I'm currently on my fifth ThinkPad, so you could say I'm a fan. But I'd like to warn everyone that uses Linux to be careful about buying one.
I bought a T540 3 years ago that shipped with a Bay Trail processor. This processor was absolutely unusable on Linux due to this bug (https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=109051). Even setting max cstate to 1 resulted in regular freezes.
Not only would Lenovo not accept a return of the laptop, I could not even get them to update their Linux compatibility page to warn other users!
To this day:
- The cstate bug is not fixed, and running Linux on a Bay Trail processor will cause lockups
- Lenovo continues to recommend laptop versions that are flat out broken on Linux (https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/pd031426)
So be careful!
I wonder why the lineup of boxy, built-like-a-tank, serviceable laptops with a comfortable keyboard and plenty of room for batteries seems to have dried up. I have trouble finding such a machine with a hi-DPI screen, for instance.
If I could mount a screen from Dell XPS (3840 pixels wide) to a T420, that would be mostly it. A thunderbolt connector would be a mere nice-to-have.
The next best thing is apparently a Thinkpad Carbon, it seems to retain a good keyboard, but apparently bids farewell to the "serviceable" part: e.g. RAM is soldered on.
I wonder why other competitors don't copy the idea of having a sturdy bulky laptop with hardware switches, lots of keyboard buttons, trackpoint, and but battery. Is the market really that small?
The fundamental issue here is there was never any industry standardization for laptops like there was for desktop PCs. An ATX case (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATX) from 1995 can still be used as the enclosure for a 2018 desktop. That's 23 years. (See the "sleeper PC" subculture)
If a few component manufacturers came together and standardize component dimensions and tolerances based on something like an IBM ThinkPad, and an age of upgradeable laptops could have occurred.
I have an x230 with a mod chip that steals display port lanes so it can run a 1080p panel. Thinkpad users think outside the box to get laptops that fit their needs usually. Unfortunately I switched to a new dell XPS 13 because I need more battery life. Apples and oranges unfortunately, can't afford any of the new thinkpads with decent screens.
My x220 with an i7, 16GB of RAM and a 500GB Samsung SSD. The thing flys. Just upgraded upgraded to the newest Debian release with zero issues. Everything just works.
I have 3 or 4 of these little t60 vintage thinkpads, and they're still the ideal road machine, 10 years later.
You can pick a used one up on eBay for less than $200, then spend another hundred or so dropping in a new keyboard, 8gb memory, and a TB SSD. Then you can stuff it into the bottom of your backpack and sit on it while taking the slow boat up the Mekong.
Whenever I head off somewhere sketchy enough to worry about the safety or smooshability of the $2500 dev machine, I'm on eBay grabbing a new one.
Now I have a new final step in the process.
There are so many of these dream ThinkPad builds. It's a testament to the community that the fanboys don't just complain, they find ways to build the things.
I'm loving Archlinux on my new 8th gen T480s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRvYTLntgv4&list=PLiKgVPlhUN...
For university I got a T450 a while ago. Probably the best laptop I ever had. It runs linux flawlessly (and I mean it, booting straight from a Knoppix ISO Image from 2.3 kernel times is no problem as much as booting a modern 4.15 kernel)
It seems they have somewhat fubar'd some of the newer and cheaper releases. I do however recommend to atleast try the more business oriented variants, usually they contain less crap.
I also find it disappointing that nobody else builds laptops like the Thinkpad. All I want from a good laptop is A) sturdy B) nipple mouse and C) long battery life.
Can I trust them? I have trust issues with Chinese (botnets, backdoor in bios etc.)
The article mentions Thunderbolt 3. Let's not get overexcited: these do not have Thunderbolt 3.
I have a GPD Pocket, and I love it. Its a unibody laptop with a great screen, passable keyboard, and so on.
Its user serviceable - very easy to open up.
What I'd love: if some bright and talented hardware engineer could produce an upgrade board for it, so I could swap out the existing PCB for a newer CPU.
I'm sure this would be a successful project for some budding hacker!
I hope I never have to do something like this to keep my beloved 2015 Macbook Pro alive.
My first choice was a thinkpad. My second choice was a macbook.
I bought ThinkPad in 2013. Highly disappointed. Won't buy again.
If only I could have a decent ThinkPad running OSX...