The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

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systemBuilder
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The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#1 Post by systemBuilder » Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:29 pm

Here is my remembrance of the "essence" of the T4x and T6x model lines. Corporate users sourced tens of millions of 1024x768 laptops with lower-midrange CPUs. We hotrodders loved the workstation-class P models which had a 10-year longevity span which is sort of a miracle, due to aftermarket parts from China. The essential features were:

1. Most CPUs weren't state of the art. They were midrange, so the laptop was renowned for not getting too hot ("knee comfort").
2. Capability to have 6-7 hours battery life with an external CD drive and battery in the ultrabay.
3. Excellent user interface - world's best keyboard, trackpoint, real click buttons, mid-sized scratchpad, thinklight.
4. Something close to an "infinity" 4:3 screen with a lot of visible real estate. Minimum 96 sq. inches on 14.1" laptop.
5. Great build quality with metal case and rubberized fingerprint-repelling surfaces although T4x's developed cracks near ultrabay.
6. Docking port to reduce port wearout.

The number of configuration possibilities was large:

2 screens(generic, high-res flexview/ips) x 2 gpus (none,integrated) x 2 sizes (14.1, 15.0") x any RAM x 3 CPUs x 3 disks x 2 radios = 144 models (~two radio options not including bluetooth) x unlocked BIOS.

The ultrabay was a means to an end. The ends were:
1. having a 6-7 hours battery life (9-cell + ultrabay battery)
2. having a way to (rarely) install software from CD / DVD. Face it the DVD burners were flaky. 50% of mine are broken.
2. having a way to stream video from the CD / DVD.
4. having a way to add a 2nd hard drive.

The first "end" is easily taken care of with today's U-series CPUs and large internal LiPo batteries (7-10 hrs battery life)
The second and third "end" is easily taken care of with an external (USB) DVD player and/or USB ports for flash drive(s).
The fourth "end" is not easily taken care of without some sort of Bay in the laptop, but it doesn't have to be a gigantic CD-sized bay.

So I would say, in the T90 project, just give us:

2 screens(normal, flexview/ips) x 2 gpus (none,integrated) x 2 sizes x any RAM x 3 CPUs x 3 disks x 2 radios x UNLOCKED BIOS = 144 models
Importantly, give us:
1. midrange CPUs so it doesn't get too hot or die too quickly.
2. Install a 15w or 28w CPU and install enough batteries for 7-10 hours battery life - reduce need for ultrabay.
Better yet use a single cartridge battery that piggybacks on the back of a laptop like on a clamshell phone (thicker laptop = more life), so we can have an equivalent to a 6-cell and 9-cell (hell, even 12-cell) option.
3. All the thinkpad UI goodies (real keyboard, trackpoint, ultranav buttons)
4. A screen that is not 16:9 and which fills the display bezel
5. Something to support a 2nd disk drive, perhaps an extra M.2 60mm MSATA drive slot - reduce need for ultrabay.
6. A best-selling integrated GPU (~ ATI 9600 of 2003) which probably means NVidia 940GT, R7/R9 GPU, maybe IRIS Pro top-end.
7. Two RAM slots.
8. 1440x900 base screen, 1920x1200 IPS upgraded screen.
This is a huge problem because I think 14.1 panels in 1440x900 are LVDS.
But any 1920x1200 IPS panel would have to be eDP. So need an eDP 2-lane interface and make new 1440x900 eDP panels.
9. At least 3 USB 3.0 and/or at least one 3.1 type-C port - one for CD, one for external (flash) drive, one to take the place of PCMCIA card slots.
10. Docking port to reduce port-wearout.

You end up with something similar to an expandable MacBook retina Pro. Don't be afraid, Lenovo!

I imagine a generic T90 would cost $1100 and a T90p would cost $2000.
Last edited by systemBuilder on Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Lots of thinkpads (10+) but I would never be so stupid as to list them all because that would spam everybody's searches and people who *do* try to list them all would be jerks.

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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#2 Post by systemBuilder » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:00 pm

Like MacBooks, Thinkpads used to command a 20-25% price-premium over comparable machines from Acer, Asus, Toshiba, etc. Because of Thinkpad longevity in the market and their durability and use of commodity parts (IO interfaces), all 3-party OS's (Linux, etc.) were ported to thinkpads FIRST.

