ME! Oh ME! MeohmeohmeohMEEEE!
*Flings my money at you*
I, uhh, I mean, umm, I would like one, please.
(Chanting "Gimmie!" repeatedly under my breath)
After Lenovo bought IBM's ThinkPad business, the Chinese giant has slowly but surely changed the iconic laptop design to look a bit more modern – but now that may be about to change. In a blog post Lenovo design veep David Hill speculated about taking the old-style ThinkPad form-factor, and cramming it full of the latest and …
What ^he^ said, provided:
In case you're still missing it, there are three things I need in a laptop, these are:
That's all. Everything else of significance is inevitable with modern components.
"Thinness" is NOT on the list.
Is anyone listening?
We need a blue-in-the-face icon ---->
I'll UpVote you just for the battery comment alone. The thinner they make the machine the less room for the battery, and invariably a battery we can't replace. Bullshit! Big, chunky, user replaceable battery that lasts a day on a charge, can be swapped out for a spare while the first recharges on the spare power brick, and lets us Get Shit Done!
Before this X201 my daily lappie was an X61, with a wedge-shaped auxiliary battery underneath. Apart from roughly doubling battery life it added some heft to the machine, and a slight, but nice enough tilt to the keyboard.
I'd like this new retro Thinkpad to also come in an X variant (screen size and performance are less important to me than portability) with extended batteries as an option.
Beer for the Lenovo engineer who gets this machine out the door.
32Gb Ram at least
2TB of SSD or at least make it easy to remove CD/DVD drive and put in a second SSD OR
have at least 4 M-Sata slots size for size these are smaller than SATA SSD's so you can have more storage in the same space
17in Matte Screen
Long life Battery option as per old Thinkpads
Do all this and HP (currently using an Elitebook 8770W) go kiss my ass.
On my Thinkpad that had the ThinkLight, I found it did a perfectly acceptable job of lighting the keyboard, as well as making it possible to read other things when I needed to glance at a reference book or handwritten notes. I've also had (non-Thinkpad) machines with backlit keyboards, and they do fine for the former, but don't help with the latter.
Of course, as Trevor notes, it's possible to provide both.
Thinkpad W701 with 1920x1200 screen 17" - unfortunately not IPS. 16GB memory and 1TB SSD (upgrades). Sort of slow 1.7Ghz 4-core. There was actually a higher-end model than this with a pull-out separate screen (I think 1024x786). This beast weighs around 8lb not counting the brick (probably another 1lb).
What I really want is a new TP with the same fantastic keyboard, room for 32 (or more) GB memory, SATA-3 or better, IPS screen with 4K or better resolution. I'd take a smaller screen for portability but want the utmost in resolution. I'll pay good $ for a system that is my workhorse and that will last for 3-5 years.
Go for it, Lenovo!
4kg? That isn't a laptop it is a paving slab!
Age is an advantage here. After the Kaypro portable, everything was feather weight :)
Joking aside, I would prefer a choice here (which you had with the old Thinkpad line): either light battery and a power supply in the luggage, or a fat one and the commensurate deeply digging shoulder strap. Not everyone has the same needs. As for lights, I am quite happy with a lit up keyboard as found in MacBooks, but I agree that won't help reading documents. I tend to roam in places with enough light, though, so I wouldn't need it but clearly some of you get to more interesting corners than me :).
I've had quite a few of the X models. Still the best IMHO.
4kg? That isn't a laptop it is a paving slab!
When I'm teaching, I regularly carry around a shoulder bag with two laptops (work and personal/academic) that weigh that much. The same when I travel. Honestly, the way people complain about laptop weight... Have computer users really become so feeble?
He wants our feedback, but then runs a Discuss brand commenting subsystem. It uses a CAPTCHA on the registration that isn't Accessible, meaning I have no way of leaving said feedback.
To add insult to injury, I can't find a contact email that I might use to send it to him that way, meaning I have no way to express my desire for a "Retro Thinkpad".
Damn it, I _want_ one! A 5th generation, quad core, i7 with 16GiB of RAM, a 120GiB M.2 SSD, 2x USB3, 2x USB2, Gigabit Ethernet, SDxC card reader with the TeraByte card capability, a DVD burner, and a screen that wasn't obsolete over a decade ago? GIMMIE!
Holy shit, it seems like the only way to get such a machine now is to go the "Mobil Workstation" route, most of which start at nearly Two Thousand Bucks and go up from there. Why? The cpu is the latest & greatest but no longer "new". The RAM is bog standard & "cheap as chips" yet they charge 10x the retail price to install it. They want 5x retail for the SSD, and then have the balls to make it a First Gen SSD at that rather than the Sata3 units out now. Oh, and then the final kick in the crotch is if I want Win7Pro64 on it rather than Win8.x, they want to charge me an extra Fifty Bucks for the "downgrade rights" and not include the recovery media?!? BAH!
Stop screwing us for every last penny, give us components we want at a reasonable price, & we'll fill your coffers with cash in gratitude.
It's why we want the "Retro Thinkpad": a machine built like a tank, able to survive years of abuse, filled with hardware that won't go tits up the first time we look at it funny, at a price that made the purchase a No Brainer even for the Bean Counters.
All these "Thin & Light" jobbies that you've made thinner by removing all the freaking PORTS might make it thinner & lighter, but you've not dropped the price to match. ESPECIALLY if I have to buy a fucking dongle to put back the functions you stripped out in order to make it thin!
See that Gigabit LAN port? Put it back. See all those full sized USB ports? Put them back. See that full sized keyboard? PUT. IT. BACK.
Now shut up, build it, take my money, and GIMMIE!
Okay gents.. I'm an Apple user and have a MacBook, but have dabbled with a few Acer laptops running Vista and in the next year, am planning on getting a Windows laptop - I troubleshoot networks and help seniors set up their homes for wireless, and am getting more PC users calling me - I really need to take my game up a notch as I got stuck trying to connect three PCs across a network and couldn't make heads or tails of the system Control Panels and figure it out for the life of me. My PC knowledge is dated, I should just re-learn Windows from scratch.. (the last PC I had ran Windows 95 so obviously I need something that is a bit more current.. ya think?)
Since you are all so keen on the ThinkPad, what is the biggest appeal? I'm honestly curious to find out, since other than Macs, I have rarely seen such a buzz over a machine.
(Paris, because I really want to know).
Commenters above (and ThinkPad fiends in general) cleave to the sadly outdated idea that our laptops can be built sturdily enough that they last more than three years.
That the keyboard can be as comfortable and responsive as an IBM Model M.
That the screen be *matte* and not reflect the lights behind you.
That there be a full range of ports.
That the feel in the hand inspire confidence.
That when you set it down on a desk, it does not creak and bend and it stays where you put it.
And that it comes with excellent after sale care. Including the possibility of next day on site repair (although I don't know if that part still exists).
In other words: "Buy it right the first time. Don't buy it over and over"
That when you set it down on a desk, it does not creak and bend and it stays where you put it.
And when you knock it off the desk and it hits the concrete floor, it keeps chugging along calmly with no damage.
Oh, and all the Thinkpads (IBM and Lenovo) I've had were user-serviceable. Service manuals available online, straightforward disassembly, etc. I've replaced drives, memory, fans, etc. In this day and age that's a rare trait.
The original ThinkPads were _The_ most respected laptops for Professionals needing to Get Shit Done. It was built like a tank, filled with components that lasted far beyond their competition, and Just Worked. No having to constantly screw with hardware issues, only the occasional software issue, & IBM (the original manufacturer) supported them without question.
Everyone in the corporation from Accountants to the CxO's knew that ThinkPad meant Quality. Uncompromising, unfaultering, No Bullshit, _Quality_.
You could use one to beat the ever loving crap out of a mugger, crush the bastard's skull like an overripe banana, & go right back to work without worrying that the lid hinge might snap, or the ram might unseat, or the HDD would skip.
Like Timex, they took a licking & kept on ticking.
Then IBM sold the ThinkPad brand to Lenovo & it's been a much different experience. The machines are still excellent, they still Get Shit Done, but the tank-like build quality has suffered, they now look more like an aerodynamic blob than a chunky tank, and the issues (both hardware & software) are much more frequent.
The original keyboard was praised as The Best In The Business for years after it was introduced, & the competition scrambled to copy it. The original "Nipple Mouse" (the blue or red "Nipple" between the keys) was an innovative way to move the mouse, and since it was already under the fingertips, a touch typist didn't even have to move the hand positions to operate it. It had a touch pad on some models, but the Nipple Mouse (also called a "Clit Mouse" by some) was just the best.
The Lenovo ThinkPads have since given up the Nipple Mouse in favor of track pads, which many consider a huge step backwards. The keyboard design has been revamped & tweaked, much to the teeth gnashing of those whom felt the change unnecessary. (Don't fix it if it ain't broken.)
Some of the configurations have also made ThinkPad loyalists cringe in horror, as the perception is one of Lenovo trying to flush what was once The apex of a product, into the absolute garbage akin to the competition's race to the bottom.
