Lenovo has introduced a new keyboard, which, confusingly, looks like the cheap but usable “chiclet-style” design seen on the X100e and Edge models. It works very well though in practice. Less can be said about the revised layout, which appears to favour looks over practicality.
Some key changes here
The Thinkpad’s hallmark protruding, sculpted cursor keys (with bonus back and forward buttons) is no more, and the six key block at the top right hand corner (again, subtly colour differentiated) is gone too. In its place is a very conventional function row.
The keyboard has backlighting and is water-resistant too
The new keyboard looks nicer, arguably, but navigation is trickier; it may disappoint old hands. And old hacks, too. ThinkPads made a virtue of their serviceability – the bottom would be covered with screws and instructions, resembling the “Do Not Walk Here” decals on aircraft. Here, the emphasis on style means far fewer screws and instructions.
The side interface cover is more for looks than practicality
More disappointingly, the sculpted edges have led to a curious design choice being made. The powered USB port and headphone jack are under a flap, which looks ungainly and isn’t as robust as no flap at all.
PCMark 7 Results
Longer bars are better
Lenovo doesn’t skimp on interfacing: with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectors, plus an eSata combo USB port. For video, there's HDMI and mini DisplayPort – no complaints there. The unlocked 3G Sim slot is most welcome, but the USB ports are all either on the back or under that flap. Convenience is sacrificed for style. There's a SD carder reader too. The stereo speakers, face downwards as on previous models, but the output is dramatically louder. Dolby Home Theatre v4 is on-board too, which helps spice up the mix.
The PCMark 7 performance is encouraging due mainly to the SSD and 8GB Ram. There's only the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics on here, which clocked up a passable score of 3773 using 3DMark 06.
Next page: Juice bar
Damn right on the TouchPad comment
I'm similarly stuck with ThinkPads because of the TrackPoint; why has everyone else stopped doing them? Is there anyone else still doing them?
That flap on the side would like about 30 seconds if I bought one.
non-removable battery on a thinkpad? really?
I'm all for going with the times, but thinkpads are meant to be workhorses, not show horses.
There is much to be said for the convenience of having a thick extended battery (or two) in the backpack, thereby having extra juice for 10-15 straight hours.
The low resolution is worrying too. Means less text and icons on screen, more cramped workspace and more scrolling. If I only wanted to watch movies there are cheaper alternatives out there, not to mention tablets.
Non-removable battery, but power doesn't last anywhere near the length of a transatlantic flight plus check-in, let alone LHR-HKG or SIN-SYD? Yet supposedly this is a thinkpad for business? Utter fail.
If you can't change the motherboard in 45 mins using one screwdriver...
... it's not a ThinkPad.
It's a thinkpad
You are paying for the armour-plating and 50 year lifespan :)