Lenovo has to be newly convinced that making a corporate laptop with a 5+ year lifespan is a profitable business. Apple makes laptops profitably because they have 5-yr longevity and you can make a very high-quality product and charge a super-premium price if you make it very durable. Lenovo has almost abandoned that attitude about durability. We need to entice them back - so that they can invest more into the user interface components of the laptop.

I have stopped being interested in thinkpads because there is always something really screwed up with the user interface. I have started buying Chromebooks because Google has several requirements for each part of the user interface (screen, sound, keyboard, etc.). If the maker tries to skimp on that part of the laptop, they aren't allowed to call it a Chromebook and Google won't port and support Chrome OS on that device.
Last edited by systemBuilder on Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
=======================
Lots of thinkpads (10+) but I would never be so stupid as to list them all because that would spam everybody's searches and people who *do* try to list them all would be jerks.

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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#3 Post by evening_hunger » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:17 pm

I don't know. I'd think rather about 3D-printing a laptop myself than convincing Lenovo to anything.
Think about it. Buy the newest possible mobo, put what you want there, choose a panel you like, 3D-print the chassis and forget it.
One day it will be doable...
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#4 Post by TonyJZX » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:14 am

That's kind of re-inventing the wheel. I mean the shell is there... you can find ex lease laptops in awesome shape.

The only thing wrong is the electronics inside... the 51NB type approach makes most sense to me.

Insert a new board inside an existing shell that suits your aesthetics.

Problem is the Chinese are the only ones doing this and even the costs involved there are expensive and in the end, is it really a Thinkpad any more?

If you buy a Ferrari, or a Lamborghini or any exotic car and put in a foreign engine (say a US made Chevy 350) then is it still a Ferrari etc.?

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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#5 Post by w0qj » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:16 pm

Our company always use our ThinkPads to well over 5 years if at all possible; we even pay to extend Warranty to total of 5 years for our key machines.

Corporate users are always on the lookout to be able to share the same equipment, parts and accessories to different users as needed.
Especially Docking Stations.

For example, consider how X1 Carbon was treated for X1 Carbon Generation 3 (circa 2015), X1 Carbon Generation 4 (circa 2016), and X1 Carbon Generation 5 (circa 2017).

Docking Station:
X1 Carbon Gen-3: OneLink Docking Stations via dedicated OneLink Docking Port
X1 Carbon Gen-4: OneLink+ Docking Stations via dedicated OneLink+ Docking Port [Note: OneLink and OneLink+ Docking Stations are incomparable!]
X1 Carbon Gen-5: Only USB Docking Stations; cannot use OneLink and cannot use OneLink+ Docking Stations as no such dedicated docking port.
Note: Therefore in 3 years, there are three (3) different docking stations which are incompatible with each other!

Ethernet Dongles via proprietary ports:
X1 Carbon Gen-3: Ethernet dongle connected to proprietary mini-Ethernet jack**
X1 Carbon Gen-4: Ethernet dongle connected to OneLink+ Port (ie: no more proprietary mini-Ethernet jack)
X1 Carbon Gen-5: Ethernet dongle connected to proprietary mini-Ethernet jack**
Note: "**" As of March 2017 it is unknown whether or not the Ethernet dongle for X1 Carbon Gen-3 and X1 Carbon Gen-5 can be interchanged.

The famous TrackPoint:
560: High profile TrackPoint with larger square hole (circa 1996) <== need we say more?
T42: High profile TrackPoint with larger square hole (circa 2004) <== need we say more?
T410: High profile TrackPoint with larger square hole (circa 2010) <== need we say more?
X1 Carbon Gen-3: Low profile TrackPoint with larger square hole (circa 2015)
X1 Carbon Gen-4: Low profile TrackPoint with smaller square hole (circa 2016)
X1 Carbon Gen-5: Low profile TrackPoint with smaller square hole (circa 2017)
Note: Above smaller/larger red TrackPoint rubber tips cannot be interchanged, forcing us to stock two different kinds of TrackPoints which look very similar!

