Take a look at our
ThinkPads.com HOME PAGE
For those who might want to contribute to the blog, start here: Editors Alley Topic
Then contact Bill with a Private Message

T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 series specific matters only
Post Reply
Message
Author
SaskFellow
Freshman Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:23 pm
Location: Regina, Canada

T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#1 Post by SaskFellow » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:18 am

So I got really annoyed with how annoying the keyboard on my T420s is... Really its a nicer machine to carry around than my T61, but ugh the typing was horrible. My T61 came with a Chicony keyboard and was actually way way better than this slab of crap.

I pulled the keyboard didn't recognize the part number from any of the given ones for the Alps, Chicony, or NMB... I hunted it down, got disagreement from various sources, used a bright white LED light to confirm the cap colour...

It's an Alps... ugh... The horrible reviews are so true online. So my T420s is offline until I get a new keyboard. I'm tempted to get a Chicony as there seems to be many available, and the reviews online seem to make it sound like the NMB and Chicony are quite close.

So I'm looking to combine experiences so people can learn which keyboards they might prefer.

I'll post the FRU and PN from my horrible ALPs after I get home.

I will say that the keyboard was relatively quiet, and was lower resistance, but in my opinion for extended typing it did seem to have mismatched sensitivity with some keys requiring more input to get a response, this lead to missed letters. The track point is probably the worst I've used for sensitivity, it is really slow and numb. The keyboard also seems really flimsy the back plate bends seemingly just holding it on one side.

If I can source an NMB and Chicony, I will add to this post. I'm just fussy and hate used keyboards, and all of the NMB keyboards I can find are well and truly used. So that may be a good sign that its the keyboard to get if you type a lot.

Edit:

My Alps keyboard's numbers:

FRU: 04W2753 P/N: 0B35709
Last edited by SaskFellow on Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
T61 14.1 WXGA+ 220nit, T9300, Owl blade fan cooler, 8GB PC2-6400, 2010 revised NVS140M, Samsung 840Pro 240GB, AR9390 N, BT4.1, NMB keyboard, T400 palm-rest, 33++ battery.

T420s 14.0 HD+, i7-2460M, 16GB PC3L-12800, NVS4200M, Samsung 850Pro 512GB, Intel 7260AC, BT4.1, Chicony KB, 81+ battery

RealBlackStuff
Admin Emeritus
Admin Emeritus
Posts: 20783
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:17 am
Location: Dublin, Éire
Contact:

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:56 am

45N2071 / 45N2036 Alps
45N2141 / 45N2106 Chicony
45N2211 / 45N2176 NMB

Can all be used in T410/T420/T510/T520/X220 and, after a BIOS-mod, also in T430/T530/X230
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly!
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

"Computers don't lie, but liars can compute." (Terry Hayes)

SaskFellow
Freshman Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:23 pm
Location: Regina, Canada

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#3 Post by SaskFellow » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:44 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:45N2071 / 45N2036 Alps
45N2141 / 45N2106 Chicony
45N2211 / 45N2176 NMB

Can all be used in T410/T420/T510/T520/X220 and, after a BIOS-mod, also in T430/T530/X230

My Alps keyboard's numbers:

FRU: 04W2753 P/N: 0B35709

That's what I mean, even the Lenovo parts listing for the T420s doesn't show it, but the FRU does work and show up as a legit part on the Lenovo part number checker.
T61 14.1 WXGA+ 220nit, T9300, Owl blade fan cooler, 8GB PC2-6400, 2010 revised NVS140M, Samsung 840Pro 240GB, AR9390 N, BT4.1, NMB keyboard, T400 palm-rest, 33++ battery.

T420s 14.0 HD+, i7-2460M, 16GB PC3L-12800, NVS4200M, Samsung 850Pro 512GB, Intel 7260AC, BT4.1, Chicony KB, 81+ battery

SaskFellow
Freshman Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:23 pm
Location: Regina, Canada

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#4 Post by SaskFellow » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:35 am

I've been using the Chicony made keyboard for the last little bit.

