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Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

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mtgal
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Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#1 Post by mtgal » Sun Jan 28, 2024 1:59 pm

Like the subject line says.

For various reasons I need to migrate to Win 11. I need to get as close to the form factor, size, weight (or lighter!), and keyboard of an x200 as I can in a new machine.

I will order direct from Lenovo.

Best recommendations?

I am willing to get an older ThinkPad if it has been refurbished or is open box and has a warranty. But the hardware must work with Win 11. If you have suggestions as to where to find these models, that would be a bonus.

Thanks All!

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#2 Post by mikemex » Sun Jan 28, 2024 4:52 pm

Are you aware that you're making quite a technological jump here? I mean, really aware?

No current Thinkpad has a keyboard even remotely similar in feeling to the one in the X200. In fact, the X200 is closer in that regard to the X61 series, than the X220.

Also, the X200 was considered compact compared to the machines in its own generation, but it's NOT considered compact compared to what is available today. Here is a side to side comparison between my X220 and my X1 Carbon 9th:

Image

Keep in mind that:

* From the 9th on X1s have 16:10 screens, so they are taller. Previous X1s, like my X1C5, were even more compact, probably about the same size as the X220.
* X220 shown here is already more compact than the X200 (https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=106527).
* The X1C5/6 have a much better keyboard than later models.

I ask because I'm not sure we're on the same wave length when it comes to "I need to get as close to the form factor, size, weight (or lighter!)".
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C9: 1185G7 | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA
For the sake of ecology I donated all my classic Thinkpads.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#3 Post by ZaZ » Sun Jan 28, 2024 5:37 pm

You're never going to replicate the keyboard of the X200 and best is kind of subjective depending on your goal, but I would say the best blend of Windows 11, cost, performance, mobility that most closely mimics your X200 with a warranty would be a 13” ThinkPad either X or L series from the Lenovo Outlet. It looks like the 13” Intel X series starts around $450 right now in the Lenovo Outlet, though may change as stock ebbs and flows. The AMD CPUs are better, but more expensive and I don't think you'd notice much of a difference in practical terms. The Outlet is a good option if you want something new with a warranty, but with a discount. If you want to go really light, it looks like the X1 Nano starts for $100 more in the Lenovo Outlet.

The Intel X13 got a pretty good review on Notebookcheck here.
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#4 Post by ZaZ » Mon Jan 29, 2024 1:21 am

One thing that slipped my mind, yet may be important, is that the recent 13" ThinkPads have soldered memory, so if you get one with 8gb, you can't upgrade it, which may not be an issue now, but won't be ideal for keeping it usable by upgrading it. If you buy one you should probably get one with at least 16GB of memory, possibly more if you plan to use it long term. For that reason the L14 or T14, which are similar in weight to the X200, may be worth consideration. The L14 has two upgradeable slots while the T14 has one soldered sodimm and one slot that can be upgraded.
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#5 Post by mtgal » Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:53 pm

ZaZ wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2024 1:21 am
One thing that slipped my mind, yet may be important, is that the recent 13" ThinkPads have soldered memory, so if you get one with 8gb, you can't upgrade it, which may not be an issue now, but won't be ideal for keeping it usable by upgrading it. If you buy one you should probably get one with at least 16GB of memory, possibly more if you plan to use it long term. For that reason the L14 or T14, which are similar in weight to the X200, may be worth consideration. The L14 has two upgradeable slots while the T14 has one soldered sodimm and one slot that can be upgraded.

Great info! Thanks!

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#6 Post by mtgal » Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:59 pm

mikemex wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2024 4:52 pm
Are you aware that you're making quite a technological jump here? I mean, really aware?

No current Thinkpad has a keyboard even remotely similar in feeling to the one in the X200. In fact, the X200 is closer in that regard to the X61 series, than the X220.

Also, the X200 was considered compact compared to the machines in its own generation, but it's NOT considered compact compared to what is available today. Here is a side to side comparison between my X220 and my X1 Carbon 9th:

Image

Keep in mind that:

* From the 9th on X1s have 16:10 screens, so they are taller. Previous X1s, like my X1C5, were even more compact, probably about the same size as the X220.
* X220 shown here is already more compact than the X200 (https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=106527).
* The X1C5/6 have a much better keyboard than later models.

I ask because I'm not sure we're on the same wave length when it comes to "I need to get as close to the form factor, size, weight (or lighter!)".
super helpful answer, thank you. I have used more modern machines, so I am aware of the big differences. That is a tough choice with the X1--I'd like to have the taller screen *and* the better keyboard. Do they overlap in any generation?

I went to Costco yesterday just to see what the form factors and weights are like in various machines. The graphics in the intel Evo machines hurt my eyes. the AMD Ryzen machines are a lot more comfortable to look at. All of the keyboards sucked. And the 14" size is okay, but I'd rather have smaller. Certainly no larger than that.

If I were to go with the T14, which generation? Same questions with the x1--which generation? And any particular specs that would be helpful if I went with an x13?

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#7 Post by mikemex » Tue Jan 30, 2024 4:45 pm

mtgal wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:59 pm
I'd like to have the taller screen *and* the better keyboard. Do they overlap in any generation? (...) 14" size is okay, but I'd rather have smaller. Certainly no larger than that.

If I were to go with the T14, which generation? Same questions with the x1--which generation? And any particular specs that would be helpful if I went with an x13?
The T14 is not a bad machine, but it's considerably larger. I don't think it fits you criteria.

Quick answer: get yourself an X1 Carbon Gen 6. Believe it or not, you can still get one new in box (no warranty, however), I've seen them floating on eBay. Not cheap, of course, but no surprises compared to buying used. That way you get a nice format AND a nice keyboard (as close as you are going to get with anything recent). Windows 11 is officially supported on that generation.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C9: 1185G7 | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA
For the sake of ecology I donated all my classic Thinkpads.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#8 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:31 pm

There is another model you can consider if you want an even taller display than what’s in the X200: the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga uses a 3:2 aspect ratio display. As Yoga it’s also very slim. Unfortunately as an X1 it is Intel only, it also has very few ports, this is it’s product spec sheet: https://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys/PD ... 1_Spec.pdf

T14 Gen 3, L13 Gen 3, and X13 Gen 2 are the first of their respective lineups to adopt 16:10 screens. This also coincides with shorter 1.5mm key travel and flat trackpoint buttons. With X200 if you just use mouse then trackpoint buttons shouldn’t be a problem, otherwise it might feel weird. The older models are all 16:9 but I believe generally have a higher travel 1.8mm key travel, and properly hinged trackpoint buttons.

All the L14 still use 16:9 but starting with Gen 3 get the new keyboard.

X1 Nano, Z series, and X1 Titanium happen to have even shorter 1.35mm key travel.

There is not necessarily a corroboration between key travel and keyboard quality. The layout is generally ubiquitous across ThinkPads and it’s not a quality Lenovo would skimp on as ThinkPads are famous for their keyboards. The purists will complain about any minor change but the businesses and companies who use these laptops for profit haven’t stopped buying them over it. The T14 Gen 4 i tried at costco felt OK, even the flattened trackpoint buttons remained usable, but just awkward, would take getting used to.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#9 Post by ZaZ » Tue Jan 30, 2024 7:55 pm

I think the main differences are going to be the chip and how well it performs along with the ergonomics. Most notebooks in my experience will give at least a few years of faithful service if not damaged in some way. At the same price point I expect Ryzen offers better value, but if you can find an Intel machine for 20-30% less and don't need the oomph, then I'd probably pick the Intel.

Ergonomics are more tricky. I know what I like, but everyone's sort of snowflake and has their own peculularities, so it's kind of difficult for one person to tell another what to like. I might suggest if you fear getting stuck with a purchase to buy somewhere with a liberal return policy. Costco would be a good example of this.

I wouldn't necessarily limit yourself to ThinkPads. I've had Dell and HP business notebooks that were quality machines. Keyboards are very subject. Every brand has devotees and detractors. The more you can try, though this may be hard with business class notebooks given they can be tough to find, the more you can figure out what works for you. Something like the XPS 13 is a well made notebook with an impressive screen and might be worth a look. If you've got a Best Buy near you in Montana, you might be able to check it out for yourself.

If you want something with a solid warranty, not a third party warranty, buying in the manufacturer outlet is typically the best option. If you can be patient, you should be something you like at an attractive price. Most outlet items are returns, though they do sell new stuff too. but come with a manufacturer warranty that you may be able to upgrade. I've bought outlet items from Lenovo, Apple, HP, Dell, etc., and they always look new, though sometimes you don't get the fancy packaging.

One final thought is to pay with a credit card, if considering another form of payment like Paypal, debit card, check, venmo, bitcoin, etc. for a couple reasons. A lot of credit cards extend the warranty and it usually mirrors the manufacturer warranty. If you get a one year depot warranty, you'd get an extra year or two of depot from the credit card company depending on the policy when you bought. If you extended the wararnty to include on-site and accidental for the first year, which is often inexpensive, you'd get an addition year or two of on-site/accidental warranty depending on the card. I was able to get Citibank to pick up the tab for replacing the lid on my HP to fix the WiFi card as Citibank used to extend the warranty a couple years. I'm not sure if they still do. Secondly, if you decide to go used and it doesn't work out for some reason, it will offer you another avenue to get your money back.
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#10 Post by mikemex » Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:38 pm

ZaZ wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 7:55 pm
I wouldn't necessarily limit yourself to ThinkPads. I've had Dell and HP business notebooks that were quality machines.
We've got an heretic here. Guards!
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C9: 1185G7 | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA
For the sake of ecology I donated all my classic Thinkpads.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#11 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Jan 30, 2024 9:17 pm

mikemex wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:38 pm
We've got an heretic here. Guards!
:lol:

Do Dells and HPs still have pointing sticks (Trackpoint wannabes)?
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#12 Post by mtgal » Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:07 pm

All good suggestions.

Since I buy a laptop so very infrequently (like every 15 years?), I'm not afraid of going to the main Lenovo site and paying full fare. They have a great sale on right now.

I just got over $700 off on a custom build x13 gen 4 with an AMD processor. I got 16 g RAM and a 1 TB SSD, and I also upgraded the battery, got a backlit keyboard, and a touch screen. All for just a smidge over $1k.

One of the reasons I decided not to go through the outlet is because I want more time to try the machine out before I decide if I'm keeping it. Outlet returns have to be within 2 weeks. The main site gives you a month. And the business site (which I am a member of) gives you 45 days, and throws in free expedited shipping.

Did pay with my CC so I get the extended warranty. And the business site also upgraded my warranty for free.

I was heartened to see lots of reviews of this machine on the Lenovo site from people who said they got the x13 to replace their x200, or x220, or x230, and that they like the keyboard! And they are happy with their new laptop. It's cool that they like it, but it's also really cool to see that I'm not the only one who has been rocking the x200 series for this long.

I also, concurrently, found out there is a free writing software that does what Scrivener does and works with Win 7. Have to look into that. I don't really need a laptop for web surfing as I do that on my Samsung tablet. So, we'll see if I stick with x13 or not.

Thanks everyone for your detailed input and advice!

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#13 Post by ZaZ » Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:35 pm

Congrats! If you're happy, that's what matters. It's a fine machine and I'm sure will give you years of loyal service.

mikemex wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:38 pm
We've got an heretic here. Guards!
If you blindly give your money there's little incentive to change. Everything in life has its pro and cons. Just because you like Ferraris does not mean a Corvette is undesirable.

The track point on my Dell was serviceable, but not as good a ThinkPad. I believe the Latitude 5510 was the last Dell with a trackpoint. I always heard HPs with a ThinkPad cap were fairly good, never tried one myself, but HP never had the center scroll button so were lame.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#14 Post by mikemex » Wed Jan 31, 2024 1:27 am

mtgal wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:07 pm
I got 16 g RAM and a 1 TB SSD, and I also upgraded the battery, got a backlit keyboard, and a touch screen. All for just a smidge over $1k.
I really, really hate to be the party pooper here, but 16GB and 1 TB? You really dropped the ball there. It should have been 32GB and 256GB because you can upgrade to 1TB for like $50 and five minutes of your time, but you can't upgrade soldered RAM for any price...

Just think about it: if your X200 got this far, surely is because you didn't keep the 2GB or so RAM Lenovo shipped it with.
ZaZ wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:35 pm
mikemex wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:38 pm
We've got an heretic here. Guards!
If you blindly give your money there's little incentive to change. Everything in life has its pro and cons. Just because you like Ferraris does not mean a Corvette is undesirable.

