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What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

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Carbon_Dater
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What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

#1 Post by Carbon_Dater » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:05 pm

With the renaissance of mechanical keyboards taking place all around us, I was wondering exactly what kind of keyboards modern Thinkpads use.

After all, even the new Chiclet-style Thinkpad keyboard is the best available on a notebook, with the retirement of the Classic Keyboard.

It's firm, consistent, and springy. It could be a lot worse.

I am wondering about the mechanism: is it a scissor-switch?

What kind of full-size external keyboards are like it? (Besides the Lenovo Thinkpad USB keyboards, of course).

Also, which is the 'best' Lenovo Thinkpad-style external keyboard?

Ibthink
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Re: What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

#2 Post by Ibthink » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:32 pm

Carbon_Dater wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:05 pm
I am wondering about the mechanism: is it a scissor-switch?
Yes, its still scissor-switch (which is the same mechanism as old ThinkPad keyboards).
Carbon_Dater wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:05 pm
Also, which is the 'best' Lenovo Thinkpad-style external keyboard?
In terms of external keyboards with a TrackPoint, besides the ThinkPad USB / Bluetooth keyboard, there also is the Unicomp EnduraPro keyboard with a TrackPoint – IBM Model M buckling-spring keys, but the TrackPoint only has two buttons and its an old version that isn't fixed. Then there is the TEX Kodachi, which is like an homage to the classical ThinkPad design. Has a TrackPoint, has three TrackPoint buttons and the 7 row layout. Unfortunately, ANSI layout only (if you prefer ISO, of course).
IBM ThinkPad R50e | lenovo ThinkPad X301 | lenovo ThinkPad Z61t

Carbon_Dater
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Re: What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

#3 Post by Carbon_Dater » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:34 pm

Yes, I thought so.

Fortunately, I have a mouse when using my external keyboards, so they don't require a trackpoint.

Scissor-switch is pretty good. It's quiet, it's consistent, and it can use backlighting.

Even though I am using MX-switch mechanical keyboards right now, I wouldn't mind a decent scissor-switch keyboard.

Problem is, I don't know what they are. Are there any good scissor-switch keyboards out there with a firm backplate, such as metal?

The X1 Carbons are great, because the keys are tightly integrated into the chassis. Something like the Logitech K120, in contrast, feels mushy because of the excess use of plastic materials.

Speaking of which, what are the Thinkpad chiclet keys made of? ABS plastic?

Ibthink
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Re: What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

#4 Post by Ibthink » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:08 pm

ThinkPad keys are made out of ABS plastic, the smooth kind for backlit keys and the rougher type for non-backlit ones.
Carbon_Dater wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:34 pm
Problem is, I don't know what they are. Are there any good scissor-switch keyboards out there with a firm backplate, such as metal?
Apart from the ThinkPad Compact external one (which isn't metal, but still pretty stable for plastic), maybe the Surface keyboard? https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surfa ... verviewtab Another alternative could be older Apple keyboards, although they do have a weird layout, of course.
IBM ThinkPad R50e | lenovo ThinkPad X301 | lenovo ThinkPad Z61t

Carbon_Dater
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Re: What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

#5 Post by Carbon_Dater » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:30 pm

Yes, I think the old Apple Extended Keyboard used Alps switches, which are prized today. (People are taking apart old keyboards for Alps switches).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Extended_Keyboard

And Apple's relatively recent chiclet keyboards are highly rated.

But you're right, whenever I do even a cursory internet search, people say that the new Microsoft Surface-style keyboards are the best available for Windows computers. Which is probably true. Microsoft was always good at peripherals.

I think I'm going to go check one out in a store today.

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: What kind of keyboards are on 'modern' Thinkpads?

#6 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:24 pm

Ibthink wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:32 pm
...but the TrackPoint only has two buttons and its an old version that isn't fixed...
Trackpoint II isn't bad... and I bet a small piece of software could simulate negative inertia without too much of an issue. Third button? Well that can always be modded in given a bit of time and effort...oh yeah and a Dremel. I don't use the third button too often anyway so it wouldn't be a huge deal for me.
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