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IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation

High-end heaven?

Just below the cursor keys you'll find the fingerprint reader, a swipe scanner rather than a touch scanner. The pre-installed software lets you enrol the finger of your choice, and replace all your system passwords with biometric security - this includes the BIOS password, so the notebook won't even boot into Windows without a fingerprint match. You can still choose to use a password as well as fingerprint security, and there is also a password failsafe if your finger isn't recognised.

IBM also provides the opportunity to encrypt all your data, so that even if someone removes the hard drive from the notebook, they won't be able to retrieve anything from it.

IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation SysMark

IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation 3DMark

Performance wise the T42p turns in a pretty good SYSmark score of 222 overall, while the 3D performance is pretty much on a par with a notebook sporting the old ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 chipset - which is, after all, what the Mobility Fire GL T2 is based on. Running Mobile Mark produced a battery life of three hours and 17 minutes - not the best I've seen, but reasonable enough.

IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation MobileMark

IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation MobileMark

The T42p doesn't come cheap. Bizarrely I couldn't find this exact spec on sale anywhere - the only T42p I could find with a 1.8GHz CPU only had 512MB of RAM, and all the models with 1GB of RAM only had a 1.7GHz processor. Consequently, I'll have to base this review on IBM's retail pricing, which pitches the T42p at £2538. That's clearly a lot of money for a notebook. The T42p may be a mobile workstation, but its price does seem a little high considering that its graphics chip isn't one of the fastest available.


The IBM ThinkPad T42p is a fantastic notebook to use; the screen is superb and the keyboard is up to IBM's usual high standards. Add to this the biometric security, the data encryption and IBM's standard Rapid Restore and Recovery low level utilities. The price is high, but this notebook is aimed at high-end users that need a mobile workstation, but with this in mind I'd like to see the latest workstation graphics chipset and perhaps a larger hard drive.

Review by

IBM ThinkPad T42p
Rating 80%
Price £2538
More info The IBM site

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