The track point on my Dell was serviceable, but not as good a ThinkPad. I believe the Latitude 5510 was the last Dell with a trackpoint. I always heard HPs with a ThinkPad cap were fairly good, never tried one myself, but HP never had the center scroll button so were lame.
Considering Lenovo has pretty much killed any "spiritual" connection with the classic stuff, I can safely say that I don't buy Thinkpads: I buy laptops with good Trackpoints, which is currently only possible with a Thinkpad. If HP, Dell, Dynabook... made laptops with good Trackpoints, I wouldn't mind "switching teams" at this point.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C9: 1185G7 | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA
For the sake of ecology I donated all my classic Thinkpads.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#15 Post by mtgal » Wed Jan 31, 2024 11:48 am

OK. I will call and ask for 32 GB RAM. I suspected 16GB was not enough since it's soldered. I have upgraded the RAM on my x200 at least twice and it is now maxxed out.

1 TB SSD should be plenty, however, as that IS upgradable and I already have so many external SSDs and HDDs as large as 5T.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#16 Post by mtgal » Wed Jan 31, 2024 1:30 pm

I had to cancel the 16G RAM order and place a new order with 32G. I misunderstood the post about getting a *smaller* SSD, but oh well, the 1TB gives me more flexibility for long-term travel.

One question I forgot to post here is about the AMD processor. I got the AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 7540U Processor (3.20 GHz up to 4.90 GHz). There was an option to go up to the 7 PRO. My thinking was that I want the laptop to run cool, and I want the longest possible battery life.

But will the 5 PRO limit me in the long-term future as OS have to be upgraded and demands of new software change? Will it make it harder to get 10-15 years out of this laptop?

Are my temperature and battery life concerns legit?

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#17 Post by TPFanatic » Wed Jan 31, 2024 3:01 pm

Ryzen 5 is a hex core with radeon 740m, Ryzen 7 is octo core and has radeon 780m, also slightly higher frequency.

Personally id take the cost saving of the ryzen 5, by the time these CPUs are outperformed by future tech the relative difference between 5 and 7 of the same generation will be comparatively minor. In other words not enough to make or break the utility of the machine.

Considering you’ve been running a Core 2 duo this whole time and been satisfied, i think the Ryzen 5 will be similarly satisfactory for a long time.

Im still getting general cpu work done on a 8 year old intel quad core and find quads from 2011 still snappy for web browsing. I think it will be a long time before my P71 feels old, even longer for a brand new X13 that’s probably faster than my P71.
Last edited by TPFanatic on Wed Jan 31, 2024 3:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#18 Post by mikemex » Wed Jan 31, 2024 3:03 pm

mtgal wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2024 1:30 pm
One question I forgot to post here is about the AMD processor. I got the AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 7540U Processor (3.20 GHz up to 4.90 GHz). There was an option to go up to the 7 PRO. My thinking was that I want the laptop to run cool, and I want the longest possible battery life.

But will the 5 PRO limit me in the long-term future as OS have to be upgraded and demands of new software change? Will it make it harder to get 10-15 years out of this laptop?

Are my temperature and battery life concerns legit?
I really wrote this for you, but I realized it could make for a nice general guide:

https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=136010

Short answer: as you intend to keep your machine for long, both warranty and processor generation and model are largely irrelevant. It's a nice and modern machine overall, and that's all what really matters (the memory amount was a real concern but you said you already fixed it).

I'm sad to say that I don't expect any machine purchased now to last 15 years, but that has nothing to do with your specific case. It's the way all modern machines are built, which makes them less reliable.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C9: 1185G7 | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA
For the sake of ecology I donated all my classic Thinkpads.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#19 Post by ZaZ » Wed Jan 31, 2024 5:17 pm

Spending more for CPU upgrades is almost never worth it unless you have a need to run the CPU at or near capacity frequently, or you get it for free. Whatever you buy will be old in 2027, regardless of what you choose today.
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#20 Post by mtgal » Wed Mar 13, 2024 1:11 am

mikemex wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 4:45 pm
mtgal wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:59 pm
I'd like to have the taller screen *and* the better keyboard. Do they overlap in any generation? (...) 14" size is okay, but I'd rather have smaller. Certainly no larger than that.

If I were to go with the T14, which generation? Same questions with the x1--which generation? And any particular specs that would be helpful if I went with an x13?
The T14 is not a bad machine, but it's considerably larger. I don't think it fits you criteria.

Quick answer: get yourself an X1 Carbon Gen 6. Believe it or not, you can still get one new in box (no warranty, however), I've seen them floating on eBay. Not cheap, of course, but no surprises compared to buying used. That way you get a nice format AND a nice keyboard (as close as you are going to get with anything recent). Windows 11 is officially supported on that generation.
After a month of looking on eBay and other sites, I was able to find an x1 Carbon Gen 6 with a touchscreen and the other specs I wanted--AND from a seller with no negative feedback. It arrived today. After using it for only an hour I'm sending it back (bought from a refurbisher who does free returns).

Pros: GREAT keyboard! I so wish I could keep it if only for the keyboard.
Light weight

Cons: Runs HOT
Screen HURTS MY EYES (and yes I tried all the modifications to the display, including the refresh rate)
Battery life is pathetic--had to plug it in after an hour
Intensely dislike the horizontal screen format

A month ago I got a brand new x13 with 32 gb RAM and a 1 TB SSD direct from Lenovo. The only thing I dislike about it is the keyboard--hurts my hands. Everything else is great--though it is heavier than the x1 Carbon--probably because I ordered it with a longer lasting battery. I was going to send it back if I liked the x1 Carbon better. Very disappointed. Why oh why won't Lenovo put decent keyboards back in the ThinkPads?

We should put our heads together and design the ideal TP and submit the specs to Lenovo.

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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#21 Post by ZaZ » Wed Mar 13, 2024 3:48 pm

The issue is not building the keyboard, but rather getting everyone to agree on what perfect is.

There's other ThinkPad keyboards out there. You just got to keep trying until you find the one.
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Re: Best new Win11 ThinkPad for a 15-year user of an x200 ??

#22 Post by mikemex » Sun Mar 17, 2024 12:07 am

mtgal wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2024 1:11 am
mikemex wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 4:45 pm
Quick answer: get yourself an X1 Carbon Gen 6. Believe it or not, you can still get one new in box (no warranty, however), I've seen them floating on eBay. Not cheap, of course, but no surprises compared to buying used. That way you get a nice format AND a nice keyboard (as close as you are going to get with anything recent). Windows 11 is officially supported on that generation.
After a month of looking on eBay and other sites, I was able to find an x1 Carbon Gen 6 with a touchscreen and the other specs I wanted--AND from a seller with no negative feedback. It arrived today. After using it for only an hour I'm sending it back (bought from a refurbisher who does free returns).

Pros: GREAT keyboard! I so wish I could keep it if only for the keyboard.
Light weight

Cons: Runs HOT
Screen HURTS MY EYES (and yes I tried all the modifications to the display, including the refresh rate)
Battery life is pathetic--had to plug it in after an hour
Intensely dislike the horizontal screen format
Really, 1 hour is too quick to form an opinion. Keep in mind that Windows likes to pile up updates and scheduled virus scans. Therefore, the first couple of days you run a new installation it works kind of busy. It's pretty normal behavior. After that it returns to normal.

Also, I've seen people complain about the cooling fan:

https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... an_design/

Maybe your're unlucky and got the Furukawa. With a simple swap to the Delta one it should run nicely. Battery life is outstanding on that generation, everyone keeps saying that it lasts longer than the X1C5 and I do consider it quite long running. But it depends on the condition of the battery, of course.

About the screen, at some point Lenovo began installing low blue light certified screens which show warmer colors. My X1C5, which probably has the same screen as the X1C6, shows whites "the proper way" while my X1C9 shows them "yellowish". The "unadultered" screen looks better to me, but it also looks a lot brighter. Maybe you're sensitive to blue light.
mtgal wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2024 1:11 am
A month ago I got a brand new x13 with 32 gb RAM and a 1 TB SSD direct from Lenovo. The only thing I dislike about it is the keyboard--hurts my hands. Everything else is great--though it is heavier than the x1 Carbon--probably because I ordered it with a longer lasting battery. I was going to send it back if I liked the x1 Carbon better. Very disappointed. Why oh why won't Lenovo put decent keyboards back in the ThinkPads?

We should put our heads together and design the ideal TP and submit the specs to Lenovo.
Same feeling with my X1C9. I like pretty much everything except of the input (not only the keyboard, I also dislike the new Trackpoint). That's why I keep my X1C5 (and that's why you should keep the X1C6...).
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C9: 1185G7 | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WUXGA
For the sake of ecology I donated all my classic Thinkpads.

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