The "Thin & Light" phase (UltraBook) that everyone seems so eager to do is being done at the expense of ports we need, upgradable memory (the ram is *soldered* on), an inability to upgrade the HDD (so if you didn't get the SSD you wanted to start with, there's no way to replace the drive later), loss of the optical drive, hinges that have gotten so thin they can barely survive the warranty period, & software preloads so full of bloatware that it makes you want to scream.
Many Loyalists have held on to their favorite model for *decades* past it's effective End Of Life, upgrading the OS, hardware, & software to keep it as relative as possible, because the build quality is infinitely better, the keyboard is better, and the thing Just Works and Gets Shit Done.
Read that again. They've kept the machines for a decade or more. A Decade. Do you think that thin & light UltraBook you'll be charged multiple thousands for will still be working in a decade, much less a decade after it's EOL?
So a "Retro Thinkpad", the ThinkPad original tank body & build quality, filled with modern components, at a reasonable price? Sign me up!
It's a machine that would last years, be worth every. last. penny., and Just Work to Get Shit Done.
Hope that helps!
"Lenovo ThinkPads have since given up the Nipple Mouse in favor of track pads"
Maybe that's why, every time I reboot my X220, the trackpad enables itself again. If Lenovo don't produce something as good soon, I hope it survives the upgrade to Windows 10!
That's actually good to read, thanks!
I've done some work recently in a Mac store and the new MacBooks came in and I just about died. They're not at all what I would have hoped they'd be and the one USB3 data/power port? What the fuck, Apple. Call me disappointed. I have an ancient 1.67ghz PowerBook G4 that I'd choose before that new frisbee. At least with the old klunker I can port video to a TV on S-Video and run a second monitor with a standard DVI cable and it's got an expansion slot and FireWire and dual USB ports. Yeah.. really unimpressed with the direction Apple is going - but then again, I take it everyone's headed this way.
So if the new ThinkPads come with all the retro hardware and I get one, I should also buy a retail version of whatever Windows is available and do a clean install to strip out the bloatware? Is the possibility of partitioning the drive and throwing a Linux volume on, workable? (I was thinking Mint - have run across it in one or two homes where the grandkids have set it up for their parents and grandparents to use and I had an easier time of navigating that than Windows.)
Before repartitioning a drive to dual boot, be sure to do the following steps:
1. Image the drive. Use a drive clone/imaging utility to make a mirror of the drive. Once the image has been made, use it to nuke the drive & put the image back. You'll need the working image if anything goes wrong.
2. Once the Restore Image has been verified to work, go ahead & use a LiveCD/DVD of your favorite operating system. This will let you know if the BIOS will behave with that particular OS. If it doesn't work, pick another OS; burning another copy of the same OS might work, but it's a flip of the coin. If it works then go ahead & run the instal utility. Be advised that having Windows on the drive first & adding *Nix is fine, but the other way around tends to ruin the BootLoader; Windows can't be arsed to play nice unless it's another version of Windows, and even then is no guarantee.
3. Once both operating systems are up & working, make a second Restore Image of the dual boot drive. Again, you will need this image later if something goes wonky.
ThinkPads are recognized as playing nice with most *Nix distributions as far as hardware support is concerned, but you still want to make the Images & run the LiveCD/DVD first Just To Be Sure. Nothing makes you tear your hair out in screaming frustration faster than getting halfway through a dual boot install routine & having the system crash because it finds a chip it doesn't like; a chip you would have known about had you bothered to run the LiveCD/DVD first; a situation you would be able to recover from if you had Made The Restore Image & then verified it worked, BEFORE YOU STARTED.
Good luck & happy computing!
Okay, thanks for the tip!
Yeah, I have run into incompatible software issues with Macs. Apple churlishly makes it impossible to install an older OS on newer kit, and when I set up users that are digital artists, it's sometimes a hunt to find the correct model that will run with their ancient software. Had a guy recently want his system on a G5 rolled back to Tiger from 10.5 because of the classic environment not being supported on the latter OS. Needless to say the hoops I had to jump through to find video drivers for his *newer* card that would run under that older OS.. Not fun. I found a base set of drivers that allowed him to run the card with no controls, or get an older card, which he wasn't too keen on. Eventually went for dual boot.
I've tried to shoehorn YellowDog linux 3 onto a few powerbooks - apparently it's supposed to work on the RISC processors but I've not gotten it to work ever. Eh, Tiger's good enough on hardware a decade old which the primary function is a jukebox.
Will be mindful to run the Live distro first when I get ready to leap into the newest PC adventure.
You're welcome. Glad I could help.
Oh, and don't forget to have the Official Sacraficial Thumb, Smacky Hammer O' Deific Appeasement, & Container of Blessed Caffeine to make a proper offering to the various Goddesses involved in the process. If you forget Them & they realize it, It Won't End Well. Nope, not at all. We're talking stuff that makes lathering yourself in bacon to read the Necronomicron look like a Good Idea in comparison.
NO! Its Not the ONLY way to go. It sure is best for some things, but not for others. I have a T21 with no touch-pad, and some jobs are really difficult with the nipple mouse. Others are, of course, much easier. WE NEED CHOICE (at run time, not in the shop).
Build quality and repair-ability.
Yes Thinkpad's weren't the fastest, thinnest etc. machines in the business, but they were designed to be used by mobile workers ie. those who had laptop and would travel, for 3~6 years. Yes, they didn't do rugged, but then if you needed this, just get a Toughbook...
A big factor in their longevity, is their repairability and availability of spare parts, aided by IBM supplying full schematics and selling individual parts (okay some can be a little costly). It is this that enables someone who is proficient with a screwdriver to fully disassemble a Thinkpad, replace/repair a single component (eg. lubricate CPU fan, replace LCD or backlight) and reassemble back into a working system, with no broken bits of plastic left behind or clip-in panels that no longer clip-in.
I've been tempted to build my own 'FrankenPad' (technical term, Google for examples), because even now I can purchase parts from IBM et al. for a T60/T61 (manufactured circa 2007).
The only real problem with the Thinkpad, is it's default usage of Windows. Which in your case will be a problem, particularly if it shipped with Win8 or later (Win7 was probably the last version that had a fully functional Control Panel, Win8/8.1 still has a Control Panel, but it's not complete, with some stuff seemingly only accessible via the 'Charms' menu - where only the initiated can reliably find and access...).
"Since you are all so keen on the ThinkPad, what is the biggest appeal?"
Standard layout keyboards. Sometimes they swap the Ctrl and FN keys (bastards!) but they put an option in the BIOS to swap them.
Understand me here: standard layout keyboards. All the buttons. Delete and backspace. Page up, Page down and so forth! No goddamned "macro" keys on the left side. No stupid "clever" rearrangements of things that make going from your M.C. Escher notebood of fuckwittery to a real desktop a mental gear change that requires hours of retwigging your muscle memory.
Standard. Layout. Keyboards.
Also: the part where I can get both an extended life battery AND a battery that clamps on the bottom and uses the expansion port is fucking amazing. I have a 13" notebook that is perfectly portable, weight-wise, and gives me 22 hours of compute off battery.
Oh, and the power plugs are a decent size, and they are properly soldered to the keyboard so that they take abuse. The notebooks aren't designed to disintegrate in 1 year.
If Lenovo would make the things out of something other than horrifically shittastic plastic that shatters at the slightest provocation, they'd be perfect.
An Aluminimum Thinkpad would be amazing. World-endingly, the-end-is-night class holy WTF amazing.
But yeah, thems the reasons.
What he said!! This is coming from a W520 workhorse with a number of T61s in various stages of repair. (along with an X60 with SSD/Win7pro/Mint17.1) The yellow power socket on R/T series machines is screwed to the frame and the wiring from it is brought out to a flat plug connected to a header on the planar board (as IBM used to call mobos) No amount of plug abuse is going to break that socket in a hurry!
A new 'proper' Thinkpad would be at the top of my wishlist for a new laptop..
It's the ethos. A Thinkpad is a tool as opposed to a fashion accessory. Trad thinkpads - up to the T420/T520/W520 generation - have a nice keyboard, decent feature set and superior build construction. They're designed for road warrior types and the I.T. departments who have to support them. In the Thinkpad ethos, function has always been king and they've been pretty unrepentant about that.
IBM and Lenovo (who bought IBM's PC division about a decade ago) also have very good support for their machines, especially in comparison to certain other purveyors of PC hardware (Dude, you bought ...) and consumer electronics who really are dead set on selling you a new machine every 2-3 years.
Thus, they have good, reliable hardware and a pretty dedicated fan base. I have a friend who bought 3 Thinkpads over the last 15 years - and they all still work. My first introduction to the Thinkpad was when I got a W520 about 3 years ago. It was the first time I owned a laptop that I could truly view as a desktop replacement.
Put in context, I do a lot of typing - enough that there is quite pronounced visible wear on the keycaps. The machine is still trucking along just fine.
