I’ve looked at, tried out, and abused plenty of Windows laptops over the years. In the end, there’s one brand and model I keep coming back to: the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 series (currently, the T420). Why? First, because you can get fantastic performance for reasonable prices. Second, because they are indestructible. Third, because of the outstanding customer service.

My first ThinkPad (a T43) wouldn’t die, even after it suffered numerous drops, smacks, and indignities. So I sold it for parts and bought a T400, which has already been tossed across the living room (accidentally, while working on a brief at 4 a.m.) and survived none the worse for wear. You can’t kill a ThinkPad.

If you manage to dent one, however, you’ll be thrilled with Lenovo’s customer service (still provide by IBM in much of the US). It’s the kind of no-questions-asked, as-fast-as-possible service every company should offer. The on-site service is usually same-day, and the depot service has ridiculous turnaround (36 hours, including shipping, the last time I used it).

Why the T400 series, specifically? A 14-inch screen is a perfect blend of portability and utility. 15 inches is just too big for toting comfortably, and 13 inches is just a bit small for looking at two documents side-by-side. 14 inches is just right.

If you are in the market for a new laptop, get a ThinkPad. You’ll be glad you did.