The Alps is soft, irregular levels of sensitivity, keys have different levels of resistance, and is very annoying to me. I found myself having difficulty typing documents and would fire up my T61 because it was just that much better.

The Chicony is very different, it's a much more comfortable typing experience, the level of resistance is very even across keys, the sensitivity is much more level across the keyboard, and is rather enjoyable to use. I find myself actually using the T420s and not dreading the keyboard.

Another thing I've noticed is that the Chicony has a much stiffer back plate.

Overall, I'd say the Chicony is a definite upgrade over the Alps unit. Which is strange to me because for my T61 the Alps was a better keyboard.

Now I just need to find an NMB keyboard.
T61 14.1 WXGA+ 220nit, T9300, Owl blade fan cooler, 8GB PC2-6400, 2010 revised NVS140M, Samsung 840Pro 240GB, AR9390 N, BT4.1, NMB keyboard, T400 palm-rest, 33++ battery.

T420s 14.0 HD+, i7-2460M, 16GB PC3L-12800, NVS4200M, Samsung 850Pro 512GB, Intel 7260AC, BT4.1, Chicony KB, 81+ battery

seasonshu
Freshman Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:55 am
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#5 Post by seasonshu » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:21 am

SaskFellow wrote:The Chicony is very different, it's a much more comfortable typing experience, the level of resistance is very even across keys, the sensitivity is much more level across the keyboard, and is rather enjoyable to use. I find myself actually using the T420s and not dreading the keyboard.
Reading this, I took the dive and bid on a Chicony keyboard. I received it today and.. do not like it. I find it a bit too springy and also loud. I do have an NMB keyboard and do love that; it's actually soft and way more pleasant to type on. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. I'll be looking for another MNB (45N2211) keyboard..

SaskFellow
Freshman Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:23 pm
Location: Regina, Canada

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#6 Post by SaskFellow » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:54 am

I would love an NMB keyboard to try and compare. I do agree the Chicory is louder than the Alps.

What do you mean about the springy feeling with your Chicony?


A side note...


I know with my T61, my NMB is amazing, its still my preferred keyboard. Though finding a new US layout or even an Ancor layout NMB keyboard for my T420s, is being difficult. Either shipping(won't or outrageous $$$) or the price makes my eyes water, the few I found that weren't 'compatible' auctions in disguise.
T61 14.1 WXGA+ 220nit, T9300, Owl blade fan cooler, 8GB PC2-6400, 2010 revised NVS140M, Samsung 840Pro 240GB, AR9390 N, BT4.1, NMB keyboard, T400 palm-rest, 33++ battery.

T420s 14.0 HD+, i7-2460M, 16GB PC3L-12800, NVS4200M, Samsung 850Pro 512GB, Intel 7260AC, BT4.1, Chicony KB, 81+ battery

seasonshu
Freshman Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:55 am
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#7 Post by seasonshu » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:10 am

SaskFellow wrote:What do you mean about the springy feeling with your Chicony?
It's difficult to describe.

It feels like, for the Chicony, as I am starting to press the button, there would be an initial hard resistance (at say, 10%). As you are pushing through that, it's getting smoother. But pushing through that limit feels a bit weird (giving that clacky noise?)
The MNB is softer, but far from mushy (what you described Alps as though I never tried that). The resistance is better spread on the way. There is no 'overtipping' point I feel with Chicony. Still, you are very much aware that you are pressing the buttons.

The texture of the NMB button also feels a little better for the fingers. It is a bit nitpicking though, if I didn't have these keyboards side by side, it would be difficult to say which is which.

Yes, there are practically no new NMB keyboards available (only for a price I could almost buy a complete laptop for). So, I'll have to settle for refurbished. I am buying two of them so I'll be set until .. forever. I think obtaining parts for xx20/xx30 are getting more and more of a privilege (you'll have to vote more and more with your valet for the diminishing supply).

