The Dell Latitude D630 and the Lenovo Thinkpad T61 are of comparable class, and so many have asked the question of which one is better. I did a lot of research on the two of them and finally came to the conclusion to get the D630, mainly for 1 reason: battery life.
Here I will summarize the information I gathered on the subject in relation to factors that I thought were most important: size, weight, performance, cost, and battery life.
The size is pretty close on these two. I have below used the 14.1″ widescreen T61, since that’s the one that matches the D630. It turns out the T61 is about a millimeter thinner in all directions.
T61: 335.5 x 237 x 27.6 – 31.9 (mm)
D630: 337.1 x 238 x32 (mm)
I call this difference negligible:
D630: starts at only 4.47 lbs
T61: starts at 5 lbs
Both had WXGA+ screen availability, which was important to me. The default processor, an Intel T7250 2.0Gz Duo, is exactly the same in the base model for both. RAM is irrelevant, because you can pick up 4GB of Corsair memory from Newegg for under $65, so there’s no point in upgrading the RAM they include (it costs $400+ for 4GB), or giving extra credit to a machine that comes with 1GB instead of 512MB (because you should upgrade it either way, in my opinion). Hard drives start the same too. The only real difference in starting specs is that the Dell comes with a 6-cell battery while the T61 comes with a 4-cell battery…For me graphics is irrelevant because I don’t play new video games.
At the time of purchase, the cost for similar systems were almost identical. The latitude was slightly (maybe $20) cheaper with basically the same specs, but I just considered them even.
Up until this point, I considered them about even. I probably was leaning toward the T61 because of the reputation Lenovo has for great customer service and long-lasting laptops with no problems. Not that Dell has a negative reputation in either of those categories, but I think consumer opinion is that Lenovo takes the cake. But the battery life is what turned me around.
First of all, the T61 (14.1″ edition) doesn’t have a 9-cell battery option. It only goes up to 7-cell, which, according to the spec sheet, gives up to 6.5 hours (which really means 3 hours of actual use). Furthermore, the optional ultrabay battery is only a 3-cell, and from what I read on the forums, this only gives about an extra 45 minutes to 1 hour of actual use time. On the other hand, the Dell can have a 9-cell primary battery, and a 6-cell media bay battery. Besides this, from what I read on the forums, even with just a 6-cell battery the Dell did significantly better with battery than the T61.
I ended up with the D630. I am very happy with it. I seems to be built very well, I haven’t had any problems with it, and I really do get 4+ hours of battery life (using the computer for browsing, programming, etc) on the 9-cell extended battery. I haven’t seen a need to get the media bay battery yet. I haven’t actually owned a T61 so I can’t give a perfect opinion, but for what it’s worth, I am happy D630 user.
Here are some helpful links if you’re considering this same issue:
Thinkpad T61 Review
T61 spec sheet
Forum discussion and poll