We’ve criticised the ThinkPad range in the past for being about as aesthetically pleasing as coal and the T42 hasn’t changed our opinion. But there is one aspect of the IBM’s design that has to be applauded: this solid piece of kit is hard to break.

The tough casing offers the internal components invaluable protection. For a travelling exec, this is a very important factor – any notebook vendor will tell you just how many returned damaged portables have been dropped, crushed or bashed against a solid object.

IBM notebooks tend to help when things go wrong or when you don’t know how to do something and the ThinkPad T42 is no exception – its Access IBM and Rapid Restore and Recovery facilities are very useful.

But it all comes at a price. And when you realise that standard features aren’t included, such as a DVD writer or office suite software, you might give that £1,939 price tag a double-take.

The components that the ThinkPad does house are of a high quality, however. A 1.7GHz Pentium M 735 processor is teamed up with 512MB of DDR RAM to good effect. The T42 achieved a WorldBench 4 score of 137 – not too far away from the Rock Pegasus Ti’s record score (see opposite). Graphics are handled by a 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 chip and the screen is particularly impressive.

  • IBM: www.ibm.com
  • £1,939 inc VAT

  • Build quality:7/10
  • Features: 7/10
  • Value for money: 5/10