I've had my T42 since early 2005, when it replaced an A22 that was struck by lightning. Insurance paid the full price
. I think these are great machines. The keyboards are far better than anything found on laptops from other brands including Apple. I still use mine as my daily work machine, sitting in a minidock (a real dock, not just a port replicator). I use a Dutch-language keyboard, which is QWERTY with some nice additions for accented characters - real 'dead' keys even without the need for the AltGr key. IBM was almost the only manufacturer at the time who offered a real Dutch version of their laptops; almost anyone in the Netherlands uses standard US keyboards and has to fiddle around with ungainly tricks to get properly accented characters. I already lived in France at the time but had a Dutch IBM dealer ship the machine to my French address... Just the availability of high-quality Dutch keyboards made the choice for me.
After two and a half years the motherboard failed (possibly due to lightning strikes again), and as it came with a three-year guarantee IBM/Lenovo France replaced the mobo of my Dutch-bought T42 really fast and without any issue - next-day courier pickup, and a real French person on the phone to talk to who really knew what the status of my machine was simply because she had eye contact with the technician working on it.
My T42 is now 7 years old, used 7 days a week and it still runs. Last autumn I replaced the fan and the original harddisk, as both gave up almost simultaneously after almost forty thousand running hours (I guess that 40 000 hours must be about the limit for things that rotate very fast - if this was a car it would have run two million kilometers at 50 km/h...). My T42 now has a new 250 GB Western Digital Scorpio PATA hard drive, with a clean full factory-spec system on it thanks to the original recovery discs I made 7 years ago, and with freshly installed favorite applications. It now feels really quick. Note that this machine ran 7 years, 7 days a week without ever once having to reinstall Windows and with few crashes - but it did get a bit sluggish towards the end...
I still like its size and feel - I have come to prefer laptop keyboards to full-sized ones as in these times of graphical interfaces, one uses the mouse a lot. With a full-sized keyboard the numeric pad shoves the mouse more to the right and during long sessions of mouse-intensive work (say, editing photos or designing web pages) this puts more strain on one's neck and shoulder muscles than with a laptop. For that reason I also prefer a laptop that is not wide-screen but 4:3 - meaning I'd go for a high-end T4x or R5x over a T6x/R6x as the latter have wide-screen TFTs. 4:3 with a high resolution also means less vertical scrolling, which is great if you handle long text documents a lot. If you want a reasonably fast 4:3 laptop with a really good keyboard, the T4x/R5x series are obviously the way to go, with the X31/32 as smaller travel companions that will fit into the same docking stations.