Power Tips and AC Power Adapters) :
560: used small round tipped AC Power Adapters (circa 1996) <== need we say more?
T42: used small round tipped AC Power Adapters (circa 2004) <== need we say more?
T410: used large round tipped AC Power Adapters (circa 2010)
X1 Carbon Gen-3: used rectangular tipped AC Power Adapters (circa 2015)
X1 Carbon Gen-5: used USB-C tipped AC Power Adapters (circa 2017)
Note: Now we truly have a circus of different tipped AC Power Adapters!


Don't we feel like lab mice?
One cannot but help but get the feeling that ThinkPad is trying out live experiments on us end-users, and if it does not work out (negative customer feedback) then it will try something else in next year's model.

This creates huge headaches for corporate customers trying to standardize on one generation of Docking Stations and parts/accessories.

For example, we could use the same docking station and the same TrackPoint for our T410 and X230 machines spanning 3 years!
This is the kind of standardization which works for corporate customers.
And we like to use our ThinkPads for 5-6 years, to amortize the cost over the financial years.
And we would like to use the same Docking Stations and other parts/accessories for 3 model years or more.
Hope ThinkPad is listening!
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#6 Post by Ibthink » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:18 pm

@w0qj,

of course Lenovo tunes the ThinkPads according to customer feedback and wishes.

To take on your examples:

Docking-Station: Onelink+ was introduced because of the limitations of Onelink. However, it was replaced again this year, because customers overwhelmingly wanted Thunderbolt 3.

Ethernet dongles: This was changed because Onelin+ plus could provide this feature, which made the extra port unnecessary. Now it is neccessary again, because Thunderbolt 3 does not provide this feature (native Ethernet).

TrackPoint: The new TrackPoint is optimized for the thinner design. Its just something they needed to do to make the machine thinner.

Power Adapters: The rectangular port was introduced, because the old round tipped (barrel) adapter was too thick for thinner machines. So this was changed because of standardization, otherwise Lenovo would have had to maintain two different standard.

The good news this, the latest change to USB C and Thunderbolt might be the last one for quite some time, as both of these standards are going to be universal in the future. So we are looking ahead to a truly standardized future...
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#7 Post by Puppy » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:07 pm

Ibthink wrote: of course Lenovo tunes the ThinkPads according to customer feedback and wishes.

TrackPoint: The new TrackPoint is optimized for the thinner design. Its just something they needed to do to make the machine thinner.
Who has ever asked to make machines thinner ? It makes more issues only (worse cooling and CPU throttling, more fan noise, shorter key travel, lack of important ports, chasis flex prone, weak display lid). It just silly Lenovo idea that if it looks more like MacBook it will sell more :roll:
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#8 Post by Ibthink » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:17 pm

Puppy wrote:Who has ever asked to make machines thinner ?
People. In fact, most customers prefer thinner machines. There is a small group who prefers thicker ones, but most people would prefer a thinner machine if you give them the choice.

Also, you are realizing we were talking about the X1 Carbon, which literally has the selling point of being the thinnest ThinkPad? :roll: Its not like there are no thicker models around...
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#9 Post by Puppy » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:36 pm

Ibthink wrote:Also, you are realizing we were talking about the X1 Carbon, which literally has the selling point of being the thinnest ThinkPad? :roll:
Looks like the selling point has failed according original question :)
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#10 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:33 pm

I am really curious if you can really get 6 hours of battery life on T43p with Pentium M 780, HDD and UXGA IPS wirh 9cell and ultrabay battery without lowering the perfonance? Cuz I didnt get anything better than 3 hours for the 9cell battery with the lowest brightness and tasks as light as PPT presentation with no animations
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#11 Post by dr_st » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:55 pm

Ibthink wrote:The good news this, the latest change to USB C and Thunderbolt might be the last one for quite some time, as both of these standards are going to be universal in the future. So we are looking ahead to a truly standardized future...
There have been so many attempts to standardize the future that I will not believe it until I actually see it happen. ;)
Ibthink wrote:People. In fact, most customers prefer thinner machines. There is a small group who prefers thicker ones, but most people would prefer a thinner machine if you give them the choice.
That's true, if you pose the question directly "do you prefer a thinner or a thicker machine". But that's a misleading question. The right one would be - "do you prefer a thinner machine with less functionality or a thicker one with more functionality". Answers would vary more on that, and you'd have to get into specifics.

