After this pinnacle of Lenovo engineering goes on sale there won't be a single laptop on the market worth using.
Not sure what I think of Apple right now. On one hand, they catapulted the laptop designers around the world into producing this crap. On the other hand, by creating the iPad they've started the process of moving consumers off laptops into dedicated facebook terminals AKA tablets, so perhaps the high-res IPS screens with quality keyboards+trackpads will soon be offered again for a premium price.
I am rooting for Dell here. Now when Lenovo is gone, their Precision series is probably the closest one to take advantage of this.
Does anyone want to apply to YC with a novel idea: make computers for people who make money using computers?
I would hope for the same, the only problem is that there has been some worrying tendencies in the Dell camp as well.
Look at the old Latitude series which was geared towards business . It was solid, good keyboard, not a bundle of plastic etc. The design was new back in 2008 and now look what they turned it into . It looks like a horrible mix between their all too plastic XPS series and the old Latitude. Also, doesn't it also look fat with those stupid rounded edges?
Honestly, the best laptop I know of out there is the Dell Latitude 2XXX series . That although ridden with plastic, a not so good keyboard and a slow CPU, it is built like a brick (like IBM/Lenovo used to make them). I am quite confident I could render someone unconscious with it and still be able to continue working using it afterwards.
I need to upgrade my old Latitude within this year and I am desperate to find a good candidate, having considered the T420 I now dread the T421. Suggestions are most welcome.
Edit: Seems like the 1600x900 resolution is only avaialable in US, or at least not in Sweden.
I actually thought about this. A nice, rugged computer with a good keyboard, sturdy construction, great pointing stick hardware and 16:10 display.
All of which ThinkPad just isn't right now.
Unfortunately, my financial options and also my experience is very limited in this regard. If anyone proposes a project like this on Kickstarter, I'll be the first to throw money at it.
What a deal: Lenovo doesn't want to make professional machines any more, but they won't likely let anyone else use the TrackPoint patents.
http://www.google.com/patents/US5521596 - Analog input device located in the primary typing area of a keyboard - Expires May 28, 2013
Force sensitive transducer for use in a computer keyboard - Expires Jun 3, 2014
I don't think it would be impossible; only difficult.
Welcome to my world. I exclusively use Thinkpad T40s, T41s, and T42s, the last few models to be manufactured by IBM prior to the 2005 selloff. (The T43 was the very last, but had more hardware issues for some reason.)
Even today it's not difficult to find used models in decent condition. They last me a few years until I utterly destroy them, which is something of an inevitability given the amount and type of usage they see. When that happens, I buy another for $150 - $200, pop in the old hard drive, and I'm off.
Thinkpads are amazing.
Edit: While quality initially suffered in the IBM -> Lenovo handoff, I do think it recovered eventually. The x220 and x230s I've used at jobs seem just as solid.
But I know what you mean about the build quality.
This list of known hardware problems by Thinkpad model has proven true though:
Also, I'll add that Thinkpads are quite easy to repair yourself. Great instruction manuals, and markings on the case itself as to what screws to take out to access a certain part.
I had this one on the last T42p, and a bust inverter on a previous model. Small sample thing!
I'm not saying it can't be done, but we're probably the worst customers. On the one side you've got people who's machines are supplied by IT and can't be too extravagant, on the other you've got people buying for themselves and wanting to spend as little as possible.
What initially came to mind when you said this was "The Homer" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpPuYGPcvD4
And there is at least one (German!) startup (kupaworld.de/en) making (in China, of course) laptops for people who make money using computers - their first product, Kupa X15, have no keyboard although. But in 10" and 1.7lb you can get: 16:10 1920x1200 IPS 10-point multitouch and active stylus, detachable battery, Ivy Bridge i7 with 8GB RAM, dock with keyboard, extra battery, Ethernet port, VGA port, SD card slot, and USB port, modular design, BT+3G, front and rear camera, 128GB SSD, two USB 3.0, HDMI, etc.
And with no marketing "features" and artificial limitations.
