Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

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brchan
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Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#1 Post by brchan » Wed May 18, 2016 7:02 pm

This is a review on build quality, not implementation of keyboard, trackpoint buttons, ease of FRU/CRU replacement, etc. Over the past few days, I had the chance to use a T440, T450 and X1 (all used). I expected the X1 to have X300/X301 level quality and the T440/T450 to have mediocre build quality. To my surprise, the experience was just the opposite.

Both the T440/T450 units I used had a pretty premium feel similar to my X301. Both felt very solid overall and there were virtually no creaks, rattles, or gaps. The bottom covers also had a nice rubbery matte finish and the keyboard feedback was nice (the layout is a different story). The only real area of improvement needed is the lid. It bends easily and the lcd bezel below the screen is very flexible. In fact, this particular bezel area feels like a thin, cheap piece of vinyl. Hinges are tight and hold the display without wobble. Oddly, the palmrest is painted on top. There was a minor chip in the bottom left corner that exposed bright white plastic, so deep scratches will be very noticeable.

Now for the X1. Other than a very stiff base, it had poor build quality. The glossy screen cover depressed easily, keyboard feel was mediocre, and the palmrest finish seemed to rub off and scratch easily. The hinges in particular were wobbly. They didn't have conventional "play" like on the T60 or T61, but more of a wobble that you find on budget Acers and HPs. Not impressed at all and it was certainly a step down compared to my X301.

Even though my sample size was small and there are some issues with PWM, firmware, and upgradability, I think the takeaway from this is that not all new Thinkpads are built as poorly as one might think. Honestly, the newer Thinkpads felt better than most of the older Lenovo Thinkpads I have used.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Thu May 19, 2016 12:36 am

Sounds like they need some LCD rollcage. Good information to know and thoughts/opinions to take note of. There does seem to be less enthusiast information about the newer Thinkpads. There is a bit on the XX30 generation, since they are more or less the same as XX10 and XX20 - otherwise Lenovo's deviative decisions definitely alienates us from the newer machines. Shame.

I like the T540p. I don't have one (yet) but it's looks decently thin, has a good screen, and the processors aren't underpowered.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#3 Post by 600X » Thu May 19, 2016 1:13 am

You should try the T440s and T450s. They have a much better build quality than the T440 and T450. Also, their lid does not flex.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#4 Post by Ibthink » Thu May 19, 2016 3:11 am

Which X1 Carbon did you get your hands on, X1 Carbon Gen 3? Regarding its quality, it does suffer, because of its focus on thinness and lightness - saving weight impacts the build quality, and saving a few mm in height impacts the keyboard. For a machine this thin and light, I think its still better then any other Ultrabook on the market. Nonetheless, I tend to recommend T-Series over the X1 line, not only for the upgradeability and the ports, but also the build quality.

Interesting to read your thoughts. As 600X suggested, T440s/T450s feel even more premium. They have a very similar construction, but with different materials. T460s on the other hand uses a new construction, while the T460 remains the same as T440/T450 for the most part.
brchan wrote:Honestly, the newer Thinkpads felt better than most of the older Lenovo Thinkpads I have used.
This is what I say since I first got the T440s back in 2013: You may disagree with some of the design choices Lenovo made on some of the newer models (particularly the keyboard of the X1 Carbon Gen 2 and the buttonless TrackPad on the Tx40 line), but the build quality of the newer models is better then, say, the T410 - T430 generations, which, despite having a more "traditional" ThinkPad design and until the Tx20 gen also the classic keyboard, had a lot more quality issues. The T420 my mother really has bad build quality.
Last edited by Ibthink on Thu May 19, 2016 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#5 Post by brchan » Thu May 19, 2016 6:08 am

Which X1 Carbon did you get your hands on, X1 Carbon Gen 3? Regarding its quality, it does suffer, because of its focus on thinness and lightness - saving weight impacts the build quality, and saving a few mm in height impacts the keyboard. For a machine this thin and light, I think its still better then any other Ultrabook on the market. Nonetheless, I tend to recommend T-Series over the X1 line, not only for the upgradeability and the ports, but also the build quality.
I was actually using the original X1, not the carbon. There does seem to be some posts on people having hinge issues especially on the 4th gen carbons. The X1 and carbon line is generally marketed as a very premium high end line. It's too bad that even a much cheaper T series (about $650 new after corporate perks discount!) now beats it easily in this department.
This is what I say since I first got the T440s back in 2013: You may disagree with some of the design choices Lenovo made on some of the newer models (particularly the keyboard of the X1 Carbon Gen 2 and the buttonless TrackPad on the Tx40 line), but the build quality of the newer models is better then, say, the T410 - T430 generations, which, despite having a more "traditional" ThinkPad design and until the Tx20 gen also the classic keyboard, had a lot more quality issues. The T420 my mother has really has bad build quality.
Agreed. The base and plastics on my W530 feel pretty cheap in general and even more so in comparison to the T440/T450 I used. You actually get quite a lot of quality especially considering the lower prices of new Thinkpads.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#6 Post by Ibthink » Thu May 19, 2016 7:14 am

Ah, I see. The first X1...well, that machine is also part of the T420 generation. I can´t say much about it, since I only got a few brief hands-on moments with it. But it seems they went they cheap route with the screen cover back then, choosing thin Magnesium over Carbon for cost reasons.

Regarding Gen 4 carbon, I can only talk about the X1 Yoga (which is the same as the X1 Carbon Gen 4 for the most part). Its build quality was pretty good for the low weight and thickness, and a slight improvement over X1 Carbon Gen 3. Still more flexible base then models like the T460s.

The machine that beats them all however is my current one - the P50. Its a serious brick, but also has a very strong base made out of Magnesium.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#7 Post by Pokrzept » Thu May 19, 2016 1:58 pm

Guys please do compare "The ThinkPads" with Lenovo-ThinkPads. What I mean you're all referring to the 2010+ models, which were redesigned by an Lenovo according to their main motto - lets keep the price tag but lets make it cheaper. Up to T400/500 our beloved units were made of Super-Elastic PolyCarbonate / Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastic combo. In 2010 Lenovo decided to drop that material and use cheap and poor PC/ABS instead of SEPC. Most of you know pretty well how did it ended - I do still have an nightmares reminding me shiny and flexible palmrest of my T430 :mrgreen: All your responses reminds me that our human kind adapts to new circumstances. Please do not call post-T430 units superior to their predecessors. I did had an T540p and I do have L450 now and to me they are really generic. Over the past few years ThinkPads have lost their consistency, and the feeling that every single detail has been discussed ten times about how it gonna impact on end-user.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#8 Post by Ibthink » Thu May 19, 2016 2:12 pm

Lenovo did not drop Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic. Its still used on higher end models like the T460s. Models like T450, T440 or T460 use Glass-Fiber Reinforced Plastic, which is far away from PC/ABS plastic.

ABS Plastic is not used on most models, besides for the palmrest. Of course it is used on the L450 you use, but that because thats a cheap value model. And the T540p...well, that model had some issues. It is discontinued now after all, and T540p/W540/W541 are replaced by the vastly better (albeit more expensive) P50.

T400 is not a very good example for very good build quality in my book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8sOO-8LP4E Lets not forget the T400 was the model that introduced heavy keyboard flex, that was only fixed with the Tx40 line and their new construction.
Pokrzept wrote:Please do not call post-T430 units superior to their predecessors.
Well, they are. Or do you think brchan is dishonest in his little review? :wink:
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#9 Post by Pokrzept » Thu May 19, 2016 3:17 pm

Ibthink wrote:
Pokrzept wrote:Please do not call post-T430 units superior to their predecessors.
Well, they are. Or do you think brchan is dishonest in his little review? :wink:
You know pretty well this was not my intention.

When it comes to an T400 I cannot say a bad word about it. Maybe because mine was produced in DEC/2009 and as far as I remember Lenovo did made some fixes in a matter of an keyboard and palmrest flexing (additional metal brackets). It took a hard beating since 2009 and it is still in a great shape. Whats more it fell from 1,5 meter on concrete walkway and - beside tiny scratch on the corner - nothing broke or fell apart. I took it out of thin urban backpack and it turned on like nothing happened. And I used it as an example for a simple reason - I had it next to me when I saw this topic and when i looked at it, it remind me that I had every single generation since 2007 - mostly both T and X series - and most of them are long gone, but T400 is still here and still serves me as an working mule.
When you look in the past you'll realize that almost every single generation had some bigger and smaller construction/manufacture issues but when you took them in your hands you knew it is thinkpad, and you can turn it on and start working without a need of hard adaptation process. Somehow I do not find that feeling in a recent models.

