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Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

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zil
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Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#1 Post by zil » Sat Feb 10, 2024 5:19 am

Hello,

I’m new to this forum, but I feel like I have something very important to say. Namely, the Lenovo keyboards, which are widely regarded as having the best typing experience, are sadly taking backward steps and that’s even when you exclude the key-travel shrinking year-by-year to 1.5 mm now. I do wish that would go back to 1.8 mm and Lenovo, if you can make that happen, you’ll be a legend.

But what I wanted to speak about is their keyboard layouts and more specifically the full Nordic keyboard layouts for 15 and 16 inch models. I’ve been considering getting a new workstation machine, because my very old E530 is getting even older day-by-day.. and I’ve had my eyes set upon the P16v model. It basically fits my needs in every way. Then one day, I discovered that the Nordic layout has a small, but tragic flaw. And not just this model, but several others as well. Here’s a picture of it:

https://imgur.com/tEZ9g7E

Look at the red area.. there’s 4 keys that are narrower than the others left of it. 3 of those 4 are keys for letters - ones that the Nordic languages very commonly use. How can this be that some of them are narrower? You wouldn’t have U, I, J and K narrower than the other letter keys in the US layout, would you? So why is this happening in the Nordic one!?

This must be solved and I believe it can by:
1) increasing the laptop width ever so slightly and/or making the left and right bezels a tiny bit smaller and the whole laptop frame stronger
2) narrowing the highlighted green area (numpad), again - just a tiny bit; even though it wouldn’t still be ideal, it would make a bit more sense since the numpad is useful, but still less used than the keys of the alphabet

Lenovo V15 has it this way (but of course, some other weirdness too like the asterisk and ENTER having almost no separation and up/down arrow keys different size than left/right):

https://imgur.com/a/CTPxtCt

3) maybe getting some more room by narrowing the TAB, Caps Lock and Left Shift keys on the left side of the keyboard; again, this is perhaps not an ideal solution, but just throwing it out there..

Which kind of brings me back to my solution #1, just increase the laptop width by 5mm, or 7 if that’s what it takes. I think it’s the easiest to do and WAY BETTER than to have some letter keys smaller than the rest, especially if they are common letters in the Nordic languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, German..). I understand it might not be a problem for US layout kayboards, however - not the whole world is US and there are MANY Thinkpad users in the Nordic countries.

Lenovo, can you please for the love of all that is Holy.. fix this problem for the 2024 models, I’m begging you. Fn/Ctrl could be swapped too, but I’ve heard rumours you’re already doing that soon. And please, show the rest of the computer world how it’s done and DON’T bring a Co-Pilot key, but integrate into a shortcut that can be used by those who want to use it (Winkey + something would work fine).

Everything else should stay the same: the upright-down L-shaped big ENTER key and the arrow keys having their own little separated ‘nest’ down there, the way it is in the P16v photo above.

Thank you for your time reading this and here’s to hoping that common sense will prevail.

Kind regards,
zil

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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Sat Feb 10, 2024 8:42 am

I theorize the shrunken keyboard is a cost-save to increase parts commonality with the ultrabooks and 13”-14”. The result is ridiculous ultrabook sized keys on even the biggest most expensive workstations like the P72, P17, and P16. Partly why i bought a P71 with 2mm travel and proper full-width keyboard.

There is ONE model that still has a proper full sized keyboard: the P1.

zil
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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#3 Post by zil » Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:14 am

TPFanatic wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2024 8:42 am
There is ONE model that still has a proper full sized keyboard: the P1.
Hm, I don't think it has a numpad, does it? For me, it needs to have one to be regarded as 'full'. Or.. can you post an image?

mikemex
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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#4 Post by mikemex » Sat Feb 10, 2024 2:33 pm

Not sure about other models but I noticed it too on my X1 Carbon 9th. Even notebookcheck mentioned it:

https://www.notebookcheck.net/X1-Carbon ... 996.0.html

Laptops are so thin today that there is no space to put a motherboard, a keyboard, and a pair of speakers on top of each other. Ergonomics must not be a priority for Lenovo engineers, as they decided it was OK to shrink the keyboard in order to make room for the speakers (in this generation they are located at the sides, firing upward). The proof is that my X1 Yoga Gen 8, which is larger than the X1 Carbon Gen 9, doesn't have the shrunk keyboard. I guess they made that decision once and repeated it on other products, where it makes even less sense.

I've said it for years: back when Thinkpads were made by IBM -a logistics company- instead of Lenovo -a trading company- emphasis was on function, rather than form. It may be subtle at first sight, but it's a very deep change in mindset: trade wants to make a product appealing to the potential customer -before making a sale- while logistics wants to please the user after a sale (to get a continuous stream of future sales). Back when Thinkpads pleased the nerds at the IT departments, such things didn't happen.
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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#5 Post by dr_st » Sat Feb 10, 2024 3:55 pm

zil wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2024 5:19 am
Look at the red area.. there’s 4 keys that are narrower than the others left of it. 3 of those 4 are keys for letters - ones that the Nordic languages very commonly use. How can this be that some of them are narrower? You wouldn’t have U, I, J and K narrower than the other letter keys in the US layout, would you? So why is this happening in the Nordic one!?
Because it was designed by people who have no clue. Unfortunately.

