This is certainly going to be an interesting article for anyone coming from our TestDrive show, considering we haven't had a chance to feature much on PRN_tech since launching it at the beginning of the year. Perpetual Radio Networks was created as a tech news company, focusing heavily on consumer tech hardware like computers and smartphones, as well as photography and social interest. We've always been passionate about tech, even if we haven't covered it as intensively over the past few years.
Which is one of the reasons why an article like this gets me excited. As a former IBMer, I've always has an interest in the hardware produced by Big Blue, and subsequently Lenovo. It's probably a little embarrassing to admit, but during my tenure at IBM Global Logistics I purchased some second-hand IBM eServer xSeries', I believe two 365 models and a 360. I managed to get one of the x365s to work after installing a compatible hard drive and Windows Server 2003. I remember each of those servers had to weigh at least 60 lbs and took a nice chunk of paint out of my car a the time when I was moving them.
Actually writing about those enormous beasts makes me feel a bit nostalgic about them, I think I sold them off 5 years ago and haven't thought about them unit today. Maybe I need another one.
But for now we're talking about this 2007 Lenovo (technically) IBM ThinkPad X60 Tablet. This isn't the most desirable laptop on the market, but for about $200 CAD it wasn't a bad deal, at least in my books. This 1.66Ghz, 3GB RAM, 200 GB HDD 12" laptop doesn't compete with anything produced today considering even your budget-friendly smartphone outperforms this laptop, but it's an interesting device that I'm glad I picked up.
The IBM laptop case wasn't part of the purchase, I already had that.
The computer came pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional, but in French. After downloading the Windows Media Creation Tool I was able to download an official ISO for Windows 7 Ultimate which I own a genuine copy, thanks to PRN hosting one of the few Mississauga-based Windows 7 Launch Parties back in 2009.
The Media Creation Tool works flawlessly, it allows you to create a USB-bootable image of the Windows 7 installer for use on machines that don't have CD drives, which this ThinkPad did not. Since data is relatively cheap and I want to make sure my 2 year warranty from the store I purchased this computer from remains in effect, I swapped in a significantly faster OCZ Vertex3 240GB SSD I had used on our old 2011 15" MacBook Pro and did a clean install of Windows 7.
Surprisingly it took little time to install the OS and allowed me to get everything setup. After downloading the Windows 10 installer I was pleasantly surprised to find how quick the upgrade process was. My copy of Win7 Ultimate was still eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 Professional, and off we went.
Considering the Windows 7 install was fresh, and I hadn't specifically downloaded any drivers for the X60 Tablet, everything more or less worked when Windows 10 did it's own clean install. My fingerprint scanner worked, the touch interface worked, and even most of the specialized IBM keys worked. The only missing drivers were for the scroll button which can be downloaded here, and the tablet orientation buttons which were available here.
Ok, so the computer isn't blazingly quick with Windows 10, and I'm sure if you really wanted to use this laptop for more than just editing articles on your website you'll probably want to stick with Windows 7, but the most recent OS from Microsoft has some pretty awesome tablet-oriented features which work insanely well with the X60 Tablet. I'm going to have a lot of fun using the sketchpad app to jot notes during meetings, and the Yoga-esque screen design could come in handy when needing a budget teleprompter for recording video in the field.
I'm always impressed to find communities surrounding older hardware like this, and the ThinkPad in general has a very active community online. You can find a lot of information about IBM and Lenovo's line of laptops including buyer's guides and other tech resources to help you out. Check out ThinkPads.com for the community I've joined if you're interested in these laptops.
You can watch our episode of PRN_tech on running Windows 10 Professional on this IBM ThinkPad X60 Tablet below: