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Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

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Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#1 Post by Insomniac1971 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:55 pm

Admin you should make this sticky.

Why is that people who have had Thinkpad before, and then bought something else, keep going back to Thinkpad?


Is it an quality issue?
An stability issue?
Or the fact that Thinkpad are made to meet military standards where other brands don't brag about this?
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#2 Post by GomJabbar » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:00 pm

The two primary reasons for me are the TrackPoint and non-glossy display. I do appreciate the overall quality as well.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#3 Post by TheForgottenKing » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:22 pm

Build quality, software/hardware support, great community, price, TrackPoint

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#4 Post by packardbell » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:21 am

trackpoint, upgradeability, and keyboard.

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#5 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:43 am

Keyboard with 7 rows, Trackpoint, Linux support.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:50 am

If you are like me: a Thinkpad fan, and if you have repaired some other brand laptops for friends, you'll know why!
IIRC I have repaired Dell, Acer, Macbook, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony and a few others.
So far, NEC and Fujitsu were the only ones that just needed a new hard disk or SSD. All the others had serious hardware problems.
Never seen a Panasonic.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#7 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:56 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:50 am

Never seen a Panasonic.
As high of a build quality as one is likely to find anywhere, but an absolute horror to work on in most cases.

I agree that the general ease of working on a ThinkPad beats any other laptop that I've personally come across.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#8 Post by theterminator93 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:30 am

Trackpoint, keyboard, the ease of upgrading/accessing commonly upgraded/replaced components (e.g. HDD/RAM). The no frills styling is a plus to me as well.

Honestly though my first laptop some 20 years ago was a ThinkPad (I bought it because the price was fair for the hardware specs, and I gravitated towards the IBM brand because that's what the school I was going to was using at the time)... and I've never felt at home using anything else since.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#9 Post by redknight » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:31 pm

Durability, easy to upgrade, keyboard.

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#10 Post by Puppy » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:37 am

The ThinkPad high quality is becoming a myth unfortunately when it comes to latest models. You can read horror stories about T480s or X1 Carbon 6 build quality issues on Reddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... g_defects/
https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... has_a_few/
https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... s/e2f3ktt/

There is also interesting point that build quality of all current laptops is actually worse than we were used to have several years ago
https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... hese_days/
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#11 Post by dr_st » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:18 am

Puppy wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:37 am
The ThinkPad high quality is becoming a myth unfortunately when it comes to latest models. You can read horror stories about T480s or X1 Carbon 6 build quality issues on Reddit.
Are these the best "horror stories" they've got? Judging by the fact that you could always read such stories, we have to conclude that Thinkpad high quality has always been a myth.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#12 Post by Screamer » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:13 am

For myself and possibly others:
  • The ThinkLight (for older models)
  • The 7-row keyboard (for older models)
  • Fan control (for some models)
  • The lack of a webcam (for some models)
  • Well documented quirks and problems (most models)
  • The hardware maintenance manual
  • Hinges that do not wobble and flop that much (most models)

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#13 Post by JaneL » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:55 pm

Keyboard, TrackPoint, parts
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#14 Post by Puppy » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:21 am

dr_st wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:18 am
Judging by the fact that you could always read such stories, we have to conclude that Thinkpad high quality has always been a myth.
I am not sure .... :?
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen / 2018) review — Sad story of a potentially great ultrabook
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#15 Post by dr_st » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:03 am

Oh come on, the first guy is the same guy from your third reddit link, and the second guy is the one that famously announced the 6-row being superior to the 7-row because the smiley-shape and more satisfying clanking sound outweighs the productivity loss due to the missing keys. And even he mentions that keyboard quality "lottery" is nothing new, going back at least to the **20 series (and in fact, further back, it's just he probably hasn't been using Thinkpads as long).

The new X1 Carbon may be a bad model with many lemons; this is certainly not the first time it happened; I distinctly remember early Z60t models having many lemons among them as well, for instance.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#16 Post by MikalE » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:06 am

I've never owned anything but a Thinkpad. I got hooked on IBM products while selling them with RadioShack decades ago. I could not even begin to afford what they were asking for a laptop back then. Some models I was selling topped $4K. But I always knew one day I would own a Thinkpad.

Never have owned an IBM model though. They are all Lenovo models.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#17 Post by TRS-80 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:43 pm

All of the below only apply to "Classic" ThinkPads (which, IMHO end with T/X60s that still say IBM on them, could be debated to extend to 520s, etc. depending on your personal criteria):

GNU/Linux support
Libreboot support
5:4 IPS screen
Hardware Maintenance Manual / availability of parts / modular nature (designed to be repairable)
TrackPoint
ThinkLight
General build quality (hinges, keyboard, etc.)

