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Any suggestions on the new Thinkpad lineup?

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[OP]
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Oct 22, 2004
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Any suggestions on the new Thinkpad lineup?

I'm looking to buy a new laptop before September with a budget of around $1000-1500 and was wondering if this is a bad time, or if there might be a a sale in the next month or two.

I'm really interested in the Dell XPS line, and might even say yolo and splurge on the XPS 15, which is the machine I've had my eye on.

What I mainly want is something with a great screen and keyboard (I need this as a work machine). A replaceable battery is also an absolute must, along with easy ability to clean the internals without completely disassembling the unit. I don't particularly care for gaming but I won't say no to a 960M or similar.

What do you all think about 1080P vs 4K on a laptop? I'm mainly going to be working with Linux, not Windows, and I'm not sure how well Linux works with with scaling HighDPI screens.
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Jan 9, 2011
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great keyboard = thinkpad, my vote is for the t560, but it really depends on what programs you plan to do for work.

I don't like how the XPS 15 is either 1080p or 4k display.
The T560 has a choice of 1080p or 1620p. My vote goes to the 1620p. Not as hard to drive as a 4k, but a better resolution than the 1080p.

Dead set on a 15"?
Travelling with it?
Type of work?

EPP has decent prices, thread here: lenovo-thinkpad-ideapad-epp-discounted-777107/
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Nov 17, 2004
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1080p on a 15.6 inch screen is ok, 4k would just be too much overkill, something around 2560x1440 would be perfect for a 15-16 inch laptop.

Personally, I think a 14 inch laptop with 1080p is just about perfect. Any smaller and the keyboard gets cramped, any bigger and it is a pain to lug around.

On my T530 with 1080p @ 15.6 inches, for non-technical work I am almost as productive with my T530 while it is on my lap as working on my desktop.

If you intend to run Linux then get a really popular laptop like the T560 or a very popular Dell, the odds are much better of there being good linux support either by the linux distribution or by the hardware manufacturer. My T530 which I am sure is a popular model for it's time still has things missing for it in Linux like the lenovo battery utility and the utility to manage the trackpad and track point.
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[OP]
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Oct 22, 2004
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Oh nice, I didn't know Lenovo EPP had a sale going on, this definitely changes things. My work isn't CPU intensive, I really just need a good keyboard and screen. I'm not even set on 15". I do plan on traveling with it a bit, but it's not a primary concern.

There are so many Thinkpad models that I'm having a hard time sorting through them all. What do you all recommend?

Is there any reason not to buy a model with the base 4GB RAM and upgrade it yourself for much cheaper? They want $80 for an addition 4GB of RAM. Same with the storage, any reason not to do so?

Also, how good are the screens?
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Feb 28, 2005
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I vote for the T460, it's got a 1080p IPS screen, hotswap battery, for about 1000 $ until June 14.

If you want a higher screen resolution, you'll need to go to the T460s at 1440p, but then you lose the hotswap battery.
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Nov 15, 2011
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Stabwound wrote: Oh nice, I didn't know Lenovo EPP had a sale going on, this definitely changes things. My work isn't CPU intensive, I really just need a good keyboard and screen. I'm not even set on 15". I do plan on traveling with it a bit, but it's not a primary concern.

There are so many Thinkpad models that I'm having a hard time sorting through them all. What do you all recommend?

Is there any reason not to buy a model with the base 4GB RAM and upgrade it yourself for much cheaper? They want $80 for an addition 4GB of RAM. Same with the storage, any reason not to do so?

Also, how good are the screens?
The current Thinkpad IPS screens are pretty good for viewing angles, OK for colours, and not very bright. The panel lottery also plays a role - some of the OEMs they're using for the T460/T560 are better than others. I have a T460s with the better LG panel, and I love it, but obviously there's no hot swap battery option. I think a T460 would be a great choice for you, since you can swap out the rear battery while the machine is powered by the front (internal) battery.

