back to article ThinkPad T14s AMD Gen 1: Workhorse that does the business – and dares you to push that red button

Lenovo's ThinkPad range is a bit like a pair of sensible shoes. It might not look flashy but there's something comfortable about its configuration, and the recently released ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 AMD is no different. The ThinkPad T14 series (there's also one with Intel silicon) replaces the previous T400 series, albeit only in …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge

    Red pointy thing

    I'm always surprised that the red pointy thing never made it to 'proper' keyboards. Much easier to use than a mouse where you have to keep taking your hands off the keyboard.

    1. fizz

      Re: Red pointy thing

      Also, there are people (like me, and some of my colleagues) that hate the touchpad with a vengeance. I never managed to get used to it: I use it when I really really have to, but it always come unnatural to me.

      Being mostly always in the same place my laptop now stay closed in a corner and I use an external full mechanical keyboard, mouse and monitors, but when I'm on the move the red button feel much more natural, if of course inferior to a proper mouse.

      If anything, i would welcome a model without the touchpad: I've to actualy disable it, or I tend to accidentaly trigger random mouse movements with my hands otherwise.

      P.S. Lenovo also sells external keyboards with trackpoint, and historically i remember some proper large one with it... never managed to get one, tough...

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Red pointy thing

        Besides being better located, the trackpoint is far more accurate than any trackpad (or touchscreen) that I have used. Fortunately, I have a Lenovo keyboard with a trackpoint for my desktop. Unfortunately it is not Bluetooth enabled so for my M$ tablet I have to make do.

      2. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

        Re: Red pointy thing

        "Also, there are people (like me, and some of my colleagues) that hate the touchpad with a vengeance. I never managed to get used to it: I use it when I really really have to, but it always come unnatural to me.

        If anything, i would welcome a model without the touchpad: I've to actualy disable it, or I tend to accidentaly trigger random mouse movements with my hands otherwise.

        P.S. Lenovo also sells external keyboards with trackpoint, and historically i remember some proper large one with it... never managed to get one, tough..."

        I detest the scratchy thingy too.

        Lenovo sells wired (USB) keyboards with trackpoint. Also available through Amazon, about $60 USD. There is also a Bluetooth model, but it is silly expensive. I've been thinking about the bluetooth version as a replacement for my Logitech Dinovo cordless when it dies. Be nice to have a trackpoint for the desktop computer as well as the X-61.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Red pointy thing

      I hate to point it out that the g-spot is mentioned, and given special treatment every time a lenovo thinkpad is mentioned on the register. And, as an obvious clickbait, it stimulates endless comments about how I love it or hate it or rub it, etc...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        Yes, considering they are common on Dell, HP and others, it does seem odd to prominently mention it on all the ThinkPad articles. Clickbait indeed.

    3. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Red pointy thing

      I don't use the nipple myself, but have no problem with it being there for others to use. I'm surprised the author took a swipe at the trackpad buttons however. I hate buttonless trackpads. If I recall, Lenovo did experiment with removing the buttons on the T440. It was an abject disaster, the clickpad was widely hated (I had one and it was awful) and Lenovo backtracked just one year later and restored the buttons, albeit not the ones at the bottom of the trackpad.

      I do agree however that Lenovo doggedly clinging to 16:9 panels isn't a smart move. Plenty of other manufacturers have started to introduce 16:10 and 3:2 screens on productivity laptops, it's a pity Lenovo are holding out here.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        Heh. Old Dell laptop here, pointy thing in the middle of the keyboard and a touchpad with not one, not two, but five clicky buttons.

        I am however in the 'hate the touchpad with a vengeance' club - it just doesn't work for me for the sort of things I do - and despite using a Libretto for some time (years ago) with the pointy thing on the side of the screen and the buttons on the back, I still don't use the pointy thing.

        External mouse for me, please, on a mouse mat. Yeah, I know, get with the times, Grandpa... YMMV.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: Red pointy thing

          You may want to upgrade to an "Ergonomic Arm Rest Adjustable Mouse Pad with Wrist Support Gel Armrest Wrist Rest Attachment Arm Pad for Chair" instead of a basic mouse mat...

      2. Julian 8

        Re: Red pointy thing

        I have an X240 that has that buttonless trackpad. I found a model that can be used as replacement with some buttons, but boy is it finiky with the driver that is used. Has to be a specific version otherwise it does not play at all

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Red pointy thing

          I can't say I've ever tried the pointy thing enough to decide whether to like it or not, but I certainly dislike trackpads without physical buttons. Somehow I frequently manage to do move+clicks, meaning I do not reliably click the thing I wanted to click. My usual solution is to remap some of the more pointless keys on the keyboard to function as clicks, as a fall back.

        2. dcsprior

          Re: Red pointy thing

          I had that for a short while. Hated it, really hated it

      3. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        "I don't use the nipple myself, but have no problem with it being there for others to use. I'm surprised the author took a swipe at the trackpad buttons however. I hate buttonless trackpads."

        He's simply revealing his biases: he uses / likes MacBooks, the epitome of buttonless trackpads and TrackPoint-free keyboards.

        ...and just one of the numerous reasons I despise using them. The buttonless trackpad is a moron idea bought into by blind Apple faith. They. Are. Horrible.