PS. Somehow cheap PC/ABS L450 feels rock solid compared to my previous T540p :lol:
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#10 Post by Ibthink » Thu May 19, 2016 3:32 pm

Of course that comes down to construction too, not only materials. T540p had a very similar construction to models like the T530, but even more aimed at lightness, which impacted the build quality. The design already had plenty weak spots (ODD, Expresscard slot), and Lenovo saving on weight to make it lighter didn´t help. P50 on the other hand uses heavier materials (Magnesium base) and also eliminated the DVD drive. Its a far better constructed model compared with the T540p, since saving weight wasn´t the focus here.

L450 has almost the same construction as T450, but without the roll-cage and cheaper plastics.
Pokrzept wrote:When you look in the past you'll realize that almost every single generation had some bigger and smaller construction/manufacture issues but when you took them in your hands you knew it is thinkpad, and you can turn it on and start working without a need of hard adaptation process. Somehow I do not find that feeling in a recent models.
That may come down to the changes in the layout. Also Lenovo changed the paint on some models, like the T460s. Its no longer the old rubberized paint, its a different paint. Other models like my P50 still have a rubberized lid.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#11 Post by 600X » Thu May 19, 2016 4:34 pm

As much as I defend classic ThinkPads, the T400 simply isn't that good when it comes to build quality. Yes, the materials are of a higher quality than on the T410-T430, but these models are atavistic in so many ways that I don't even count them as proper ThinkPads. The last classic ThinkPad that really impresses me is the T61, but only if you replace the hinges with T60 hinges. The T60 is another noticeable step up from the T61, but I am aware that some people do not notice the differences between these two models.

As Ibthink has stated, the T540p is simply a piece of crap. I said so in my review in 2013 and that hasn't changed since. The T440(s) was the start of Lenovo finally getting their act together in terms of build quality and reaching T60/T61-ish levels again, albeit 8 years after the introduction of the T60. One might even state that Lenovo is lagging behind 8 years, although it is certainly more complicated than that. The T440s (and newer) may not reach the T60, but there is a fair trade-off in quality considering the price. Features and design choices are obviously a different matter.

I would go as far as to argue that Lenovo first started making progress in 2013, which was the first year that ThinkPads actually started getting smaller (thin bezels), thinner and lighter again. The T410 was literally worse in almost every single aspect compared to the T400 and its predecessors, using cheaper materials, being thicker heavier and larger, having horrible electrical components (DAC), having a worse keyboard, and owning the most pitiful speakers I have ever heard. The T420 exacerbated these issues. The only issue that they amended were the unreliable hinges. Also note that there are always exceptions. The T510 line for instance wasn't quite as bad as its 14" counter-part.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#12 Post by brchan » Thu May 19, 2016 9:32 pm

The T61 and T400 era wasn't a very good time for Lenovo. The hinges are terrible, especially on the 15.4" units (T60s also have wobbly hinges, but to a more tolerable extent). The 14.1" 4:3 ratio right hinges often snap. On the 15.4" ones, the frames easily broke near the left hinge (also happened on the 15" T60 and R60), and the T400/T500/W500 models had usb tabs that broke off easily. On the T500/W500, the lcd roll cage may fracture at the left hinge as well. I will admit that the T400 was probably the best built of the current lineup at the time, not including the X series. The LCD rollcages around this time did make the lid very resistant to external torsion and damage.

I would rate the T440 and T450 as having a pretty big step up in QC and build compared to the T410 - T430 era and a bit better than the T61. T60 still takes the cake, but not by too much. Now would I buy a T440 or T450? Unlikely, given other design decisions they have. However, build quality isn't really an issue at all.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#13 Post by 600X » Fri May 20, 2016 2:53 am

brchan wrote:T60 still takes the cake, but not by too much.
In that case, I presume you would find the T440s to be better than any previous ThinkPad you have owned, apart from machines like the 600 series perhaps.