If you want a *real* thinkpad then look into getting a used T420 or something of that generation from ebay. T420s weigh about 2kg and should cost about £200-300 for an ex-lease one in good condition (note that the T420 was typically £1000+ when it was new). These are the last generation with the old school keyboards and they're pretty common on the ex-lease market.
They also have space for a mSATA SSD - you can get something like an Intel 525 or 530 off ebay and put it into the machine. This gives you a machine with a system and data disk. Even though people bemoan the insidious influence of the 'thin and light' on the Thinkpad range you can still get a trad one in good condition and fit it out with SSDs and suchlike.
All the above plus the absolutely wonderful page back/forwards buttons (they are either side of the up arrow, making the direction key pad a full 3x2 grid). So few people mention these, but I don't know of any other keyboard that has them. If I could find one, I'd have one for the desktop too - it means you don't need to use the backspace key for going back one webpage, and there is a key for going forward to one already visited without going for the mouse.
All the above plus the absolutely wonderful page back/forwards buttons (they are either side of the up arrow, making the direction key pad a full 3x2 grid). So few people mention these, but I don't know of any other keyboard that has them.
JFTR, my Dell Latitude E6540 - my work machine - has the second set of Page Up / Page Down keys on either side of the main keyboard's Up-Arrow. (This machine also has a numeric keypad, thus "second set". I rarely use the numeric keypad myself, but I know some people like them.)
The E6540 is a Thinkpad-inspired design. It also has an isometric mouse ("nipple mouse", etc) as well as a trackpad, for example. Pretty sturdy construction, replaceable battery, and so on. I'm not entirely thrilled with the machine, but when it comes time to replace my personal Thinkpad, this is one of the alternatives I'd consider.
Blimey! Does he mean a real screen? A proper one with a bit of height to it so I can do stuff? Work without scrolling all the bloody timer?
Count me in! Sign me up! Write down this credit card number!
PS: I don't especially care either way about the cosmetic stuff, and I don't fancy paying some insane premium for it either, but I'd kill my Granny for a proper screen on a Thinkpad.
PPS: Typed on my Thinkpad using the very, very last of the 5 x 4 format external monitors: 1600 x 1200, IPS, 20-something inches, old as the hills, and still vastly more usable than any new screen I can buy or borrow. If Lenovo wants to sell me another one only bigger, I'll strangle as many grandmothers as you please. (Or kittens, prime ministers, lawyers, Microsoft UI designers, you name it, I'll do it.)
I recently treated myself to one of these and it's exquisite. If you think of it as two stunningly superb >2000x2000 ~20" square aRGB 10bit ips panels, it isn't even all that eye-wateringly expensive! I remember paying exactly the same (£350x2) for a pair of 19" Iiyama CRTs many, many moons ago.
That offer you made about "prime ministers"... does that apply only to PMs, or the entire house of baby-raping-I'm-above-the-law-paedophile-scum?...
Come the end of this year, my current workhorse, a Panasonic ToughBook will be 3 years old. While it is showing no signs of wearing out or getting slow in any regards, taxation wise it will be written off.
Now, if there's nothing compelling on the market, it'll probably stay on my desk and remain my workhorse. It's a perfectly serviceable laptop for this task. I do have one gripe though, the screen resolution is a paltry 1366×768.
So I sit back and watch. Others have already mentioned the idea of having a matte high-resolution screen and decent battery capacity. I'd second those ideas. Having some I/O expansion ability would be good too, something that is seriously lacking in so many laptops today and was the reason the MacBook I'm typing this on now (with two USB 2.0 ports and not much else), no longer graces my desk. So minimum 4 USB ports (at least two of them USB 3.0).
Bonus points for RS-232 and CardBus, which is one of the reasons I bought the Panasonic. Not a necessity though, as I have a machine that caters for that, and will probably see out all the RS-232 and CardBus/PCMCIA kit I have.
If you take the guts of an existing "thin" laptop, put it in one of the older-style solid cases with a 4:3 aspect ratio screen and fill the bottom of it with battery and maybe space for one or two 2.5" HDDs, then that may be sufficient.
I love Thinkpads for their ruggedness, reliability and features and the keyboard was always above par. I even like the light in the lid.
Old Thinkpads never die. I know of one venerable X 20-something that is still going strong and getting regular use in a fairly tough outdoor environment. And this by a good friend who is known for their ability to destruction test anything.
They always just did the business
"Old Thinkpads never die. I know of one venerable X 20-something that is still going strong and getting regular use in a fairly tough outdoor environment."
I can't match an X20 but my X60 is chugging away fine here for piddling about on the Web and writing worksheets. Screen a bit pixelly and dim but I don't work in full sunshine if I can avoid it anyway. New no-name battery gives around 5 hours (Debian). Cheap. Plenty of spares around (e.g. keyboards just above a tenner, standardised hard drive 'caddy' means you can fit any 2.5" Sata drive and swap them round). Same psu as most of the core-duo based thinkpads (T61/X200 &c).
The X200 I got for the missus is newer and has a better screen and stays cooler. She uses Windows for the iPlayer and the Channel 4 player thing. Cheap - probably a better buy than an X60 now given the age of the X60/X61.
It will be interesting to see how this Designer Retro(R) or Brand Heritage(TM) thing goes. The analogy with cars should worry the hopeful. The Fiat 600 is no way the same as the little red tin can I remember from the 60s.
T20 running as a firewall. 700 MHz Pertium 3, 256MB ram and PC-CARD second Ethernet card.
Too slow even for a firewall really, but been on 24x7 for more years than I can remember.
I bought it second hand in about 2003.
Typed on a T43, my main workhorse, running Ubuntu LTS 14.04. Still fast enough for most day-to-day purposes.
Please keep/restart making those "classic" ThinkPads for people who actually use laptops for work!
I'll see the Reg Hack and raise him an X200 as my personal machine[*]. Old, but doesn't show it at all. I will consider an upgrade, provided:
* an equally amazing keyboard (I suppose it will mean that the laptop will not be paper-thin - fine with me);
* TouchPoint ("Nipple Mouse" for the less formally inclined) and NO TrackPad;
* 3 physical mouse buttons.
The above are absolutely essential for me. I'll include as VERY nice to have:
* better screen resolution than 1366x768 - I'll go for a somewhat larger dimensions to have that;
* better unplugged battery life (battery is the only thing I replaced on the X since I bought it);
* more RAM for more VMs.
Echoing the others here: GIMMEEEEE!!!
[*] Have a much beefier Dell from work, which is nowhere close in quality, especially where keyboard and mouse buttons are concerned (at least it has a Trackpoint, too).
...but I don't want one.
I've spent a few years in the game as board level field tech and user.
As my starting base, I take the Macbook Air. It's light, thin and packs a punch. The sound is the best I've heard on a machine of this type and the screen, even the non-retina display, is also the best I've seen. It's fanless and has a reasonable amount of storage. I don't need no retina bling! Also, its construction and weight means I can just slip it in my backpack and go.
The downside on the Apple is the keyboard as it's some bastardisation of US and UK international that I can't get on with. I can use it, sure, but when I flip in to touch typing mode, it screws me up something chronic (I'm a small time author so being in the zone when writing, the hardware's got to be ultra-invisible) and even the ThinkPad screwed me up on that score because the CTRL and FN keys were reversed, which is why my X61 is still in the briefcase, despite the SSD, more RAM, extended battery and blah. I do like the Apple's backlit keyboard, though; I write in addition to the day job so do a chunk of writing in the evening/night, so backlit is essential for logging on/etc.
Sure, the Apple hardware has been tuned. Everyday use gets a good few hours out of it, but start pushing it to compile code and the battery life falls off a cliff face. There's something funky going on under the hood, I'm convinced of it.
In terms of operating system, OSX is rubbish for my use. I want to fine tune stuff, but the OS doesn't let me. Convert a video for export? Sure, just hit the export button, but don't expect to have any control over things like, oh, let's say, compression!!!
So currently I'm running Mint, but that means I lose the web cam as that is on a different bus than usual, so the drivers aren't there for it ... which is fair enough.
There's a reason why Apple have stolen the march for the creative types, and it's not just the cool factor.
The HP Stream was a goer for me for a short while, but it quickly had its problems. The battery wouldn't hold a charge and the, "touchpad" seems to report as a mouse; so Mint can't enjoy "two finger swipe scroll," etc. You can't boot from the MicroSD either, which lead me to believe that the reason why the Stream had rounded edges ... was because they cut too many f***ing corners.
I'm not rich, (translate that to not being good enough at selling books!) so I won't be road testing the Lenovo. But I'm enough of a techy and a creative user to know what I need/want, and no-one in the market is giving it to me, especially at the £630 I paid for a 2014 recon unit from the Apple store; which incidentally still came with the standard 1 year warrantee as if it was the full £850 price. (although I've got a feeling that I'm certainly going to, "get it," in classic Reg commentard style after this post!)
No flame really, just to say that you are obviously a committed Mac user in the creative sector and the only PC you reference is likely not a patch on a similarly spec'd Thinkpad.
