles and looking from top to down, you can also observe a change of colors from white to cyan.

Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point
Thinkpad Z61m Stability to the Vantage Point


As usual for up-to-date notebooks, the Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m is equipped with a  Core 2 Duo T7200 CPU with a clock rate of 2.0 Ghz. However, you can choose between different CPUs for this notebook. E.g., you can also buy this notebook with the clearly weaker, but cheaper Intel Celeron M processor. Further available version: different Core Duo and Core Solo versions.

The same is true for the video card. The notebook we reviewed was equipped with an Intel GMA 950 video chip, which is the low-end graphics solution for this notebook. This solution is sufficient for non-demanding office and internet applications and also for Windows Vista. If your applications require 3D performance, you should select a more powerful video solution. At the time of writing this notebook is, besides the Intel GMA 950, also offered with an ATI X1300, a X1400 and an ATI FireGL V5200, which is a X1600 optimized for CAD applications and the most powerful video card offered for this notebook.

Furthermore, the user can select between 40GB and up to 120GB hard disks. The reviewed notebook came with a 80GB hard disk of Fujitsu, which rated average regarding transfer rates and access times.

Further information about the video card can be found here or in our comparison of mobile video cards. Detailed information about the Core 2 Duo CPU can be found here.

Please also look at our benchmark list of mobile processors or at our benchmark list of mobile video cards, in order to compare this notebook to other configurations.

Benchmark Comparison 3DMark
Thinkpad Z61m Benchmark Comparison
Benchmark Comparison PCMark
Thinkpad Z61m Benchmark Comparison
3DMark 05 Standard
537 points
3DMark 05 in comparison
Nokia Booklet 3G (min)
 Z530, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
HP nx7400
 T2400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Dell D820
 T7200, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Lenovo Z61m
 T7200, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Apple MacBook
 T2400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Sony Vaio VGN-C1 S/P
 T5500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Alienware M18x R2 (max)
 3920XM, Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire
PCMark 05 Standard
3379 points
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
Lenovo X61 T
 L7500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
Lenovo 3000 N200 0769BBG/TY2BBGE
 T2330, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
Lenovo Z61m
 T7200, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
HP 6710b
 T7300, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
Toshiba A9
 T7500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
80 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 16.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 34.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 27.3 MB/s
Access Time: 18.3 ms
Burst Rate: 73.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 2 %



The notebook is very quiet in idle mode. Even office applications without too much demands can be run with acceptable noise emissions.
Under load you can one the one hand clearly hear the fan, on the other hand it is still alright with just up to 40 dB.


Whilst the Thinkpad Z61m's top side does not noticeably get warmer, we could observe a clear temperature increase at the bottom side under load. We measured a maximum temperature of nearly 50°C at its center.
This should be no problem, if used at a desk, however, lap top such a high temperature lets you feel uncomfortable, if you work for a longer time.

Upper side

palmwrist: 32.0°C max: 33.0°C avg: 30.6°C

Bottom side

max: 50°C avg: 34.7°C


The two boxes are at the left and right side beneath the keyboard and offer an acceptable sound for background music. The maximum volume is ok, but weaknesses of the basses are obvious.

Battery Runtime

The Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m comes with a standard 5200mAh battery, which provides sufficient power for a little more than one hour under load. Without load and with reduced brightness, it can reach a runtime of above 4 hours.
By means of the Ultrabay additional battery with a capacity of 2700 mAh the runtime of the notebook can be increased by about 50%.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 00min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 10min
Power Consumption
Off / Standby 0 / 0 Watt
Idle 15.7 / 20.8 / 21.8 Watt
Load 48.2 / 47.1 Watt
Key: min: , med: , max:         


Although one might need to get used to the "rhino like" design of the Lenovo Z61m, it contributes to the robustness of the notebook. Unfortunately, all surfaces are out of plastics, which lets the notebook look less high-quality.

The notebook can still score high with innovations from IBM times. Among others these are robust metallic hinges, a display in Clamshell design and an integrated hard disk protection, which prevents data loss by shocks.

Also the input devices are first class. The keyboard as well as the touch pad/track point are very user-friendly and are well suitable for long typing durations.

The 1280x800 WXGA display seems to be passable. Regarding brightness, contrast and stability to the vantage point there is hardly something to be desired. Small improvements are possible regarding the illumination. For users which demand more space at the desktop, display versions with up to 1920x1200 pixels are also offered. However, you should consider, that the displayed fonts are rather small at this resolution.

The hardware equipment of the reviewed Z61m version is rather reasonable and in general sufficient for office and Internet applications. If you demand higher graphical performance, a version with an ATI FireGL V5200 is also available.

The noise of the notebook is all the time acceptable. Regarding surface temperatures, we measured a maximum of up to 50°C at its bottom side. The speakers are good enough for non-demanding background music.

The battery runtime was measured in between a little more than one hour and  above 4 hours at optimized energy settings.

IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m
Reviewed: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m


Lenovo Z61m
1024 MB 
, DDR2 PC5300 SDRAM (667MHz), max. 4096MB, 1x1024MB
15.4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA TFT Display, glossy: no
Intel 945GM
80 GB - 5400 rpm, 80 GB 
5400 rpm Fujitsu MHV2080BH: 80GB, 5400rpm
PCCard Typ I/II, ExpressCard, Mikrofon, Headphones, 3x USB 2.0, VGA-Out, S-Video Out, Firewire, Kensington Lock, LAN, Modem, Docking Connector
height x width x depth (in mm): 37 x 357 x 263 ( = 1.46 x 14.06 x 10.35 in)
, 5200 mAh Lithium Ionen Akku
Additional features
HDD: 80GB, 5400rpm, Fujitsu MHV2080BH, AD 1981 HD Audio, DVD +/-R (DL) HL-DT-ST GMA-4082N,
3.02 kg ( = 106.53 oz) ( = 0 oz)
1800 Euro


[+] compare
Not surprisingly the notebook's design raises associations with rhinos.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
The speakers are alright for non-demanding background music.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
...we measured a clear temperature increase at the bottom side.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
Whilst the fan was very quiet...
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
For optimal performance you can choose between a variety of CPUs and video solutions.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
The Display can be well used outdoors, because of its matt surface and brightness.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
Outstanding: Excellent input devices of the Thinkpad Z61m.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
The ports are mostly placed reasonably and user-friendly.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
The indestructible hinges and the Clamshell design of the display are such.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
The plastic case, which is in general robust, has a lot of reasonable details.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image
The 5200 mAh battery provides a runtime of up to above 4 hours.
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Image


  • Robust case
  • Metallic hinges
  • Display protection by Clamshell design
  • Excellent input devices
  • Bright display, with high contrast and good stability to the vanatage point
  • Display can be used outdoors
  • Passable noise emissions
  • Contra

  • Big dimensions
  • Case partly not pressure resistant
  • High surface temperatures at the bottom side possible
  • Similar Laptops

    Price Comparison

    Ciao Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m


    Lenovo Z61m
    J. Simon Leitner

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    > Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m Notebook
    Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2007-02-23 (Update: 2013-05- 8)