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Are Lenovo's ThinkPads Getting Worse? 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the laptop-market-slowly-drying-up dept.
writertype writes "Over the weekend, Lenovo launched the ThinkPad T431s, a ~$950 notebook with chiclet keys, no trackpad buttons, an integrated battery, and Windows 8 but no touchscreen. The T431s is also thinner and lighter than the bulletproof bento boxes we all know and love. The argument ReadWrite makes is that ThinkPads are becoming slowly, but significantly, worse. Do you agree?"
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Are Lenovo's ThinkPads Getting Worse?

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  • Pieces of junk (Score:4, Informative)

    by colinRTM (1333069) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:15PM (#43218821)

    I bought a then-still-IBM Thinkpad in 2005. It was a T42, I think. Over the next five years it did over 700,000 miles of flying with me, was dropped (in and out of its case), stood on, had coffee spilled on it and was generally abused. By the time I replaced it in 2010 the CDROM had packed in and the letters on the keys were mostly worn out. That's it. I gave it to my mother as her first laptop and it's still going strong, three years later. So 8+ years uninterrupted service.

    Obviously I was immensely impressed with that, and contrived to immediately buy a new Thinkpad. "They can't be all that different" I thought. I could not have been more wrong.

    Its replacement (I forget the model right now) was DOA. The replacement lasted three weeks before suffering a terminal mainboard failure. Lenovo, declining to replace it, took almost three months to return it to me.

    Over the next year it progressively disintegrated. The DVDROM died, the keyboard had to be replaced, the hinges needed constant tightening and the hard drive was replaced twice and it developed cracks in the lid, and the battery was almost useless after a few months. The power adaptor socket also broke. It looked cheap, it felt cheap, and it was anything but cheap. Lenovo could not give a fuck.

    I will never buy another Lenovo product, Thinkpad or not.

  • Re:Yes (Score:5, Informative)

    by jesseck (942036) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:15PM (#43218823)
    We started with the T61p, then W500, W510, W520, and now W530 at work, and that line has done well for us. The switchable graphics in the W500 sucked- we ended up giving that to an office worker, and used the T61ps for engineers. We also deployed a T530 recently, and it was still built in the "traditional" style. We purposely avoid the "consumer" style ThinkPads, and the clit mouse is a must.
  • X1 Carbon (Score:5, Informative)

    by mederbil (1756400) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:21PM (#43218863)

    Having just purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon I am finding it to be fantastic. It still feels solid like my ol' T42 and it was considerably less expensive than most (but not all) ultrabooks on the market with comparable specifications.

    It has an incredible keyboard (in my humble opinion) and does not look flashy which I consider to be a huge plus.

    I'd say the ThinkPad series hasn't changed one bit.

    Oh yeah, and they've still got a clit mouse!

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @08:12PM (#43219305)

    Let's also not forget the bad old days when ThinkPads had twice as many screws and screw lengths as Dell laptops had, making servicing them a major pain. Putting in a too-long screw in the wrong place risked damage to the motherboard.

    Which is why ThinkPads have always had a freely downloadable hardware service manual, which would include every step of disassembly, including which screws went where!

  • Re:Selling points (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @08:29PM (#43219421)

    That was added in Windows 7.

  • Re:Pieces of junk (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <> on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:44PM (#43219915) Homepage

    Your anecdote is rather useless without knowing the model number. Lenovo do both proper Thinkpads which are still pretty good and a range of cheaper average quality machines.

    It sounds like you bought the consumer line because the business range has much better support than you describe. Rather than going back to them they usually send someone to you.

  • Re:Selling points (Score:4, Informative)

    by lucm (889690) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:54PM (#43219969)

    I disagree. In my experience Windows 8 is annoying at first but after a while it becomes more convenient than Windows 7.

    When they released Windows 8 I took advantage of the upgrade deal (something like $40) and installed it on my Windows 7 laptop (which has no touch screen). I wanted to experience the real thing so I fought the urge to install one of those 3rd party start menu. It felt more natural to work in Desktop mode but a few things got in the way, like pictures or PDF opening in Metro mode, and after a while I switched back to Windows 7. Meanwhile I got a tablet that comes with Windows 8 (not RT) and got the hang of it.

    I now regret having switched back to Windows 7 on my laptop. Turns out that pinning shortcuts to the task bar does the job 95% of the time, and for everything else the start screen and the Search charm in Windows 8 are infinitely superior to the Start Menu navigation or the Start Menu search in Windows 7. The integration with the Live ID is also convenient as I use Sky Drive, and extensively for work. Some other features like the quick multi-display setup or the wifi picker are also superior in Windows 8. And I found out that I prefer browsing the web in Metro mode (Chrome so I can keep my bookmarks) and reading news is also more pleasant because lateral paging is way better than scrolling down, even with a mouse.

    So Windows 8 is not all bad. The transition between Metro and Desktop is weird and at first I was always switching to Desktop, but after a while I was actually disappointed when I had to launch a non-Metro application. I really think that when most applications are Metro things will be much better but I guess it will take a while.

    I probably won't reinstall Windows 8 on my laptop but whenever I buy a new one I'll be happy that it comes with Windows 8, touch screen or not.

    As for Linux that's a different discussion.

  • Re:Selling points (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @04:41AM (#43221685)
    That is not quite the whole story. As the owner of a T21, T43p, T60 and T61p (this is written on the T61p), I have to say that Lenovo was fine at first By lately they have gone down hill.

    It is very easy to switch hard disks in the older machines, and while they all have an Ubuntu disk as the default, The T43p also has a WIndows 7 disk (for testing) and the T43p has Windows XP (for embroidery machine software). The T21 also has FreeBSD. The p series have unbeatable screens T61p is 1920x1280 - great for embroidery design and pcb layout amongst other things, and a metal roll-cage (withstands people sitting on a laptop left on a chair).

    Today's T series have pathetic screen resolution, and plastic roll cages :-( Its like Lenovo have hired Elop!

    Incidentally, I also have a 760E, made in Scotland in 1998, which not only still runs, drivers are updated on the Lenovo website! Take that, Fujitsu (drivers not updated after 8 months for my lifebook)

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.