Thanks for the heads-up and the warning.
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

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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#6 Post by TPFanatic » Sat Feb 10, 2024 5:01 pm

zil wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:14 am

Hm, I don't think it has a numpad, does it? For me, it needs to have one to be regarded as 'full'. Or.. can you post an image?
You are correct there is no numpad. But as you can see the rest of the keys are not needlessly shrunken down. Centered keyboard is supposed to be favorable. It also appears to be one of if not the last ThinkPads without the OCD-triggering some-keys-are-square debauchery.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadmin ... e1be90.jpg

If you want a numpad with a non-shrunk keyboard you have to go back 8 years to the P51/P71 at best.

zil
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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#7 Post by zil » Tue Feb 13, 2024 5:09 pm

Hey again.

Interesting observation about the IBM/Lenovo change of focus.

About them having no clue.. yeah I completely agree. It's mind-boggling, really..

Going back to P51 would be crazy. Not sure when it was released, but ideally - one would still like to keep up to date. It's just becoming increasingly hard to do so, with laptops/PCs going through weird changes, mostly for the worse. The same with smartphones. I've been holding on to my 5 inch compact Huawei phone for years, because everything else that has followed is just bad (notches, punch-holes etc.) It's also funny how in the laptop industry they've been trying to get smaller and thinner all the time, whereas the in the smartphone world, the screens get increasingly bigger.. okay the bodies themselves have kind of reached a 'thinness' limit, but you get the point.

I'm wondering if.. with regards to the keyboard issue that I mentioned. Is there a chance of actually reaching those guys at Lenovo and convince them to implement these changes (especially the shrunken letter-keys problem)? Perhaps a petition of sorts? What do you think, could it be successful?

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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#8 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Feb 13, 2024 10:07 pm

Lenovo historically only listens to the corporate buyers and shareholders. The 25th anniversary model with the one-off 7 row keyboard was an aberration that will never happen again as Mr. Hill retired.

Thinkpads of the past didn’t use to have numpads. The IBM layout did compensate with an integrated skewed numpad toggle, but this hasn’t existed since 2012.

I would seriously consider the P1 Gen 6 just for not having shrunken keys, and use a USB numpad if that is really necessary. I personally prefer the number row so the numpad on my P71 never gets used.

If you look at P51 be advised there is maybe 1% CPU performance difference between P51 and P50 and between P71 and P70 generations. They use Intel 7th and 6th generation quad core processors from 2017/16 and Nvidia Maxwell graphics, except for the P71 which has Pascal graphics options. I use an egpu RTX 3060 with my P71 for render art. These laptops thankfully have Thunderbolt 3 40gb/s, without which they would be totally irrelevant. But the value for performance is awful.

mikemex
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Re: Nordic layout of Thinkpad keyboards

#9 Post by mikemex » Wed Feb 14, 2024 7:20 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 10:07 pm
If you look at P51 be advised there is maybe 1% CPU performance difference between P51 and P50 and between P71 and P70 generations. They use Intel 7th and 6th generation quad core processors from 2017/16
Kaby Lake supports MBEC for Windows 11 VBS/HVCI. Without MBEC, Skylake CPU run like 15-30% slower with VBS/HVCI enabled.

"Crippleware". That's what I would call that planned-obsolescence strategy. After some time, they will detect a new "vulnerability" that will threat to set the entire world in flames if not addressed immediately and decisively. Conveniently, the patches or "mitigations" released for it will disable key elements of previous architectures, effectively crippling even recent CPUs. How convenient for manufacturers, don't you think? They don't get severely fined for releasing defective CPUs, yet their latest products get a "free" performance bump compared to older ones.

(I'm yet to see a single real-world attempt to exploit Spectre, Meltdown, Downfall... many experts agree that the complexity of such exploits makes them highly impractical for any real-world usage)

It reminds me of my old Aureal Vortex 2 sound card. Man, I loved playing Half-Life with A3D enabled. But after I switched to Windows XP from Windows 98SE, they stripped the driver to the bare minimum, and I could no longer use A3D on any applications. From a masterpiece of technology, my AU8830 based MX300/SQ2500 became the equivalent of a 3 dollar generic USB sound card...
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C5: 7600U | 16GB | 1TB | FHD
X1C9: 1145G7 | 16GB | 1TB | WXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WXGA
P14s G1 AMD: 4750U | 32GB | 1TB | PG FHD Touch
T14 G2: 1145G7 | 32GB | 1TB | FHD

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