back to article CADs and boffins get some ThinkPad love

Lenovo unloads most of its annual ThinkPad line onto the world at CES in January, for a spring launch. (Here is this year’s.) But the Beijing firm saves one or two surprises for later in the year. And here’s one. The P1 is a new addition to the P-series that embeds workstation specs into something an Apple user might recognise …

  1. Greencat

    The laptop of my future

    I guess I'll be picking up one of those in about ten years time when my small collection of x61s finally give up the ghost.

    1. keithpeter
      Coat

      Re: The laptop of my future

      @Greencat

      Best start resistance training now! The X61s (Jan 2008) with ssd and 4 cell battery that I'm typing this on weighs 1250g according to my kitchen scales.

      I'd pay quite a lot for an X60/X61 size-a-like with current technology.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: The laptop of my future

        1250g? I'd consider that "barely noticeable". But then I often walk around with two laptops in my shoulder bag or backpack. I really don't understand this reluctance to carry a few pounds of equipment and material. When I'm working on the house I have more than that in my toolbelt.

        1. keithpeter
          Coat

          Re: The laptop of my future

          @Michael Wojcik

          "1250g? I'd consider that "barely noticeable""

          Good for you. My lower vertebrae are becoming somewhat more sensitive to weight these days.

          Coat: distributing the devices and other impedimenta around copious pockets does seem to help.

  2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Every time I see 'Apple like' or 'targeting the Microsoft Surface range' or 'for professional power users' or similar on a laptop review I excitedly open the page. This time like every other I'm disappointed, I didn't even have to scroll beyond the picture at the top to see it was yet another 16:9 DVD player on steroids. Why are Microsoft and Apple the only manufacturers that can grasp that for a professional user having a screen optimised for movie watching is just stupid?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Why are Microsoft and Apple the only manufacturers that can grasp that for a professional user having a screen optimised for movie watching is just stupid?"

      Last time this came up it transpired the real complaint wasn't aspect ratio. It was lack of 1200 px vertical resolution for someone editing text on a single, presumably not very wide document and would like more lines. That's one use case. Just one.

      How about:

      Transcribing text from images - two documents, image and text side by side

      GIS

      CAD

      Inkscape

      Gimp

      Sigil

      WIde spreadsheets

      etc

      There's a whole load of applications which all benefit from a wide screen.

      Yes, by all means complain that you'd like more pixels. But if, as here, there's an option of a 4K screen that complaint really won't wash.

      Then there's the simple observation that for a typical laptop the screen matches the width of the keyboard. If it doesn't then you just have a couple of black panels either side of screen utterly wasting space that could be put to better use.

      Why is that? Look at the average keyboard. It's wide. As far as I'm concerned narrow keyboards went out about the time the VT220 replaced the VT100 - mid '80s IIRC. So, if you have a reasonable keyboard layout and make use of the width that implies, how are you going to fit a full width but still 4x3 screen above it? You are going to end up with a massively deep back to front piece of kit that nobody, probably not even yourself, wants to carry round.

      As far as I can see the only way you're going to have your 4x3 ratio screen without wasting space on either side of it is to go back to using one of those dumb keyboards that reuses some of of the letter keys as a numeric pad.

      You don't believe me? Try laying out a laptop design that fits your 4x3 aspect ration, has a decent keyboard, is a size and shape you'd be preared to carry and doesn't waste real estate under the lid that some of us could usefully use for pixels, even if you don't want that many.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        Re: aspect ratio.

        Doctor S, I agree that the laptop would be better with a full sized, desktop style keyboard with number pad, specific arrow keys, & the "six pack". The resulting screen would be very wide indeed which would please some folks & piss off others. But what if the screen could be rotated 90deg so that it became a very tall/narrow screen instead, thus pleasing the folks that wanted something better suited to that aspect ratio? I realize it would require the screen portion having to be mounted on a sort of stalk, the place where stalk & screen meet would be the rotation point, and that might play merry hell with the hinge where stalk met the laptop body, but I'm sure some smart design engineer would figure out a way to get it done. Might not that sell well to both groups of people: the ones that want a wide screen good for movies, AND the "make it tall!" crowd that wants to edit documents?

      2. Dave K Silver badge

        Nobody is suggesting 4:3. However, look at those pictures and of the display in-particular. First thing you notice? The massive bezel at the bottom of the screen. On a Macbook Pro (with its 16:10 screen), that space contains extra screen instead of plastic. Would you rather have a fatter plastic bezel, or more screen real-estate? 16:10 is still widescreen, can handle side-by-side pages fine, and often has the same horizontal resolution as 16:9 panels, but has more vertical space and resolution. Given that vertical space is often chomped up by the task bar, title bar, menu/toolbars etc, an extra chunk of vertical space there makes a *big* difference to usability.