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Red pointy thing

          The buttonless trackpad is a moron idea bought into by blind Apple faith. They. Are. Horrible.

          Sorry, this just ticks me off. I've got to vent because I suffer.

          Pity me: I have a work-provided Mac - with all the multitude of enterprise-employed baristas we have to make our product work on those, too. The bloody thing weighs a ton and will burn your lap if you ever use it as a laptop for more than 5 minutes (the T14 review mentions efficient cooling, so this is on topic). Your relationship with the keyboard is strained, not just because the keyboard itself doesn't satisfy, but because there is this ginormous touchpad always between you. As a result the sharp edges of the laptop hurt my wrists when I type, and every now and then I actually touch the pad inadvertently, to unpredictable effects. I'd happily disable it, but there doesn't seem a way to do it on a Mac.

          External mice are not easy, either - can't find a mouse with USB-C, and there are no other ports at all. Got 2 docks for office and home so I can work with a normal mouse. But if you need to use the "laptop" at an odd location - this includes presenting in a conference room - bring your own dock. This might explain why the touchpad can't be disabled - will save you in a pinch if you've forgotten the dock...

          My conclusion is that the gigantic touchpad exists for people who don't use the keyboard but love those multi-finger gestures. I have forgotten what those are useful for - I never need to change the size of windows or zoom in or out or whatever once things are set up. But I am sure the pad is more essential than the keyboard for some, and I am probably not the target audience. In that case, however, why not get a keyboardless device with a touch screen? An iPad, maybe?

          [Aside: I am very happy with my personal T-series Lenovo. It even ages well.]

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Red pointy thing

            The latest version of the Logitech MX mouse charges via its USB C port, but gives you the choice of a dongle or Bluetooth to connect.

      4. anthonyhegedus

        Re: Red pointy thing

        I don't call it a nipple actually, but it certainly works as a small red nub-type thing.

    4. RockBurner

      Re: Red pointy thing

      Well - they do exist at least.

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F3U4TQS/?coliid=I1GJJFUPK7F2EV&colid=35UKOL0BU0D6E&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

      I never quite got around to being fully happy with the trackpointer (cl1t-mouse), but loathe trackpads so tend to stick with a trackball anyway.

      What would make sense (for me at least) would be a keyboard with a trackball located just beneath the space bar.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        > What would make sense (for me at least) would be a keyboard with a trackball located just beneath the space bar.

        There was one, in the dim and distant past, wasn't there ? Maybe a pre-lenovo thinkpad ?

        1. GlenP Silver badge

          Re: Red pointy thing

          There definitely was one, there was one around in the junk pile at my current employers. My thinking is it would likely have been an HP.

        2. Norman Nescio

          Re: Red pointy thing

          What would make sense (for me at least) would be a keyboard with a trackball located just beneath the space bar.

          I saw an interesting approach on an old keyboard: a rotating bar that could slide from side to side on its axle. Rotating moved the mouse pointer up and down the screen, sliding the bar left or right on the axle moved the pointer left and right. Unfortunately, the buttons to click were separate, you could not simply depress the bar, so if anything, it required two hands to operate quickly, or one serially - move the mouse, then click a button.

          It obviously never took off.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Red pointy thing

            I recall that as well, but you could put 'mouse' buttons in place of the nub, you could even put three or four of them along that "interrow"

          2. SuperGeek

            Re: Red pointy thing

            "It obviously never took off."

            No but with its rotation you could say it had a good turnaround! :)

          3. J. Cook Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Red pointy thing

            So, the act of using it was.. pole dancing?

            I'll get my coat.

          4. CRConrad

            It's called the ErgoMouse, I think.

            I still see them here in Finland; I think it was invented here. Not very often, of course, but the user's I've known — colleagues, mostly early middle age ladies IME — swear by them.

            They're (also?) available separately from the keyboard; most (all?) specimens I've seen are of the type mounted on an approximately keyboard-sized tray that you put the keyboard on to. The weight of the kb, and I suspect the grippy material on top of the tray, holds the two in place in relation to each other.

          5. Mark192

            Re: Red pointy thing

            Norman reminisced: "I saw an interesting approach on an old keyboard: a rotating bar that could slide from side to side on its axle."

            These are brilliant! The one I used did mouse clicks if you pressed it. Very intuitive and easy to use as well as similar speed and accuracy to a mouse.

            They were part of the arsenal of weird and wonderful contraptions given to colleagues when normal kit was unsuitable and it's the only 'alternative' product that I got on with as well as the normal tech it replaced.

          6. Andrew Scaife
            Holmes

            Re: Red pointy thing

            Thats a RollerMouse. I've never seen one combined with a keyboard, they're recommended for poor souls like me with "tennis elbow" (lateral epicondylitis) after years of using a conventional mouse. And once you get used to them they are fantastic. You can press the roller bar for left click but the first thing I did with mine was reduce the sensitivity to minimum, because it was driving me mad. They did take off but they're not something you'll find in PC World, they tend to be available from specialists in ergonomics.

        3. CRConrad

          Trackball on laptop

          The very first Macintosh laptop had a trackball, IIRC. Not located below the keyboard, but AFAICR configurable: You could put it to the left or the right of the keyboard, with the keyboard itself moving to the other side. Or replace the trackball with a numeric keypad, if you were into number entry.

