When its first Thinkpad was introduced a decade ago, IBM won widespread admiration among the tech types of the time for its heavy, black styling, solid action and modularity. Instead of following the standard of sealing all the parts beyond the reach of prying fingers, IBM built the Thinkpad so that you could just flip up the keyboard and rip out the insides in seconds. Since then, what is most remarkable about the Thinkpad is how little it has changed. A new Thinkpad, the R40, is still the weighty but dependable sidekick that millions of travelling businessmen feel compelled to lug alongside their carry-on Samsonite suitcases. It is often the subtle changes that people overlook. The addition of WiFi in both 802.11a and b flavours is a welcome bonus. IBM is also rather keen on the new Trackpoints. One of the few sources of Thinkpad contention has always been the Trackpoint - that little red cursor controller set into the keyboard. Or it used to be. These days every Thinkpad comes with both the Trackpoint and a touch-sensitive Touchpad, with two sets of mouse buttons. But IBM has decided to redesign its unfairly maligned Trackpoint and add two new shapes. I still prefer the cat's tongue roughness of the old version. The new R40 unit we viewed came with a Mobile Intel Pentium 4 processor running at 2.2GHz, a 36GB Hitatchi hard drive, a removable CD-RW/DVD combo drive and 256MB of RAM. The memory can be upgraded to a gigabyte. The graphics card is a respectable ATI Mobility Radeon 7000, though it only comes with 16MB of video RAM. A 32MB version is also available. The lithium-ion battery has a stated life of 3.6 hours, though with power-saving disabled we managed only two hours of light use on a single charge. Besides WiFi, there are two USB 2, Ethernet, modem, printer, video, PS/2, speaker, mike, PC Card and infrared ports. Bluetooth and Firewire are offered as options. Access to various troubleshooting and system wizards comes via an appropriately big blue button above the keypad, called Access IBM. This introduces the user to all the features that Windows already sports in its Control Panel, but makes some easier to use and adds a couple of extras, such as Presentation Designer, Software Installer and Internet access support. With WiFi enabled, the system will automatically search for the best local wireless network and connect. There is also IBM Rapid Restore PC to help back up and recover data to up to three partitions. The humorously named Battery MaxiMiser is for skinflints too cheap to buy a spare. Other onboard software included Norton AntiVirus, PC-Doctor, a CD burner from Veritas and InterVideo WinDVD. Oh, and Windows XP Professional, of course. Prices start at HK$8,888 for the Intel Celeron 1.6 GHz model, or HK$19,888 for the Pentium 4 M2.20GHz processor.