One thing is clear, though - the whole trend started with Apple, as usual. Apple masterfully presented the Macbook Air, which introduce heavy bias toward thinness in the discussion of laptop features. The rest of the pack just started copying Apple.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#12 Post by TPFanatic » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:04 am

kfzhu1229 wrote:I am really curious if you can really get 6 hours of battery life on T43p with Pentium M 780, HDD and UXGA IPS wirh 9cell and ultrabay battery without lowering the perfonance? Cuz I didnt get anything better than 3 hours for the 9cell battery with the lowest brightness and tasks as light as PPT presentation with no animations
I imagine the FireGL will be eating a lot of the battery life. A downgrade to an Intel 915GM board may give you another hour. I'd also consider the 14.1" for better battery life, since the IPS screens draw more power than TN, and 14.1" SXGA+ is still top of the line. Although I'm not sure if Intel 915GM and SXGA+ are compatible.

Better off enjoying a 14.1" T61 standard screen. Or an X200s, same width.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#13 Post by Ibthink » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:25 am

dr_st wrote:That's true, if you pose the question directly "do you prefer a thinner or a thicker machine". But that's a misleading question. The right one would be - "do you prefer a thinner machine with less functionality or a thicker one with more functionality". Answers would vary more on that, and you'd have to get into specifics.
Of course, but the majority of laptop users have very basic needs. Thats why business laptops still have more ports and are slightly thicker, because business users tend to need some extra functionality (like Ethernet, more USB ports, a Smartcard-reader etc.).

Most people don´t need a Quad-Core in a laptop. They also don´t need an optical drive these days. So there is little reason to choose a thick laptop, unless you have very specific needs. Thinner machines are powerful enough these days, technology has come far enough.
dr_st wrote:One thing is clear, though - the whole trend started with Apple, as usual. Apple masterfully presented the Macbook Air, which introduce heavy bias toward thinness in the discussion of laptop features. The rest of the pack just started copying Apple.
I wouldn´t necessarily agree. Its a natural evolution to make the machines thinner and lighter. This process started in the 80s with the first Laptops and is still ongoing. Just compare a typical 90s ThinkPad with an early 2000s ThinkPad or the T4x models. The Macbook Air was just another step, albeit an important one.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#14 Post by Puppy » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:28 am

Ibthink wrote:Most people don´t need a Quad-Core in a laptop.
Most people don't need laptop at all these days. Simple Intel Atom/Celeron 2-in-1 device or those cheap fake laptops based on it are sufficient for most of tasks.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#15 Post by dr_st » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:53 am

Puppy wrote:
Ibthink wrote:Most people don´t need a Quad-Core in a laptop.
Most people don't need laptop at all these days. Simple Intel Atom/Celeron 2-in-1 device or those cheap fake laptops based on it are sufficient for most of tasks.
Precisely. The people with the truly basic needs that don't need any of the
Ibthink wrote:extra functionality (like Ethernet, more USB ports, a Smartcard-reader etc.)
probably don't need a laptop at all and could get by with a 2-in-1 or a "faplet".

What I often see in simple, non-tech-savvy, non-business consumers is that they often need/want more than you think, but don't necessarily know what they want, and can end up disappointed. Somebody may not realize that he needs VGA or Ethernet or even full-size HDMI, until he gets that ultra-chic ultra-thin laptop that doesn't have any, and then he's upset. Or he might just become upset to realize that the battery is not-removable/swappable. If he bothered to do some research, or get someone to explain the trade-off between thinness and features, he may have chosen differently. Not saying that this is the common scenario, but it does happen.
Ibthink wrote:I wouldn´t necessarily agree. Its a natural evolution to make the machines thinner and lighter. This process started in the 80s with the first Laptops and is still ongoing. Just compare a typical 90s ThinkPad with an early 2000s ThinkPad or the T4x models. The Macbook Air was just another step, albeit an important one.
Yes, but until the Air and its many clones, most of this thinning was done without sacrificing functionality for the most part. Displays, hard drives, optical drives were just getting thinner and more compact with each generation. CPUs were shrinking and producing less heat, requiring thinner heatsinks. Very little functionality was downright eliminated, except perhaps certain deep-legacy ports such as COM/LPT (which are needed perhaps by 1 customer out of 1000, and that customer can get a dock or a bay adapter), and PS/2 (which is effectively superseded by USB).

