If you love ThinkPads, but just think "they don't make 'em like they used to," a small Chinese company has the answer for you in the ThinkPad X62. Made from an old ThinkPad X61 chassis with a new motherboard, CPU, display panel and Wi-Fi card, this custom laptop has classic ThinkPad goodies like a 4:3 screen, a non-island-style keyboard and a rainbow-colored IBM logo, all for a starting price of $750 (sans RAM, SSD and battery).
NotebookCheck has just posted a full, detailed review of the ThinkPad X62 and loved the classic chassis and keyboard, but found the 1400 x 1050 resolution screen dim and difficult to use with side-by-side windows. Reviewer Douglas Black dsecribes it as a "love letter to the days of classic ThinkPads, ThinkLights and 4:3 displays" and notes that it is really made for hardcore ThinkPad fans, rather than regular productivity users.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X61 is almost 10 years old (for a blast to the past, see the Laptop Mag review here), but was beloved for its sleek design. It's also one of the last ThinkPads produced with an old 4:3 display.
The group modifying the X62 and selling it under the Lenovo brand name is 51nb. Its website (in Chinese) is 51nb.com, where the team also mods other ThinkPads. A Facebook Page entitled "Lcdfans" provides information in English and links back to the Chinese site.
[Update: April; 10 2:30 p.m.] Lcdfans told Laptop Mag that while it works with 51nb.com, they "do not have any official connection with Lenovo.
"We are just keen old-school ThinkPads [sic] fans and because of the delayed ThinkPad Retro, we decided to tune up the old [one]," a representative wrote.
There are two versions of the X62: a $750 version with an Intel Broadwell (5th Gen Core) engineering sample CPU and a $950 version using an Intel Core i7-5600U CPU. Additionally, its display has been replaced with a 12.1-inch 4:3 panel with a resolution of 1400 x 1050 and the motherboard has an updated set of ports including USB 3.0, HDMI and MiniDisplay Port. It's a barebones kit, so you'll have to bring your own SATA SSD and up to 32GB of RAM. The wireless card has been updated, too, with support for AC Wi-Fi.
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It's worth noting that Lenovo has hinted that it may be coming out with a retro ThinkPad in the near future, which could have some of the classic features that the ThinkPad X62 has.
Lenovo did not respond to a request for comment by press time. But we have to wonder whether this laptop violates any copyright laws. So, if you want to order one, be careful.