This is a case of being built to last rather than being built to feel buttery in the showroom.
Stupid things like hinges or fans will fail and the way these laptops are contructed, it's more trouble than it's worth to try to repair them, even when you know te rest of the components are doing fine.
In the end, I'd rather have an older ThinkPad, say a T61, than a new Dell.
There's one great thing about older computers: there are fewer problems with non-Windows drivers. Lots of non-Windows OS's will run great on, say, a T61.
T61 user here. eBay is a veritable goldmine of bits for T61's. There's not a single bit you can't replace for trivial amounts of money. I've spent about 150GBP on this T61 since I got in a couple of years ago (and that included the purchase price!). All I did was chuck more RAM in it, buy a genuine mains adapter (after the shitty clone one zapped me) and a new key scissor after I bounced the TV remote off it by accident.
I'd also say that the T61 works better with Windows than some of the new machines as well. It has proper hardware and no corner cuts like shitty network interfaces, "odd" graphics devices and b-rate media devices.
Also screw mag-safe - this thing just bounces if the kids trip over the cable (much better engineering IMHO).
It really makes me mad that apple was granted a patent when magnetic power adapters were invented by UL in the 90s for deep fryers.
Is that why no one else has implemented this feature?
Specs/price is one thing. Dell was a clear winner in that department. But when something like a hinge breaks, or a fan starts wailing, or some other structural part of the system fails, the "specs/price" ratio suddenly does not mean much. Because it's non-trivial to salvage the parts that still work, the ones for which you got a good deal.
With Dell or Lenovo, one might say we're not paying for the hinges and such. But that stuff has to work too or what's the point? You can't take those parts you were paying for out and move them around easily.
Someday maybe we'll be able to build our own laptops or "ultrabooks" like one can build a mini-ITX.
This is what I hope comes by way of 3D printing.
There are definitely some compelling Ultrabooks besides this Lenovo. What about the similarly priced Samsung Series 9, or if you have a tighter budger and can accept lower specs, the Toshiba Portege Z935?
Definately prefer it to any current MBA.
Discrete graphics. 1080p screen.
In my opinion, this is the best ultrabook on the market right now.
They removed the single feature that made me buy my current X200s : the full keyboard. A real keyboard, with real touch and real keys : http://bit.ly/P3NmYd A keyboard with Ins Hom PgUp Del End PgDn.
After a little more than a month of use:
For one, the "real keys" v. chiclet style keys issue is a non-issue for me at this point. They have the same keypress feel for me and there's part of me that prefers this keyboard more.
The Home-PgUp-Del-End-PgDn key issue is going to differ per person is a tricky one for me to elaborate. I hated this keyboard at first since the PgUp and PgDown replaced the forward and backward keys that I used HEAVILY. After cooling down my hatred, I'm completely fine with those keys and the top row of Home-End-Insert-Delete.
After getting used to those my only long-standing complaint is the god damned print screen button. Why in the hell it's next to Alt and Ctrl is beyond me. It's absolutely horrible positioning and I don't think I'd ever forgive Lenovo for this decision.
What many people griping about the changed layout miss is the improvements to the keyboard. The key switches have a better feel to them. While still not as good as the Topre switches on my HHKB, there is a definite improvement from the T60 to the W530. I also like the gently curved keys. It's hard to describe objectively, but my fingers "rest well" on the key caps.
If you're not a hardcore Windows IDE user (or whoever it is who uses Home-PgUp-Del-End-PgDn all the time...) then please ignore the Lenovo-bashing. Lenovo is doing great work putting out top-notch laptops for professionals.
As for the positioning; only logical reason I can fathom is they ran out of room and you can't split up Home/End, etc. (Then again, Microsoft drops Insert on some of it's full keyboards, why not Lenovo?)
Windows is a museum of bad design decisions that have become so entrenched it's impossible to eliminate even the most obscure ones.
I'm not a huge fan of the chiclet keyboard, but I can live with it. But I don't understand why they got rid of the awesome big Delete key changes.
Also, from what I've read the underlying key mechanism is the same. The caps have been made larger and they're curved and thoughtfully shaped.
