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Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

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alofano
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Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#1 Post by alofano » Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:42 pm

Why do you like THINKPADS so much and what other brand would you consider as 2nd best ?

I have always liked Thinkpad because of it matte black color and design housing, the best-in-the-market kybd, imo, and the matt finish screen. My 2nd best would be one of the sony lines. What's your 2nd best choice and why do you love the TP's so much ? Thanks for your input.


correction : matt to matte
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#2 Post by killer » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:48 am

Thinkpads pass my SPACED tests:

Security
Performance
Appearance
Convenience
Economy
Durability.

If Thinkpads weren't available then HP would probably be my choice because they have a trackpoint.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#3 Post by alofano » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:45 pm

Yea, your right ... I forgot about the "trackpoint", how did I ! :wink:
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#4 Post by pianowizard » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:20 pm

I am getting increasingly reluctant to declare any laptop manufacturer as "the best", because I have been exposed to only a very tiny fraction of all laptops. Between Sep 2002 (when I bought my first Thinkpad) and Jan 2009 (when I bought my last Thinkpad), I was so convinced that the Thinkpads were the best laptops in the industry that I bought over 40 of them and didn't bother to explore other brands very much. But in the last couple years, I became more open-minded and looked around at other brands more often, and started to question my long-held conviction that the Thinkpads were #1. The last time I browsed through laptops at Best Buy, I was very impressed by many of the Asus laptops on display. They were fairly basic consumer-grade laptops, but all of them felt extremely well constructed and looked great. Also, both the HP Mini 5101 and the Dell Latitude D820 that I bought in the last several weeks far exceeded my expectations.
alofano wrote:I have always liked Thinkpad because of it matt black color and design housing
If you are just talking about the Thinkpads listed in your signature, then I agree with you regarding the design. But most of the more recent widescreen Thinkpads look repulsive, which is the primary reason I have given up on Thinkpads. In general, I do like plain designs and dislike most of the flashy consumer laptops at Best Buy and Micro Center. Both my current HP and Dell are business-line laptops with professional, non-flashy looks.
alofano wrote:the best-in-the-market kybd, imo, and the matt finish screen.
The Thinkpads' matte screens aren't special though, because both HP's and Dell's business-class laptops also use matte screens. Even Apple now offers such screens on their laptops.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#5 Post by sir_synthsalot » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:29 pm

Matte screen, but not the greatest quality IMHO.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#6 Post by ajkula66 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:57 pm

pianowizard wrote:
But most of the more recent widescreen Thinkpads look repulsive, which is the primary reason I have given up on Thinkpads. In general, I do like plain designs
+ 1

My main argument for not getting any newer ThinkPads is the screen quality - or shall we say lack thereof - on full-size units. I also find the "windows" key on a ThinkPad quite insulting, since it wasn't there in the IBM days. I have yet to figure out what I'm going to replace it with on my X60T... :evil:

By the time Lenovo gets on with the program when it comes to LCD quality (a sin, since the rest of current ThinkPad engineering if not design per se is up to par with the quality that the name represents) I'll likely have one of those HP workstations with the new-generation-IPS screens...

Second-best as well as "the very best" is really a matter of one's needs and opinion...I could see what people like about Macs, although I'm not in that boat personally... I hold "small" ToughBooks to be superior to any other notebook/netbook of comparable size...and so forth and so on...
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#7 Post by arizona » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:15 pm

Funny how things grow on you. I hated the TrackPoint feature when I purchased my first IBM. Now, I'm annoyed when I have to use a notebook without it.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#8 Post by jdrou » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:04 pm

When it comes to ultraportables with a Trackpoint I haven't yet found anything that can match the power that Thinkpad X-series offers. Also like the keyboards.

For full-size laptops I usually end up going with Dell Precision; they seem to have had better video cards in the past and while this was not true since Lenovo released the W series I still found the Precisions to be a better value. Dell Precision also have the advantage that we use Latitude where I work so I can easily borrow a power supply, modular bay device, or docking station if I need to or get these things free after the company eventually retires them.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#9 Post by sanjuro » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:23 pm

I started using Thinkpads when Apple started to go away from IBM selectric-styled keyboards. I hated the first gen Apple's Macbook and Macbook Air with their chiclet keyboard. Still do, even with the redesigned second gen MBA's. (What a stupid move on Lenovo's part to discontinue Thinkpad X301 and give up that market segment.)