I don't eat from the fruity tree, all my work is in Windows and I've never felt the need to chime in on an Apple review, that would be irrelevant.
Not the comment I was expecting from a "field tech and user".
The big plus the Thinkpad had over many others, was that not only were they designed to be used by mobile workers they were designed to be field repaired, okay there are a few things that are problematic (eg. replacing the screen, lubricating the CPU fan), but given a screwdriver (and patience) you can readily dissassemble your Thinkpad, replace a component (which could easily be purchased "over-the-counter") and re-assembled into a working machine.
I suspect that with a few tweaks, that others here have also suggested, a retro Thinkpad could be very useful machine to you, particularly if it fully supported Mint out-of-the-box.
Actually, no, this is my first and last Mac. (because of the keyboard) and I'm in the I.T. sector. Have been for most of my career. (I cart around a works iPhone and tolerate it.) Currently in IP telecoms and network support. (Nortel and Cisco) ... I do small time novel writing as a sideline ... but in my computer studies OND we were trained as touch typists; we were also trained in accountancy (if I ever see another double entry accountancy book, I'll barf.) and business needs.
I was working on Thinkpads before they were sold to Lenovo, both as user and repair. As in, complete disassembly to board level.
My weapon of choice used to be the Tecra series. My T8000 went with me everywhere, including working in Europe. That was until I came home one night late from an awkward site visit and fell asleep with the T8000 on the floor by the bed. Got up a few hours later, swung my legs out of the bed and heard the crack.
Regarding tweeking the thinkpad ... no. Not unless they sorted out that FN+CTRL mess. There was an unofficial BIOS for the thinkpad to swap them, (because a good number of people other than me are hacked off by this) but it didn't want to install from memory stick and the boot loader wouldn't load from a USB CD drive, wanted to be on an internal bus, so I thought, "Stuff this."
What about my needs is confusing?
You know .... I'm pretty depressed with you folks. You're letting the side down in more ways than one.
You're Mac haters and what's gonna screw you guys the fuck up is that here is an experienced hardware engineer that's worked for the likes of Sony, Amdahl, Hewlett Packard, Royal Bank of Scotland, among others, in Europe as a team leader and senior engineer in some posts ... and I've got enough guts to actually get hold of an Apple machine and take an honest look at it.
And you guys also assume that I'm a bloke. Well, screw you, 'cause I'm not. Down vote me as much as you like, I don't give a flying fuck. Because I've at least got the honesty to grab a piece of their equipment and tell the truth. And you Apple haters, can just go on and hate; 'cause there's a reason why Apple are number one in the world.
OK, so they may not be number one by a long chalk if their finances were ever repatriated because the tax bill would leave a hell of a hole in their pocket. Like, point the oxy-accetaline torch at the hip level and let it rip ... And hey, how can I be an apple lover if I replaced OSX with Mint? Eh? Square that circle for me.
But they're succeeding for a reason. And any manufacturer that doesn't want to look at that reason; well, they won't ever beat Apple.
And hell .. haters like you are just gonna hate. And assume that all hardware engineers are blokes. Well, screw you. Down vote this, you hateful sons of bitches.
(insert ASCII art of a middle finger, 'cause I can't be arsed to actually go find one, 'cause you haters just aren't worth it.)
I certainly didn't say anything that inferred any gender assumptions, nor did I indicate a hatred of Apple products so feel it a little unfair to be responded to with 'screw' and 'f*ck'. My apologies for assuming that you were a creative professional but your original posting inferred as much. Also, if you've to go to the trouble of installing a non-manufacturer OS to enable you to work effectively then that does somewhat undermine your assertion that the original product is fit for purpose.
Regarding buying a second hand Mac and saying that a new Thinkpad is too expensive, that's not comparing like for like. Were you to buy a new Mac, change the OS and find that you had a problem that needed fixing I'd suggest that Apple would be reluctant to honour any guarantee.
"There's a reason Apple are No1…". Yes, love, it's called "advertising". Advertising to those who value style over substance and/or who have access to Daddy's gold MasterCard.
Being number 1 doesn't automatically mean you're any good - the 'music' charts are proof of that.
Have another down-vote for being a snivelling little whiny bitch.
Oh and don't let the name fool ya, I ain't female. Nor male. And I don't give a flying pig's posterior what ANYONE thinks of that!
Need 'whiny bitch' icon.
It's not advertising. They've got a product that's better in a number of regards for what people want. Full stop.
They don't have LED's that shine on the keys (I usually find myself fishing for the key combo in the dark on the Lenovo) because Apple have backlit keys that adjust to the ambient lighting from the moment you power on.
You know all those little extras that make BMW, Mercedes, etc. nicer cars; like the auto-dimming rear view mirror, the stereo that lowered the volume when you slowed down, the rear wiper working if you put the car in reverse with the main wipers already on ... the little touches (that others now copy) ... that's where Apple scores.
Except the keyboard; and to explain that ... in everyday use I'm usually looking at the keyboard because I switch machines while I work; except when I do serious typing, and that's when I start touch-typing, and the keys had better be in the correct positions, or I start hitting the wrong ones and it really knackers the flow.
But you guys don't want to hear that. Oh, it's the, ... "advertising," darling, and you're a whiny bitch while you're at it; El Reg, icon please! And have a useless comparison as proof of nothing in particular while we're at it... etc.
Apple have delivered a nice bit of kit at a reasonable price; the sound is nice and I'm impressed with the non-retina display and the overall performance is sparky when I want it, at the obvious cost of battery (but the keyboard is a deal breaker for me, as is the Lenovo; why can't they both just do a decent job the first time) but you don't want to hear the truth and will fire anything at me and down-thumb me in to oblivion rather than admit that I might, actually, have a point.
I stated right at the start that I was a board level field tech and the very first thing I get back is, "No flame really, just to say that you are obviously a committed Mac user in the creative sector and the only PC you reference is likely not a patch on a similarly spec'd Thinkpad." ... automatically assigning me as I'm "obviously a committed mac user in the creative sector" and "likely" ... etc. and general things like, "Some of his other points are a bit confusing, though." without going in to specifics. You're just sticking your fingers in your ears and going la, la, la, whiny bitch, la, la.
And that's why any honest comment here is not worth the effort.
My bad re forgetting the first line of your rather lengthy post by the time I'd got to the end of it. It must have been the bits about being a struggling writer that gave me the impression that you were a creative type. I still contend that I at no point said anything sexist, nor did I express a hatred of Apple products which were the two criticisms that you levelled at all commenters, myself included.
If you've experience of Thinkpads then why not mention that in your original post, along with your reasons for not liking them? It would have been more relevant to the topic.
Given that you said 'I'm gonna get flamed for this' and your eagerness to 'flame' others one might be forgiven for assuming that you are trolling. Mind you, if you're a female in tech I can see why you might get a bit chippy - lot of sexist pricks and right of centre reactionaries out there in tech-land, gotta wind 'em up for the lulz, eh?
I personally gave up on such unproductive behaviour years ago (but I did get a buzz out of it for a while)
Thanks for the understanding. I know the attitude towards Apple here so I was on a hair trigger from the start, because there are definitely things to like about the Apple kit (not the keyboard!) and putting this sort of thing in a forum isn't easy. Damned if you go in to the necessary detail, and damned if you don't!
I'm a little more of a target than many think, but the public sector isn't as judgemental so I'm "mostly" judged by my performance and who I am, rather than what. I won't elaborate; we all have our crosses to carry.
My apologies if I offended you.
One of the problems with a lot of the laptops is that we never see side-on, etc. and the only "dimension" was going back to the 90's with this one; and blocky is the last thing I need :-) I could actually still do with a serial port.
The thinkpad has always had this luscious black cover, but for me, the LED's never worked. I find myself thinking, "Ah, two LED's. So someone else thinks that one LED never worked, but why extend something that isn't right in the first place." ... I could never really remember the combo to turn it on, which was useless in the dark!
I could go on, but the long story short is that we've reached a power spec that is more than comfortable for the daily work. I don't need more power, I need it more portable, lighter, and a few of the nicer touches which the Air has got. (and the CTRL in the proper place :-) )
The best I can explain it is like the megapixel battle in photography; everyone's realised finally that more mexapixels is a fools errand, and are concentrating on making them work smarter.
Thanks to you too. Recently escaped from a fairly minor role in the public sector myself, it has it's own unique pressures.
At the risk of sounding like a closet appleist some of my best friends are Mac users (LOL). I actually quite like the design and the lack of annoying messages that pop up at boot time like they do on Windows but all of my work is on Windows machines, plus they're cheap. I honestly find a second hand TP to be more than adequate (and I never struggle to find the keys for the LED in the dark - bottom left and top right on mine, easy to feel your way to)
I felt a little bad about pushing the subject as I suspect your comments were largely justified, I think pedantry is all part of my nerdishness.
Best of luck with the writing career
Regarding tweeking the thinkpad ... no. Not unless they sorted out that FN+CTRL mess.