I played with the new ThinkPad keyboard at a retailer and I think its better.
I've got a W520 (old keyboard) and my wife's got an X1 (not carbon). There's enough of a difference in the keyboards that I'm hoping they bring back the old one as an option. The keyswitches in both are pretty good, but the layout's actually a big deal for me.
I normally would agree with this, but in reality, when I'm at home or in the office (ie most of my computer use time), I use a DAS keyboard anyway and even the "real key" laptop keyboards just don't compare to mechanical cherry-mx keys anyway, so for the times I use my laptops when I'm away, I don't think it really matters to me if the keyboard has real keys or if its a chiclet keyboard or whatnot.
Doing real typing on a tiny little laptop keyboard is for masochists. No shortage of them though. How many people are struggling with a touchscreen at this very moment? Suckers.
I have not used a mouse in over a decade. And I'm not about to start tapping and pinching a tiny little screen because Apple spends a few hundred million on marketing. The sacrafice (speed, ease of use, productivity, etc) is not worth it.
Anyway I'm glad to see someone's at least trying to make a decent PC laptop.
Don't know of a nice solution for Print Screen, though.
with that said, I'm not sure I would use them - slight change in texture of the key would bother me.
Approximately forever. My X21, released around 2001, predates the spread of the meta key and has a fn-ctrl-alt layout.
No idea who came up with the ridiculous print screen key location though. And at the expense of a menu key, too! That's approaching Toshiba consumer laptop circa 2004 bad.
(Lenovo do ship an ICC profile with Windows, but it was made in 2010 and is simply for a 60% gamut screen of that resolution and doesn't take into account the actual panel used.)
Screens have been the major area where Lenovo have been taking backwards steps, while everything else have been (sometimes debated) improvements. We now have low resolution and 16:9 instead of 16:10 losing vertical resolution. My laptop has over 5cm of wasted vertical space (just plastic) that would be better served by being pixels.
And the old ones were IPS. I like the old keyboard lights better than the new backlit keyboards too. This is not arbitrary; they're useful for reading things other than the letters on the keyboard.
The new keyboards are more subjective - unlike the screens which I can't imagine anyone defending. I got the backlit keyboard on my new system and am happy with it - the old thinklight is still present so I switch between the modes as suits my whims but mainly use the backlit mode. When you press Fn-Space it cycles between keyboard backlight low, high, then thinklight (with keyboard off) and finally all off.
On the 6 versus 7 rows, I am okay with the changes. But then I'm not that big of a Thinkpad keyboard snob.
On the Lenovo blogs almost any post will have comments complaining about the screens. Lenovo's response has been that they could only get better screens if they had large orders and that doesn't happen (apparently it would take tens of thousands of orders to get a screen manufacturer to change tooling for a 16:10 run). But somehow Lenovo charge $1,000 to have 16GB of RAM in a laptop (the most expensive place I have found for buying the RAM as a component is $200), yet don't offer better screens for any money.
I am very grateful for Apple making screens an issue that can no longer be ignored on decent laptops. I'm very happy with all other aspects of the Thinkpad, but the screen made me seriously consider an Apple product instead. Lenovo are just lucky that some of the non-screen aspects of the Apple products are sufficiently annoying to this Linux user that I didn't switch.
Maybe I'll give Linux on the laptop an honest try.
I know for sure it won't be Windows.
Just install Ubuntu, it works very well with ThinkPads and it's made to be easy to use for end-users.
For my developers getting new machines, I tell them to split the HD into 3 partitions: Windows, Ubuntu and Mint - give each a one-week shot and then stick with what feels best.
I am not being flippant at all, however the above constitute the reasons I moved away from a Linux laptop 3 years ago (and, conversely, will not move back until their resolution).
Thus far OSX works for my needs, but it would be great to have an alternative.
Sleep mode and WiFi works natively too. I have had some problems with hibernate mode but I'm not using anyway. The only think you cannot use under Linux is the fingerprint reader. Everything else works like a charm.
To be fair, there is a known bug in resume from sleep/hibernation, but it is not particular to ThinkPads but to Intel GPUs.
