Ed note: This post was published with an earlier draft. I’ve updated it to include more information.

Foose asks the following:

Hi there. I read your blog almost daily and always enjoy your posts, especially your baby and the dog.

I notice you like Lenovo Thinkpads and post on them. I am hoping you can give me some advice. The lid on my 2006 R60 is twisting off the hinges and screws, and the computer technician I consulted says it can’t be fixed. Do you have any recommendations for a good replacement from the current models?

I really just use my laptop to email, write, surf the Web and, most importantly, log in my company’s virtual desktop so I can work from home. I know you had a bad experience with a recent Thinkpad and of course there was the scandal about bloatware earlier this year. I really liked my Thinkpad, so I would love to get another one but maybe it’s not a good option anymore.

Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.

If you really want something top of the line, then I have no advice for you. I am personally going to keep getting T520/W520 until I hear that Lenovo has gotten the new iteration right.

I do not have any recommendations among the current models, alas. I did have that 540p for about a week last year (or maybe it was the year before) and I was really disappointed with the direction that they took and the iffy execution of it (specifically relating to the right/left click buttons. There were some things that were kind of cool about it (mostly aesthetic, but if you like a numpad it actually has you covered). This is not uncommon when they change things up. The first iteration of a new design is almost never its best, but by #2 or #3 they’ve actually improved it.

Along those lines, the best conservative bet would be getting a used T420, T520, or W520, depending on the size of monitor you want. Getting a x30 (T530 etc) instead of a x20 is fine also. You’d be on iffier ground by getting a x10 (T510 etc) and you should absolutely not get a x00 (T500 etc) because… first iteration. Your existing power cables would even work with these models. I would not skimp, however, when it comes to the model you get when you get used. You want an i7 processor, 6-8gm or RAM or more, and I would make sure that your resolution is 1600×900 or better. If it seems sluggish, you may want to get an SSD hard drive, but I would wait and see on that.

If you’re really hot to trot to get the latest model, my advice is somewhat more limited. I haven’t heard a whole lot about the x50 models. In terms of performance, a higher-end (i7) T520 has more in common with the latest and greatest than it does with your T60. Most importantly, you can upgrade RAM as needed. But some people want the new machine and the new warranty. In which case, I would get the T550 and hope for the best.

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3 Responses to Thinkpad Advice [Updated]

  1. Foose says:

    Thanks so much for this very detailed analysis! I guess I will have to rethink getting a Thinkpad. It’s sad news, my R60 was a fine piece of equipment, very reliable.

  2. If you’re looking for an used model with the classic keyboard, a T420 with an SSD upgrade and RAM should be able to meet your needs. Combine that with a dock, and you’ll have near desktop replacement if you desire it.

    Mind you, I’m pro-dock because I currently use that arrangement with the T420 and T410 units along with a Synology NAS, Dell 21 inch IPS monitor, and standard keyboard and mouse.

    specifically relating to the right/left click buttons

    Three button arrangement has returned for the T450/550 for “clit mouse” users.

    • trumwill says:

      Three button arrangement has returned for the T450/550 for “clit mouse” users.

      Holy crap it did!! I am not sure I even looked, because I’d given up hope when I realized they were only doing what everyone else was doing.

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