My daily drivers are all T60s, of course I mainly do text based hacking, GNU/Emacs, command line stuff, and I use a slim Desktop Environment (XFCE) Debian which I still find quite nice. It still manages Firefox, although the slowdown can be noticeable on Javascript heavy corporate type sites (which I try to avoid like the plague for multiple reasons, anyway).

Most recently I have been experimenting more with command line tools like youtube-dl, weboob, mpv, etc. which breathe new life/snappiness into my occasional media consumption needs. I really worry about the direction the web and major browsers like Firefox, etc. are headed in general though (castles of Javasript, massive resource requirements, etc.).
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#18 Post by dr_st » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:38 am

Well, all modern Thinkpads support GNU/Linux, but Libreboot support is harder, as BIOS/FW gets more and more locked down with every generation. 5:4 IPS screens were never available, but 4:3 were (up to T60/X61T).

HMM, parts, modularity - still available with modern Thinkpads; trackpoint is still there; Thinklight was replaced by backlit keyboards and the general build quality is still as good, on average.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#19 Post by madicetea » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:40 pm

Surprisingly, it was largely because I stopped losing the computers so much.
Last edited by madicetea on Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#20 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:59 pm

madicetea wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:40 pm
For me, it's the aesthetic to some degree and the modularity the rest of the way.

I really liked the designs (oldest to newest) of 701Cs, PC110, 760XL, X61, X250 so far. The latter three also encouraged a lot of DIY projects over these last few years, so that was fun to work with.

Did I mention they take getting dropped off beds (and sometimes desks) well? [Although if you break the screen, it's convenient you can just order a new part and DIY place it back in on your own.]
The 701C was really a machine that should have stayed in the prototype phase. Outside of the keyboard...what do you really have? A dual leaking battery, sticky weak plastic, bad keyboard feeling, zero expansion, no floppy drive monstrosity that comes all bundled up into a 4.4lb box...oh yeah and then everyone sees the keyboard and goes insane.

As for the others, yeah all were fantastic machines. The keyboard list mechanism had a few problems when locked in the flat position, but who left it in the flat position anyway. X61 was fantastic outside of tiny backspace, but that's just me. X250 with FHD, can't go wrong with that. Wish the PC110 took NiMH AA batteries!!

Dropped my 755C one time onto an old compaq laptop(c. 2010). Shattered the screen through the lid and I believe cracked the motherboard or damaged it beyond repair in some way but don't exactly remember how.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#21 Post by TheForgottenKing » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:17 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:59 pm
madicetea wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:40 pm
For me, it's the aesthetic to some degree and the modularity the rest of the way.

I really liked the designs (oldest to newest) of 701Cs, PC110, 760XL, X61, X250 so far. The latter three also encouraged a lot of DIY projects over these last few years, so that was fun to work with.

Did I mention they take getting dropped off beds (and sometimes desks) well? [Although if you break the screen, it's convenient you can just order a new part and DIY place it back in on your own.]
The 701C was really a machine that should have stayed in the prototype phase. Outside of the keyboard...what do you really have? A dual leaking battery, sticky weak plastic, bad keyboard feeling, zero expansion, no floppy drive monstrosity that comes all bundled up into a 4.4lb box...oh yeah and then everyone sees the keyboard and goes insane.
Get this slander out of my board

In all seriousness, the 701C was designed as an ultraportable. Many of those issues you listed are because the machine is now 24 years old

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#22 Post by TheForgottenKing » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:22 pm

Why do I stay with the Thinkpad? Many reasons:

1) Uniqueness

- X230t, having dual battery configuration and a wacom tablet is very nice
- W701ds, dual screens, integrated tablet, huge
- 701C, cool vintage machine
- X61, small and very portable, still fast
- T601, what other mods like this exist outside this community?

2) Input devices

- TrackPoint
- X230t with 45N2211 keyboard is awesome
- W701ds has that numpad, wacom tablet, fingerprint reader
- 701C has the butterfly keyboard
- 600E has a good keyboard

3) Aesthetics
- Black, no fancy light up colors
- ThinkLight on most models
- On my models, no race for thin and light at the cost of everything else

4) Community
Between these communities, I think only the Apple community rivals in size, and most other communities do not offer such amazing levels of support and details as our communities do. Where else can you find support like here?
- Wikis
- Forums
- Discords
- Websites
- Subreddit
Last edited by TheForgottenKing on Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#23 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm

TheForgottenKing wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:17 pm
Get this slander out of my board

In all seriousness, the 701C was designed as an ultraportable. Many of those issues you listed are because the machine is now 24 years old
True, but even back then it wasn't great. My dad had one...for two weeks. Then got rid of it and went back to his 360C. Didn't matter it was bigger, smaller display, slower processor and less RAM. Ultraportables aren't the backpack workhorses of today. I put my 755C next to my 701C, and given both side by side there was no doubt he was 100% right.