Basically that's the way it should be these days - Lenovo is just too big to target niche customers - people interested in productivity with their laptop are minority now. That wasn't so back in X31 days, but now it is - majority of people don't know nothing about trackpoint and don't want to know. I hope such small manufacturers (design + contract manufacturing China) targeting a niche customers will arise in next couple of years.
* No trackpoint
* Touchpad buttons are in the wrong place (must be on top, under thumbs)
* No IPS display
* Keyboard is crippled. Compare to a proper keyboard 
#3 means "cannot work with images with more than 65K colors".
 Proper keyboard:
Things to notice:
* Giant "Esc" key
* Dedicated forward/backward buttons for browsing
* Full-sized Fn keys
* Dedicated blocks for navigation keys
* Because it's ergonomic, it's not a dumb rectangular shape. Lenovo hates
this IBM design because it is more expensive to produce.
I love the Precision line. If only they made a 14" laptop... I would never buy ThinkPads again.
You can do a custom configuration and for not so much money you can get a powerful CPU, fast SSD drive, lots of ports etc., and most importantly an IPS screen. The finishing quality doesn't look bad either. Example:
Might not be exactly ThinkPad quality, but when they start marketing a thinner bevel as a "screen innovation" one might want to reconsider...
I recently got a T-530 and was extremely disappointed with the changes made to the keyboard. The chiclet change was lame, but it was something I could ignore. The changes to the layout are a complete disaster. Important keys are gone, and other keys are poorly positioned.
I joked that the next version thinkpad will eliminate the trackpoint and be as non-servicable as a Macbook.
Well, it looks like I underestimated them. They didn't eliminate the trackpoint. They just took the buttons away...
My next computer won't be a thinkpad.
"We unified the clickpad by integrating the trackpoint buttons into the elegant glass touchpad..."
I sincerely hope they never discard the trackpoint, no matter how many times The Verge laments it's "confusing" presence.
Hardcore long-time ThinkPad fan. This breaks the way the computer is used.
I don't even know what I'll do. The only other quality hardware maker I know is Apple.
Lenovo, or any other manufacturer, will not keep producing gadgets for your exact same specification for the rest of your professional life. Actually, what they come up with in the first place was not designed by your specs, you got used to the gadget in time. Now it seems it's time to start using another one, getting familiar with it, and having some uncomfortable one or two weeks.
Is there some specific "line" of computers that Dell makes that are for serious users?
I have E6400 and it has all the nice perks - metal-ish body so it's not squeeky and wiggly like a plastic notebook, one screw to remove bottom (to clean up fan, change ram, ...), one screw to change hard drive, "multi/ultra"bay slot so you can swap the useless optical drive for battery or hard drive, only few screws to change keyboard (so you can get an underlit one), docking station, international next business day care (with accidental damage) ... They just don't look so good as ThinkPad did/does. But that's a matter of opinion of course.
I haven't seen any of their books recently but if I were to buy something new I would definitely look into them.
In 2011, I was shopping for a new laptop and wanted to get something with an SSD, but the X-series was more expensive than an MBA. After a tirade about Apple, I finally gave in despite reservations about no trackpoint and durability. I just don't treat my hardware very well. Regarding durability, I've had this thing protect me while I got clipped by a truck, dropped it off a motorcycle, and had it fall several times. A few dents, but it keeps on going. And the trackpoint, well, I've just learned to live without. C'est la vie. The keyboard works, gotten used to it.
I'm still waiting for something better than the MBA that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Carbon for $1200 + the honor of having to recompile kernels to get less battery life than other OS's just doesn't cut it anymore. This new one ain't it either.
Loyalty is misguided nowadays. They don't build them like they used to.
Whatever happened to not alienating long time thinkpad users?
Presumably long time thinpad users switched to macs, is what happened.
There is a decent ThinkPad USB keyboard  that works with Macs; I use one with mine. The TrackPoint response isn't as good as it is on a ThinkPad with Windows, though. And there's no way to get a MacBook of any sort with a TrackPoint. So I prefer using my ThinkPads except when I need to test on the Mac.
