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Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

Performance, hardware, software, general buying and gaming discussion..
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Claudiu1
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Location: Bucharest, Romania

Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#1 Post by Claudiu1 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:45 am

Hi,

Please help me make a decision.

You see, I love Macs. They’re great. And if Apple wouldn’t have [censored]*d this up by creating overpriced, unreliable fashion statements instead of their old laptops, I would have bought a new one.

But I hate the Butterfly keyboard and honestly, I’m turned off by the new models. At the same time, I’m a bit weary of getting a 2015 Pro as an upgrade from an Air, as if they break, I’m out of luck.

So I want a ThinkPad.

And I have no freaking idea which one to buy.

I think the workstations are amazing but they’re so heavy and big and I travel a lot. I believe that the X series is great but there are six generations between them and I don’t know what to pick. The T series is cool but again, what to pick?

So maybe you can give me some suggestions based on my usage profile:
I need long battery life, road warrior type of thing.
No need for a 3G modem with a SIM slot, had one before, never used it.
Screen, I don’t care so much about the resolution as I care about the quality. I spend extremely long hours in front of a display so viewing angles and generally, the warmth of the screen matters a lot to me. I know these are user configurable but some screens lead to eye fatigue while others don’t.
Performance, I mostly write, research online, use the occasional resource heavy SaaS. No or only light gaming.
Keyboard - this is the most important thing out of them all.
Ports - again, I don’t know how much it really matters.
Reliability - it should be able to take a small beating, as it will be in a backpack and not on a desk, most of the time.
Size, I’m used to 11.6 and 13.3 and it doesn’t matter that much, as long as it’s not very heavy.

I don’t really want to buy it new from Lenovo but rather, the previous generation, pre-owned. So models before 2017 or before what’s considered new right now.

Last month, I almost bought on an impulse a huge W workstation, 16 GB RAM, 17 inch screen, etc. Amazing machine and totally unpractical on a day to day level. So, something as close as possible to the MacBook Air 13.3 (size, weight) is preferred.

Thank you,
Razvan

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:23 am

Probably a T470 or T480. If you want lighter then T470s or T480s.

14" display. Gotta get the best high res disay because unlike Apple resolution is quality with display. Get the lowend display and youll feel what it's like to shoot yourself in the foot.

Everything else will meet your requirements. May want to look at a X1 carbon which is even lighter than the T series while retaining the 14" display. Also look at the X270 and X280 for 12" devices.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

GrifterGuru
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#3 Post by GrifterGuru » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:59 am

For upgradeability, I would look at T420/(14") or x220

If you want to run OSX, then T420 is easy enough, or, come to that, an X220 (12"), though I'll admit, I am not a fan of the "Clunkpad (combined trackpad and mouse buttons).

Both have classic keyboard.

T430/X230 can be modified to house the classic keyboard with a little time and knowledge.

I run a T420, T430, x220, L412.

T420 is almost at maximum spec and runs three SSD's (Standard drive bay, mSata in WWAN port, SSD in Ultrabay Adapter, replacing optical drive) or Two SSD's and a second battery in the UltraBay An FHD LCD upgrade is about to be installed, along with max spec memory (16GB) and a higher spec i7 CPU.

T430 is on an upgrade path so is not in daily, but rather irregular, use.

x220 is in daily use and on a rolling upgrade path. Two SSD's and 9 cell battery.

Am I being biased? perhaps, but then I like my machines to be easily upgradeable and a BIOS that is easy to flash (unlike the T430!)..


If you want to increase usage by utilising 3rd party batteries, you may want to look at slightly older models, as per the T420/X220, where there is no "whitelist" for battery or WiFi card in the BIOS to stop you using 3rd party batteries or your own choice of WiFi card.
X31 2672-58G, M73 10AXS, M73 10AXS i7, L412 4403-72G i5,T420 4236-9N8 i7-2630QM, T430 2349-TDG, X201 3680-C85, X220 42902
Install Mojave on X220 & T420

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:17 am

T420 screens are junk unless you want to put in a modkit for an FHD display FYI.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

GrifterGuru
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#5 Post by GrifterGuru » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:41 am

Which is why I mentioned "An FHD LCD upgrade is about to be installed"..

A valid point though, none-the-less.
X31 2672-58G, M73 10AXS, M73 10AXS i7, L412 4403-72G i5,T420 4236-9N8 i7-2630QM, T430 2349-TDG, X201 3680-C85, X220 42902
Install Mojave on X220 & T420

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#6 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:41 am

GrifterGuru wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:41 am
Which is why I mentioned "An FHD LCD upgrade is about to be installed"..