There's no reason not to get the cheapest HDD/SSD and RAM options. You'll save a ton of cash upgrading those yourself - on my T460s, I spent about $150 upgrading to a 250GB SSD and 12GB of RAM, which would have cost me like $500 from Lenovo. Windows 10 fresh install on the aftermarket SSD was painless.
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In order of what I would get:
Thinkpad 13 (great keyboard and screen for the price, two ddr4 ram slots, the "tank like build" is not as good as the t & x series, but if you never drop your laptop, this this isn't a risk, still built better than your standard consumer laptop, so normal wear should still be great)
T460s (leaner 14", easier to get to the insides, keyboard has less travel, but it has one soldered RAM and one slot, ddr4 ram)
T460 (slighter thicker 14", decent all round, terrible cover access for upgrading, ddr3 ram)

get the i5-6200u, the i5-6300u has vpro and slightly faster speeds for $130, so not worth it. only get i7 if you know you need it. i3 is less future proof. (I wish I had an i5 in my x220, for example)
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I compared my 2015 MBP (2014 model bought early 2015), a 3K T560 and 4K P50 to see if I should just buy a Windows Notebook or wait until the Apple refresh. I took them to meet clients, took them home, took them outside etc etc.

The good thing about the T560 and P50

-- Lenovo did a very good job slimming down these computers, they reminded me more of the previous generation "S" models than T and W.

-- Lots of internal ports but not super heavy or thick.. It was the notebooks came with more internal ports than the Macbook but without it being that much heavier and thicker.

-- I found myself not having to carry around less adapters due to the more internal ports

-- Internal RJ45 port

-- The screens looked AWESOME especially the 4K P50 which put the Macbook Pro display to shame

-- Keyboards on both of them were superior to the MBP

-- Numpad was nice to have

-- P50 supported NVMe SSD in m.2 form factor so I could get read/write performance closer to the MBP with more storage for less... And I had space to put another hard drive or SSD for storage

-- Easier to service

-- Felt more durable / strong..

-- The T560 and P50 could talk to projectors equipped Intel WIDI & Miracast hardware (majority of projectors at my job). With the Macbook you are stuck using Apple AirTV (i.e YOUR MONEY) or coming up with ingenious solutions to run cables to hard to get projectors, running super long cables etc.

The T560 and P50 downsides

-- T560 will never have a m.2 form factor SSD option period. You are stuck with a 2.5" SATA EXPRESS nVMe SSD but SATA EXPRESS is niche and expensive.

-- They couldn't compete with the battery life the MBP provided so I was always carrying a power cable around. If I had to use a virtual machine then the units battery life went down the toilet

-- 16:9 aspect ratio

-- Windows and high resolution is still a pain in the butt. It was embarrassing meeting clients, going on-site etc with either notebook then having to fiddle around with system options because the scaling did not work properly or reset

-- Linux made things a lot better but I couldn't find a way to regain the lost battery life (I wanted to keep dGPU enabled) so I reverted back to Windows 10

-- There are a ton of updates, it was like every time I restarted there was a 50/50 chance of the update screen. Due to the SSD this was more of a quirk though

-- The screen brightness and matte finish made it very hard to use it outdoors or in my car. The P50 4K performed better than the 3K T560 panel.

After returning to the MBP

-- Apple products require that you pay a huge premium

-- Remembered OS X had its own set of quirks

-- Where's the numpad?

-- Was happy to return to something that just "worked." One less thing to tinker with


In conclusion, I would say get a T560 or P50s (I think this would be a closer competitor to a MBP). The hardware itself is solid with easy serviceability. I'm also sceptical that the Windows quirks I faced were "Lenovo" specific.
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2004
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I actually ordered an x1 Carbon which came out to around $1600 with the WQHD screen. I guess these have the screen lottery where you can get a bad panel, so I'm not too sure about that. It said it won't ship for over a week so I'm free to cancel it if I want. I went with the Carbon because it's almost exactly the same price as a similarly-specced T460s, but now I'm secondguessing it because of also being stuck with 8GB of RAM permanently.

I wish they didn't have 47 different models available that are all slightly different, it makes it a pain to even pick one.

I considered the base T460 because of the much cheaper price and also because I have 8GB of DDR3 I could throw into it, but apparently the screen leaves something to be desired. Can a standard SATA SSD work in that machine? Not to mention you have the hotswap battery, which isn't a huge deal to me but still.

I'm starting to feel like these machines are pretty expensive for not being anything special.
[OP]
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Anyone else have any insight? I probably have the weekend to cancel the Carbon X1. To be honest, I'm annoyed at how they have the models setup, nothing seems ideal to me.

I like the Carbon, but soldered 8GB total RAM is a pain in the ass, and apparently it has throttling issues due to the slim design.