Now that the track point is ruined, it's an option.
Why not just use/create another brand like the IdeaPad?
I'm going to keep calm and assume that these trackpad buttons work perfectly while using the trackpoint.
At least they didn't change the key laout again. I just got used to the new layout. It takes more effort to use though. There's a horrible wrist-crank that goes on while trying to page down with a pinky.
Anyway, I'm hoping my next computer will be little more than a keyboard (thinkpad travelnav) with something like a raspberry pi at the bottom and hdmi display glasses.
As for the new Thinkpad described in this article... lack of physical mouse buttons = instant fail. This seems like a weird style-oriented consumer move, not a business-user kind of move. I don't understand why everyone is in such a hurry to try and copy the MacBook (badly).
At this point, availability of physical mouse buttons is very high in my list of selling points for a laptop. I doubt I am alone.
"Don't pay any attention to the body that is made out of cheap plastic, look at these shiny metal hinges!"
I'm an MBP fella but for the past few years Thinkpads have been the PCs for which I've secretly lusted. Lenovo, becoming more Mac-ish only makes long for you less.
Wouldn't a better monitor be a better thing than flipping the logo?
I'm utterly fed up with the consumerization of power notebooks at the expense of the needs of productivity workers.
The last few years have been an outright de-evolution of screen resolutions for laptops ... i'm still waiting for a clear upgrade path.
I'm a technology marketing specialist. I design graphics and develop software and websites using Adobe Creative Suite, Visual Studio, and various other apps that require lots of screen real estate. It seems like computer companies think everyone buys notebooks to watch movies.
There are a millions of power users that require high resolution notebooks including engineers, CAD/CAM designers, architects, graphic designers, developers, etc. These groups form the best litmus test for determining quality wrt high-end technology.
And these groups are being alienated by technology companies -- both software and hardware. This includes the latest Windows 8 craptaculous dr. jekyll mr. hyde release, along with the numerous laptop vendors all trying to shove consumer-focused technology down the throats of power users that primarily use technology to PRODUCE THINGS.
The most insulting and infuriating thing is that the ThinkPad brand in particular grew famous from the loyalty of power-users like me. And instead of listening to us and delivering products that meet and exceed our needs, Lenovo (and other manufacturers) blindly chase after new consumer oriented customers at our expense.
The marketing morons at these companies (i know their "work" very well) are focused on generating growth and chasing after new markets -- at all costs. That's fine. Create a new brand to do that.
My advise to manufacturers of high-end products for long-term success:
- Create new brands to enter new markets
- Deliver high-end products that meet/exceed the needs of your most demanding customers
- Evolve core brands CAREFULLY
- If you don't use the product as your demanding customers do, then you don't understand the product, so you should not make drastic decisions that affect it
Seriously? Why parrot that you're behind the times?
Had to service twice (the monitor cable broke once because of the lots of opening and closing, and the fan died once), and maybe will have to fix my headphone jack, but it was always painless, free and speedy in the service centre....
Side note, PM me if you want to buy a nearly never used maxed out X220.
The Intel and Microsoft stickers came off easily and cleanly.
(Pro tip: Use the plastic toothpick from a Swiss Army Knife. The flat point is just right to get under the corner of a sticker and lift it loose. Then the rest of the sticker is easy to peel off.)
The Lenovo Enhanced Experience sticker? Quite a bit more tenacious. It was a real pain to get it loose at all, and then it left a bunch of residue behind. Some kind of Enhanced Experience!
I hate stickers.
Also, I'm one of those who want the CTRL key to be at the corner (no bios workaround).
These are premium machines, they can clearly afford to get decent IPS displays produced in whatever aspect ratio they choose (as both Apple and Google have done), but they continue with this 16:9 bullshit.
I'm not fond of any current laptop hardware as they're all too compromised.