Also, you must consider age. I have used a second hand T440s which had hinges that were so worn, they couldn't even hold the display in place. Lenovo still doesn't seem to have that figured out, and the T440s isn't even that old yet.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#14 Post by brchan » Fri May 20, 2016 5:26 am

In that case, I presume you would find the T440s to be better than any previous ThinkPad you have owned, apart from machines like the 600 series perhaps.
In quality, perhaps. The 600 is solid as a brick and the hinges are still buttery smooth after so many years. Even the ones on my 770 are loose, and don't flow smoothly despite adjusting them. The X301 build is nearly identical, I just wish the lid latches held the lid closer to the base and not cause creaking. These two are my favorites, with honorable mentions to the T23, T43, and T60.

I really liked the fit and finish of those two units, other than the flimsy area around the bottom display bezel and lid strength, which is said to be fixed on the 's' models. Keep in mind these were also used in a heavy corporate environment. Most likely they weren't treated gently.
Also, you must consider age.
Yes, and it will be interesting to see how these units hold up for the next years.

It's odd that you have come across a T440s so early with very worn hinges. I wonder how the 'classic' style hinges will fair compared to the 'drop down' hinges over time.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#15 Post by dr_st » Fri May 20, 2016 6:59 am

600X wrote:As much as I defend classic ThinkPads, the T400 simply isn't that good when it comes to build quality. Yes, the materials are of a higher quality than on the T410-T430, but these models are atavistic in so many ways that I don't even count them as proper ThinkPads.
I am not quite sure what you mean by 'atavistic' in this context. As an owner of a T410 and and X220, they feel quite nice, and do not seem to fare any worse than my 6x series machines, with the same amount of use.
600X wrote:The last classic ThinkPad that really impresses me is the T61, but only if you replace the hinges with T60 hinges. The T60 is another noticeable step up from the T61, but I am aware that some people do not notice the differences between these two models.
Since you just trashed the T400, and the widescreen T61 is essentially the same thing in terms of design and build quality, I have to assume that you mean the 4:3 T61, which is indeed a lot like the T60.
600X wrote:The T410 was literally worse in almost every single aspect compared to the T400 and its predecessors, using cheaper materials, being thicker heavier and larger, having horrible electrical components (DAC), having a worse keyboard, and owning the most pitiful speakers I have ever heard.
I can contest at least some of these claims. Cheaper materials - maybe, but as I said, they hold up quite well. I have seen more T400/T6x systems with chipped off and broken off plastics than T410 (although that may be in part due to age differences). A T410 is thicker, but is not heavier, nor larger than a T400. I measured and weighed them. A T410 also looks much better (symmetric bezel, no front-facing grilles, no ridiculous diagonally extending 9-cell battery). The keyboard is more solid and has less flexing issues than the early T400/500 keyboards (although those can be remedied by installing a T6x keyboard).
Last edited by dr_st on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#16 Post by edik » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:21 am

I had to revisit this topic as it has been nagging me for some time.

The fact is all ThinkPads have suffered quality issues since around 2006, every single one of them, arguably you could say the rot set it after the last TP's IBM had any influence over (T43p/T60), you can spin as much as you like but post T60 the quality suffered... actually most 4 :3 ThinkPads were solidly built... and the screens were outstanding.. even the crap ones... pinnacle 4:3 UXGA Flexview???

My opinion was the 600's being the ultimate in build, however even an R series were better built than any of today's junk.

I owned 760XL, 760XD, 770, 600X, T23, A30p, A31p, T30, X30, X31, T43p, many T4x's,,, they were over engineered and built like tanks... X40 not so however..... due to the fragile disk.,

The T450 I am typing this one has reasonable build for a 2015 laptop... but solid... no way.

Could throw a TP 7xx, 600 or R series across the room and confident it would survive...
Last edited by edik on Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#17 Post by dr_st » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:22 pm

Louis Rossmann claims that his T520 fell off ladders multiple times and was abused in many ways, and still works flawlessly, with only some cracks in the plastics to show for it. I am not convinced the durability of modern Thinkpads is really worse than that of the old ones, as people often claim. The fit-n-finish on CS09 generation feels worse than on Thinkpads before that, and they did use cheaper materials for that generation (Ibthink explained on a couple of occasions why), but so far I haven't seen it translated to being less rugged (owning a T410, X220 and T430s).
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#18 Post by edik » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:00 pm

I am not convinced the durability of modern Thinkpads is really worse than that of the old ones...
I was working on an R series recently (R40) and that felt like it was built like a tank.. I mean literally... it was substantial... now at the time on introduction around 2003/2004 this was a lower end machine.

