IBM Thinkpad 240
Best retro purpose
Early Windows 98 era gaming released before 1998 or as office computer. Unfortunately, despite the somewhat adequate CPU speed, the video chipset is somewhat slow (designed in 1994) and only DOS era games run reasonably fast and only those that do not require SVGA resolution and operate only on VGA, MCGA, 320x200 in 256 colors. The CPU performance is decent, albeit the choice of a Celeron over a Pentium model seems odd. The only reasonable explanation could be related to the lower cache size reducing energy requirements, but this is quite unfortuante. The video chipset is not such a great choice, limiting any serious vintage gaming attempts. Moreover, the laptop is flawed by the small and mediocre screen, that lacks clarity, as well as the highly cramped keyboard and low key travel, which makes it one, if not the worst, keyboard to type on a IBM Thinkpad. The only saving grace of this laptop is its very compact size, one of the smallest, in fact, with a Pentium II platform.
Durability and Repair-ability
The laptop has a surprinsingly sturdy plastic shell that withstands slightly better some typical abuse. The hard-drive is quite easy to access, requiring unmounting an externally accessible tray, albeit with a bit more effort than on other models. Replacing RAM is a bit more involving as there are no easy to access hatches and the keyboard has to be removed. The LCD screen does not seem easy to service so a full disassembly may be required. This means that you rarely can repair a screen without damaging or affecting something else with dust or slight manipulation mistakes. The fan is somewhat easy to clean as some operations can be carried out even from outside the laptops, as the fan blades are exposed beneath a small plastic grill.
Greatest features & flaws
|Great Windows 98/95 3.1 2D Gaming platform||Very poor LCD screen for a Pentium II IBM laptop|
|Good MS-DOS SoundBlaster compatibility||Poor, mono speaker, placed near the palmrest|
|One of the smallest Pentium II laptops||Limited expansion capabilities|
|Low heat dissipation||Very cramped, unpleasant to type on keyboard|
A low-end, very slim, business laptop, released in 1999. It had a somewhat bad mix of parts, with a very slim chassis. Although the choice of single RAM user slot is not as bad as it may seem, since the laptop has limited performance in anything else but Windows 98. The compact size is certainly the most important feature of this model as neither the keyboard, screen, battery autonomy or anything else is a major achievement. The most readily flaw of the laptop comes from the screen that, unexpectedly, is less clear or has less contrast than most screens of a similar vintage with other artifacts of uniformity that seem out of place, when considering the available technology of that time.
Even if IBM laptops were renowned for their keyboard, this model fares very poorly as neither the key travel, key caps size, key placements make anything but unpleasant any typing experience. Unfortunately, there are so many bad design choices that seem impossible to avoid. The rest of the configuration is allright as the laptop features a good port selection, including an USB port as well as some limited expansion capabilities. The CPU and video chipset are decent for DOS and early Windows 95/98 gaming if 3D acceleration is not required. The Sound Blaster emulation is very good but for any serious listening it is advisable to pass the internal speaker, as it sounds quite unpleasant.