The Macbook Air's compromises were so obvious, that Lenovo could not resist to accompany its "answer" to the Air (the X300) with the funny "We don't add it on, we build it in" commercial. I did get the feeling that the Air (with all its pluses and minuses) was more than just another step, but a qualitatively different one.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#16 Post by Ibthink » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:38 am

The main selling point of a laptop compared with a Tablet is that is has a keyboard, which is the reason why laptops are still being sold in masses, even though less and less each year. Even if you only do things on Facebook, having a keyboard to type on is just much more convenient. Tablets are even more unnecessary for most people, because phones have gotten much bigger. Which is the reason why the Tablet market is shrinking.
dr_st wrote:es, but until the Air and its many clones, most of this thinning was done without sacrificing functionality for the most part.
You could say that Apple was ahead of its time with this, in fact, the Macbook Air was too impractical back then. But they predicted some of the changes that would happen.

The "sacrificing" of functionality mostly happened and happens because technology changed and so do peoples needs. Back in the early 2000s, Ethernet and even a modem port was a must, because WiFi adoption was still fairly low. A CD/DVD drive was needed, because most software was still delivered and bought as hard copies (as were Games, Movies etc.). The battery life sucked in general, so you needed removable, expandable batteries to alleviate that. Software still was developing rapidly, so CPUs needed to be as powerful as they could be to keep up, same with thick hard drives etc.

All these things changed, the evolution of technology has removed these barriers. Downloads eliminated the need for ODDs, ever-present WiFi and even WWAN killed the need for a modem port (and even Ethernet for most people). You don´t need to buy a new PC every two years anymore to keep up with the performance-hungry-software, this area is mostly stagnating now. So there was some room to make CPUs much more efficient (the move from 35 W Standard-Voltage to 15 W Ultra-Low-Voltage), which also means battery life is a lot better these days with smaller batteries. Sinking SSD-prices made it possible to ditch the clunky and thick HDDs for most Notebooks.

You can´t really blame the manufacturers for reacting to the changing needs of people. Also, unlike Apple, the PC manufacturers still provide many different options. If you have very basic needs, you can get a very basic laptop. If you still need more ports, you can get a business Laptop with extra functionality. If you need a very powerful Laptop, there are Workstations and Gaming PCs. Variety is really one of the great things about PCs for me personally.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#17 Post by Puppy » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:24 am

Ibthink wrote:You can´t really blame the manufacturers for reacting to the changing needs of people.
Really ? I think it is actually the opposite. Most of people actually don't know what they exactly want, they follow the main stream. The main stream vendors have to present new changes, any changes, even wrong one (Lenovo is excellent example with the broken keyboard layout). It might sound offensive but people become more stupid regarding hard technical skills and knowledge during the last era. There is massage by clueless/sponsored IT media telling nonsenses all the time because they get paid for it.

There is growing gap between two distinct computer device categories I call "tools" and "fashion". Older ThinkPad used to be the tools, Apple has been always the fashion. Unfortunately we can see more tools becoming fashion latety as there is less and less people that can/need to work with tools.
Ibthink wrote:ever-present WiFi and even WWAN killed the need for a model port (and even Ethernet for most people).
Excellent example. Unless you live on a desert island you can not name WiFi as Ethernet replacement at all. It slow, unreliable and also partially insecure. The result is, that people think that all computer networks are so unreliable by design until they discover the big difference when a cable connection is used. Is overusing WiFi everywhere the people need or rather the vendor need (to promote unreliability as commonly accepted standard) ?
Last edited by Puppy on Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#18 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:35 am

Ibthink wrote:You could say that Apple was ahead of its time with this, in fact, the Macbook Air was too impractical back then. But they predicted some of the changes that would happen.
It's not a prediction, but a target Apple is constantly aiming at.
The 2015 Macbook is even worse, with only a single USB-C port (which is also its charging port) and a headphone jack. If that's not impractical, what is?
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#19 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:32 am

I last upgraded my desktop with a new ASUS mobo with integrated GPU and an AMD-CPU in October 2010.
The only change since has been an SSD (256GB Crucial MX100) in January 2016.
My currently most-used (couch/travel) laptop is an X201 with X200s WXGA+ LED-screen.
It will be replaced soon with an as-new X230 with FHD and KB/BAT mods.
I will NOT buy any newer Lenovo laptop, that's for sure.
The above desktop and laptops are modern enough for me.