Also, the Zenbook Primes mostly have 1920x1080 resolutions. While the X1 Carbon was upgraded from a pitiful 1366x768 to a 1600x900 resolution, it's a shame they are still a bit backwards on that. I'm wondering what people think on the 1600x900 vs. 1920x1080 issue and how much of a difference it makes.
As much as I'd prefer the formfactor of the 21A, the ability to upgrade to 8GB of RAM is too big of a selling point to pass up on the 32VD.
But the most annoying problem was definitely the damn trackpad. The main problem is that it's horribly jumpy and unpredictable. No matter how I tweaked the options for the device, it would hop erratically. Most annoyingly, the act of lifting my finger away from the trackpad would cause the cursor to move. So, for example, I would move the cursor over a 'close window' icon, lift my finger to do something else (e.g. press a button/whatever) and the cursor would no longer be over the icon. I'd then have to reposition the cursor. So frustrating that I just gave up on the trackpad for a while and started using the trackpoint (which, I tend to call "the nipple").
Eventually, due to all of the problems taken together, I just started using Windows 7 (which, to my surprise, I actually like) with Ubuntu running in VirtualBox. All problems seem to be gone. Trackpad is totally fine in the VM.
> And is the laptop heating up more when you are running a vm ?
Not really but I honestly haven't hammered on the VM yet. I gave the VM 1024mb
> Are fans louder when running ubuntu in a VIM ?
Nope. I've heard stories about loud fans on the x220. My fan is dead silent. I actually have to put my ear close to the machine to know it's running.
That said, you should try to use the TrackPoint, since it's a much more efficient pointing device once you get used to it.
I just increased the sensitivity of the TrackPoint. When I use a MacBook (supposedly the pinnacle of trackpad technology), I feel like the cursor is moving in slow motion.
Between that and this  I might be done until the brain scanners arrive.
I'm trying to keep in touch with the ultrabook scene, as I'd quite like my next computer to run linux. The trackpad not working super-well has been one of the things holding me back, as that's one of my favourite features on the mac.
The thing feels unbelievably cheap (which, given the fact that her previous machine was a bargain basement eMachine that had a far better trackpad), is far too touch-sensitive and the texture on it makes it uncomfortable to drag stuff around.
The X1 Carbon's trackpad has been getting rave reviews.
Day to day, the battery life isn't as good as it is in OSX, but other than that, it pretty much just works.
 (4,2 I think, but I can't remember how to check.)
It's great to see that they have addressed this issue in the X1 Carbon. Engadget suggests a 3:30 battery life for the original X1 which seems about right, so I trust their measured battery life of 5:07 to be pretty close. I presume real world usage will be even better than the extra 1:07 from the original X1, as moving to the matte screen should mean a lower display brightness, since you're not fighting the reflectiveness of the corning gorilla glass.
The second biggest issue I have had is one of quality. My first X1 was RMA'd for faulty mouse buttons and wireless antenna right after I opened the box, and the second one I received reported incorrect battery capacity, had dead pixels centre screen and some other hardware faults which escape me. Thankfully I was able to salvage a completely working X1 out of the two (original and replacement), returning to Lenovo a very broken, but brand new Thinkpad.
Despite the carbon fixing my number one issue of battery life, I'm still not sure if I would upgrade to it, given then chance. I originally bought this Thinkpad X1 because it was supposed to be a Thinkpad, something that was nearly bulletproof and would withstand the abuse of travel and the outdoors. Lenovo has lost my trust in Thinkpads for now, but hopefully this X1 Carbon is better than the original.
Judging by the keyboard layout, somebody reckons people still use PrtSc a lot! Well, with my suggestion, you could put PrtSc in this extra column, give us a right-hand Windows key where PrtSc is, AND you'd still have space left over for not just Pause/Break but also the vital Scroll Lock.
This would also make it difficult to put an inverted-L return key in, because it would be ridiculously thin. So they'd pretty much have to do the non-US version with the same layout for that section. So if you lived in a 102-key country you could finally get all the extra keys you know and love, AND a proper Return key. I would buy that.