Thinkpads in 4:3 formats were better than wide angle ones. On the average, they were more thoughtfully designed. The wide-angle Thinkpads are pretty generic and their displays are quite poor. (Lenovo needs to figure out how to sell notebooks with crappy LCDs in volume to corporations and charge a little premium for higher quality displays for those who care. Apple has started doing that.) So will the quality of TPs decrease further with upcoming adoption of 16:9 LCDs? Time will tell.

It's clear that Lenovo and rest of the PC industries are left in the dust with (new generation) tablets, i.e. iPad. It's funny how Microsoft and the wintel hardware makers are left flat-footed as Apple rakes in bucks and good will.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#10 Post by killer » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:37 pm

sanjuro wrote:I started using Thinkpads when Apple started to go away from IBM selectric-styled keyboards. I hated the first gen Apple's Macbook and Macbook Air with their chiclet keyboard. Still do, even with the redesigned second gen MBA's. (What a stupid move on Lenovo's part to discontinue Thinkpad X301 and give up that market segment.)

Thinkpads in 4:3 formats were better than wide angle ones. On the average, they were more thoughtfully designed. The wide-angle Thinkpads are pretty generic and their displays are quite poor. (Lenovo needs to figure out how to sell notebooks with crappy LCDs in volume to corporations and charge a little premium for higher quality displays for those who care. Apple has started doing that.) So will the quality of TPs decrease further with upcoming adoption of 16:9 LCDs? Time will tell.

It's clear that Lenovo and rest of the PC industries are left in the dust with (new generation) tablets, i.e. iPad. It's funny how Microsoft and the wintel hardware makers are left flat-footed as Apple rakes in bucks and good will.
A different point of view, which is refreshing.

My view, which seems to be in a minority, is that wide screens are great. Lenovo HD+ screens are a delight, especially if you have a camera that takes 16:9 format photos. Each to their own ... but try looking at a 16:9 photo on a 4:3 screen and it doen't look as it should.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#11 Post by sanjuro » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:53 pm

killer wrote: My view, which seems to be in a minority, is that wide screens are great. Lenovo HD+ screens are a delight, especially if you have a camera that takes 16:9 format photos. Each to their own ... but try looking at a 16:9 photo on a 4:3 screen and it doen't look as it should.
I was commenting on the overall quality of the 4:3 Thinkpad designs vs 16:10 designs. The quality of LCDs was one of the factors in that assessment.

I've heard that some 16:9 LCDs on some 15" Thinkpads are good, but I'm not a big fan of 16:9. The 16:9 aspect ratio doesn't enhance my computing experience so I'm generally down on the format.

If you have high resolution photos, then having a HD display should help, regardless of the aspect ratio. I noticed that watching video or photos on IPS displays add to the overall experience, too.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#12 Post by pianowizard » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:36 pm

killer wrote:My view, which seems to be in a minority, is that wide screens are great.
When you say "widescreen", you are including 16:10 as well as 16:9. 16:10 widescreens are actually hugely popular. It is the 16:9 widescreens that are controversial on this forum.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#13 Post by ansible212 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:10 am

pianowizard wrote:If you are just talking about the Thinkpads listed in your signature, then I agree with you regarding the design. But most of the more recent widescreen Thinkpads look repulsive, which is the primary reason I have given up on Thinkpads. In general, I do like plain designs and dislike most of the flashy consumer laptops at Best Buy and Micro Center. Both my current HP and Dell are business-line laptops with professional, non-flashy looks.
I actually think that widescreen displays suit the X series far better than 4:3 and are also in my opinion better laptops: principally because I get a full size keyboard and higher screen resolution than a comparable 4:3 screens... my gripe with widescreens in general is that you nearly always sacrifice resolution compared to 4:3, in part due to the obsession with 'Full HD'. Oh and horrible 16:9 screens too.

As has been suggested elsewhere on the thread it would be great if Lenovo could find a way of selling ThinkPads with higher quality screens at a premium to those that care. I'd certainly pay more for some form of IPS unit.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#14 Post by pianowizard » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:57 am

ansible212 wrote: I actually think that widescreen displays suit the X series far better than 4:3
I have been saying that for years. In my post above, I was saying I didn't like the aesthetics of widescreen Thinkpads.