          But this was ages ago, at least early nineties, perhaps late eighties. Where I lived at the time, Uppsala in Sweden, Macs were pretty darn thin on the ground, and I never saw a portable one. Only read about it in PC Magazine, BYTE, and the like.

        4. Snake Silver badge

          Re: trackball

          Ironically, the early Apple PowerBooks

          https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/09/cw_evolution_of_the_macbook_02-100771077-large.jpg

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        Oh hell, they even have the fucking Function key in the wrong place on the external keyboard as well?

    5. aub

      Re: Red pointy thing

      Buckling springs and a red pointy thing:

      https://www.keyboardco.com/keyboard/endurapro-buckling-spring-keyboard-with-nipple-black-usb.asp

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        I own 2 of their keyboards without the pointy thing, they are fabulous.

    6. druck Silver badge

      Re: Red pointy thing

      I mostly use the trackpad, but when you have 3 monitors, the nub is far better at whizzing the pointer 10,000 pixels and back.

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

    8. DS999 Silver badge

      I despise that thing

      That's the reason I will never consider a Thinkpad.

      Not that I like a touchpad either - I always use a small travel mouse with my laptop - but in a pinch I much prefer the touchpad to that Chihauhau red rocket.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: I despise that thing

        The rubber nipple can be removed, leaving a plastic stub that is below the level of the surrounding keys.

        It's not particularly aesthetically pleasant, but it gets it out from under your fingers.

        Me? I struggle with laptops which don't have a trackpoint, and I disable any touchpad on a laptop if I can.

    9. Tweetiepooh

      Re: Red pointy thing

      Like others on here I use the mouse stick plus the 3 button mouse buttons makes pasting in KDE much easier. I get refurbished Lenovos for my family, put Linux on them and they have a nice little work horse to do school work etc on.

      1. ovation1357 Bronze badge

        Re: Red pointy thing

        Not just KDE - middle click paste is an X-Windows thing that seems to be implemented in every X-based desktop environment I've ever used.

        It's one of my core, must-have features and is also one of the many reasons that I remain wedded to ThinkPads.

        Every time I have to use Windows or a Mac I end up swearing each time the last thing I selected doesn't get pasted when I middle click...

        Sadly it's a feature that isn't easy to implement on other OSes either - there used to be a freeware implementation on older versions of Windows but I believe it stopped working on Win8 upwards. And on the Mac the only utility I found was deeply unsatisfactory: it's not just that highlighting auto-copies and middle click pastes, but that it does it to a separate buffer... It's immensely useful to pick up a username and password combo in one hit using the two clipboard buffers.

        As for the trackpads - I'm definitely in the camp of wanting physical buttons and I prefer the trackpad (with all 'tapping' actions disabled because tap-to-click is a really stupid idea), however I use the middle button above the trackpad, which technically belongs to the nipple.

        I'm not too sure about the idea of the trackpad moving and giving a 'thunk' though. I really prefer ones that don't move at all although the one I use on a Yoga 370 is way nicer than the weird bouncy one they tried on the T 530/430 and X 230 series machines - those were appalling and I'm glad I never had to use one

    10. Ozan

      Re: Red pointy thing

      I always used that red cl.. button while working. Helps so much with both hands on the keyboard all the time. I was always speedy with keyboard and ahem excel but that red button makes me loook like a magician.

    11. Ken 16

      Re: Red pointy thing

      I've been using ThinkPads for more than 2 decades and liked the trackpoint until I got RSI of my thumb during an intensive diagramming phase. I still use it for short sessions but plug in a mouse for serious ones. In all cases I disable the track pad as I keep moving it with my wrist as I type.

    12. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Red pointy thing

      XKCD documentation, I've always been very informal when I think about it.

    13. Phil Kingston

      Re: Red pointy thing

      Usually one of the first things I do on a new lappy is disable the nipple. Annoying little thing standing there all brazen.

  2. Julian 8

    It is why I buy Thinkpads

    TBH, for me the trackpoint is the key selling point. I hate a trackpad and on my laptops the trackpad is disabled

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: It is why I buy Thinkpads

      I think when Matthew said "it’s not something you instinctively want to use," he really meant to say "it’s not something I instinctively want to use."

      Clearly the reason they still have it is that there are enough customers who will never buy anything other than a Thinkpad because of it.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: It is why I buy Thinkpads

        How many decades have the ThinkPad faithful been using the TrackPoint?

        But Apple comes out with a different idea (ooh, a button-less trackpad that can't decide what you really want to do!!!) and they swear it's the Only Way.

        1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

          Re: It is why I buy Thinkpads

          "

          Re: It is why I buy Thinkpads

          How many decades have the ThinkPad faithful been using the TrackPoint?"

          At least 2 decades that I know of. I bought a *used* IBM T600 in mid 2001 and it was over 2 years old then.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: It is why I buy Thinkpads

            I started using ThinkPads about 30 years ago now - the TrackPoint has always worked extremely well when you are working on an airplane and the entire world is shaking a little.

        2. ssokolow

          Re: It is why I buy Thinkpads

          I first used a TrackPoint as a kid on the Thinkpad 755C my father brought home from work back in 1994, tried a built-in Trackball on the NEC Versa which succeeded it, used a TrackPoint on the Thinkpad 380ED I got to keep when they upgraded, as well as getting exposed to various machines with touchpads then and now.

