The early reviews are in – and for the most part quite positive – for Lenovo’s latest laptop models.

The ThinkPad R61 and T61 were officially launched on Wednesday. As expected, neither displays the IBM logo but retains the IBM-created ThinkPad brand. Each also includes new “Santa Rosa” technology from Intel that is designed to boost power, performance and improve energy efficiency.

“Lenovo have truly outdone themselves with the T61,” said Laptop Logic in one review. “A quick glance and it is easy to see how this can be considered one of the best engineered laptops available.”

Among the features the magazine liked is “Turbo Memory,” a feature designed to speed up launch.

“The idea behind Turbo Memory is to store information on the flash card, which will yield faster application load time, improved boot time, and power savings (by not requiring the hard drive to spin up to access information),” the magazine said.

Other advances include making the ThinkPad cooler and quieter with a heatsink fan blade based on the quietness and effectiveness of an owl’s wings, according to Lenovo.

“Lenovo engineers studied the wings of owls when in flight to determine how they managed to be so quiet, and attempted to model the heatsink fan blades after the feathered wings,” Laptop Logic noted. “In addition, several extra air vents were implemented on the front, bottom, and sides of the chassis. The end result? A drop in temperature of 2C, and noise by 3dB.”

The magazine also likes a new, stronger roll cage that is intended to prevent damage to the ThinkPad.

Cnet also gave a thumb’s up to the R61 but questioned whether the highly touted Santa Rosa improvements to Intel’s Centrino technology lived up to advance billing. It “doesn’t offer outsize performance gains,” Dan Ackerman wrote in a review of the R61.

“The IBM blueprint is still evident in the Lenovo ThinkPad R61, but the addition of a wide-screen display and all the latest Centrino Duo tricks make this a ThinkPad that could woo home users along with its legion of fans among business travelers,” Ackerman added.

“It’s still the same black, boxy ThinkPad you’ve come to know and perhaps love, but Lenovo has started to add consumer-friendly features such as Webcams and optional Blu-ray drives for those who want one laptop for work and play,” he said.

In Laptop magazine, Jeffrey Wilson wrote of the R61: “With the ThinkPad R61-14W, Lenovo adds a thinner build, a widescreen display, and Intel’s Next Generation Centrino Processor technology to the security and durability we’ve come to expect. Add in discrete graphics, and you’ve got a pricey but powerful productivity partner.”

At the Web site Endgadget, Darren Murph reviewed the T61 in positive terms.

“[W]hile you can price this bad boy as high as you can dream, the base machine will run you $1,399,” he said.

Lenovo rolled out three laptops in all, including the N200 as part of the Lenovo 3000 line, not ThinkPad. Lenovo is touting the new machines as the “strongest, coolest and quietest” ThinkPad lineup.

Neither is labeled as an IBM product. Lenovo bought IBM’s PC division in 2005 and had the rights to use the IBM brand for up to five years. “Our plan has always been to transition to the Lenovo label,” Lenovo spokesperson Ray Gorman told WRAL Local Tech Wire in a recent interview.

The R61 is the first widescreen offered in that product line. Both the T61 and R61 feature 14.1-inch screens.

The “Top Cover Roll Cage” for additional protection, improved wireless connectivity and cooling, and longer battery life are among added features.

“The technologies we’ve designed and integrated into our new ThinkPad notebook PCs demonstrate Lenovo’s best engineering at work,” said Peter Hortensius, senior vice president for notebooks at Lenovo. “Improvements in durability, reliability and wireless connectivity will help to make our customer’s PC experience more enjoyable and productive.”

Lenovo has expanded the roll cage technology from the hard drive to the rest of the laptop. Designed as a honeycomb, the roll cage is also intended to reduce stress on the LCD screen, according to the company. The laptops also feature Lenovo’s active protection system, which resembles airbag technology.

The T61 starts at $1,399, the R61 at $1,249, the Lenovo 30000 N200 at $1,099. The laptops are scheduled for delivery this month.