In terms of functionality, I prefer widescreen over 4:3 for all laptop sizes other than 14.1" (for which 1400x1050 is better than 1440x900). Look at my signature: both of my current laptops are widescreen, and all five of my desktop monitors are also widescreen.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#15 Post by fasteez » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:15 pm

arizona wrote:Funny how things grow on you. I hated the TrackPoint feature when I purchased my first IBM. Now, I'm annoyed when I have to use a notebook without it.
Same here, since then I can't use a touchpad anymore. Last week I caught myself rubbing around the 'g' letter for a few secs until I realized there was no trackpoint on my work computer ...

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#16 Post by bill bolton » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:57 pm

"Best" depends very much on a user's purpose for the notebook, and as this thread shows individual users purposes vary widely.

As a corporate "fleet" user, my pecking order is Lenovo then HP.

YMMV.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#17 Post by twillis449 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:18 am

I have a Dell latitude D830 with a 1900x1200 WUXGA matte screen. I have to say that those Dell screens are really nice, but for the rest I feel that Thinkpads are somewhat better built than Dells. I got fed up with Dell latitude D600s which seemed to require that one replace the hinges about once every three months! I do a lot of number crunching and interestingly my T61 with a 2 GHz core2duo processor will complete a calculation about 10% faster than does the latitude D830 with a 2.5 GHz core2duo processor. Go figure ....

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#18 Post by pianowizard » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:30 am

twillis449 wrote:I have a Dell latitude D830 with a 1900x1200 WUXGA matte screen.
Watch out, the D830 uses one of the Nvidia GPUs that have a defective design and an extremely high failure rate, just like the T61 Thinkpads. I would minimize the use of graphics-intensive applications on this laptop. The D820 is sort of affected by this defect too but based on what I have read, it has fared much better than the D830. That's why I bought a D820 rather than D830.
twillis449 wrote:but for the rest I feel that Thinkpads are somewhat better built than Dells. I got fed up with Dell latitude D600s which seemed to require that one replace the hinges about once every three months!
There is no doubt that despite the drastic improvement of Dell Business laptops over the last 5 to 6 years, the Thinkpads remain slightly better built. However, Dell Business laptops are also proportionately cheaper than Thinkpads, and IMO both brands offer pretty much the same quality on a per-dollar basis.

I agree that most Dell laptops I have come across have somewhat weak hinges, but as long as you open and close the lid slowly, these hinges will still last for many years. I have owned 64 laptops and the one that I held on to for the longest was a Dell Inspiron 8200, for 3 years and 6 months. I always opened and closed this Inspiron's lid slowly and the hinges felt as strong on the day I sold it as they did on the day I received it.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#19 Post by cogitordi » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:21 am

Different needs may define the suitability of a portable computer, but a portable computer's usability is essential. Something as basic as lightness has resulted in the creation of a new class of portable (the netbook).

In general, I find that marketing conformity ("fear of innovation") makes it difficult for any product to distinguish itself. It's either "copy Apple" or play it safe.

Screen resolution -- there are portables with better screens than Thinkpads have in general, but my X200s is a pleasure to use. I prefer a matte screen. (Most portables seem to have a glossy screen these days.)

ThinkLight -- only Thinkpads have this, and it's a clearly a better design than a poorly backlit keyboard

no Touchpad (X Series) -- I suppose I am in the minority in saying this openly, but the TouchPad is a usability nightmare and a poor compromise that occupies space uselessly (most evidently on the MacBooks). I hope Lenovo continues designing this series without a TouchPad.

The performance of modern portables is very good across the product segment -- even my cheap Dell Mini 10v performs quite well.

