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Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

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mikemex
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Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#1 Post by mikemex » Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:20 am

Maybe someone can explain it to me.

I've always wondered why most manufacturers stopped using the "classic" hinge design (the one that sits vertically over the chassis and places the rotation axis of the lid in its middle point) and began using offseted or "modern" hinge design (generally constructed inside the chassis, placing the rotation axis of the lid in front of it and sending the whole lid back and sometimes even below the chassis when the screen is opened).

It can't be due compactness because the screen has to sit above the chassis no matter how the hinge works.

It may be that the laptop is a little lower over all when open, but I don't really see that many real world situations where that feature might be useful. Sitting in a plane with the passenger in front of you has the seat completely back, perhaps?

There are big problems with that design and I don't see people complaining about them:

1) You can't access the back of the laptop, so you lose an entire side (the largest, in fact) surface to put ports / battery / vents / etc. on.
2) Either the bottom of the lid or the hinges (in dual pivot designs) rubs the surface it sits on, causing them to wear unnecessarily.
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#2 Post by dr_st » Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:40 am

I suspect it may be another aesthetics-driven decision. When the hinges are part of the base, the lid looks like a smooth solid piece when viewed from above (laptop sitting closed on a desk or being carried).
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#3 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Nov 18, 2021 6:41 am

Maybe to allow the chassis to be thinner?
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#4 Post by Ibthink » Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:37 pm

Probably a combination of things for the newer hinge designs:

1. It looks more "modern". The hinges are essentially hidden from view, both when the laptop is closed (one piece lid) and opened (hinges "behind" the base") - makes the screen almost seem to float above the base.

2. It hides some screen bezel behind the base

3. A drop down hinge enables very thin lids without compromising the hinge size. With a classic hinge, when you make the lid thinner, you also make the hinge smaller.
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#5 Post by shawross » Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:41 pm

Is it a touch screen development?
One of the first things about the T440s that’s noticeable is the new hinge that holds the touchscreen. It’s now what Lenovo calls a “drop hinge”, which allows the screen to sit completely flat on a desk. In the previous design (the Thinkpad T430s), the screen tilted all the way back, but because the hinges were mounted higher, it gave the impression that the screen was pointing away from the user. The new design makes it friendlier to the user in this respect.
As with many changes I use the term development loosely. Does anyone use their thinkpads completely flat on their desk?
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#6 Post by TPFanatic » Thu Nov 18, 2021 7:40 pm

I read somewhere Lenovo switched to drop-down hinges since it creates more space between the user and the LCD when using the laptop in a tight space. Can't find the source, sorry.
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#7 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Nov 19, 2021 5:10 pm

mikemex wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:20 am
There are big problems with that design and I don't see people complaining about them:

1) You can't access the back of the laptop, so you lose an entire side (the largest, in fact) surface to put ports / battery / vents / etc. on.
2) Either the bottom of the lid or the hinges (in dual pivot designs) rubs the surface it sits on, causing them to wear unnecessarily.
Moreover, it makes implementation of extended 9 cell batteries awkward. HP ended up designing crazy 12 cell batteries for these machines by putting 6 cells downward, and levitating the back of the machine up. It gives a nicer angle for comfort, but it makes the laptop extremely bulky at the back, and it can really easily tip over your lap due to the bulkiness at the back.
Interestingly, Dell also designed batteries that would work with both Latitude series without the drop down hinge as well as Inspiron series with the drop down hinge.
And then, the 9 cell batteries would be exclusive to the Dell Latitude series because with them on the Inspiron you can't open the hinge past like 70 degrees :lol:
I think Apple was one of the first if not the first to have this kind of design, and then the likes of Compaq Toshiba quickly followed suit.
Some of the last mainstream business class laptops with the classic hinge design would be the Dell Latitude 5490/5491 and 5590/5591 with Coffee lake CPU.
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Re: Why manufacturers stopped using the "Classic" hinge design?

#8 Post by mikemex » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:50 pm

Thank you for your answers. I begin to see a pattern here.

1) It has a high aesthetic component. People don't like to see how things work or are built (I begin to think that magical thinking is deeply ingrained into the collective unconscious... topic for another day). Like abhorring screws in cars and keeping them out of sight at all costs.

2) As an attempt to remove the hinge mechanism from the lid. In turn, to make the lid thinner.

This last point is at least somewhat valid, but I don't think we're looking at the best solution...
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