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My intention in writing this blog and showing renderings of a retro ThinkPad concept is multi-fold. I’d like to test the resilience of building a historically inspired ThinkPad with potential customers and also get overall design feedback as we plan the next generation of ThinkPad offerings.

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    1. The logo looks ridiculous. The RGB IBM logo on the Thinkpads of yore had many fewer, smaller blocks of color.
    2. I don’t care even a little bit about the touchpad. Trackpoint is the only laptop mouse that’s not absolutely atrocious. The touchpad will be disabled in the BIOS before I even install a real OS over whatever you decide to prepopulate the drive with. Speaking of which…
    3. Let me buy it without Windows. (Or anything else, for that matter, because you’re never going to sell a laptop with a minimal Debian install on it, so I’ll be installing my own OS regardless. But it’s way more important to me to avoid paying the Windows tax than to avoid a single write cycle over the drive.)
    4. 4:3 is better than 3:2 which is better than 16:10. But 16:10 is better than 16:9. 1366x768 is an absolute dealbreaker, but failing to beat 1440x900 is a major black mark. Glossy screens are pants and I trust you have the sense to know better.
    5. Chiclet keyboard is a guaranteed dealbreaker. The keyboard on your renders is the right one, but I like the forward/back keys above the cursor keys.

    It would be amazing if they follow through with this and don’t cock it up. I’ve been jumping between older eBay Thinkpads for more than half a decade now; if I could get the same solid, usable design in something with modern hardware, I’d be on it in a moment.

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      I would love them to throw the 3:2 Google Pixel screen (2560x1700) in there with a matte finish.

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        1 The logo looks ridiculous. The RGB IBM logo on the Thinkpads of yore had many fewer, smaller blocks of color.

        Dear god, that is an atrocity.

        2 I don’t care even a little bit about the touchpad. Trackpoint is the only laptop mouse that’s not absolutely atrocious. The touchpad will be disabled in the BIOS before I even install a real OS over whatever you decide to prepopulate the drive with. Speaking of which…

        Most people will not buy a laptop without a trackpad. IBM realized this around the T30.

        3 Let me buy it without Windows. (Or anything else, for that matter, because you’re never going to sell a laptop with a minimal Debian install on it, so I’ll be installing my own OS regardless. But it’s way more important to me to avoid paying the Windows tax than to avoid a single write cycle over the drive.)

        Windows is nearly free for the OEM, and on some classes of machines, actually is.

        4 4:3 is better than 3:2 which is better than 16:10. But 16:10 is better than 16:9. 1366x768 is an absolute dealbreaker, but failing to beat 1440x900 is a major black mark. Glossy screens are pants and I trust you have the sense to know better.

        3:2 gives you the best of 16:10 and 4:3 - viewablility of widescreen content without excess letterboxing, but also a squarish screen for documents and images.

        5 Chiclet keyboard is a guaranteed dealbreaker. The keyboard on your renders is the right one, but I like the forward/back keys above the cursor keys.

        Are you sure on that? The layout can be considered naff, but from what I hear, it’s superior in feel to the older keyboards. There’s no flex and the keys are nicely molded and feel good.

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          I have a T60, T410, and X230 and I think I prefer the chicklet keys. They’re definitely close IMO, I don’t imagine they’d really be dealbreakingly bad to anyone who gave them a shot, they’re much better than the macbook pro and other chicklet keys I’ve used.

          edit: The T410 would probably be more pleasant than the x230 just for the 16:10 screen if it wasn’t a god awful TN panel.

          I agree with someone below who complained about them optimizing for thin and light. I do want light, but I don’t really care about thin, it’s not like my bag is stuffed to the brim already. Just give me room to work when messing with the internals.

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            I like reasonably thin and light as possible, but for me, I’d like a cool running CPU that runs quiet as possible and squeezes as much battery as it can. Using the modern ULV processors gets you performance equivalent to the old full-voltage mobile CPUs.

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            Windows is nearly free for the OEM, and on some classes of machines, actually is.

            But each OEM just has to add in their little widgets and mess with the default home page and add 500MB of rubbish. They often use weird hardware which requires special drivers (And Windows doesn’t have as good default hardware support built in as Linux for example). If they didn’t bundle Windows then they could push their drivers to the Linux kernel say and instantly support 20 Linux distros (Or someone may already have created drivers for Linux for them). So in summary, it isn’t just the cost of the WIndows license, if that were the case they would just give you a blank computer and a Windows disc. You also need to pay for the development costs of drivers and rubbish software, tech support for their bundled OS, documentation, etc. With some sort of open source OS they could offload all of this.

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              If you buy consumer laptops yes. Most business-grade stuff like ThinkPads and Latitudes have spartan installs, and even then, for corporate deployments, they will very likely be reimaged.

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            Point one I completely agree with. Looks like a christmas tree.

            Point two I am not sure about. I don’t like the trackpoint, but I also don’t like the T540p’s touchpad. I have found touchpads I do like though.

            Point three: agreed.

            Point four: I actually like my 1366x768, could you give me some reasons this would be an issue?

            Point five: agreed.

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              I actually like my 1366x768, could you give me some reasons this would be an issue?

              It’s fewer vertical pixels than was considered substandard a decade ago, it’s not a standard aspect ratio (it’s actually about 16:8.9956), and it’s an indicator of other shoddy technical decisions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it other than the extremely low vertical resolution, but it would be a cheap and underwhelming choice in what’s otherwise clearly meant to be an extremely high-standards laptop.

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                Ah, I see. I kind of forgot that this laptop is supposed to be high-end, I usually am fine working with a mid-range one as long as it can run vim and fx at the same time. Being able to run flightgear is a plus, but not a necessity.

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                I actually like my 1366x768, could you give me some reasons this would be an issue?

                15 years ago I hated 1024x768. 1366x768 is almost the same resolution as a bad monitor from 2000.

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                1.) I agree about the logo, but then again, my laptop typically gets covered in stickers.

                2.) I’m not fond of the mouse at all, but when the keyboard doesn’t cut it, I’ve always preferred the touchpad. Using the trackpoint takes entirely too much effort compared to just sliding across the touchpad.

                3.) Yes please.

                4.) 1366x768 must die.

                5.) This.

                I’d also note that the form-factor –Bento box; “little black box” according to the article– is a dealbreaker too. The craze to make everything as light and thin as possible never appealed to me, as it means making repairs and upgrades much more difficult.

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                  With you on the TrackPoint and aspect ratio.

                  I still think the T60p was the best laptop I ever owned, at least at its time. Today’s laptops are all compromising in many, many ways.