          No contest. I always turn off touchpads because their "palm rejection" is garbage.

          Pointing sticks with physical mouse buttons are the best solution for actual mobile computing and I'm very glad that my Pandora palmtop PC and its successor, the Pyra, do their best to approximate them using their analog sticks.

      2. PerlyKing Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Personal hobby horse warning

        I think when Matthew said "it’s not something you instinctively want to use," he really meant to say "it’s not something I instinctively want to use."

        I have grown to loathe this use of the second person "you" when the author really means "I" but is trying to project their opinions onto me. More examples are variations of "X makes you feel Y" and "You have to Z". No, that's what's happening for you, not for me. Every time I hear this construction, it breaks the flow and makes me question what is going on.

        As you were.

        1. I am the liquor

          Re: Personal hobby horse warning

          It makes one nostalgic for times when one could use "one" as a pronoun, without one having to be a member of the royal family.

  3. 45RPM Silver badge

    you’ve got to appreciate Lenovo’s ability to craft a computer, which remains unparalleled

    I’ve got a Lenovo, and I’ve had a few others in the past. They’re very good, no-doubt. But unparalleled? No. They are far from unparalleled. They’re very good - but, in my view, they aren’t the best you can get.

    That said, I haven’t yet had a rubbish Lenovo - so they’re right up there in terms of consistency. They’re consistently very good.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

      Price point

      The higher priced ones have been excellent in my experience. Cheaper models, absolutely crap across the board, once again from experience. While I to get what I pay for, failure rate was just horrendous and not talking bottom of the line kit.

      1. Julian 8

        Re: Price point

        A long time ago my employer had a lot of T40's and while I like Lenovo (or IBM at the time), I did not want to pay the same price. I got a R40 which was the same spec but a little thicker. In everyday use it was fine, but I did have a number of different PSU's around from the various T/X series from work. I plugged the R40 into one of the smaller ones and it made an odd noise. It got worse over a period of time and it was the charging circuit. While a T or X would work with the larger or smaller and just charged the battery at a different rate, the R series took offenc - new MB.

        Shortly after I visited a friend to do an installation and I had my laptop open on the desk and she noticed it was getting low on power. I was under the desk and then heard that same distinctive noise. I asked from under the desk "did you just plug my laptop in ?", She replied "Yes" so I said "Oh great, you have just blown my laptop up"

        Since then I would prefer to buy a refurb'd T or X - and they are generally rock solid

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Price point

          I've been buying second user T series thinkpads for 20 years.

          Before that, I had two 365 and a 380 (from before the T- A- R- or X- banding), and I have to say that the 365's were seriously fragile (the keyboard was hinged to reveal the interchangeable CD or floppy drives and memory). The 380 was more robust but was insanely heavy.

          I had a 600 as an out-of-hours terminal, and this was the one that appeared to set the following T- series estetic.

          All of these devices had a trackpoint, and I think that there was one on the Thinkpad 700 series that were made in the mid '90s

          I've actually only stopped using the T20 that was my first personal T- series Thinkpad a few years ago (don't think I've thrown it away yet) but I still use a T23 as an always on stepping stone into my network from outside (it was acting as a full-blown firewall, but the Ethernet ports and processor were too slow when I had fibre broadband installed), and the fact that it has a serial port allowed me to talk to the service processor in my RS/6000 43P allowing me to turn it on remotely.

      2. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: Price point

        Shows what an ignoramus I am doesn’t it - I didn’t even know that they had budget kit as an option. How spoiled am I?

      3. s2bu

        Re: Price point

        Agreed. I only buy the T and P series. I’ve heard horror stories about the budget series.

        So far so good. Not any issues at all!

      4. spold

        Re: Price point

        I still have my T430s that is 7+ years old. The T series has always been the most dependable, unlike the cheapo E series (bargepole territory). While slim, being carbon fibre enhanced it is a tough as old boots. I've taken it seven times around the world (literally) on trips to China, uncountable numbers of transatlantics... it's been stuffed under airplane seats and crammed into luggage racks. I've probably hit a number of irritating junior consultants with it ;-) If you spec' them well at the start they last for donkey's. Yes I have another nice new shiny blade thing but these are business workhorses.Only thing I had to do last year was swap out the HDD for a SDD, should keep it going for a while longer.

        1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

          Re: Price point

          "I still have my T430s that is 7+ years old. "

          I'm running an X61 which I bought *used* in 2008. I have replaced the battery, upgraded the RAM, and switched to an SSD and it is still going strong. In fact, now that I think about it, it's had 3 different SSD's in it, each larger than the last (30 -> 128 -> 512 GB). Mine is the X61s with the tablet display and built-in pen storage. WIth the lockdown, it's not been getting a lot of love lately, however.

    2. Shadow Systems

      At 45RPM, re: unparalleled...

      They are too unparalleled, I don't see a parallel port on any of them.

      I'll get my coat... =-)p

    3. Dave K Silver badge

      I've had one, the Lenovo T440. The buttonless clickpad was truly awful, the screen on mine was very poor quality, and despite being a fairly standard sized laptop it only came with 2 USB ports, With my dock plugged into one port, it meant I was constantly jostling the remaining slot for my external drive and headset.

