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ThinkPad Unicorns - Unique and Interesting Models

April 22nd, 2020

Page last updated: 2022-05-10, version 1.11

Everyone knows about the 701c and the W700/01ds, but what about the TransNote? The PC110? This page is to document some of the lesser-known ThinkPads with interesting properties.

ThinkPad W700/01ds

Let's start from the better-known ones, and move down. The ThinkPad W700/01ds is unique due to the smaller 10.6" second screen that slides out from the side, allowing you extra screen real estate. This allowed more productivity, at the expense of weight. The W700ds weighs over 10 pounds, and the 17" screen size means you won't be tossing it in your backpack easily.

Further reading

ThinkPad 701C/CS

The 701C and 701CS were the only ThinkPad models to include John Karidis' TrackWrite system. The keyboard folded out when the laptop was opened, allowing for a comfortable to use keyboard in a tiny package. No ThinkPads (or any laptop) since have included a similar system, making the few that do very unique indeed.

Further reading

ThinkPad TransNote

Getting into the lesser-known territory here, the TransNote was based on the 600MHz model of the X20, but modified to scan images from a digital notepad attached to the computer. This digital notepad is known as the ThinkScribe system. The whole apparatus folds in many different positions, including a position with a similar form factor to a large book for portability. These "laptops" are not commonly found, but the prices haven't soared into the same ranges as the 701 and the W700/01ds models.

Further reading


While this machine isn't technically a ThinkPad, it's generally considered in the same collection as it was manufactured by IBM as a business-type computer. In a palmtop-style form factor, the PC110 sported a 33MHz CPU and 4MB of memory as standard. While it wasn't blazingly fast, [YouTube] it really wasn't bad for the time. This model was never sold outside of Japan though, so finding one in the US won't be easy.

Further reading

ThinkPad S30/31

The ThinkPad S30 and S31s are already unique machines, as the smallest actual ThinkPads if you don't include the PC110. However, the keyboard on these models are sightly wider than the main deck of the laptop. This creates a small bulge on the sides, deviating from the standard "square" ThinkPad design.

The 10th anniversary editions of these models included a highly unique piano-black finish back to the laptop. These machines are one of very few ThinkPads to include this design feature, (the other being the X31 10th anniversary edition) and of course being a Asia-Pacific exclusive makes these computers even more scarce. If you come across either of these, they're definitely worth picking up. It may be the only one you ever see in real life.

ThinkPad X30 10th anniversary edition

This is a normal ThinkPad X30, but they can include the same piano black back case as in the S30/31 anniversary editions. Only 2,002 of these were made, and as presumably an Asia-Pacific exclusive, that makes it very scarce. Personally, I consider this model to be the true holy grail of ThinkPads, due to the S30/31 having something of a cult following in the community.

Further reading:


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