I really want to like the 701C. The keyboard is awesome. It's just when you add up the rest of the machine up...well it isn't too great. It's in the same category as the Transnote. Unlike the 760 or W701DS, it just isn't a kick-butt machine outside of it's specific gimmick.

Tl;Dr the 701C is the Delorean of the laptop world.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#24 Post by TheForgottenKing » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:44 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm
TheForgottenKing wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:17 pm
Get this slander out of my board

In all seriousness, the 701C was designed as an ultraportable. Many of those issues you listed are because the machine is now 24 years old
True, but even back then it wasn't great. My dad had one...for two weeks. Then got rid of it and went back to his 360C. Didn't matter it was bigger, smaller display, slower processor and less RAM. Ultraportables aren't the backpack workhorses of today. I put my 755C next to my 701C, and given both side by side there was no doubt he was 100% right.

I really want to like the 701C. The keyboard is awesome. It's just when you add up the rest of the machine up...well it isn't too great. It's in the same category as the Transnote. Unlike the 760 or W701DS, it just isn't a kick-butt machine outside of it's specific gimmick.

Tl;Dr the 701C is the Delorean of the laptop world.
Fair enough. I've never gotten to compare it to similar laptops as my 365XD was annihilated in transit by sea from Japan

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#25 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:06 am

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm
I really want to like the 701C. The keyboard is awesome. It's just when you add up the rest of the machine up...well it isn't too great.
That sounds like a good reason to retrofit a 701C with modern internals. :twisted:
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#26 Post by TheForgottenKing » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:08 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:06 am
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm
I really want to like the 701C. The keyboard is awesome. It's just when you add up the rest of the machine up...well it isn't too great.
That sounds like a good reason to retrofit a 701C with modern internals. :twisted:
If someone could wire up the keyboard to USB it would be very helpful. I can handle the rest, I have the display set up (iPad 9.7" 2048x1536 running off an adapter that uses DisplayPort and USB) and the hardware will be an Intel NUC

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#27 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:33 pm

TheForgottenKing wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:08 pm
If someone could wire up the keyboard to USB it would be very helpful. I can handle the rest, I have the display set up (iPad 9.7" 2048x1536 running off an adapter that uses DisplayPort and USB) and the hardware will be an Intel NUC
That's the same display I imagined would like to fit inside. :lol:

The keyboard part is relatively easy, as it's been done to death. A Teensy (or similar USB-capable microcontroller board), and maybe one can open up a defective keyboard to figure out the switch matrix layout (though it's usually 16 x 8 in most other Thinkpad keyboards).

Regarding the Trackpoint-- one can try to retrofit an entire Trackpoint module from later models, but if there's not enough space, it may be possible to separate the Trackpoint stick and sensors (they're on a smaller circuit board), and connect them via thin wires (or flex cable if one is able to fabricate it). The same Teensy board that controls the keyboard matrix will also convert the Trackpoint module's PS/2 data to USB. :D
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#28 Post by TheForgottenKing » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:36 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:33 pm
TheForgottenKing wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:08 pm
If someone could wire up the keyboard to USB it would be very helpful. I can handle the rest, I have the display set up (iPad 9.7" 2048x1536 running off an adapter that uses DisplayPort and USB) and the hardware will be an Intel NUC
That's the same display I imagined would like to fit inside. :lol:

The keyboard part is relatively easy, as it's been done to death. A Teensy (or similar USB-capable microcontroller board), and maybe one can open up a defective keyboard to figure out the switch matrix layout (though it's usually 16 x 8 in most other Thinkpad keyboards).

Regarding the Trackpoint-- one can try to retrofit an entire Trackpoint module from later models, but if there's not enough space, it may be possible to separate the Trackpoint stick and sensors (they're on a smaller circuit board), and connect them via thin wires (or flex cable if one is able to fabricate it). The same Teensy board that controls the keyboard matrix will also convert the Trackpoint module's PS/2 data to USB. :D
I've already opened up a 701C keyboard. I can post pictures of the matrix.

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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#29 Post by madicetea » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:23 pm

Wold look forward to those keyboard matrix pictures.
Last edited by madicetea on Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do people keep going back to Thinkpad?

#30 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:40 pm

madicetea wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:23 pm
Insomniac1971 wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:55 pm
Or the fact that Thinkpad are made to meet military standards where other brands don't brag about this?
Did we totally ignore the world of the Panasonic Toughbooks?
Well that's basically like bringing tanks into a truck battle. Yeah I mean it's going to win on durability, but it's not at all the same thing.
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.

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