computer/ibm_thinkpad_t22.gifThe IBM ThinkPad has a reputation of being the Cadillac of portable computers, the mainstay of the corporate road warriors. While this pricey portable lived up to all usability, performance, and durability expectations, a few minor flaws spoiled its otherwise perfect scorecard.

In my testing, the 1.0 GHz Pentium III with 256MB RAM and a 32.0GB HD performed both speedily and flawlessly. The 14.1 SXGA LCD was crisp and clear. While the ultra high-resolution display of 1,400 by 1,050 pixels packs a lot on the screen, it can also make text difficult to read and icons hard to discern. The first thing that I did was change the Windows Display Properties settings to “large icons” and make the text larger in all the programs that I regularly use.

The 8x-2.3x DVD shares the same bay as the floppy drive, so you can only use one or the other at any given time. This, however, proved to be of no consequence since the drives are hot swappable and it’s very easy to pull one out and insert the other.

A full range of expansion ports includes an S-video, Ethernet, and 56K modem but no IEEE 1394 (Firewire). My biggest disappointment was the single USB port. Since I am not a big fan of the TrackPoint pointing stick, I often used this computer with a USB mouse. That left no place to plug in any other USB device like an MP3 player or camera. (IBM rectified this in the T23, which has two USB ports.)

The keys on the almost-full-size keyboard were a little stiff, but the keyboard layout was
ultimately useable. I only lamented the lack of a Windows key. Also while the TrackPoint pointing stick is responsive and useable, I would like to see the ThinkPad follow the lead of some other manufacturers who include both pointing stick and touch pad.

Any portable computer today should be able to act as a desktop substitute. The ThinkPad had all the connections to make that happen except for the keyboard connection. Since I could not find any information on this in the documentation or help files, I called IBM technical support only to find that in order to connect the keyboard directly to the computer, I needed to purchase a proprietary keyboard connector. While the service technician made me aware that this is “how all ThinkPads have always been made,” this did not make me feel any better.

Many road warriors will love this computer. It’s speedy, lightweight, and has a great screen. For me, however, the small aggravations ruined an otherwise excellent computer. Did I mention that the dull black exterior case was constantly covered with irritating fingerprints? The IBM ThinkPad T22 is a computer that I loved to handle, but even handling it too much caused a slight aggravation.