Microsoft and Lenovo announce Ultimate Academic PC

Microsoft and Lenovo today have announced a partnership to offer college students high end laptops, under a promotion named "Ultimate Academic Personal Computer promotion". These laptop PCs are specifically designed for college students. These models come from Lenovo's ThinkPad lineup and are preloaded with Windows Vista Ultimate and Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007. So if you are a struggling college student like myself, the program offers the following models:

  • ThinkPad T400. The 14-inch widescreen laptop gives users powerful processing functionality, a host of wireless connectivity options and multimedia features essential for college students. Lenovo also builds in a roll cage to give the laptop extra durability to meet the rigors of academic life.
  • ThinkPad R500. This laptop packs in the same functionality as the ThinkPad T400 but gives users extra screen real estate with a 15-inch display.
  • ThinkPad X200 Tablet. The Tablet offers note-takers the best of both worlds with a Tablet PC and a laptop all in one. The 12-inch screen swivels both directions for easy maneuvering in class, and has low reflectivity and wide viewing angles; the Tablet also features a full-size keyboard, and more than 10 hours of battery life for all-day computing.
  • ThinkPad X301. Lenovo's thinnest and lightest full-function PC, the ThinkPad X301 comes with several leading technologies such as solid state drive storage for greater reliability, an LED display for a crisp viewing experience and two roll cages to make the laptop extremely light yet sturdy.

In the announcement James Ptaszynski, senior director of Worldwide Higher Education Strategy, noted "In addition, the Ultimate Academic PC will help students enjoy their down time with features like a built-in camera, advanced graphics for gaming enthusiasts, and access to additional free online services available from Microsoft such as Windows Live Messenger to help students keep up with their busy social lives."

Pricing for models begins at $999. A valid e-mail address from an accredited college or university qualifies for the Ultimate Academic PC program. The program is currently only available for students in the United States.For additional program requirements, please visit the Lenovo UAPC website.

In addition to this promotion, we've noticed that Microsoft's Ultimate Steal program is still active, adding to the list of ways Microsoft is helping college students.The Ultimate Steal program offers college students Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for a mere price of $59.99, which is a bigger discount that actual employees receive! More information about the Ultimate Steal program can be found here.

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I configured a T400 equal to that of the one offered in the program which is $1,399. With the current ecoupon (20% for T series) and the ultimate steal program the total is $1,412.75. So if you can't get your hands on a 20% ecoupon and you want everything included in the package, then this is a good deal. However if you can get your hands on an ecoupon and you don't want everything included in the offer package (do you need a fingerprint reader, bluetooth, 3 year 9x5 next day warranty, or other feature?) then it may be better not to use this program.

The T400 can be switched between a Radeon HD 3470 and Intel integrated. One for performance, and the latter for battery life. I'm not saying that the 3470 is an impressive GPU, but it's definitely very decent for a 14.1" laptop that gets you 9 hours battery life with a 9-cell.

Isn't the R500 like... $739 by itself? Granted, that's with Windows Home Basic but still... If you could get Office for $59.99 or perhaps already have a copy of that and a copy of XP or better version of Vista, wouldn't that be cheaper?

Or do you get more out of the specs for going through the UAPC?