Having the stupid FN key in place of where on every other damn keyboard the CTRL key was the biggest single problem common to the old Lenovo keyboards. It made switching from one keyboard / system to another stupidly awkward because while you could get used to the dumb positioning of the FN key in place of the CTRL key, as soon as you switched to a normal keyboard layout you had to get used to it all over again. I frequently had to switch from thinkpad to normal system so this was a common problem. However as noted elsewhere, at least these could be swapped in the BIOS.
The other major dumb-ass "innovation" was the navigation "back" and "forward" keys sited in such a spot where it was all too easy to mis-press them or to accidentally press them in place of a normal navigation key such as cursor or Page Up / Page Down. I never found a software fix for these cursed keys (the Lenovo remapping tool refused to remap these) so I just popped the keys out and left a hole in the keyboard.
At least there was an option where the function keys weren't mapped to "special" functions by default and to use the function key as a function key you had to press FN and the function key. Oops.. sent the system into hibernate. Again. All I wanted to do was refresh the page...
I just put an SSD in my X201 (i5, 8GB) in an attempt to make it last longer. The X250 at least brought back the extra buttons above the touchpad, but I still can't get used to that new keyboard (then again, I'm typing this using a Unicomp Ultra Classic).
I generally hang onto Thinkpads for about six years. So a new one next year would be just about right.
Having also been through the various different models of Thinkpads since 2000, the layout is something that works for me and I have never been comfortable with on other vendor laptops. Sometimes older models have performed better than the newer models and it would be really good to see the engine inside the beast to move away from being just enough - to more than enough. I am certain there would be many happy users out there (Screen resolution, GPU, CPU, Storage and RAM increases would be welcomed).
I actually like the new keyboards, I've got a T430 for work, and have a Thinkpad Yoga for home use, prior to that an X120e which was perfectly comfortable to type on despite the slightly smaller keyboard size. I've still got a Z61m that my wife was using as her daily until recently and an X61 tablet that I keep around as the software that my wife's embroidery machine uses doesn't work on anything beyond Windows XP and the tablet eases the design work. Jumping from chiclet keyboard designed thinkpads back to the oldskool ones I definitely feel that the chiclet keyboards are a step forward. Though I do find myself using an old style Thinkpad usb keyboard on my desktop, it's not that much different to justify the cost of upgrading to a newer chiclet style one.
That said I'll agree that the chassis doesn't feel as tough on the newer ones and the size of the pointless touchpad on the new ones is far too large leaving me palming the mouse around when typing unless I disable it. Which with integrated buttons on the one on my Yoga meant lots of faffing with my xorg configs to disable it and keep the buttons working. I'm glad the wife's new X250 has the proper buttons back for the touchpoint. I'd also love a better resolution 16:10 screen, the screen on my old Z61m still looks cracking even at it's 'low' 1680x1050 resolution. Battery life on the wife's new X250 is amazing, it really does go all day from an overnight charge, something like that in a tank-style thinkpad would be awesome.
"Am I the only one who likes the new keyboards?"
Quite possibly. They seem to get a lot of flack. I like them too, but I liked the old ones also. They are a bit different but I have no strong opinion either way. Thinkpads have always had excellent keyboards and that applies to both new and old. Nice to see the tradition continues. (Disclaimer: I mostly use external keyboards with the Thinkpad docked, so others will be more aware of the finer touches.)
It's nice to see another tradition not continue - the longstanding Thinkpad tradition of near-ruining an otherwise excellent machine with a dim, not-very-clear, generally horrible TN-film screen. Starting perhaps a decade back and up until ... oh ... maybe three or four yours ago ... Thinkpad screens were awful.Well, some were almost half-decent, many were awful, and not just the c heap ones. My much-loved T400 has a terrible screen. (My current T530 is much better.) All that seems to have changed now: the last six or eight new Thinkpads I've used for any length of time had screens which were at least decent and sometimes rather good. Are you listening Lenovo? Spend the extra $30 or what ever small amount it is. We will pay it and pay it happily if you give us screens as good as the rest of your hardware.
You should also still have a portable series. IBM has shown how to build small yet very good laptops. They had the first laptop which was smaller than the keyboard. 15" and bigger is fine for some uses, but under many circumstances 13" is already rather large.
And nobody f*cking cares about thickness.
1) It's built as solid as my reliable T30 (circa 2002, and still going, but not my primary machine, sadly)
2) It's as reliable as my T30
3) Updated to modern processor, ram, ssd (or have the option to udate to one)
4) REMOVABLE battery (that can be charged without being in the laptop)
5) Decent screen resolution 2560 or greater
6) Keyboard with as good a feel as the T30, or better
7) Keyboard light is useful, but backlit keyboard (must be "cool" blue!) would be better
I will trade increased weight for the above features, up to 5 lbs. (2.3 kg?)
The hinges on the T30 are 2 very visible stainless-steel lugs, bolted to the steel (magnesium?) laptop frame and screen frame, These things will never break. Forget carbon fibre, forget plastic (screws strip, frame breaks - like the ASUS POS), forget aluminium, use STEEL for the hinge system.
Oh, and don't take 3 years to get it to production. Christmas 2016 PLEASE! And then I can retire my T30 to a respectable pasture (perhaps a low-power proxy/firewall?)...
I think you're very lucky. The T30 was a bit of a bogey machine, the worst of any of the Thinkpads that I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, I kept my T30 running for as long as I could, but...
The T30 was the first Thinkpad that was completely made in the Far East AFAIK, and they got the mechanical design a bit wrong. They are notorious for the RAM sockets to break solder joints. Finding a T30 with both memory slots still working without some paper wedged in to put pressure on the slots is a very, very rare thing. I think that the designers recognised this, because there was no T31 or later T3X systems, and the T40 was launched not that long afterwards. I think the motherboard was put under some strain, because several of them I've had have had different types of foam pads to act as strain relief, but they never really worked.
I know Thinkpads are repairable. I had 4 different motherboards in my T30, and eventually resorted to re-soldering the RAM sockets myself, but I don't have a re-soldering station, and using a normal dry soldering iron to melt the solder already there eventually burns the surface mount pads off the motherboard.
I kept it running until I could no longer find any mobos on eBay, and the ones I had could no longer be re-soldered. I eventually decided to replace it with a T43 (this machine) when I could find one with a Dothan processor (and the cost dropped to lower than a T30 mobo, even one not guaranteed to work. But the hard disk (swapped out of the T30 to keep the 'machine' the same even though it's different hardware, is flagging SMART errors, and large IDE 2.5" disks (100GB+) are also getting rare. Core 2 duo T60s (with SATA hard disks) are beginning to look cheap on eBay at the moment, so I may switch again, but this swap will require copying between disks, not just a disk swap.
T30's also has a definitely silly bit of design. If you tried to remove the disk with the lid shut, you were guaranteed to break the top left corner of the bezel. It is such a common problem, that if you see a T30, it's almost certainly broken there.
If there was a modern Thinkpad, in approximately the same form-factor as the T20-T60 ranges, available at a reasonable price, I may just skip to a new one rather than a used one. But, unfortunately, I think Lenovo will take the interest as a sign that people would pay a high price, and they will introduce them at ultra-book prices. If they do this, they've not really looked at what people want.
Budget computing Nirvana is a SATA Thinkpad with an SSD. Someone mentioned poor screens - fixable when one is buying secondhand as it is possible to get former high-end machines with IPS displays.
You can migrate from IDE to SATA by buying a 2.5" IDE external disk caddy - pop your old HDD into that (after backing it up, of course), boot new machine from a Linux CD, and use the "dd" command to copy the contents of the IDE drive to the SATA disk.
However if running Windows, the O/S may fail to boot due to its new hardware environment and you will almost certainly need to turn off AHCI in the BIOS (which means that the SATA drive appears functionally identical to an IDE drive).
Personally I'm still using a W500 with 1680x1050 IPS display - keyboard not as good as the T61p that was its predecessor - but the W500 does a very good job as my everyday work machine and one day when PC manufacturers rediscover 16:10 displays I may consider an upgrade.
I've done the disk clone thingy with dd several times. I'm not concerned by it, although you can get a bit screwed by the UUID in /etc/fstab of some partitions under some circumstances.
The Windows side is more tricky, because moving the image to a new system will trip the Windows Genuine
disAdvantage 'it's no longer the same system' in later Windows versions, and you have to change the license key to match the new system (believe me, I've done it several times). But I only keep a real windows partition going for those very rare circumstances when I can't do what I need to under Linux or in VirtualBox. It gets booted about twice a year!
The Windows drivers are not really an issue. It'll always come up with VGA graphics, and as long as the usb 1.1 drivers are installed or the optical media works, you can install the correct drivers (My Thinkpad history: 365X ->365XD ->380D ->T20 ->T23 ->T30 (multiple mobo's) ->T43, and I had an N33sx and an L40sx before the Thinkpad brand). During this time, I've gone through many disks, although for the last 10 years or so, I've only changed the disk as I've needed more space, not when I've changed machine.
My T42 has passed to mums household, running XP for occasional needs.
At home is a T410, Windows 7, running nicely. Oh and and a 2nd on under the TV as an entertainment hub.
