IBM's ThinkPad 701C shattered subnotebook constraints in 1995 with a full-size keyboard and screen
Once opened, the keyboard on the 701C (nicknamed the Butterfly ) extends past the chassis sides to give you the largest and most comfortable keyboard in its class. But when you turn on the unit, what really pops out is the impressive 10.4-inch display. Our review unit sported a TFT (thin-film transistor) screen, but the 701 is also available with a dual-scan display. Add IBM's TrackPoint III pointer, and th e result is today's most ergonomically correct subnotebook.
Featuring one of the most innovative additions to laptop design, the butterfly keyboard, the IBM ThinkPad 701c was one of the models that set the ThinkPads apart from any other laptop. As you open the lid, a cam on the left screen hinge puts the two-part keyboard into motion. The two halves slide laterally apart and then vertically together, meeting along a diagonal stair-step seam.
This computer featured a 486DX2-50 CPU, 16Mb of RAM and a 540Mb hard drive. It runs Windows 95 along with Office 95.
486DX2/50, active-matrix color, 8 MB, and a 540-MB drive
Infrared port transfers files at 115 Kbps.
Expansion connector attaches the included port replicator.
Parallel port for external 0.57-pound floppy drive.
14.4-Kbps data/fax modem.
Yamaha Codec provides 16-bit stereo audio. Built-in microphone and speakers.
Nickel-cadmium battery doesn't require full discharge before recharge.
Hard drive (360, 540, or 720 MB) removes for security or for segmenting work.
PCMCIA slot for two Type II cards or one Type III card.
The 701C's remarkable 10.4-inch screen compares with full-size ThinkPads and displays 26 lines of text in eye-pleasing 12-point type. By comparison, the 510C displays the same amount of copy in 10-point type. IBM says the display shortages that have delayed orders for some ThinkPads aren't a factor for the 701C, thanks in part to outsourcing from Sharp.
It comes with audio and telephony features similar to those of the larger and faster 755C, but because of its sliding keyboard, the 701C doesn't have space for a CD-ROM drive. The 701C's modem isn't upgradable from 14.4 Kbps. With a 256-color palette, the 701C doesn't have the 755C's more sophisticated graphics system (65,536 colors at VGA resolutions). Finally, the 701C can't capture or output broadcast-standard video.
The 701C does, however, shine among portables for pleasantness to use and for flat-out coolness. Cha-chunk may soon become the sound of status for those who live much of their life at 35,000 feet.
Our ThinkPad 701CS was very kindly donated by Steve King
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