A valid point though, none-the-less.
Totally missed that, though that TN display is bad enough a second reminder is well justified :P .
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

GrifterGuru
Freshman Member
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:41 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#7 Post by GrifterGuru » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:44 pm

We all miss things occasionally. A lot of it is to do with speed reading or skim reading..
X31 2672-58G, M73 10AXS, M73 10AXS i7, L412 4403-72G i5,T420 4236-9N8 i7-2630QM, T430 2349-TDG, X201 3680-C85, X220 42902
Install Mojave on X220 & T420

BillMorrow
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#8 Post by BillMorrow » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:06 pm

just a quick few comments..
first, if you are in romania as you said when registering and not in taiwan as the IP you're logging in from, then a new or used thinkpad might be more expensive..
if in taiwan there might be more opportunity for some price favorability..

for ME, i simply love the X1.. avoid a used gen 2.. the keyboard just sucks..

i would get the best display X1 you can find..
i like the touch screen..

got to run and do my daily 5 miles on my bike before the rain gets here..

finally, welcome to the forum.. :)
Bill Morrow, kept by parrots :parrot: & cockatoos
Sysop - forum.thinkpads.com

*
She was not what you would call refined,
She was not what you would call unrefined,
She was the type of person who kept a parrot.
~~~Mark Twain~~~

dr_st
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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#9 Post by dr_st » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:29 pm

X1 Carbon FTW.

The major redesign that happened to the X1 Carbon series in the 5th generation made it significantly lighter and smaller than a T series, but with the same screen size. It is also amazingly functional with very few compromises in the port selection: you lose the full-size SD slot (there is a micro-SD), the RJ45 Ethernet (but there is an adapter), and one USB-A port (but gain an extra USB-C). Having received one (5th gen) from my employer recently I can't help but appreciate how much nicer it is than a traditional 14" T series, and I can totally understand why some folks lamented that the TP25 was based on T470 and not the Carbon.

The 6th gen Carbon, of course, gets the Coffee Lake overhaul which means Quad Core CPUs. So I say - go for that if possible; you don't have to buy new from Lenovo - you can probably find some refurbished / used / new open box on eBay or similar sources, with almost full warranty remaining.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), 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, A21m 2628-GXU

Claudiu1
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:33 am
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#10 Post by Claudiu1 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:22 am

@Dr_ST - So the fifth gen X1 Carbon is worth it? It’s considerably cheaper to buy a pre-owned X1 5th gen than a brand new X1 6th gen from Lenovo.

This could work. The only thing that scared me about the Carbon was the price but I’ve found some amazing deals for the older generations, with enhanced specs.

I have a question about ThinkPad batteries. Are they user replaceable? I’ve heard that they have a chip that prevents third party batteries. Since battery life is extremely important to me, how easy is to get a new battery when the old one dies?

Also, what about the keyboard? My quote for repairing my MB Air keyboard was around $200. Fortunately, I’ve found an engineer in the Philippines who did it for $10 but that was a stroke of luck, as four Apple repair shops quoted me over $200. Is repair cheaper on the ThinkPad line?

@BillMorrow - Hi, happy to be here.

Yes, I’m in Taiwan right now. I haven’t been in Romania for almost four years.

The prices here are quite high too. I’ve found some amazing prices for ThinkPads, both new and used in the Phillipines. We’re talking 30 - 35% less for no compromises whatsoever. You'd think that products made here or that are close, supply chain wise, are cheaper. But they're not. It's cheaper to buy Acer or Asus outside of Taiwan than in Taiwan. The only thing that is cheaper is Apple, from time to time. The ThinkPads are about 20 - 25% more expensive than their US counterparts and pre-owned ones are about 30 - 35% more expensive than buying them in Romania. I'll go soon to Vietnam where tech is very cheap.

So any from the X1 series apart from the 2nd generation. Got it. Thank you.

@GrifterGur.

I’ve seen the X220. It’s nice. I do want something a bit better though, as I replace my tech every two years and I don’t feel it would be that much better compared to my MB Air.

The problem with my Air is that I’m at 900 charging cycles already, so it will lose battery fast from now on. I’m thinking more of X1 or T470. Also, specs are not very important for me. Office work doesn’t require top speed.

Honestly, I could do my work on a T61p too (I used this model before, a long time before, it was brilliant).

@ThinkPad4by3

Do you have any suggestions on what generations to avoid or to pick from the T470 / 480 line?

As I mentioned before, I’m weary to buy from Lenovo so I’ll try pre-owned refurbished. And this means that I need to focus starting with one generation behind the current one.

Thank you all.

I’m looking forward to just get one because I barely get 3.5 hours of battery life on my MB. It’s annoying to not be able to get work done because I run out of battery.

Best regards,
Razvan

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Re: Replacing My MB Air With A ThinkPad. Suggestions?

#11 Post by dr_st » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:02 am

Claudiu1 wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:22 am
I have a question about ThinkPad batteries. Are they user replaceable? I’ve heard that they have a chip that prevents third party batteries. Since battery life is extremely important to me, how easy is to get a new battery when the old one dies?
Thinkpads are popular enough that one can typically source a genuine battery even for a machine several years old. The battery for the X1 Carbon is internal, so you need to remove the base cover first, but it does not appear to be exceedingly difficult:
https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/ng/en/prod ... s/pd104961
Claudiu1 wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:22 am
Also, what about the keyboard? My quote for repairing my MB Air keyboard was around $200. Fortunately, I’ve found an engineer in the Philippines who did it for $10 but that was a stroke of luck, as four Apple repair shops quoted me over $200. Is repair cheaper on the ThinkPad line?
In most cases, yes.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), 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, A21m 2628-GXU

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