So for me, the Thinkpad X Series with a high-resolution screen is exactly what I want and no one else makes anything like it.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#20 Post by cogitordi » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:51 am

Some interesting information about the rate of failure of portable computers:

http://smidgenpc.com/2010/05/07/laptop- ... -reliable/
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#21 Post by automobus » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:29 pm

cogitordi wrote:ThinkLight -- only Thinkpads have this, and it's a clearly a better design than a poorly backlit keyboard.
I found an exception!
review of Rugged Notebooks Eagle
Rugged PC Review.com wrote:The keyboard doesn't have a backlight, but there is a LED light mounted on top of the LCD that helps illuminating the keyboard in the dark.
RNB Eagle specifications
RuggedNotebooks.com wrote:White LED projected keyboard light
Though it only has a trackpad/touchpad.

edit to add: When I originally posted this, I was not aware HP also makes front-lighting for keyboard. It is called Night Light.
Dell put two red LED front lights in Latitude ATG D620 and D630, called task lights. General Dynamics Itronix GoBook VR-2 also has a pair of task lights, but I did not find a picture of it in action.
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#22 Post by miamicanes » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:39 pm

First and foremost, there are two things that fundamentally make a Thinkpad a Thinkpad:
  • The keyboard. Sometimes better or worse than previous Thinkpad keyboards, but always better than the best keyboard available from anybody else.
  • The Trackpoint
Other manufacturers DO occasionally make a notebook with a pointer stick and/or a keyboard that doesn't totally suck:
  • HP's Compaq-heritage corporate notebooks like the 6910p are one example (though HP is doing its best to slowly destroy them, one cost-cutting value-engineering step at a time).
  • Toshiba occasionally does a model run with pointer sticks and good keyboards as well.
  • Dell gets credit for trying, but... well... they're Dell, and they just don't quite understand that there's more to it than just buying keyboards with integrated pointer sticks from Alps & calling it a day.
  • Sony occasionally gets it right with their subnotebooks (especially their experiments with moving the pointer stick so it sits below the spacebar between the mouse buttons), but *those* computers almost never make it to North America as mainstream products.
Even Lenovo knows it. Notice the new brands they've created for laptops without good keyboards and Trackpoint controllers to avoid tainting the Thinkpad name. More importantly, note the abundance of x100e and Edge computers in the Outlet Store, and draw your own conclusions. May the x100e be the last Thinkpad to bring shame upon the proud, disclaimer-free non-hyphenated name of its ancestors and heritage ;-)

If I had to pick one manufacturer to be number two, I'd say "HP's Compaq-heritage corporate notebooks"

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#23 Post by RDKirk » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:27 pm

killer wrote: My view, which seems to be in a minority, is that wide screens are great. Lenovo HD+ screens are a delight, especially if you have a camera that takes 16:9 format photos. Each to their own ... but try looking at a 16:9 photo on a 4:3 screen and it doen't look as it should.
Unless the photo is vertical, which is why as a photographer I prefer the 4:3 screen, and wouldn't mind it being 1:1 square.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#24 Post by RDKirk » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:32 pm

miamicanes wrote:First and foremost, there are two things that fundamentally make a Thinkpad a Thinkpad:
  • The keyboard. Sometimes better or worse than previous Thinkpad keyboards, but always better than the best keyboard available from anybody else.
  • The Trackpoint
Other manufacturers DO occasionally make a notebook with a pointer stick and/or a keyboard that doesn't totally suck:
  • HP's Compaq-heritage corporate notebooks like the 6910p are one example (though HP is doing its best to slowly destroy them, one cost-cutting value-engineering step at a time).
  • Toshiba occasionally does a model run with pointer sticks and good keyboards as well.
  • Dell gets credit for trying, but... well... they're Dell, and they just don't quite understand that there's more to it than just buying keyboards with integrated pointer sticks from Alps & calling it a day.
  • Sony occasionally gets it right with their subnotebooks (especially their experiments with moving the pointer stick so it sits below the spacebar between the mouse buttons), but *those* computers almost never make it to North America as mainstream products.
Even Lenovo knows it. Notice the new brands they've created for laptops without good keyboards and Trackpoint controllers to avoid tainting the Thinkpad name. More importantly, note the abundance of x100e and Edge computers in the Outlet Store, and draw your own conclusions. May the x100e be the last Thinkpad to bring shame upon the proud, disclaimer-free non-hyphenated name of its ancestors and heritage ;-)

If I had to pick one manufacturer to be number two, I'd say "HP's Compaq-heritage corporate notebooks"
I totally agree with all this.