Typing this on the work W520.
Among the desirable attributes are FIXABILITY.
What other brand has numbered or illustrated screw holes on the underside to remind you which screw loosens which item? Or a keyboard that pops off with 3 mins work?
Over the years I've replaced various parts - drives, keyboards, it's the fix ability (parts off Ebay) I like.
And the stream of ex-corp ones that will arrive later that can be bought for home use.
Experience of office colleagues has regrettably been that the W5x series is nowhere near as reliable as the T series, overheating and motherboard failure being typical.
"What other brand has numbered or illustrated screw holes on the underside to remind you which screw loosens which item? Or a keyboard that pops off with 3 mins work?"
Dell - they even supply the service manuals
I could take the keyboard off my old Precision M65 in about 30 seconds.
Yes Dell have done a reasonable job on their 'professional' range of laptops. But comparing a Latitude D620/630 with a Thinkpad T60 and you see some of the corners Dell cut. Additionally, Dell don't have the same approach to spares as IBM/Lenovo had with respect to the Thinkpads, so sourcing spares for the various D620/630 systems being used by friend's is a little more problematic.
I think that Lenovo actually have much to gain (or regain depending upon viewpoint) by re-establishing a 'traditional' Thinkpad machine in the market. Given they effectively took over IBM's manufacturing, you would expect the employees would not only have the skills but also the motivation to recreate a modern Thinkpad, worthy of the name.
To me it is unknown why people praise old T30 and T42 so much, both suffered from case flexing, rendering the ram slots unusable. I loved my 2002 IBM T30 to bits, but could not prevent it from slowly dying under my fingers.
The Lenovo SL510 I bought in 2010 was worse from performance, since equipped with HD4000 Intel integrated crappics, batteries and keyboards of these models were broken by design. Build quality non existent.
If people like an excellent laptop, with superb build quality, check out the MSI-GT72 2QE models. That has all the features the old IBM laptops had, top of the bill performance is an added bonus.
Yes, when doing "business" buying a gaming laptop seems off, but gaming laptops have to deliver, otherwise they wont be sold, for "business" often a good ad campaign combined with high prices is sufficient to convince people. MSI just delivers, and their products match up to the glossy website, which is a rare treat in this world nowadays.
Bringing back the old look and functionality of the old IBM/Lenovo footprint would be awesome!
I have, and my wife has, Lenovo T-61 machines still running strong. I have replaced the bios with 3rd. party bios enabling 8 gigs of ram, SSD, usb3 card, and every other option that my T61 6459-CTO has to offer. Still working strong... and rebuild able. I have repaired many different laptops over the years, and Lenovo is designed to be taken apart, and to be able to repair, replace anything. You just don't get that in any other machine.
Oh, and the ugly keyboard you say? Remember back when keyboards where tested for speed and ease of use, tactical feel, and the least of errors because of mistriked keys? I do, and IBM/Lenovo keyboard was rated the best of the best............so bring back the supposedly bad Chiclets keys please!
Oh, and there is the front panel facing you with the dashboard lit up telling you the status of the machine.
Very informative. Bring that back too!
Docking stations are great on these. Its a serious business machine that CANNOT COMPARE to other Walmart, store bought laptops. That is why I am still using my 2006 T61. Workhorse is an understatement.
Configure the machine you want with the smallest HDD they offer on that CTO build. Once you get it from them, remove the original drive & stick it in a safety deposit box. Install new, larger, faster SSD & install a fresh copy of whatever you want.
Even though the Business grade machines didn't come with the scumware that the Consumer grade ones did, it still makes sense since you get charged less for the machine, don't ruin the default instal in case you need to send it back in for repair (swap drives & they never know), and you get a clean install of whatever OS you desire.
Sure a Signiture Edition would be nice, but given how easy a ThinkPad is to open up & user upgrade/repair, making your own "Signiture Edition" takes a screwdriver, time, & the intelligence not to stab yourself in the head with the pointy end.
So I get my new Thinkpad, open it up, swap drives, download and install Windows 10 from that online store which waves the pirate flag making sure I don't install a compromised version because Microsoft doesn't offer .isos if it's an OEM version, then find and install the drivers?
Life's too short for that. Just give me a damn computer which works and I can be sure that it's not got scumware on it. A default Lenovo install can't offer that. A Signature Edition can.
I've had a T500, an X60, an X60T, an X200 and an X220. The X220 is my main everyday machine (apart from linux things in racks). They all still run perfectly apart from the T500. The X60 was the best in terms of size and indestructibility. I'd buy something made like an X60 but with a decent processor and graphics like a shot.
I think mine were 240X, X41t, X60s, X61s and now X301, while my wife had T42, T62 and now X220. Not all were excellent - the T42 and X60s in particular had letters wear off the keyboard caps, but most were great, especially the X61s and X301. The X220 is nice and pretty solid, but I still prefer the X301's bigger screen, SSD and lighter weight. The only things I miss are there's no SD-card reader or docking station.
An updated X301 with say an i7 chip, 16 or 32GB, SD-reader, docking port, at least 2500 by something screen, and a higher capacity battery would be great. Sadly it would probably cost at least a grand, whereas I can pick up and fully pimp out a second-hand original X301 for £200, tops.
A lot of comments here want so many features, ports, etc on their ideal retro thinkpad... Quite frankly I don't! I've had a few X series (as well as T series) thinkpads and much prefer the smaller form factor and am very happy to have less features (that I won't use that often anyway).
I currently have a personal X200 and a work X240, it's interesting to compare the two of them. The X240 has really compromised 6 row keyboard, it's frustrating that I have a dedicated Home key, but for End I had to use a combo. So a really good 7 row keyboard is a must (and since it will have a taller 16:10 screen there should be room for a deeper keyboard).
Can we also have the battery at the front of the laptop to counterbalance the weight of the open screen (like on the t20/t21), it seems quite obvious really...
I'd love a new thinkpad, but just don't think the current ones are worth spending a serious amount of money on, I'm hopeful for a decent retro thinkpad, soon
I bought a used ThinkPad of the Windows 7 era from an on-line seller. It was very nice. So I went back and bought another, and another, and another, and another.
The kidiots each have one. With the slightly more powerful video chip, they're quite happy to use them for Steam games. Obviously not state of the art gaming platforms, but the kidiots are VERY happy with them so who am I to argue?
I've got three. Two for different purposes (Entertainment, Radio/Comms) and a spare.
Thank you to the businesses that pay over $2,000 for loaded ThinkPads and then make them available to me through the 2nd hand market for about $250 only three years later. Very generous of them. Thank you so much. Please buy lots of these new ones for your staff.
The current ThinkPads are good, but the old ones were great. Please bring back:
• 7-row keyboard (with PgUp and PgDn back at the top, and Back and Forward reinstated next to the up arrow; and the function keys properly grouped in fours; and a Windows properties menu key; and Num Lock even on the standard-width keyboard [or is there a way other than numpad * to do “expand all” in a treeview control?])
• 16:10 screen
• Status LEDs (including Caps Lock, WiFi radio, HDD, speaker/mic mute, battery/sleep [visible with lid closed])
• Three proper separate mouse buttons (it looks like they’ve already gone back to this on the T450; certainly the huge trackpad “paddle” in place of the mouse buttons on the T440 is horrific)
• Earlier TrackPoint/nub/nipple/clit (obligatory http://xkcd.com/243/), not the new squishy flat-topped thing
• Battery removable with one hand while you’re using the other to hold the case
• ThinkLight (or two; why not? As long as they get the angle right; the T30 was better than the T410 in this regard)
• Blue Enter key (OK: that’s just cosmetic and maybe too much IBM for Lenovo, but I like it)
In the blog post, Hill says: “Please remember actually bringing a retro inspired ThinkPad to market would require significant sales volumes to justify the development effort and tooling expense.” It’s so sad that they’ve thrown away so much of the great old IBM stuff and would have to start all over again…
When someone pulls out a Thinkpad on a train you just know that he/she is going to do Something Very Important with it.
Re: Comment about clouting muggers with it: One of my clients did throw his Thinkpad at the wall in exasperation on one of my visits (he kept sticking Registry Clean-Up Utilities and such-like on it, and I kept telling him the thing would work better if he refrained from doing so). I picked it up off the floor, plugged it in, and uninstalled them all. What do you mean? Of course it survived that.
Question: This proposed product: Will it come with traditional IBM-type documentation?
I can certainly attest to the toughness. Dropped my old T43 onto the pavement when a strap broke on the really rubbish laptop bag I foolishly had it in (not just sh*t straps but no meaningful padding or support). Lo and behold, opened the lid and it woke from standby with no problems and only very minor damage to the plastic on one corner
And yes, if I see someone whip out a Thinkpad I automatically tend to assume they are serious about what they do, whereas if they get out a budget comedy laptop I find myself assuming the opposite.
I'd go for a second hand Thinkpad over a new other brand every time.
"I’ve been exploring the idea of introducing a very unique ThinkPad model."