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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#20 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:40 am

dr_st wrote:probably don't need a laptop at all and could get by with a 2-in-1 or a "faplet".
Well yea true thing here. I either use my Galaxy A8 as phablet and connect a mouse/keyboard when I want to or I just use my T43p for the sake of comfortness of its keyboard and LCD
dr_st wrote:What I often see in simple, non-tech-savvy, non-business consumers is that they often need/want more than you think, but don't necessarily know what they want, and can end up disappointed. Somebody may not realize that he needs VGA or Ethernet or even full-size HDMI, until he gets that ultra-chic ultra-thin laptop that doesn't have any, and then he's upset. Or he might just become upset to realize that the battery is not-removable/swappable. If he bothered to do some research, or get someone to explain the trade-off between thinness and features, he may have chosen differently. Not saying that this is the common scenario, but it does happen.
This happens to schools as well. Plus the fact that their IT are all morons, they didn't even know to connect the monitor to the graphics card instead of the integrated port if they ever decided to put one in a desktop!
They don't know how to upgrade either. A typical OptiPlex 960 from a school with mid range specs can be upgraded to Xeon x3363 quad core, 8gb RAM, Nvidia geforce GT 7xx, and ssd which sums up to well above the average needs of a regular user!
I don't even know why but they recently tend to be attracted into chromebooks as well. I would personally rather get a Samsung Galaxy Tab, older Surface Pro 3 for cheap, or Ipad if I'm a Apple person than those chromebooks
dr_st wrote:The Macbook Air's compromises were so obvious, that Lenovo could not resist to accompany its "answer" to the Air (the X300) with the funny "We don't add it on, we build it in" commercial. I did get the feeling that the Air (with all its pluses and minuses) was more than just another step, but a qualitatively different one.
They are just simply geared into the more lame fashion users who just needs something sexy, beautiful and works. Most females in my area at least don't know any crap about computer hardware and do not want to deal with troubleshooting, 80% of them just simply ended up getting a MacBook air instead.
For us, we tend to need more functionality than those, so we tend to get a full blown ThinkPad that is also stable, works out of the box, but with minimal compromises compared to a desktop
Patience, boys. All good things to those who wait. – Mother Gothel (Tangled)
_________________________________
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
2xT43 14.1" 2.26 SXGA+ 2gb 1*fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
Flexview UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10

600X
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#21 Post by 600X » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:31 pm

Puppy wrote:Really ? I think it is actually the opposite. Most of people actually don't know what they exactly want, they follow the main stream. The main stream vendors have to present new changes, any changes, even wrong one (Lenovo is excellent example with the broken keyboard layout). It might sound offensive but people become more stupid regarding hard technical skills and knowledge during the last era. There is massage by clueless/sponsored IT media telling nonsenses all the time because they get paid for it.
This reminded me of a really good article: https://aeon.co/essays/computers-are-so ... -to-create
Daily: T440s
Classics: 600X (850MHz), A31p (FlexView), X41, T60 (LED FlexView), R61 (QXGA FlexView), X301 (AFFS)

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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#22 Post by w0qj » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:00 pm

OK, may we clarify our viewpoint, fit into the context of this forum topic (Essence of T4x, T6x model lines) as below:

1. We yearn for the old days of T4x, when users can just blindly go out and buy Thinkpad's newest model, and trust that all had been well thought out, and well user-tested.

2. Don't get us wrong, Thinkpad still makes great Thinkpad notebook computers nowadays!
But as a coherent notebook/parts/accessories/Docking_Station ecosystem, this is where Thinkpad falls short nowadays.

3. Specifically, the T4xx/X2xx/W5xx series occasionally showed poorly thought out keyboard and/or port layout.

4. Specifically, we miss the past when Thinkpad explicitly stated they try to use same Docking Stations and other accessories across models spanning 2-3 generations. (eg: T410 Docking Station compatible with X230).

=============================================================
Details and examples as below.

A) Thinkpad Notebook Computer - recent design faux pas examples

(i) Remember the buttonless TouchPad fiasco?
The entire T440/T440s/X240/W540 (and X1 Carbon Generation 2) line had no left, no right, and no scroll buttons on top of the TouchPad.
User uproar was so bad that Thinkpad had to scramble to quickly introduce W541 with physical left/right/scroll_buttons, within the same model season.
How did a major design mistake of this magnitude happen? We have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation.

