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I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

L430/L530 and later Series
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ZaZ
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I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#1 Post by ZaZ » Sun Dec 24, 2023 6:58 pm

After deciding I didn't need an ultraportable and I wanted more resolution, I sold my X220 in 2013. For the first time, in a long time, I had no ThinkPad. The T440, with the returning IPS screen, was at the top of my list, but the buttonless touch pad gave me pause. I bought a respectable Dell Latitude for a better price and longer warranty. I ended up getting into a 17” ProBook that suited my purposes. It was heavy, but light for a 17” and I don't need much mobility. Plus, the screen was nice and I like that I had access to the internals for upgrades. That was five years ago.

For some reason when I saw the new Ryzen ThinkPad E16 selling dirt cheap, it made want a ThinkPad again. I didn't want to spend for a new one, but thought perhaps I could find a used one for a decent price. Eventually, I purchased a L14 for a very good price. It seems in pretty good shape for a 2.5 year old notebook. The L14 has everything I need, so there's no need to open it. It's got the backlit keyboard, which was a prequiste for me. It offers twice the processing power and I like how svelte it is. I can definitely feel the two pounds less it weighs. The stick, with the high resolution screen, is a great plus and it was like riding a bike. I can already tell the keyboard is going to push me past 30WPM.

The only downside for me is the screen. There's no bleed and it's IPS. I've yet to see a bad IPS screen, but it's significantly dimmer than my HP. It's hard to believe I bought a new R60 with 150 nit TN screen that seemed perfectly adequate in 2006 and now the 250 nit IPS screen looks muted. I'd say 50% on my HP is close 85-90% on the L14.

The bad news is the screen on my L14 keeps turning off or it shuts down. The good news is it's under warranty with onsite until April of 2024. I just need to call Lenovo to get it fixed. I'm thinking maybe I can sell both notebooks once I get the L14 fixed and maybe just buy the E16, even if I have to kick in a little cash.


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Oh, I found the new ThinkLight too:


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ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

ZaZ
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#2 Post by ZaZ » Fri Dec 29, 2023 5:47 pm

IBM came out to replace the board on my L14. It took a half hour or so and it looked pretty easy to take apart, which is good to know in case I need to replace it. The tech said it was a little worn.

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What's the deal on the trackpoint caps? My last ThinkPad, the X220, had the classic keyboard, but the newer ones are so much thinner, I'm concerned about the cap touching the screen. It looks like Lenovo is only selling the low profile soft dome cap, but I always preferred the soft rim. I did find some sellers offering 3D printed soft rim caps, but I have no idea if they're good?

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Now I just got to wait until Tuesday when the new to me charger arrives from China, so I can do a clean install of Windows 11 Pro.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

ZaZ
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#3 Post by ZaZ » Mon Jan 08, 2024 8:47 pm

I finally received my adapter today. I had ordered the wrong one and the seller was nice enough to pardon me so I could buy the right one, which I now have, but it took a while.

I plan make this my Windows 11 machine since I run Linux on my HP and have Windows 10 on my desktop.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

ZaZ
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#4 Post by ZaZ » Fri Jan 12, 2024 8:34 pm

I finally got the right charger and Windows 11 installed:


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As always when upgrading to a new version of Windows, there's a few quirks, but this runs a lot better than my desktop, which lagged horribly, though that was a upgrade, not a clean install, so perhaps that's the issue.

I've always been a soft rim user, but Lenovo no longer offers the soft rim, so I bought some 3D printed soft rims that are much thinner as to not touch the screen. It's not as nice as the original, but a good substitute. It kind of reminds me of the stick on my Latitude.


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Overall it's a nice machine other than the dim screen, which is find at higher brightness levels. This is kind of the machine I would have liked to buy when I got rid of my X220. Three pounds nine ounces on my postal scale. I also prefer the backlight on my HP as it shuts much quicker and come back on when you start typing while the L14 stays on all the time, but has to be re-engaged when you want to use it again. My favorite is the ThinkLight, which is likely never coming back.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

mikemex
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#5 Post by mikemex » Sat Jan 13, 2024 10:05 pm

The lower you go, the more practical to own. I believe the L series still have two DIMM slots, so you can basically buy any machine and pump it super high on RAM. Of if it breaks, you can put any planar on it, rather than hunting for one with the amount of RAM you desire. If you don't like the screen, it's easy to open it up and swap it.