How about the 760's? Swivel the keyboard to see a beautiful modular system build superbly... had one as a corporate laptop, treated it like sh** as I didn't own it :) However it was still going strong after three years of travelling the world as a Consultant.. and I really did treat that little beast badly!

If I pick up my T450 with one hand (always dubious about doing this however since the T4x series GPU fiasco... old memories never fade) it literally creaks... and the bottom plastics bend in.

So fearful of the build in fact I always carry it around in a heavily padded rucksack...

Ever tried to remove the bottom cover of the T450 without cracking the sides??? It can be done buy it is a delicate operation... the plastic is so thin.....

Rant over!

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#19 Post by dr_st » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:49 pm

"Felt like it was built...", "fearful of the build..." - these are not objective evaluations of durability.

Plastic that creaks and bends does not look impressive, but may be more resilient than hard unbending plastic that will break due to low tolerances at the first serious hit.

From my experience all I can say is that my T410 did not age any worse than my T60, T42... All of these machines were at some point my primary laptops, and I treated them pretty much the same.

I cannot speak about 2013 and later machines - never owned one.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#20 Post by edik » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:15 pm

Actually to be fair I did have the T500 and T520 and they were sturdy, possibly on par with the earlier machines, so I take back my argument that all are substandard.

But the T450 is definitely definitely in my opinion substandard to any pre 2011 (I upped a few years to cover the period to cover to the Tx20) so the tipping point was around 2011... sorry let my nostalgia for IBM cloud my judgement.

T450... it is cheap plastics...

I'd switch to a T60p in a heartbeat if it could handle the software I use (unfortunately it can't) and had the battery life of the T450 (which I admit is awesome with the 6-cell).

Guess I am living in the past :)

2017: T450 i5-5300U/12/256+32/FHD
2007-2014: T520/i7-2760QM/8GB/320GB, WSXGA+, X200s, T500, A31p, A30p, T42p, X60s, X32, X31
Gone but not forgotten 1998-2006: 2006 T43p 2668-H2G (2GB/60), T22 2648-8EG (128/20), 2005 X40, X31, 2004 T30 SXGA+, 600X, 2003 770 P233+DVD Card, 760XD 1998 760XL+104MB

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#21 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:51 am

@edik
51NB to the rescue?
Welcome to the jungle, we have FrankenPads
If you want it you're going to bleed, but that is the price to pay
And you're a very rare mobo, very hard to get
You can see the blinky lights, but you won't get them for free.

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#22 Post by edik » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:13 pm

@edik
51NB to the rescue?
Seriously thinking about it :)

I really do miss the old IBM era beasts....

2017: T450 i5-5300U/12/256+32/FHD
2007-2014: T520/i7-2760QM/8GB/320GB, WSXGA+, X200s, T500, A31p, A30p, T42p, X60s, X32, X31
Gone but not forgotten 1998-2006: 2006 T43p 2668-H2G (2GB/60), T22 2648-8EG (128/20), 2005 X40, X31, 2004 T30 SXGA+, 600X, 2003 770 P233+DVD Card, 760XD 1998 760XL+104MB

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#23 Post by zephxiii » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:21 pm

Having at home a: R31, T43, T60, T61p, X201, T410, T520, T510 and T450s.

Having at work: T60, T500, T510, T520, T530, T450s, T410, T420s, T420, T430, X61 (tablet), W510

Before I include the T450s I will say:

My favorites on build/feel have been T43, T60 (4:3), T500, and X201.

Weirdly the T510-T530 units got bulkier so they don't feel as nice. HOWEVER, their build has been excellent. These units have been my primary workhorses for people at work. Overall they have been my fav T series Thinkpads.

Then came along the T450s and I gotta say... I REALLY like this design. I got to know it a lot better as I had one deployed at work for almost two years, until the user lemonaded it with a giant glass. Syrup in everything. The thing did actually work for a bit but eventually it got really flakey to the point where it stopped working (found syrup on both sides of mobo).