TPFanatic
ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder
Posts: 1360
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:29 pm
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#8 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:27 pm

I believe my current T410 has an ALPS keyboard. The right side trackpoint button was distinctly hard to press, meanwhile the left was soft, very annoying. After removing both caps and pressing on the membranes for a bit they're now both soft. I find the hard ALPS tend to lose a lot of rapid keypresses so it's pretty bad for, say, games but I lose keypresses even in the desktop. In this case I just needed them to be consistent.

In my opinion Alps is worst, both for TP keyboards and touchpads.
lenovo T420 i7 2670qm 16GB QHD + eGPU GTX 960
lenovo T430s i5 3230m 16GB QHD w/ optimus(RIP), lenovo T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, lenovo T500 P9700 8GB WUXGA(LED) w/ switchable graphics
Enable 2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads with registry.

seasonshu
Freshman Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:55 am
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#9 Post by seasonshu » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:19 am

seasonshu wrote:
SaskFellow wrote:What do you mean about the springy feeling with your Chicony?
It's difficult to describe.
Let me correct myself.
Having installed the Chicony keyboard in the W520, it actually feels quite nice. To be honest, I really wouldn't be able to tell which one I am using (Chicony or NMB). I spent a lot of money on securing NMB specifically from the US, could have done the other type a bit cheaper from China. So, if you are on a budget, etc, don't be afraid to get the Chicony keyboard, it is very good after all. I still couldn't test the Alps one so no opinion on that.

SaskFellow
Freshman Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:23 pm
Location: Regina, Canada

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#10 Post by SaskFellow » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:50 pm

seasonshu wrote:
seasonshu wrote: It's difficult to describe.
Let me correct myself.
Having installed the Chicony keyboard in the W520, it actually feels quite nice. To be honest, I really wouldn't be able to tell which one I am using (Chicony or NMB). I spent a lot of money on securing NMB specifically from the US, could have done the other type a bit cheaper from China. So, if you are on a budget, etc, don't be afraid to get the Chicony keyboard, it is very good after all. I still couldn't test the Alps one so no opinion on that.
Ahh, I'm glad to hear it.

I can't even find an NMB to throw my money at. LoL

I've noticed my Chicony has seemed to soften a bit after typing some papers out on it. It still feels way better than the Alps, but it just seems quieter than when I first installed it.
T61 14.1 WXGA+ 220nit, T9300, Owl blade fan cooler, 8GB PC2-6400, 2010 revised NVS140M, Samsung 840Pro 240GB, AR9390 N, BT4.1, NMB keyboard, T400 palm-rest, 33++ battery.

T420s 14.0 HD+, i7-2460M, 16GB PC3L-12800, NVS4200M, Samsung 850Pro 512GB, Intel 7260AC, BT4.1, Chicony KB, 81+ battery

TPFanatic
ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder
Posts: 1360
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:29 pm
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Re: T420/T410/T510/T520 Keyboard comparisons and reviews

#11 Post by TPFanatic » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:18 pm

I bought a keyboard from a seller who had a bunch available with all the product numbers listed, I made a request specifying the FRU numbers for a Chicony or an NMB. I got a Chicony. In a listing of multiple keyboards like this, (not affiliated), you can probably ask if s/he has one with the FRU for NMB: http://www.ebay.com/itm/252582346538

The biggest issue I'm getting with these keyboards is the left and right trackpoint buttons having inconsistent feel. I haven't felt the issue on T42, Z60, T500 or earlier keyboards, but seems to be an issue with the newer ones since they have bigger rubber domes for the bigger trackpoint keycaps, like more points of failure.

The ALPs keyboards truly are the worst. This Chicony is great.
lenovo T420 i7 2670qm 16GB QHD + eGPU GTX 960
lenovo T430s i5 3230m 16GB QHD w/ optimus(RIP), lenovo T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, lenovo T500 P9700 8GB WUXGA(LED) w/ switchable graphics
Enable 2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads with registry.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “ThinkPad T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 Series”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests