As far as specs go, I'm not that picky. I just need to be able to play videos, listen to music, type papers, etc. It doesn't require much. Biggest thing hardware-wise for me is a good screen. It's more about color and viewing angle than resolution, though at least 720p is important, bonus if it's a more conventional aspect ratio. I'm fine with a heavier machine (I knew going in that Thinkpads tended to be a bit bulkier than average laptops), but since I'll be carrying it around quite a bit, I don't want anything super large or heavy. As a side note, I do tend to have more interest in the classic models (a sentiment that seems to be shared by a lot of enthusiasts), and don't really want anything much more expensive than $200 (though lower is always good) or anything extremely difficult to track down.
to fully avail oneself of an x64 OS ... AND computing with > 3 or 4 gb of RAM ...
one has to rule out the T60 ... and all preceding models ...
The T61 "family" ... "secret" is the faulty/failing nVidia GPUs ...
that were (mostly) manufactured before 08/08 ~
the last month of (full) production ...
If one is OK with IntelGraphics (which I am not ~
which is one reason why I will be selling my IntelGraphics 14.1" T61)
then one has more choices within the T61 family ...
DisplayResolution (e.g. SXGA+/UXGA) is (imo) more important than DisplaySize (e.g., 14.1" vs 15.4") ...
Smaller DisplaySize/s can make for a smaller ... more "mobile" laptop ...
Smaller DisplaySize/s with HigherResolution/s ... (and an nVidia GPU)
can (imo) make for a better video experience ~
in a smaller (more) mobile laptop ...
Having a ("classic") ThinkPad with mSATA-SSD capability
(which I have in my T420s)
allows one to
~ install the OS on the mSATA;
~ use the main HDD-bay for a large (e.g. 1tb) 7200rpm/SATAIII HDD for data;
~ & use the UltraBay for an OpticalDrive ... or 2nd battery ... or ... "FitB"
The SIZE of the "PowerBrick" (i.e., the Wattage)
is (also) a consideration ...
My T420s can use the same (relatively small/er) 90watt adapter
as my T61 laptop/s ...
The last/final "ClassicThinkPads" are (imo) the ones
with the "Classic" KeyBoard (e.g., T420/s)
A TradeOff with the T420s is that the CPU is "soldered" to the MoBo;
so/therefore, a CPU swap/upgrade is NOT possible
(short of swapping out the entire MoBo )
so/therefore, I bought a T420s with an i7-2620M 2.70GHz CPU ...
Increasing/Maxing (-out) RAM ... and having the OS on an SSD
materially affect performance ...
I never really did any eBay shopping ... until this year (2018) ...
now I have to make sure I don't spiral (down)
towards/into a need for an eBayAnonymous group
pss: As a "workaround" to the TP.c 10-Smilies per post ceiling/limit ...
I download the Smilies ... & the uploaded them ... to online file hosting
₡2015: T43 2686-M7U
₡2017: T61 14.1"ws
₡2018: T61p 6457-V9K ¦ T60 2008-4AU & 2613-CTO ¦ T420s 4174-BB4
₡2017: 2 OtC MS-W7s
~revive T30 XP-install ¦ ~T43 SATA-MOD
~Max T61p & T60-2008
~Find Ultimate "ClassicTP")
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It needs its clunkpad replaced with the touchpad+buttons from a T450.
The T440p is one of the last machines that is still quite upgradable.
If 12.5" and max. 8GB RAM is acceptable, look for the X240 with IPS FHD.
It too needs its clunkpad replaced with the touchpad+buttons from an X250.
X240 is light and has very good battery life.
Both the above can be found around your price range.
If the classic keyboard is a must, you can get the T420 and upgrade that to FHD.
A better option, with better CPU and GPU is the T430, upgraded with the T420 classic keyboard and also upgraded to FHD.
However, both T420 and T430 will need extensive upgrading, and with that will cost more than the T440p or X240 above.
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.
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