1. 59
  1.  

  2. 24

    I wonder if Lenovo will also go retro on the spyware. Maybe Reader Rabbit or WeatherBug.

    1. 6

      I’d chip in a few satoshis to see a modern day BonsaiBuddy.

      1. 6

        Well, they probably ship with Windows, and that includes Cortana

        1. 3

          With HDR and lens flare.

        2. 2

          I simply insist on it being “Back Orifice”.

        3. 4

          I doubt it will happen but if Lenovo uses this as a metric for future ThinkPad design and starts shipping 4:3 display laptops again, that would be very cool.

          1. 3

            I’ve been super happy with my Surface Book and I think the 3:2 display is part of that.

          2. 2

            I am currently using X220 in job. Easily best notebook I’ve ever used. I’ve used Macbook Air, Asus and in last job, Dell XPS13.

            X220 has one killer feature, which makes it better than everything else and that is old, „traditional“ keyboard. In my current job, they offered me external keyboard, and I took it, but then decided to use X220 as keyboard, because it’s better.

            https://i.imgur.com/EIkMRtq.jpg

            I would definitely buy the Retro ThinkPad, if they keep old keyboard.

            1. 2

              Yes! I did finally upgrade my X220 last year, but I miss that keyboard. The only laptop keyboard I liked better was X60 (that thing was a slimline tank.)

            2. 2

              can anyone explain why I would be interested in this? or provide some context? otherwise this just seems like a badly written teaser ad.

              1. 37

                The ThinkPad line has a long history of being known for build quality and reliability, particularly in the era when they were built by IBM, before being sold to Lenovo. This was epitomized by a ThinkPad that survived a fire. Additionally, in the older era of Linux driver compatibility, where buying a laptop was fraught with peril, ThinkPads had a reputation of being a safe bet. They would reliably work, or could be made to work with minimal tweaking. There is even an entire Wiki dedicated to this.

                There is an insane aftermarket for still-working, 2010-era ThinkPads, especially those that can run without Intel’s Management Engine. People have gone to great lengths to upgrade these with newer CPUs (that they were never designed for), higher resolution screens, and all sorts of other interesting and inspiring upgrades.

                A lot of devotees (ala Apple fans) look back fondly on the earlier era of ThinkPad hardware, and in doing so focus (rightly or wrongly) on some of the aesthetic aspects of the laptops of that era:

                • No focus on thinness at the cost of processing power and battery life.
                • A 4:3 screen aspect ratio.
                • The logo itself (again, this is part emotional aesthetic, part rational).
                • The particular texturing of the trackpoint (“keyboard nub mouse”).
                • The particulars of the keyboard layout, and the keyboard feel being of high quality.

                So on and so forth. You get the idea.

                Two-ish years ago a half-joking product designer (engineer?) at Lenovo wrote a blog post asking what people might want in a “Retro” ThinkPad. The post went viral, so they did a followup of 4 surveys asking people for opinions on the specifics of what it would mean for a ThinkPad to be “retro” to them. Sort of saying “Okay, we went viral, that’s cool, but it was just a poorly-thought-out brainstormed idea. What do you people really want?”

                I’m looking for these supposed leaks right now, but based on this post its safe to say the idea is that they are actually following through on a production model based on those surveys.

                On a personal note: I am a ThinkPad fan, but not quite the devotee that many others are. During eras when the hardware was not to my liking, I have purchased elsewhere. I do enjoy my X1 Carbon 3rd Gen (from 2015) but the last time I used one before that was 2008. Oh, and this is definitely one of the coolest laptops keyboards I have ever seen.

                I could see an argument, however, for this not meeting Lobsters’ bar for a quality topic of discussion. It’s not even a proper release of any sort. More of a psuedo-product announcement via acknowledgement of a leak.

                1. 12

                  There’s a certain nostalgia factor which I think overlooks the actual tangibles. Thinkpads, the X1 carbon line especially, have indeed gotten thinner and lighter, but it hasn’t been all bad. Here’s a T60 review for comparison: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1933653,00.asp

                  You can literally stack two X1 carbons on top of each other and they’re still thinner and lighter than a T60. Despite this, the T60 has only a 5:15 battery life. I doubt people are actually clamoring for a laptop that weighs twice as much and gets half the battery life, but “they don’t make em like they used to”. And while the T60 has a 4:3 1400x1050 screen, even in the vertical that’s less pixels than 2560x1440. At $2599 (in 2006 dollars!), that’s a bit spendy.