That lemonade episode caused me to take it apart a bunch of times trying to clean/save it. Eventually I bought a new mobo for it and I gotta say though, this things are EASY to work on. I couldn't believe how easy it was to replace the motherboard. It's easy to replace the fan/heatsink too. For that reason I'm a big fan. In addition, the design is just super nice to use. The IPS screen is fantastic which is hard to find in a T530 (though i did score a couple).

My only issue with T450s is a little light bleed at bottom of display. Not all of them do it though. Overall it feels nice and I don't have any issues with it.

I recently bought a friend with T440p and that was real nice to work on as well. I thought the heatsink could be better though, and alas that thing should have had IPS screen. Touchpad not as good as T450s.

Issues with prev Thinkpads:
T61p: weak hinges (not enough resistance), little bit of light bleed.
T60: fans seem to go out a lil quicker than I like
T43: Broadcom NIC sucks in BSD (pfsense), or something makes it suck at BSD LAN throughput

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#24 Post by edik » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:55 pm

You know zephxiii I agree with you regarding the build of the T43, T60 and T500... having all three (well a T43p) they had excellent builds, as did an X200 I briefly owned.

Never owned a T450s (only T450) and apparently the "s" has better construction (materials) but as far as I remember it only had one RAM slot (+4GB) whereas the T450 has two RAM slots allowing unofficially at least 32GB (don't quote me on that).

However pre T43 (the IBM era) machines were over-engineered superbly... take the 760 series.... although they did cost sometimes northward of $5000 I believe fully configured (list of 760XD was $6500 !!! in 1997).

At $6,500 you expected serious quality :)

Edited to say: My 760XL cost me over $2000 used in early 1998...

2017: T450 i5-5300U/12/256+32/FHD
2007-2014: T520/i7-2760QM/8GB/320GB, WSXGA+, X200s, T500, A31p, A30p, T42p, X60s, X32, X31
Gone but not forgotten 1998-2006: 2006 T43p 2668-H2G (2GB/60), T22 2648-8EG (128/20), 2005 X40, X31, 2004 T30 SXGA+, 600X, 2003 770 P233+DVD Card, 760XD 1998 760XL+104MB

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#25 Post by ThinkRob » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:34 pm

My take after having owned a ton of random ThinkPads would be this:

QC has declined since the "glory days" of the early 90s. My guess is because going from 7K to 1K per unit means that you can't have quite as an extensive QC process. That, and production is often not done in house anymore. This frequently manifests in annoying, but not critical ways.

Tolerances have increased *slightly*, but have been countered by designs that can handle a bit of variation (ex: fewer individual case panels). It's a loss if you like admiring assembly quality, but probably a wash in real life usage.

Materials seem about the same, but it's hard to compare given the differences in design, thickness, weight, and form factor. I suppose I'd guess that IBM might design the T series in much the same way that Lenovo has if they were given the same constraints, the same goals, and the same access to the materials 20 years ago.

Build quality: see QC. I'm never sure what people mean by that (do they mean "how solid does this feel"? Or do they mean "how precise is the assembly?"), but assuming they mean the latter, well... see QC.

Component choice seems about the same, with the side note that laptop components have become *so* commoditized that it's pretty hard to screw this up nowadays.

So overall, yeah, I'm happy for the price(s) charged.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#26 Post by edik » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:15 pm

QC has declined since the "glory days" of the early 90s.
My highly opinionated view :)

The Glory years 1991-2000
ThinkPad 7XX series from 700 thru 770Z

My opinion pivot#1 was the 760/770... machines after this were almost imperceptibly slightly inferior, before this they were tanks (and cost as much)... after they were almost as good, almost... and quality difference not noticed by many. So this was around 2000 (with the T20 introduction).


The stable years 2000-2006 (Post T20)
Up to the T43p and possibly the T60

pivot#2 was the T60....

The slow "wide screen" decline 2006- (Post T60)
From the T61 onwards, slowly at first but by 2012 obvious, after the T60 the real slide came.. with T500/510... almost the same quality.. and then slowly declining after this.


This is of course subjective...