I learned to type in high school back in the 60s in the taking "secretarial typing course" (I intended to become a writer). I'm still a very good and fast touch typist, which means I depend on keeping my fingers on the "home keys." Thus, I despise having to remove a hand totally from the keyboard to manipulate a trackpad or a mouse, and I highly prize a well-designed keyboard.

It's amazing how much superior the Thinkpad Trackpoint is to the pointing sticks of any other manufacturer. It should not be a difficult thing to get right. The HP pointing stick is second best, but it's a very distant second...someone whose experience was solely with the HP device would have an unfairly poor opinion of the Trackpoint concept.

I will say, though, that the concave Trackpoint cap design is an immense improvement.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#25 Post by automobus » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:01 pm

RDKirk wrote:Unless the photo is vertical, which is why as a photographer I prefer the 4:3 screen, and wouldn't mind it being 1:1 square.
Yes! I like 5:4 monitors, and wouldn't mind a perfect square.

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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#26 Post by cadillacmike68 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:45 pm

Jumping on the necro bandwagon here. Hey, I didn't do it.

The keyboard, even the T/W/x30, is better than most others - although I still do not like laptop keyboards.
The trackpoint
The serviceability
The wealth of information and community support for the older models
Ultrabays!
The cool black styling with locking covers on T series (and a few others). I've had my share of black Cadillacs as well.

2nd best would be Dell Latitude. I did Dell support for a bit and the machines have very good serviceability and driver support as well. NOT the cheaper lines though.

I would have considered HP but they are getting more and more stooopid and intrusive. I could not install a recent LJ without joining hp support. What a crock! and it failed to install as well. Now I have clean that crap off my system.
600 600X
760LD FUBARd
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T41 T42 T43
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T500 2
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#27 Post by MikalE » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:07 pm

I don't know who would be second best as until last year all I ever owned were Thinkpads with one exception, and IBM towers. I have had a Dell G3 for nearly a year that has been a good system with no troubles at all so far.

My first Lenovo was a G530 back in '13 before joining this forum. Years before in the early '90's I used to sell IBM towers at RadioShack as the store manager at two locations. Mine were smaller stores even though our sales was better than many other larger mall stores. Unfortunately, we could only order IBM laptops and did not carry any in stock. Ever. I never even laid eyes on one.

My G530 ran good until the HDD failed and I had to replace it. SSD's were not as widely popular as today as they were in '14 and were quite a bit more expensive.

Then I discovered the T5xx series and then the A31p from being a space and rocket nerd. I had been flying and building model rockets since I was a kid and later worked on the Minuteman II program in the Air Force. I found out about the A31p being flown on STS missions and had to have one.

After joining this forum I read all I could about the T series from 2010 onward. I decided right then that I would buy a T500, T510, and T520 and work on them myself if needed. These are the laptops I always wanted but could never afford when they were new. None had given me any trouble except for a failed HDD in one of my T510's about a year after buying it. I popped in a spare 500GB I had from another T series from a SSD replacement and all has been well since.

What I really enjoy is upgrading these machines and maxing (or nearly maxing) them out with parts that would make them CTO machines. They are so easy to work on a cave man could do it. Documentation, drivers, and parts are mostly plentiful enough to keep these machines running for decades.
A31p P-IV 2Ghz, 2MB, 2653-R6U
T500 T9600 2055-BE9
T510 i5 4384-DV7
T510 i7 4349-A64
T520 i7QM 4242-4UU Highly Modified

wujstefan
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#28 Post by wujstefan » Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:47 am

Why thinkpads?

(After T/W/X*30)

They have a useable trackpoint.

<the end>
Too many thinkpads not enough time!
(stable under reduction)

dr_st
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#29 Post by dr_st » Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:22 am

cadillacmike68 wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:45 pm
Jumping on the necro bandwagon here. Hey, I didn't do it.
Spammer's post has been removed. I really should have caught it earlier; however, since reasonable replies have been made, feel free to carry on. :)
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad

MikalE
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Re: Why THINKPADS & who's 2nd best ?

#30 Post by MikalE » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:37 am

I usually catch spam very early in the mornings and report it. I missed this.
A31p P-IV 2Ghz, 2MB, 2653-R6U
T500 T9600 2055-BE9
T510 i5 4384-DV7
T510 i7 4349-A64
T520 i7QM 4242-4UU Highly Modified

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