He said 'very unique' - the man is not to be trusted with producing the first 'proper' ThinkPad since probably before the X220
It'd need to have:-
Hardware off switches on webcam, microphone and WiFi,
A nine pin serial port
A VGA port
Proper seven row keyboard
Proper hinges with latches to keep the lid closed
Decent vertical screen resolution
A matt (matte?) screen
All of the above.
And the HD needs to be replaceable like on a T43 (open the little door and pul it out). Not "dismantle half the machine". (Obviously same for RAM and other bits).
Actually, I am not sure I want a built in microphone. I would really like to be able to remove it and know its not bridging the air-gap! Theya re easy to plug in. (which reminds me: and stereo line-in, like my 760E)
I can face not having a PCMCIA card slot, but MUST have at least 3 USB ports (have a quad USB PCMCIA card in my T21).
Anything but that godawful keyboard on the X1 Carbon would be great.
Where's the home and end keys? why is there no touch feedback from the function keys?
Why does the right control key want to be the insert key?
Ugh I hate it and am stuck with it for the next 3 years at work.
Watch parts go flying (2:24 & 2:27) when merely attempting to open up the case on this T440s. Just a horrible design that sees the motherboard and assorted electrical connections flexing as the flimsy plastic shell is peeled away from the innards.
Lenovo have resorted to selling junk for premium prices, purely trading off the reputation of ThinkPads of old. They should not be rewarded for this practice.
a) It's perfectly functional for resolutions greater than what single-link DVI can do (i.e. 1080p60) Except of course when you are using really bad equipment.
b) You wouldn't be able to use that laptop in 99% of all lecture halls or meeting rooms as those are VGA only.
c) There is no disadvantage to having such a connector. It doesn't take up much space
And do my best to irritate all the wankers with their new Surface tablets. Add a touch screen and watch the one thing the surface does well fade into utter irrelevancy.
For the person who asked what the point of the "Thinklight" was, simple: Not only does it light up the keyboard, but any paperwork you have with you, a keyfob token, etc. A light-up keyboard is somewhat useless except for finding all the fancy keys whose positions you don't remember (and to look "hi-tech"), but your hands are blocking the majority of the keyboard most of the time. And for that matter, what's stopping you from having both on one machine? Build the penultimate laptop and they will come.
I would love something like that, I've never had a Thinkpad but loved the deisgn on the older ones. I'd buy something physically like that but with modern tech in it for sure. Do make a range though, I do tend to prefer longer battery life, lower heat and less fan use over a firebreathing monster. Others do prefer the firebreathing monster though 8-)
If you want to really lock it in, have a non-Microsoft option. Even if it's just "no OS", I really don't care to pay for an OS license I'll never use and be counted statistically as a Microsoft customer when I'm not.
Go with your heart, you can pick up TPs with a reasonable spec for reasonable prices second hand these days. Even the Lenovo models are better than most others at a similar price point. If, as your post suggests, you intend to install a non-windows OS you'll not need to worry about future Win10 compatibility. Pop an extended battery on too if you really want long battery life, although the built-in battery management is pretty good anyway for ensuring maximum use between charges.
My T440s with the extended 6 cell battery lasts basically forever on a charge, has an outstanding keyboard and build quality, and is reasonably light and thin. What's more, it has a trackpad that is almost (not quite) as good as an Apple trackpad and one of those button thingummies for those who can't get on with trackpads. It has plenty of ports, 12 gigs of RAM and a massive SSD. It also doesn't have spurious annoying status lights everywhere and is actually - in a businessy kind of a way - a bit of a looker.
I looked at the Lenovo product page for that model. The "what's wrong with it?" list is unfortunately not inconsiderate.
1. It has 4GiB of RAM that's *soldered on*, plus a single slot that tops out at an 8GiB stick. Meaning you can only CTO it with 6~12GiB of RAM.
2. It doesn't include an Ethernet Port among those listed, so Gigabit LAN is out unless you buy a dongle.
I stopped there since those two are enough to kill any desire to own one.
Can you recommend a different model that includes at least two memory slots (16GiB is fine, 32GiB is better) and Gigabit LAN?
Couldn't comment, as I don't need it. 12 gigs of RAM is enough for me, as is 100MBit ethernet. Maybe there is a machine wih those specs? It's a big range.
But more to the point, all that stuff is about internal specs, not external "retro" styling. What makes you think the retro machine will have what you need?
Edit: just checked my machine. The ethernet port is gigabit.
First my appollogies for the inadvertant truncation of your name. I didn't intend to & didn't hear the error until it was too late.
You say your machine *does* have Gigabit LAN? Then I shall have to go kick someone at Lenovo in the head for that bit of misinformation. If they've screwed up on that model, which others have they done likewise?
Part of the reason the single memory slot is such a pain in the butt is that a single channel is a limitation to the total bandwidth the memory can utilize. A dual channel configuration allows a wider data path, faster operations, & a greater efficiency. (Not to mention more RAM.) There's also the fact that the 4GiB of soldered on memory means that bit isn't upgradeable, so if you ever found 12GiB insufficient, you would have nothing as far as an upgrade path. I accept that 12GiB is a lot, is enough for your & most needs, but as the old addage goes "more is better". It's better to have it & not need it than need it & not have it. *Smile*
As for the availability of the specs I desire, you would think so but they seem to be difficult (for me at least) to find. I can find 4th gen i7's of the dual core variety, but no 5th's of the quad core kind. I can find units that accept up to 16GiB of RAM, but mostly on the "Mobile Workstations" which start at a much higher price point than I want to pay. I can find units with SSD's in their CTO options, but most of them are either SATA-1 for ~5x retail price, SATA-3 for ~10x the retail price, and nothing at all in the M.2 super speed form factor.
The reason I believe the hardware would be in such a "Retro ThinkPad" revitalization is because it fits with the concept of Classic ThinkPad build quality, stuffed with modern hardware. Things like 5th gen i3's, i5's, & i7's, four memory slots for up to 32GiB RAM, enough internal space for a RAID of notebook HDD's much less SSD's, SATA-3/M.2 interfaces, a choice of optical drive, additional HDD/SSD, or something else in a modular bay tray, a main battery with a use time of 6~8 hours & an optional battery wedge with a run time of 12+ hours, 4x USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, ExpressCard slot, Gigabit LAN, WiFi, WLAN option, and a screen resolution that wasn't obsolete over a decade ago.
All those are "modern hardware" that would go quite nicely into a Classic chassis, and if they offered it at a reasonable price then the man from the blog article has over 1,700 commenters expressing interest, plus quite a few here, and $Deity knows how many others on different forums.
For a TL;DR version of my feelings, see the first post under this topic. "Gimmie!" =-D
No worries, @hadow..
Can confirm, T440S absolutely definitely does have gigabit LAN. Have just opened up the adapter properties of mine and confirmed it.
I'm a front office investment banking developer, .Net client and server, and in daily use the machine is surprisingly powerful. I'd love a quad core chip too, but sadly not an option. For the weight and size of the machine, however, I'm really very happy with it.
My job requires a lot of international travel and I appreciate not having to lug around a huge lump. The machine will also last >10 hours on a charge in the real world which is fantastic, at least it will with the extended battery, which I have. You can get more powerful machines but they come with a weight penalty.
Also, the battery is hot-swappable. There are two batteries: a small internal one and a larger one on the back, which it uses first. You can take out the larger battery and replace it (it just clips on) without even shutting down the machine.
Thank you for the confirmation. I plan on calling up Lenovo for a quote in a bit, & I'll browbeat the CSR about the inaccurate data on the site.
The loss of the WLAN card to free up the M.2 slot is an acceptable trade off AFAIC. I've got much more use for the latter rather than the former.
I'd offer a Pint in gratitude but think it might lose something in the trip across the Pond. *Smirk*
You've turned blue?
BREATHE! Breathe you fool!
*Shows you a life sized, holographic, more real than real, image of Borat in his thongkini; smiles at the explosive projectile vomiting*
That's better. Now you can stop immitating a Smurf.
*Runs like hell, laughing my arse off*
I down voted and then realised that I should qualify my comment. I bought a T440 to replace my T410 as I wanted a bigger trackpad as I quite liked Win 8 and 8.1 and wanted to be able to use the full range of gestures. I have to say I hate the track pad. Mechanically very stiff and not particularly accurate, I found I missed the buttons and despite being able to tap and double tap etc I have never become comfortable using it. I agree with the comments regarding the battery life, but I thought the on board ports were lacking, the square power adaptor just encourages the unwary to try and jam a USB device in to it and only having Mini DP out was just a pain as I don't want to carry adaptors around with even to DP - DP.
It is my own fault for not checking the specs out when I purchased it but in my defence buying the next iteration of the T series in the past was always a safe move. More of the same with more modern stuff. Not being able to buy a classic Thinkpad caused me great angst and I am still looking for a good replacement. This may seem counter intuitive but at the moment I am using MS Surface Pro with a docking station and the T440 is on the floor under my desk. The Surface on a dock gives me all the connectivity I need at my desk and is more portable and has a better battery life than even the T440. Sadly the TP in its current form simply is not good enough to shine in either role.