2017: T450 i5-5300U/12/256+32/FHD
2007-2014: T520/i7-2760QM/8GB/320GB, WSXGA+, X200s, T500, A31p, A30p, T42p, X60s, X32, X31
Gone but not forgotten 1998-2006: 2006 T43p 2668-H2G (2GB/60), T22 2648-8EG (128/20), 2005 X40, X31, 2004 T30 SXGA+, 600X, 2003 770 P233+DVD Card, 760XD 1998 760XL+104MB

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#27 Post by Ibthink » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:36 am

edik wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:15 pm
My highly opinionated view
Its a bit of an oversimplification.

The reason why the quality declined is that the prices of PCs started to massively drop in the late 90s: https://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadmin ... /chart.jpg Which ultimately is also the reason why IBM got rid of the PC-business.

If you look at that, you will see that the biggest push downwards actually came in the late 90s / early 2000s. From December 1997 to December 2001, PC prices dropped by 75 %.

The predecessor of the T-Series is not the 700-Series. The 600 is the precursor of the T-Series and the T20 represented a very big quality decline compared with the 600X. Of course, the T20 was still a very good device, but it wasn´t over-engineered for perfection like the 600X. The 700-Series, which was the "All in one" series with the most features (so like mobile workstation) was replaced by the A-Series. The fate of the A-Series is known: It was discontinued, because it was too expensive and not profitable. Neither features (Dual-Ultrabay, IPS UXGA Display, which was a novelty) saved it. In the future, the workstation role would be fulfilled by the R- or T-Series (see R50p, T43p, T60p).

Other than these efforts to save money, IBM also cut down other things, such as their own manufacturing line. In this period, the PC-factory in Greenock, Scotland, was closed and manufacturing was mostly shifted to China, which marked another subtle push downwards.

So what you call the stable years, I would actually call "the crisis years". IBM did all these cost-saving measures and they still lost money and market-share left and right.

Then, Lenovo took over in 2005. As PC prices continued to plummet, the cost savings continued. The first things that changed - no more IPS FlexView screens and no more 4:3. As the market moved to 16:10 and then 16:9, Lenovo moved as well. But for the 2008 lineup, Lenovo actually had ambitions to continue the ThinkPad tradition of quality and innovation in the old way. This can be seen in the release of the X300 and also the W700(s). The X300 was a spiritual successor and tribute to the 600X and the W700(s) was like that for the A-Series.

Alas, it did not work out. The 2009 economical crisis changed everything again, as Lenovos dependence on the commercial market proved very problematic - companies cut down their spending because of the crisis and Lenovo suffered a loss (and fired its CEO).

The biggest push-down in quality under Lenovo was not in 2012 or later. It was 2010: The X300-line was discontinued, as was the W700-series (on sale until early 2011).

Under Lenovos tenure, the T-Series and the R-Series became more alike with every generation. R400 and T400 were practically identical. There was little reason for companies to buy the more expensive T-Series model. The result? The R-Series was discontinued and replaced by the even cheaper L-Series (which was based on the SL-Series). The new regular T-Series was more like the R-Series in materials, which is also why the T510 actually was thicker compared with the T500. Lenovo compensated the cheaper materials with a thicker chassis.

New was the T400s and T410s, the new premium T-Series with more expensive materials and thin construction. Of course, the T400s/T410s also replaced the X301 as well, which had a much more expensive construction.

Apart from the new L-Series to replace the R-Series, Lenovo also introduced the ThinkPad Edge as a new low-end line (also based on the SL-Series design) and the X100e to profit from the Netbook-hype (which ended in 2010/2011, so it came too late).

In the last years, we actually see a different development: Lenovo introduced new high-end lines with use more expensive materials, the X1 line and the P-Series.

You have a T450 you don´t like its quality - may I ask why exactly? Is it the stability? One thing you have to consider is the evolution of materials and also chassis design. Todays models are mostly much thinner, so it becomes harder to make them "rock solid" like the old ThinkPads. But the question is, is it necessary? One example: In the past, CCFL displays-panels were very delicate, so you had to use very stiff materials to protect them. But LED panels aren´t nearly as sensitive to twisting, so you can use materials like Carbon, which are much lighter and also more flexible (but still very stiff compared with normal plastic).