      The only redeeming feature of that machine was the keyboard. I still prefer Lenovo's classic keyboard, but their current ones are still some of the best keyboards currently available on laptops.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Lenovo' craft

      It's pretty simple, really: If it doesn't say "ThinkPad" on the cover from Lenovo, you can ignore it.

      If it says "ThinkPad" on the cover, if it takes selling a kidney to get it, it'll probably be worth it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    officially named a "pointing stick" by Lenovo

    It's unofficially called a G-spot because of where it is located.

    1. stungebag

      Re: officially named a "pointing stick" by Lenovo

      It's a nipple and always has been, hasn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: officially named a "pointing stick" by Lenovo

        Clit-mouse.

        Also explains why some people never use it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: officially named a "pointing stick" by Lenovo

          ... because they cannot find it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    16GB LPDDR4x soldered.

    it seems lenovo have taken this route long time ago. As it did with others, equally unwelcome. Removable battery? sd-card slot? Oh come on, they're like so 2010 it's just embarrassing to even mention them. Never mind the weight either...

    p.s. and yes, I would like to swap my ram, as proven in my current, probably 3rd hand x220, which takes going over quadruple hoops to install 16gb ram. Soldered? Forget it :(

    1. fuzzie

      Re: 16GB LPDDR4x soldered.

      The reviewed model is the *s model, T14s. It's slightly more ultra-booky/streamlined and hence more of a stock configuration. Go for the non-s T14/T15 model and you have mixed ram, some soldered, some user upgradable. I have 16GB base/soldered + 8GB; can upgrade to the 16GB + 16/32GB. The non-s models also have wired Ethernet and HDMI. Battery, and many other parts, are user-replaceable. No special screws required, and conveniently documented in the public Hardware Manual.

    2. amacater

      Re: 16GB LPDDR4x soldered.

      Soldered RAM is annoying - but the T14s is the lower profile laptop. On the T14,proper at order time, you can configure the memory - one slot is 16G soldered but the second can take up to 32G for a total of 48G.

      No Ethernet is probably standard for the form factor - the T14 has Ethernet - but most people might well use a dock for additional connectivity.

      Mouse buttons - if you use the mouse buttons consistently, you don't wear out the trackpad - likewise with the pointing device if that's what you like. For writing a university dissertation length paper - you'll probably use a decent external keyboard / mouse

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "grille on the bottom"

    Doesn't that mean it'll fry when using it on a soft surface?

    1. MrMerrymaker Silver badge

      Re: "grille on the bottom"

      Nope. It's cool. A lot lot cooler than other reviews suggest. I'd say any warmth comes out the side more than the bottom anyway. The bottom seems for air flow.

      1. AgentOrange

        Re: "grille on the bottom"

        Yes, it is for airflow, don't set your laptop on a squishy pillow or a fluffly blanket unless you want it to slow down due to thermal loading ... i.e. the CPU throttles its speed when it starts getting hot. Older Thinkpads (T420 era) avoided this design-issue by inhaling cool air from the back and exhaling hot air out the sides but those devices were much thicker than current models due to the inclusion of optical drives (CD/DVD). I suspect the current design was adopted to make the laptops thinner. A good practice is to avoid parking a running laptop anywhere dusty or where lint may get sucked up into the machine's cooling fins, seems like common sense but a lot of people don't think about it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "grille on the bottom"

          Yes - I've had to fix laptops for a few people over the years that have the intake on the bottom like this - the fan eventually ends up full of lint / fluff and the machine keeps shutting down due to over temperature.

  7. Win+X

    Finger bobs

    The first thing I do on my work ThinkPad is disable the Trackpad.

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: Finger bobs

      And not without good reason: It is where the thumb part of the hand rests. So it moves the mouse. Don't move my mouse.

  8. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    The nipple mouse..

    The first few laptops I used had a Pointing Stick or TrackPoint device, or whatever you want to call it. I guess I got used to it, like that crusty bastard in your office that insists on using a Trackball or has to have an ergonomic keyboard. I find it a lot more pleasant to use in most cases than a touch pad, but in practice I find myself switching between them depending on the task at hand.

    I hate laptops that only have a touch pad, and despise it when they don't have physical buttons. The touch pads on Dell's Precision line especially irritate me as even slightly carelessly clicking the pad makes the cursor jump from where you want it. So I really just feel like the author doesn't know what he's missing, or just doesn't have enough practice with pointing sticks.

  9. Julian Bradfield

    buttons

    The three (or five) physical buttons are one of the main reasons I buy thinkpad. I grew up with SunOS/Solaris and X, and you'll prise my physical middle mouse button out of my cold dead fingers...

  10. hammarbtyp

    "The base clock is 1.7Ghz, with a max boos speed up to 4.1Ghz. Predictably, this screams through day-to-day tasks"

    Can't tell whether this is a joke or a typo....

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Typo. It's Hz not hz.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vile

    My eyes would bleed if I had to look at that ugly thing all day.

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: Vile

      It's not for looking at, it's for working on.

      If you want something to work on, by all means use a Thinkpad.

      If you want something to look at, I recommend a tree or some clouds.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Vile

        "...a tree or some clouds."

        ..or a Macbook.

        The flameproof suit please.

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: Vile

          it's true, a mac book is for looking at and not doing work.

          I know personally about 40 wannabe graphic designers who look at their macbooks not doing work.

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Vile

      You go and stick with your shiny-shiny then. Some of us care more about actually using our equipment than just looking at it.

  12. TeeCee Gold badge

    Historical or utilitarian?

    The answer's in the comments here. As long as there are people who hate trackpads, Lenovo might as well continue to fit a Computer Laptop Integrated Trackermouse and take the captive audience on offer.

    I'll bet it costs pennies as it's designed into their keyboards too.

    1. Russ Tarbox

      Re: Historical or utilitarian?

      Exactly. They keep their formula because it works, probably takes minimal R&D, and there are a hardcore band of customers who will stick with it and partly because they don't like those new-fangled trackpads without buttons, for example.

      I've never gotten the appeal myself, but they have been consistently decent in companies I've seen them deployed, which I guess is the point. I would never part with my own cash for one, though.

  13. MrMerrymaker Silver badge

    I have one!

    Be careful, DHL lost it for two weeks.

    Great laptop though. Battery life. Got one of the higher NITS screens. Almost silent.

    Fully recommended as a Thinkpad in 2021, especially as you swerve the Intel tax!

    1. MrMerrymaker Silver badge

      Re: I have one!

      Also it does take micro SD cards.

      The charge time is impressive. Think its a 40watt charger. I have actually slow charged it with a bog standard USBC brick for my blower, though paranoid about the battery this way, it works.

      And it really is light. I went for it instead it the Carbon. I don't think I made the wrong choice!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Three mouse buttons - does anyone use these?"

    Yes. Lots of us do. Especially for some CAD type of work, real buttons are helpful.

    I hate the buttons incorporated into the trackpads.

    My work machine (Lenovo T50) has two sets of real buttons, one for the trackpad, one for the "nipple".

  15. quartzie
    Headmaster

    won't someone think of spelling?

    At the risk of sounding overly pedantic, the Taiwanese semicon mill is called TSMC, not TCMS.

  16. finlaythethinker

    What, no Ethernet?

    Wireless radiation is not desirable in the environment for many reasons, not the least of which is it interferes with the electrical harmony of the human body and other life forms on this planet. I have enjoyed using ThinkPads over the years, but without an Ethernet port I would not want one.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What, no Ethernet?

      Would you like us to turn off the Sun to save you from the wide spectrum EM from that too?

      1. finlaythethinker

        Re: What, no Ethernet?

        Natural radiation from the Sun is not the wireless radiation I was referring to. The damage to life is being done by the manmade electromagnetic radiation such as pulsed microwaves. Why do you think every cellphone is provided with safety instructions to maintain a separation distance from your body? The public remains largely unaware of the dangers. You might wish to read the research findings of experts in this field, such as Dr. Martin Pall or Dr. Devra Davis, or venture to the Environmental Health Trust website at https://ehtrust.org. Then perhaps you too will be able to appreciate the benefits of using wired rather than wireless connections.

        1. ssokolow

          Re: What, no Ethernet?

          I've never had a phone or WiFi-enabled device with such instructions and, if that were true, you'd already be screwed because there are much stronger sources of non-ionizing radiation in the environment around you than your WiFi or phone.

          The benefit of wired rather than wireless connections is that, if you need more bandwidth, you just run more wires and a physical access requirement for security is much more intuitive to humans.

          1. finlaythethinker

            Re: What, no Ethernet?

            ALL wireless devices sold to consumers are required by law to include the radiation safety warnings that you claim you never had. Ignorance may be bliss, but here is a link that might enlighten you:

            https://ehtrust.org/key-issues/cell-phoneswireless/fine-print-warnings/

            The benefits of wired versus wireless are more than just bandwidth or security. Much less energy required and faster speeds for a start.

            1. ssokolow

              Re: What, no Ethernet?

              Ahh. Those warnings. From how you were describing them, I thought you were talking about something serious.

              Might I suggest a more balanced examination like this one?

              Also, those sorts of warnings are overly paranoid because, in the U.S., where a lot of these companies do business, the default position of the courts is that you pay your own legal costs even if you didn't start the suit and you won. Again, you get more radiation from other sources than your phone... but your phone is the one you can see without specialized equipment and possibly decide to go to a lawyer about.

              (And there's a big market in selling you "radiation blockers" that, if they actually did do as they claimed, rather than being snake oil, would ruin your phone's signal reception and if they had any chance of working, would reflect the radio waves directed through the back of the device and away from your body back toward you, doubling your exposure.)

              It reminds me of how, every time they do a proper double-blind study of so-called electrosensitive people, the fake plastic WiFi antennas make them sick while the hidden antennas pumping out radio waves full power have no effect on them, confirming that, yet again, it's a psychosomatic effect.

              ...plus, you can't sue the sun for giving you melanoma the way you can the company that you voluntarily bought a phone from. (And it really is just your phone that would be a problem if anything thanks to the inverse square law.)

      2. finlaythethinker

        Re: What, no Ethernet?

        The wireless industry does not want the public to know the actual damage done to the health of living organisms exposed to the non-thermal wireless radiation. An excellent article explaining this is at:

        https://washingtonspectator.org/wireless-hazards/

    2. Rockets

      Re: What, no Ethernet?

      There's is a NIC on board just not the physical port on the T14s, on the T14 there's physical RJ45 port. There's a dongle called "ThinkPad Ethernet Extension Adaptor Gen 2" needed for the T14s. The T490s was the same. I've had the T4x0s models for some time but now the thickness between the s and non s is so minor I've gone away from the slim s series because it does have the ethernet port which as a network engineer is important and there's few less compromises.

    3. 2much2young

      Re: What, no Ethernet?

      Judging by the comments elsewhere the lack of ethernet is only on the T14s, the T14 has it.

      I imagine a lot of people who are interested in wired ethernet also have a dock but I certainly would feel uncomfortable buying a machine without an ethernet port.

  17. doug_bostrom

    "It’s part of the ThinkPad brand, certainly, but it’s not something you instinctively want to use. Especially considering the T14s AMD comes with a generously sized and responsive trackpad"

    Trackpad aka "scrabble pad."

    Disable the trackpad if you need to use a laptop while configuring hardware that is over 1,000 miles away and up a tower, in the jungle.

    We _told_ our tech to disable his trackpad. He didn't. Dispatch, get flown, hack through jungle, climb tower, plug in, reconfigure. Thanks, Mr. Tech and your stupid scrabble pad.

    Trackpads are a cost-containment method similar to the single touchscreen in a Tesla M3, sold to consumers as a feature when in reality they're a human factors disaster.

  18. rcxb Silver badge

    Terrible keyboard positioning

    Why do almost all laptops have the keyboard pushed back against the screen? Does anybody use a desktop computer that way, pushing your keyboard back so that it touches the screen? Then some extra high wrist rest so your hands are forced to be higher than the keyboard?

    I'll give the UMPCs some slack, as they have no room to reposition things: https://www.sony.jp/vaio/products/P11/index.html

    But why does everyone else go with that same terrible design?

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: Terrible keyboard positioning

      Back in the days when carpal tunnel syndrome seemed like a major health crisis, having your wrists higher than the keyboard was reckoned to be the safe way to type. You could get a squidgy wrist rest to put in front of your keyboard to raise your wrists to the correct angle.

      Now everyone uses laptop keyboards, with this built-in wrist-rest design, and you hardly hear about carpal tunnel syndrome any more. Coincidence?

      1. rcxb Silver badge

        Re: Terrible keyboard positioning

        Now everyone uses laptop keyboards,

        Do they? Plenty of people use normal PCs, at home and in offices.

        you hardly hear about carpal tunnel syndrome any more. Coincidence?

        Yes, a coincidence. Just another media panic-of-the-week. Just like you don't hear about cell phones causing cancer much anymore.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Terrible keyboard positioning

          I had actual diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome. I switched to Dvorak and that seemed to help. Maybe just because it slowed me down a lot. Although I eventually became reasonablyi fast, now at 80+ wpm when I never got beyond 60 as a Qwertist.

          But the absolute best thing about Dvorak is when some berk tries to use your keyboard without your permission ...

      2. Andrew Scaife

        Re: Terrible keyboard positioning

        Er, not everyone. Office-based (remember them?) we were all switched to laptops from desktops some years ago (lower leccy use innit, greener innit) but we almost all used desktop keyboards. Some of us had the sense to use the big wristrests with them, even when the rubbery coating got a little bit sticky (thanks Lenovo).

  19. teknopaul Silver badge

    Three mouse buttons - does anyone use these?

    yes

  20. Some IT Guy
    WTF?

    AMD version of Thinkad ISNT!

    Wow very frustrating to wait 6+ months for the Ryzen 7 4000 series to show up in a Lenovo T-SERIES thinkpad, only to find out it does not have the numeric keypad -- a feature that our corporate users really need. I think all of the Intel T series Thinkpads have the number pad on the keyboard. All of the Intel verision Thinkpads have an Ethernet port. Ah don't worry for another $33 USD you can purchase an ethernet dongle? What is this 1996, wheres my PCMCIA dongle??

    Something that is easily lost/broken etc.

    So here's my theory: Intel paid Lenovo to hamstring the AMD version of the Thinkpads so that corporate couldn't actually purchase them.

    This is very frustrating for me as Thinkpads are our corporate standard --and we're stuck with slower, older tech, that is more expensive.

    THANKS LENOVO! I would really love the Register to ask Lenovo why the AMD Ryzen 7 4000 series do not have these "must have" features for business users.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: AMD version of Thinkad ISNT!

      I find a bluetooth numpad much more useful than a keyboard integrated one, especially as they usually have the 00 and 000 that are missing from the integrated versions.

    2. fuzzie

      Re: AMD version of Thinkad ISNT!

      The T14/T14s variants are 14" and don't have a numeric keypad. The 15" T15/T15s models do have numeric keypads. What frustrates me about the 15" models is that the trackpad is centred in the middle of the main keyboard. I end up pushing the keyboard to the right to centre the main keyboard in front of me. Ended up with nasty RSI in my right shoulder due to repeatedly reaching past the numeric pad to operate the mouse. Now mousing left-handed, because compact desk keyboard seem to now be a thing. Also very awkward to balance a 15" on the occasion you might have to rest it on you lap.

      1. Andrew Scaife

        Re: AMD version of Thinkad ISNT!

        Investigate RollerMouse. I was assessed through our workplace scheme after incapacitating RSI and 'prescribed' one it's fettled my RSI, in my case tennis elbow.

  21. Gordon Shumway
    Unhappy

    Oh, the physical pointer things

    "I’ve always wondered whether the red nub remains for historical, rather than utilitarian reasons. It’s part of the ThinkPad brand, certainly, but it’s not something you instinctively want to use"

    Maybe it's not something you instintively want to use but there are still normal people around you know. My at this point close to three-decade fare with ThinkPads will be over the exact moment they do away with the last bit of usability they have (which is the nipple and the physical mouse buttons). I already came pretty close when they jumped on this dreaded chiclet bandwagon.

  22. Glen 1 Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Compare:

    Compare:

    KU-1255 (wired keyboard with TrackPoint)

    and

    EBK-209A (Bluetooth KB with a not-Trackpoint)

    The former is brilliant. However, I couldn't find a wireless version that wasn't silly money (>£100)

    The latter is a PITA, the nub works like a very small trackpad - but waaay to sensitive. Accidentally touch it while typing, it moves. Lift your finger to press the left click button, it moves away from where you were going to click. As a compact Bluetooth keyboard, it could be worse - it has PgUp/Dwn and Home/End keys. However if you are buying it so you don't need a trackpad or mouse, it will frustrate you.

  23. Slow Joe Crow

    I like trackpoints

    As a long time ThinkPad user I prefer the stick and the three buttons across the top of touchpad, that are there for the stick. That third button is very useful scroll function and I hate the imprecision of the touchpad. I also prefer the old school ThinkPads that had a second set of physical button below the pad for those rare occasions I used it. My current work unit is a T440S and I'm not thrilled about the "updated" buttons, but at least it has the stick. Higher end HPs and Toshibas used to have them but Lenovo seems to be the last holdout.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...Large cooling slots in the base....

    ...perfectly positioned to be entirely blocked by the duvet when computing in bed...

    Which, given social distancing, is probably all anyone does in bed these days....

  25. Richard Lloyd

    Works with Linux...

    This model is actually certified by Lenovo to have Ubuntu 20.04 pre-installed, but if you are considering installing Linux "after the fact", then this Reddit thread should be your first port of call (yep, from over 200 days ago - is the UK the last country to get this model?!):

    https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/ht6sey/in_depth_review_with_all_my_thoughts_t14s_amd/

    TL:DR - make sure your kernel and firmware are as up to date as possible (which ironically may mean avoiding LTS releases that Lenovo have certified!) and you should be good to go.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have the T14 non s

    which is the one that comes with an ethernet port. I took the one with the 6 core 12 thread 4650U.

    The beauty of which it basically works just about perfectly out of the box with Opensuse tumbleweed (needs a really new kernel to run the AMDGPU open source driver.)

    As for the nipple. I find that I tend to use a mixture of both the nipple and the trackpad on mine. Just depends on what I am doing at the time.

    Fantastic machine with a really solid chassis, so one can hold it with one hand and there is no flex in it like many other models / brands.

    If anyone is considering this machine, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stick mouse

    Like many others, I cannot use the "trackpad" style pointing devices. A couple of minutes trying and my hand cramps up very painfully and becomes unusable. I call it "getting the claw".

    The trackpoint / stick style pointer on thinkpads is there for a very good reason - it's ergonomically a far superior device.

    That's why it's standard on more or less all proper business and productivity focused laptops. I've had IBM, Lenovo, Dell, HP business laptops issued by my employers over the years and without exception they all came with the stick style pointer, including my last three HP machines. It might be associated with thinkpads, but it's used anywhere productivity is a priority.

    Apart from being biomechanically superior, it has the huge advantage that you don't need to move your hands from the keyboard to move the mouse pointer, so mousing doesn't interrupt your typing for more than a moment. I suspect this is the main reason why it's the better option for productivity.

  28. Whitter
    Meh

    Mouse button position

    I find the mouse buttons being above the trackpad makes click/drag much more tricky: typically a two-hand move.

    When the buttons are below, then left-click drag is a thumb-click-hold, any other finger drag. easy.

    The obvious downside of buttons-at-the-bottom is accidental button press, something I personally never seemed to do, though no doubt milage varies on that.

    And after owning a Lenovo for 6 months or so, I still hate their Fn / Ctrl key layout. BIOS swap option shows that they know this. But don't make the keys the same size so you can swap them.

  29. dave 93

    Some people have far more money than sense - and they aren't Apple fanbois

    "The model reviewed costs £1,499, there are other machines you might want to consider first."

    You're not kidding! Vastly overpriced for what it is...

  30. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Isn't a vent at the bottom pretty bad when placed on an actual lap, or other softer surface?

    And not even that great when placed on a flat, hard surface.

  31. David Roberts Silver badge

    About ball mice....

    Anyone else remember a tiny ball mouse which would clip to the side of a laptop keyboard?

    Wonderful idea but haven't seen one for decades.

  32. stringParameter

    No ThunderBolt? No deal.

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