(ii) For T470s, the Thinkpad supplied power adapter plugged into the right side of computer, just to the right of the right cursor key of the inverted T key group.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-Thi ... 880.0.html
This location is impractical and gets in the way if you use your external mouse for right-handed users (90% of all users).
If you use the docking replicator, it also plugs into this same port on the right side, also getting in the way of external mouse for right-handed users.

(iii) For X1 Carbon Generation 2 (same fiasco model year as the buttonless touchpad T440/T440s/X240/W540), there were two (2) additional major design mistakes:
~TouchBar replacing the physical Function Key row (user complained the slightest brush on TouchBar accidentally triggers the function keys).
~Home/End keys replacing the CapsLock on the left side. Like playing piano: Try pressing [Control]-[End] and then press [Control-PageUp] afterwards!


B) Docking Stations, Parts, and Accessories - recent design faux pas examples preventing corporate users from sharing Docking_Stations/parts/accessories amongst its notebook fleet:
~The points hightlighted in our previous posting still stand. ie:
~Three (3) incompatible Docking Stations in three (3) consecutive model years for X1C3/X1C4/X1C5.
~Ethernet dongle removed, then added back in three (3) consecutive model years for X1C3/X1C4/X1C5.
~Thinkpad had four (4) different shaped tip for AC Power Adapters within 13 years (2004-2017). Small round tip, large round tip, rectangular tip, USB-C tip.
~Thinkpad even fiddled with its famous TrackPoint, making a smaller square hole one since 2016. (Our user immediately noticed it's slightly harder to use).


=============================================================
To be quite frank, sometimes our reaction to Thinkpad's design faux pas is, "What have Thinkp*d designers been smoking?".
And who gave Thinkpad the user testing feedback?

When you are a dyed-in-wool Thinkpad hardcore fan, it is embarrassing to discuss above design miss examples!

We yearn for the old days of T4x, when users can just blindly go out and buy Thinkpad's newest model, and trust that all had been well thought out, and well user-tested.
Daily Driver: X1 Carbon 4th Gen (X1C-4): i7-6600U 2.6MHz; 16GB DDR3 1866 MHz; 1TB PCIe-NVMe; 14" WQHD 2560x1440; LTE EM7455 Mobile Broadband; Win7 Pro 64bit
Current Thinkpads: X1C-4 | X1C-3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
Also: IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

kfzhu1229
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Re: The essence of T4x, T6x model lines

#23 Post by kfzhu1229 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:59 pm

Well I guess if you compare T4x with any of the laptops today, it is just simply sturdy in the right ways. Many today's laptops are made in a way so that they look sturdy by your eyes while they are filled with structural flaws with the use of things like aluminum without thinking it through. And one company who shall remain nameless had the idea of putting the heatsink into the back and with a screen that can't fold down to 180°. Sure in this way your hands won't feel the heat and looks more "cool", the result is that some of the airflow are blocked by the screen with the kind of inward hinge and even without the screen, and at that the heat dissipation is actually pretty awful.
Whether for latch or no latch for the LCD, I guess that depends on individuals. I personally would like to hear the clicking sound of the screen latches all the time and luckily my newest laptop ThinkPad T530i indeed is one of the last laptops to feature that.
w0qj wrote:~Thinkpad even fiddled with its famous TrackPoint, making a smaller square hole one since 2016. (Our user immediately noticed it's slightly harder to use).
While that is indeed still compromises, things could have gone much worse. Believe it or not, that trackpoint is still the best one you can ever get in a skylake laptop (without the use of external devices of course). I believe 90% of the users on this forum loves the trackpoint and barely uses the touchpad. Case in point, I had 2 T43 samples from being normally used for 10 years. One of which was used by a user that loves trackpoint and the touchpad still looks brand new while the trackpoint buttons are shiny and vice versa for the other T43 from someone who came from an Acer Travelmate.
Patience, boys. All good things to those who wait. – Mother Gothel (Tangled)
_________________________________
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
2xT43 14.1" 2.26 SXGA+ 2gb 1*fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
Flexview UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10

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