I own a Lenovo X230 i7/16GB/512SSD and mechanically compared to a old IBM Thinkpad T23 it is crap. The T60 was nice and I liked Thinkpads when IBM used to make them. The X220 was ok but the BIOS was crap.
I love that the x230 can use coreboot and if the Purism laptops had a trackpoint and were able to ship many on time I would buy many.
As an old sysadmin and programmer I happen to choose what some companies will buy for the rest of the workers. HP and Dell had some nice laptos at a good price but now they make crap too. (I had a Dell Inspiron 8200, a Dell Lattitude D620, and an HP probook 6450b ). I also used a Macbook pro 13" retina and it is very limited and impossible to upgrade. The last non retina macbook pro was ok but I missed the trackpoint and apple laptops were only used to code stuff for apple devices.
Those who don't understant the love for the trackpoint never had programmers complaining about carpal syndrome. Apple touchpads are nice and much much better than the rest and they look pretty ok, but they're still worse than a trackpoint for people who have to type all day. I HATE the new Lenovos without real buttons for the trackpoint and I'm looking to other alternatives because lenovo made their laptos behave like bad Acer laptos and I loved the IBM thinkpads.
To be able to upgrade it is essential. Some programmers only use 8GB/ram but some do need 16/32GB and a company doesn't know that when they buy the computer, They buy n computers, all the same, probably with low specs and then adapt them (or let the programmers adapt them to their needs). IBM used to make good reliable base laptops, Lenovo only took the brand (their service manuals are still ok) and I would be glad to buy Lenovo stuff it they make reliable laptops.
Reading these comments, I'm reminded yet again of all the classic ThinkPad virtues we used to take for granted -- that keyboard; the trackpoint; the clip-on battery pack; the durability, practicality and maintainability.
So make it a late IBM-era or early Lenovo-era model with at least 32GB RAM, i7 processor, SATA-3, two SFF bays for SSDs, 1Gbps Ethernet, and plenty of USB3 ports. Aspect ratio 16:10 or 4:3. Windows 7 Pro 64. I don't care how thick it is or how much it weighs.
I do hope Lenovo goes ahead with this idea.
You can get free Windows ISO's from Digital River, a Microsoft partner whom makes available a very large array of MS operating systems & software suites for free. They can do this because you still need the Licensing Key to activate it, and they sell those. Otherwise it's a MS TechNet listed resource for grabbing the ISO's of the stuff you need.
Swapping a HDD/SSD on a ThinkPad isn't exactly time consuming. A couple of screws, a cable, & call it a day.
The drivers *might* be a problem, but given it's a _ThinkPad_ & well known for being nearly fully supported Out Of The Box for both Windows & Linux, this probably won't be an issue.
Seriously, you can buy the machine from Lenovo with the bare bones RAM & HDD to save money, buy the max ram for cheaper elsewhere, a ginormous SSD cheaper elsewhere, spend the ~HalfHour to make the swaps, & end up with a machine that's damn-near exactly what you want, minus the Direct Neural Interface & Laser weapons.
I _just_ got done speccing out a T440 on the Lenovo site & the software was *very* configurable. Want Adobe, McAffee, Norton, or a host of others? Just tick the appropriate boxes. Don't want them? Don't tick the boxes. YES there's preloaded bloat, and a real Signiture Edition would take care of that, but if you take the time to customize it (outside of Lenovo's ordering page), then a fresh install of the OS of choice does that too.
Sure, I'd love an Official Signiture Edition, as you pointed out it would be easier that way. But failing an official one, it's not _that_ hard to Do It Yourself.
If your time is *SO* precious that you can't spend any of it to make the machine your own, WTF are you doing spaffing it on a comment forum complaining?
*Comical raspberry with thumbs in ears gesture*
>You can get free Windows ISO's from Digital River
Not been possible for a while now,
ISO's for some editions of Win7 available from:
and for some editions Office 2007:
Thank you for the update! I wasn't aware that Digital River had stopped offering them. *Sigh* Another fine resource flushed down the drain.
I'll update my records & go revisit my archive folder of all the ISO's I've downloaded from D.R. already.
I wonder if I can get a DropBox account & fill it like an FTP site? Hmmmm... *Innocent Whistling*
I was a bit disappointed by my latest attempt to keep the ThinkPad form with the x230: too wide, already broke a battery hinge and a screen hinge, and if it weren't for the great keyboard I would have gotten rid of it quickly. Fortunately it's easy to repair, took me just 15 dollars on Aliexpress and 20 minutes with a screwdriver to replace that screen hinge. Now if they could make one that lasts like the old ones (x40 comes to mind)!
The high spec should include decent quad core cpu, lots of memory as an option - 32GB or more, 512GB+ of better than sata SSD, and that 16:10 screen at well above 1920x1200 resolution. Probably at the 15.6in to keep it reasonably portable. All the ports of course. Maybe a docking station with 10Gb ethernet. And the base cover / battery easily removed. Plus the best keyboard they can do and of course that strong case to house it all. A lot of that sounds like the W541 pepped up a little or a lot. But keeping the basic design while maintaining the current state of performance and not too eager to up the premium, it would have long term strong and steady sales beyond that of the saw tooth sales of fashion statements that chase Apple.
...is this the same Lenovo?
Probably, but so long as the hardware is of a decent standard, we can deal with the OS given clean OS installation media, clean driver installation media and sane bootstrap firmware.
If however, they go down the route of mandating things like "Secure" Boot with no ability to add keys or disable the "security feature", then we have problems.
I invented the think light.. got a watch and some cash and no credit. I was a second line lps. it began as a power on led from an aptiva s9 and a1.5 volt battery blue tacked into the screen, necessity being mother of as my area had poor light.
made the a fourtune.. killer selling point.
I got one for work a few months ago. A beautiful looking machine and it boots up lightning fast from its SSD.
Unfortunately that is pretty much the only good thing that can be said about it. They managed to create a machine that has both, scratchpad and the keyboard knubble and to make both unusable with their retarded mouse button concept. The mouse buttons are now emulated by the scratchpad. The whole pad has to be pushed down. As it offers quite some resistance, the thumb tires quickly after a few double-clicks. What's more, the pad-button is really noisy. If you are in a silent meeting room, you can tell, who's got a X240, just by listening. That is - if you can find a X240 user who doesn't carry around a mouse. Oh and the mouse that came with this machine is a "standard sized" affair, not the compact mouse that used to ship with Thinkpads.
I could go on with a longer list of this machine's deficiencies, but let me put it like this - this is the first Thinkpad that I am sure I will not miss after the end of its lease period.
Give me back the classic thinkpad design - please!
it's not reassuring to realize that while the users know their product extremely well, the product makers have no fucking clue who their users are so they ask them in a blog post. Unless that post was the first shot in a marketing campaign to stir up interest among the old guard. Hope so!
One of the big differences between Apple"s Steve Jobs view of PCs and the IBM-Iintel-Microsoft view was "buy my vision ..." versus "do what you like (so long as we make money)." This opinion is based on experiences with both worlds going back to the early '80s. So yes, I would encourage Lenovo - as the "keeper of the ThinkPad flame" - to continue to offer choice, based on what people are willing to buy. While many have criticized Apple's "you will buy what we build you" logic, I have found their machines to be quite reliable for long periods of time (two MacBooks I have bought / 2009 and 2010 / are still going strong and work quite reliably, once their hard drives were refreshed). In other words, controlling overall build does have its advantages. At the same time, the beauty of the ThinkPads was they provided a premier platform for Windows that was very similar to the Macintosh one for a premium price; and customers bought them for two decades.
I started with the 600X, then migrated to a T22, a T23, a T41, a T61, a T410, and now a T420 as a my company-provided machine. While there were some changes for lightness and cost over the years, having the same keyboard (more or less) made adoption of the next machine a no-brainer. Lenovo should continue to to work on multiple cost options for customers. Just putting in common parts - like replacing the ThinkPad keyboard with one used across multiple machine lines in order to reduce build price - is not what a ThinkPad user wants, in my opinion. Perhaps there is a way to still provide a good keyboard w/o some of the expense of the old ones (removable keys, key action, etc.) but that is not the same as just reusing a "good enough" keyboard in a premium product.
This is being typed on a personal T410; I have been debating replacing it for home use (will be 6 years old in May), but an SSHD upgrade gave it a much faster operation, and it is certainly good enough for what I need (separate Nvidia graphics option, so runs Windows 10 just fine). And I also have the second disk bay for running two disks when I need them instead of the DVD. It has been a great machine; but yes, runs hotter and has shorter battery life than newer machines - so perhaps not what I would want for a daily working machine. Even so, I - and I think many others - would like the same premium Wintel machine - a T500C (for "Classic") - with current innards (matched in spec to a comparable MacBook Pros). Go ahead - soldier on memory and make it thinner - but give me a matt screen and the same keyboard and a large battery option and I would be good to go.
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