I like how the T460 can be upgraded/battery-swapped but it's limited to a fairly awful screen judging by reviews. And no QHD, which I want.

I like the T460s, but it has a soldered RAM slot and reportedly mediocre battery life and somewhat inferior screen to the Carbon, although it's almost the same size.

I like the much-superior CPU of the T460p, but it sounds like it has heat issues and the build quality is quite inferior to the T460s and Carbon. Plus battery life isn't very great.

So they have several models that are are all better and worse in different ways. I'm leaning toward the T460s at this point simply because I don't like being stuck with 8GB on the Carbon. Who knew that buying a laptop would be so hard.
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I suggest you check out https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/
Lots of people have compared those models to each other. Ultimately, there is no clear winner and all 4 of those 14" laptops have pros & cons.
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X1 carbon gen 4 (current version) has no Ethernet port or adapter. You'll need a docking station if you want Ethernet. On the plus side they don't use TN panels on that lineup anymore, and they use nvme ssd drives now, whereas previous version they don't support nvme ssd making it hard to replace if the ssd drive breaks.
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Did the latest X1 Carbon get a SD Card reader? That was a dealbreaker for me, and I went for the T450s instead.
it's me ramin.
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2004
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I more or less settled on the T460s, it seems like the best balance. The soldered 8GB on the X1 feels too constricting especially since I want to use this machine for 4+ years, and even this crappy Dell I'm using I upgraded to 12GB.
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B0000rt wrote: Did the latest X1 Carbon get a SD Card reader? That was a dealbreaker for me, and I went for the T450s instead.
yes gen 4 got a sd card reader, but I think it's one of them useless micro sd readers. It seems they prioritize size and weight of thinkpad over functionality.

The thinkpads also seem lack stereo out capability in windows. Something about the mic hardware tied to the sound circuitry. This can impact you if you record seminars etc.
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birthdaymonkey wrote: The current Thinkpad IPS screens are pretty good for viewing angles, OK for colours, and not very bright. The panel lottery also plays a role - some of the OEMs they're using for the T460/T560 are better than others. I have a T460s with the better LG panel, and I love it, but obviously there's no hot swap battery option. I think a T460 would be a great choice for you, since you can swap out the rear battery while the machine is powered by the front (internal) battery.

There's no reason not to get the cheapest HDD/SSD and RAM options. You'll save a ton of cash upgrading those yourself - on my T460s, I spent about $150 upgrading to a 250GB SSD and 12GB of RAM, which would have cost me like $500 from Lenovo. Windows 10 fresh install on the aftermarket SSD was painless.
Just be careful with some machines with LPDDR the memory is fixed, i.e. the X1 Carbon. T460 also does NOT use M.2 for SSD, it uses SATA Express which isn't widely available yet, if you want to go NVMe.
[OP]
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Oct 22, 2004
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I got my T460s and love it. Not a cheap machine, but it's such a nice little beast with a little tweaking. I threw a 500GB SSD and 16GB stick of RAM and I hope for this guy to last me the 4-5 years I'm looking for.

The WQHD screen has been a bit of a challenge with the scaling issues, but I expect that to get better with time. I'm running Arch Linux with Gnome, and find that leaving it at 1:1 scaling but bumping the text size scaling to 1.5x works pretty well. Unfortunately Linux is a bit lacking in the scaling department at this point but so far it's okay.

All in all I love this machine, the keyboard is amazing, I love the trackpoint and the build quality seems really nice. I wish I jumped on the Thinkpad bandwagon earlier.
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Stabwound wrote: I'm really interested in the Dell XPS line, and might even say yolo and splurge on the XPS 15, which is the machine I've had my eye on.

What I mainly want is something with a great screen and keyboard (I need this as a work machine). A replaceable battery is also an absolute must, along with easy ability to clean the internals without completely disassembling the unit. I don't particularly care for gaming but I won't say no to a 960M or similar.

What do you all think about 1080P vs 4K on a laptop? I'm mainly going to be working with Linux, not Windows, and I'm not sure how well Linux works with with scaling HighDPI screens.
For the Dell XPS lineup, make sure you do some google searches regarding the famous keyboard spacebar problems they've been having.

If you expect to be using the laptop on battery, then forget about 4K. It's extremely power-intensive and your battery will run out very quickly.

Edit: Didn't realise this is a month old thread. :lol:
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