                  For more fun, the T40 review: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,924264,00.asp Back when turning off the wifi was how one ran a proper battery test. All this can be yours for only $3399.

                  At the time, the Thinkpads were marvels of engineering, so I’d say that contributed significantly to their mystique. But familiarity breeds contempt. When everybody has a sweet laptop, nobody has a sweet laptop. Carrying a laptop, of any sort, just doesn’t signal serious baller to everyone in the room like it used to.

                  I mean, it’s not like super expensive super powerful laptops are entirely extinct. You can buy the Acer Predator with 64GB RAM and dual GTX 1080 graphics and quad nvme SSDs. http://www.anandtech.com/show/11532/acer-predator-21-x-laptop-with-curved-display-now-available-only-300-to-be-made Just in case today’s other laptops are too thin and light for your taste. :)

                  1. 4

                    Where the older Thinkpads really shine is their durability. Old Thinkpads and those from the last twoish years have magnesium cases, but for a few years after Lenovo took over the line they used plastic for the main body, which I think is where a lot of the “Lenovo ruined the Thinkpads” sentiment comes from. I have a 2012-vintage plastic Thinkpad, and definitely doesn’t survive Sudden Loss of Altitude near as well as the T60’s.

                    Also the year after mine they switched the keyboard to some chiclet crap, which they haven’t had the sense to un-break yet.

                    1. 5

                      Unfortunately for you, I think Lenovo has a lot of market data that morons like myself actually prefer the new keyboard now that we’ve used it for a bit. :)

                      1. 2

                        Everyone’s entitled to their preference, especially when it’s wrong :). With luck, they’ll make the retro keyboard with the same mount as the newer laptops so they can be swapped out.

                    2. 1

                      Real IBM ThinkPads have soldered RAM, soldered CMOS battery, and no roll cage.

                    3. 3

                      This is spot on. I bought my first MacBook in late 2013 when I needed more processing power than my 2007 Core2 Duo T61 wouldn’t do the job anymore. I upgraded that laptop from 2 to 4 to 8gb RAM, from a 60gb HDD, to a 256gb HDD, to a 240gb SSD. When the battery had hundreds of cycles on it and was only around 50% of its original capacity, I bought a new unused one on eBay for $70 and it was like new.

                      I gave it to my mom when I got my MacBook. She loved it for how it always just worked, up until it conked out a few weeks ago. 10 years.

                      Man, I loved that laptop.

                    4. 8

                      My main machine I use regularly is a 2009 Thinkpad X301 which I use to SSH into a newer Thinkpad which has a much faster processor and more RAM, but a terrible 16:9 screen and a dramatically worse keyboard. Being able to have the equivalent chassis of an X301 but with a non-glossy screen that’s bright enough to use outdoors would basically be the best of both worlds.

                      1. 6

                        That’s hilarious. Do you carry both around with you?

                        1. 2

                          I leave the new one at home and have my router set up with port forwarding and dynamic DNS.

                        2. 2

                          For years I only bought tiny, slow laptops (various eBayed Thinkpad X-series, and later an 11-inch Macbook Air) and used them as basically SSH clients to my desktop Linux box. I’d probably still be doing that if I hadn’t ended up with a couple work-issued Macbooks Pro.

                          1. 1

                            My main machine I use regularly is a 2009 Thinkpad X301 which I use to SSH into a newer Thinkpad which has a much faster processor and more RAM, but a terrible 16:9 screen and a dramatically worse keyboard.

                            Considering how dire the X301’s panel is, that’s an indictment of modern ThinkPads there.

                          2. 4

                            The first blog post and the subsequent ones give a good insight as to why ThinkPad fans are ecstatic over this. Have a look at the comment section as well, there’s loads of good comments on why a retro ThinkPad would be awesome.

                            Can’t believe that it’s already been 2 years since that first blog post. Got a T460s (and have had X200, X230 and T430 and serviced quite a number of other models) and while it’s a nice laptop it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations.

                          3. 1

                            Be pretty interesting to see what this ends up as. I recently bought a t460p, which is a great laptop for running ubuntu. My only issue with it is that the screen feels a little flimsy, it can flex a little too much compared to my old 2011 macbook pro! I’d also prefer to get a bigger screen next time, convinced myself that 14” was enough but it feels a little small when using on its own and not connected to other monitors.

                            1. 1

                              Interesting move and it would be great if the hardware does live up to expectations. I can’t help but think “enthusiasts and superfans” == “limited production” == “expensive”. Perhaps not $5,000 expensive but $4,000, or even $3,500, is still pretty damn pricey.