But as it stands: meh. Odd keyboard, HD4000, max 8GB. Looks nice though...
EDIT: Thank you for BIOS keyswap tip. It's still not as good as a properly placed, properly sized ctrl key but this helps!
Still, at least it has 2 Ctrl keys. The Macbooks only have the one. Makes some sense for OS X (until you run emacs, anyway), but it's a real pain on Windows.
Also, I look forward to the day when 1600x900 is no longer considered high resolution. That should be entry-level for a 13" screen.
It looks nice otherwise.
"Maximum brightness here is 300 nits, a figure that's a bit underwhelming. It's a fair bit dimmer than the Samsung Series 9, for example, which clocks in at 400, and outdoor visibility in bright sunlight is virtually impossible here. But, Lenovo kindly opted for a matte display, ditching the glossy Gorilla Glass found in the prior X1."
Disclaimer: this is a forum where people hack together T61/T60 hybrids so they can have 8gb of RAM and a UXGA IPS panel, so they make have higher standards for their screens than most people.
* There's less metal in the frame, I assume to make it lighter. It also makes it less sturdy.
* The screen is 150px shorter, but only 80px wider. Net loss.
* The screen is much lower quality: TN vs IPS, lots of light leakage from the backlight, poor contrast.
* The keyboard is worse; it flexes more.
* The plastics aren't as durable.
* The audio ports are on the front. That means no sitting in a semi-reclined position with headphones plugged in. It's enough to make me wonder if the people who designed the thing have ever used a laptop away from a desk.
After about 18 months, I started having problems. First the keyboard died. Then the hinges started getting loose, and eventually broke entirely. The plastics cracked in several places. The internal screen stopped displaying video (not just the backlight - there's nothing). My girlfriend has a T400 and also had problems with plastics cracking.
Now I have another T60p, but with a T61p motherboard in it so I can have 8gb of RAM. It's the best laptop I've ever used.
The <60 era had a lot of great features in terms of human interface, if I could retrofit a x200 mobo in a x40 shell I would. I'm not demanding in terms of speed but consumption, heat, virtualisation .. hard to ignore.
About LCD panels, it sks hard, so hard sometimes I use my crap sony tv as a monitor to have decent contrast/color. Anything is better than the default panel.
I've said that before but there's a little market for pre-lenovo quality laptops. Everybody complains about laptops nowadays, if someone release a single good model he'll get a lot of silver.
Disclaimer: I own, use and like my Macbook Air, no Lenovo "fanboy" here.
I read the comments sections on sites to know about individual's opinions. Don't you?
(FYI: the Phoronix post has an overlay ad)
Isn't two-finger scrolling basically a hw emulated wheel scrolling as far as the OS is concerned ?
It still seems weird to me that if the smooth (pixel-at-a-time) event is sent two-fingers scrolling fails while a mouse doesn't. The OS or the application is accepting pixel-at-a-time event and fails or succeeds regardless of the originating device (mouse, touchpad, wacom, etc.).
Sometimes heap dumps can exceed 8GB.
People occasionally ask me what laptop to buy, and I always admit that I know nothing about the Windows laptop market. Is Thinkpad still the only game in town?
BTW, who invented the term "ultrabook"? It's cheesy as hell. Reminds me of the "laser disc" days.
I have a script that disables the trackpad. I will figure out how to do it in the bios.
Interestingly though, on some thinkpads you have the option to pay less and only have the trackpoint. I've seen a few cheaper R-model thinkpads without trackpads. You are right though, the opposite doesn't seem to be an option. My guess is they think it is too much of a signature touch to be excluded.
Edit: Apparently the reason is that they don't want to alienate all the thinkpad users who have been using it for years: http://www.techradar.com/us/news/mobile-computing/laptops/th...
Honestly I think it is exactly that sort of attitude that has secured their place as a corporate laptop supplier.
I don't get it - I quite like the "nipple" mouse - I find it much quicker to use than the touchpad, both in the "I don't need to reach away from the home row" sense and the fact that its pretty sensitive so I can move the mouse really quickly.
But even if you don't use it personally, why does that make it "ouch"? Isn't it good to have the choice?