Another thing is keyboard-flexing and palmrest flexing. Common problems on older Lenovo ThinkPads, but virtually non-existent on most newer models. This is thanks to a different construction, the chassis is made out of single-piece parts and also, the palmrest is directly reinforced with Magnesium.

Overall, I think the discussion about quality is very interesting, but I think you can´t really generalize based on the T450, which isn´t a very expensive model these days. As I said, the mainstream T-Series was shifted down, but there are new high-end models.
IBM ThinkPad R50e | lenovo ThinkPad X301 | lenovo ThinkPad Z61t

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#28 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:01 pm

Since you seem to be in the know, why are there so many throwaway Lenovo lines, starting with nearly every letter of the alphabet?
They could save a lot of money by dumping at least half of those, and spend the saved money to improve keyboard and screens.

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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#29 Post by Ibthink » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:08 pm

After 2010, Lenovo really started pumping out more Notebooks and extended their reach in the mainstream Consumer-sector. With this strategy of low end laptops covering every niche, Lenovo became 1 # PC company. These lines may not be very profitable, but they generate market share, which is very important: The PC market is shrinking and only the biggest players survive, while the smaller ones like Sony, Fujitsu or Toshiba give up.

Also, those lines allow Lenovo to purchase parts cheaper. The more parts Lenovo buys, the cheaper they are. This is purchasing power and its bigger if you have more lines.

Recently, HP overtook Lenovo once again as the biggest PC-manufacturer. It seems that Lenovo will focus more on "quality" than quantity in the future (at least from what I can gather from their public statements). What that means for ThinkPads, who knows. Maybe they will release less lines in the future, but I don´t think they will dramatically cut it down.
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Re: Thoughts on the T440 and T450 quality

#30 Post by edik » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:28 pm

The predecessor of the T-Series is not the 700-Series.
OK, sorry if I implied it was, I just used the T20 as about the time quality started declining. I agree however about the 600X over-engineering, it does surprise me though as the last 76X's were arguably not too dissimilar to the T20.
The fate of the A-Series is known: It was discontinued, because it was too expensive and not profitable.
Was competing against the Latitude C8X0 series and D800 also, these were 15" UXGA premium class workstations, and quite superb. The C810 with the Tualatin was a magnificent machine (with an IBM manufactured UXGA panel!)
So what you call the stable years, I would actually call "the crisis years".
I mean to say "stable" in quality, IBM didn't really make any poorly constructed ThinkPads, heck even the "R" series were better made than today's machines.
Then, Lenovo took over in 2005. As PC prices continued to plummet, the cost savings continued. The first things that changed - no more IPS FlexView screens and no more 4:3. As the market moved to 16:10 and then 16:9, Lenovo moved as well. But for the 2008 lineup, Lenovo actually had ambitions to continue the ThinkPad tradition of quality and innovation in the old way. This can be seen in the release of the X300 and also the W700(s).
As I stated the decline started in 2006 (after the hybrid designed T60) slowly at first but obvious by the time of the T520 (I thought was 2010.. but thinking a it more obviously around 2011/2012). I had (and was) very impressed by the T500..
you can´t really generalize based on the T450... which isn´t a very expensive model
T450 is a mid range bog standard corporate 14" priced higher than most consumer machines, probably similar in the lineup as the T4X 14" series was. It certainly doesn't "feel" as solid (although it is probably more reliable given the GPU fiasco) and you are correct that the casing is very thin (and easily crackable, my base has two cracks from opening, and I was careful.. the material is wafer thin). I think you can generalize because the T450 is your "average" modern Lenovo Corporate desktop... not great but not cheap crap either, it's a good standard to compare all that came before it that were aimed at the same markets (7XX/TXX).

Lenovo bring back the ThinkLight and decent keyboard as well :)
Last edited by edik on Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.

2017: T450 i5-5300U/12/256+32/FHD
2007-2014: T520/i7-2760QM/8GB/320GB, WSXGA+, X200s, T500, A31p, A30p, T42p, X60s, X32, X31
Gone but not forgotten 1998-2006: 2006 T43p 2668-H2G (2GB/60), T22 2648-8EG (128/20), 2005 X40, X31, 2004 T30 SXGA+, 600X, 2003 770 P233+DVD Card, 760XD 1998 760XL+104MB

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