I second the sentiment that in a year or two it'll be possible to have a simple keyboard attached to an ARM based mini computer (raspberry pi but better), outputting to some wearable display / hooked to a monitor. This might in fact just be a phone of course.
I'd love to be able to just carry a nice mini mechanical keyboard with me, rather than use laptop keyboards.
I was desperately waiting for an update to my X61t w/ 1400x1050 display and no such option come from them and after many years, still none! Such a disappointment.
I saw the photos in the article and then noticed they removed the trackpad buttons. They're moving away from why I liked them before.. that's fine, but they're not making big enough hardware improvements to offset those changes.
"At the same time we added a living element to it with a new LED in the logo middle giving it a “heartbeat” of sorts. It’s functional too, showing the PC’s status of on or in sleep."
This feature has always let me distinguish my high-end T420 from other cheaper, worse models which have the ugly red led.
With T420 I somewhat feel like this is the last good Thinkpad of the T-series, but of course I am biased.
until recently, in our office, the only person whose laptop always worked right with the various projectors was the guy with linux on a thinkpad. macbooks with displayports were reliably unreliable. now the situation has reversed, because the new thinkpads are x1 carbons w/ displayports, and for the macs we hooked up an apple tv to the projector and use AirPlay, which behaves much, much better than the cable ever did.
edit: and I've only ever had bad experiences with [X]->VGA adapters
Maybe the X230 but the screen frame still looks too big / noticeable.
I've heard the ctrl and fn placement is an issue for many people, but I don't understand why you'd want the more frequently used key further away than a hardly ever used key. Or maybe people actually use fn more often than ctrl? That doesn't seem likely.
Ctrl key has always been the last key at the bottom row, so it's really easy to press, not sure why they would change that standard. Previously they didn't even have a BIOS setting, but they faced such a strong backlash that they had to add that. They did a survey and found out that a lot of people want that to match the industry convention.
It seems kind of essential if they're using the touchpad top edge as a replacement for the TrackPoint buttons.
Now if only any store anywhere carried the Chromebook Pixel so I could check it out...
edit: After more reading, rumor has it of a retina MBA 2013. Maybe I'll wait it out.
I believe you have incorrect information. I own a Thinkpad X1 Carbon. Its screen resolution is 1600x900, which is not only higher than the typical 1366x768 resolution found on most laptops, but it's a nice resolution that doesn't require switching into and out of "retina" mode.
I'm quite happy with my X1 Carbon, FWIW. My favorite feature is the rapid charge, which charges your laptop to 80% battery in 30 minutes or less. This is a laptop where it's actually worth hauling out the AC adapter when you have 10 minutes before you board your next flight. Very awesome feature.
I'm a bit surprised to read this sentiment on this thread. As I keep saying - ten years ago I had a t42p with 1600 x 1200. For software development, vertical resolution is extremely important, and 900 is the bare minimum in my opinion. It's certainly not good.
I use an OS that fortunately isn't encumbered with those problems. I use a 2560x1440 monitor, a 2560x1440 tablet, and a 720p phone, the fact that a 14" screen is inferior to all of those is embarrassing. It does make a difference, especially when I'm considering switching from my MBA (which already has a higher density than the X1 in question) to an XPS 13 that has a full HD (1080p) display.
I can assure you, I would love more than anything else to buy the Touchpad X1. I don't like Dell's quality or customer service. The EFI implementation on Macs is piss-poor and their firmware doesn't support USB3 (you have to boot OS X/Ubuntu and have the drivers kick in). My first "real" laptop was a Thinkpad before they stopped making Thinkpads. But frankly, the screen is a deal break. The screen on my T61P was the worst screen I've ever owned, and I'm not buying another until it's competitive with the equivalent competition.
I'm sadly well aware that many other laptop manufacturers skimp on displays, but both Acer and ASUS offer full HD laptops that are in the same spec/dimension/price range.
I really don't mind paying $200 extra for a great screen.
> 2560x1440 tablet
If that's the nexus 10 you're referring to, it's actually 2560×1600 :)