On the other end, machines such as X1 Carbon are super expensive to own and difficult to maintain. I had a bunch of X1C4s that I got for really cheap, but later I realized that it wasn't all that cheap if I had to buy the expensive palmrests to switch keyboard languages (I'm an Spanish speaker). And if your machine has 8GB instead of 16GB of RAM, you have to swap the entire planar, which is difficult to get and expensive, unless the machine itself is pretty old already (for recent models they still cost a mini-fortune).

BUT, if money and time is not a concern, then the X1 Carbon series will always bring the best to the table on the first try. I've been using my X1C5 a lot lately and the screen is way better than the one in my T14 Gen 2, despite both being IPS and having the same resolution. Lenovo still puts cheap panels in the mainstream lines and premium ones in the more expensive ones. And it seems like that's not going to change any time soon.

Honestly, if you don't travel a lot, the L series will serve you better IF you are willing to swap the screen. It's more classic-esque.
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

ZaZ
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#6 Post by ZaZ » Sun Jan 14, 2024 1:16 pm

Yes, it has two memory slots, which is great, but even better is that it's super easy to get the back cover off and that gives you access to anything you'd want to replace - memory, SSD, fan, WiFi and battery.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#7 Post by mikemex » Sun Jan 14, 2024 6:43 pm

ZaZ wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2024 1:16 pm
but even better is that it's super easy to get the back cover off and that gives you access to anything you'd want to replace - memory, SSD, fan, WiFi and battery.
Yeah, you say you've been off-Thinkpad for a while, so I can see how this might seem like a big deal over old models, which were sometimes super complicated to dismantle. But it's been like that for quite a while and doesn't work the same for all lines. If your L14 is anything like my T14 (and I'm pretty sure it is) popping off the back cover is going to be way more tricky than it appears, as it has a lot of clips that are tricky to disengage and fragile. As much as I dislike the cramped design of the X1 Carbon line, I must admit that the cover itself is super easy to remove in comparison. Actually, I've completely dismantled many X1Cs to swap out parts (my X1C5 originally had a meek Skylake 6300U motherboard with 8GB of RAM) and as laborious as it is, I wouldn't say it's difficult. The lid is probably the most complicated part to service, since it seems like things are glued up.

Previously Lenovo really did axe major features out of the L line, but they seem to have abandoned that practice to an extent. The current line does offer backlit keyboards, IR cameras, WWAN, and decent capacity batteries.

The only thing I'm not sure about is the case. How solid is it on yours?
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

ZaZ
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#8 Post by ZaZ » Mon Jan 15, 2024 4:44 pm

Both my Dell and HP offered easy access to the internals via a panel on the bottom, so this is the first notebook I've owned where you have take the back off. I have a spudger, so I don't think taking of the back off if I want to replace something is going to be an issue. I've worked on worse.

It seems fairly stout to me, but as alway whether it has trouble down the road likely comes down to chance more than anything else.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#9 Post by TPFanatic » Mon Jan 15, 2024 7:41 pm

With some of the models (or at least my t470 and by extension any t480) there’s a specific direction and angle you have to lift and pull the cover, or it will break a bunch of clips. The HMM has the instructions.

ZaZ
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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#10 Post by ZaZ » Tue Jan 16, 2024 11:27 am

I watched the tech replace the board and the tear down did not seem particularly complex to me, but I suppose I won't know until I do it. I was considering replacing the battery, but it's still giving me five to six hours, way more than I need, so I think just kick that can down the road for now.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

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Re: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#11 Post by dr_st » Wed Jan 17, 2024 1:15 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2024 7:41 pm
With some of the models (or at least my t470 and by extension any t480) there’s a specific direction and angle you have to lift and pull the cover, or it will break a bunch of clips. The HMM has the instructions.
Yes. And even if you don't break the clips, you can deform them (or the cover, or perhaps the palmrest) in a way that will leave an annoying little gap when the system is closed again.
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: I'm Back and This Time It's Personal

#12 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Jan 17, 2024 1:48 pm

First time I opened the bottom of my T480 I managed to tear off a few clips and I can honestly say that I am REALLY experienced with Thinkpads.
At least it closed again without leaving any gap.
Over the last several years Lenono is just producing more rubbish.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
Lenovo: X240, X250, T440p, T480, M900 Tiny.

PS: the old Boardroom website is still available on the Wayback Machine
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