        Sorry, but every time I see a supposedly professional machine with a 16:9 screen, all I see is a laptop display chosen for its cheapness rather than for its functionality. That's why 16:9 screens have taken over most laptops - because they are cheaper to produce (due to being the same aspect ratio as a TV), that's the only reason. And if I'm splashing 2 grand on a professional machine, I want a display chosen for its quality and suitability, not its cheapness. Something that Lenovo, Dell, HP etc. all fail to grasp still...

        1. GBE

          Nobody is suggesting 4:3

          Nobody is suggesting 4:3.

          Then I will! I want a laptop with a 4:3 display like my last _IBM_ Thinkpad had. My current Lenovo T500 has a 16:10 (1680x1050) display, which isn't too bad, but not as nice as as a 4:3 (1600x1200).

    2. quxinot

      >Every time I see 'Apple like' or.....<

      I don't want to see "Apple like" when talking about a new, high power laptop. What I'd really like to see from Lenovo is "Thinkpad like"! Bring back the days of slightly chunky, easily upgraded, powerful, durable laptops that the branding came on in the first place! There's no reason to copy anyone else when you already have a winning concept, just stick with what worked in the first place!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not enough

    Lenovo needs to spend some time focusing on their existing customers and less on trying to draw in new, one-time customers.

    SUPPORT, SUPPORT, SUPPORT!

    Pointers for Lenovo:

    1. users shouldn't have to click a minimal of 6 links to find the technical support they are looking for (don't believe? trying looking up the status of a warranty repair job sent out to depot - or heck, even trying to find a driver).

    2. machines under warranty shouldn't be at depot for 3+ weeks waiting on parts

    3. Get your website straight, then leave it alone! I don't want to have to dig for options you keep burying (i.e. support tabs). And no, you don't impress me with sales adds that take over the whole screen.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: not enough

      And that is the reality isn't it. While the marketing types and the journalists focus on thinness, or imaginary clock rates that might be possible, thinking buyers look at a manufacturer's track record with support when deciding what to buy.

      Nothing is more important when making an IT purchase than whether the manufacturer will support the customer for the life of the product.

      Journalists, I suppose regularly getting new products to report on, and with special support channels provided by marketing departments, don't see the issue -- but it is the main issue for the rest of us.

  4. elDog Silver badge

    I've gone from the A21 to the T42P to the W701 to the P71 (last year)

    My general criteria for an upgrade is a better than 2-to-1 improvement in memory, storage capacity, screen resolution, and speed. Usually I get around 3-to-1. These have all been solid machines, travel a little bit but are also remoted-into.

    Every time a new model comes out it has a different keyboard layout. In my 20 years of ThnkPad usage I get accustomed to a certain fingering. The P71 layout is the most problematic and I have to keep hunding for the Delete key.

    I've slowly moved all my laptops (including a bunch of R models) to Linux (Mint) with great outcomes.

  5. Muppet Boss

    I wonder if they are using yet another AUO screen with horrible 220Hz PWM as they did for most X/W/P-series laptops. They are great laptops but for the screen and I used to go a long way to get rid of the PWM flickering (like X220 converted to run an FHD eDP screen). Typing away on that classic IBM keyboard! Touching the Trackpoint!.. Feeling the Ergonomics... Oh those sweet memories of the Past...

    Lenovo did not seem to be listening though and every new generation after X220/W520 felt worse and worse. In the end, I had to switch to Dell Latitude: good, no PWM and a slippery nipple that pretends to be a trackpoint cap is easily replaced with a very decent cap from Dell Latitude C-series.

    Yes, some people actually see PWM flickering and perceive it as a form of torture...

    1. Zarno

      Thanks for the heads-up on the nipple replacement, the stock one is driving me BONKERS on the work M6800...

  6. Zarno

    Oh mama...

    I see a business expense to write off in the near future!

    If I can get one with a wacom pen screen, this will likely be my new laptop, and replace the ageing Fujitsu T900 I currently have.

    I've been a firm believer in the ThinkPad brand, having used a 760EL as my first laptop in college many moons ago running Win2kPro, briefly flirting with a 600E hand-me-down from an uncle at some point before that, soldiering on through the chicklet debacle, Lenovo spinout and the malaise period.

    The Mum is running a W530 with an SSD, and the little bro got a W541 all decked out for university, maxed out on ram (aftermarket, natch), second highest processor, big ol battery, and an aftermarket M.2 SSD for Windows to live on.

    The workstation grade ThinkPads have always been utter tanks, in all sense of the word. Only thing tougher is a toughbook.

    I'm stuck with a Dell for work right now. The "tracpoint alternative" is utter dog turd. :(

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    Bring back the old style keyboard, not that chiclet crap, then you can have my money Lenovo. Until then I'll have to keep my T500 going.

    1. jglathe

      T500

      This increasingly becomes sort of a challenge... unless you‘re using it with Linux, offcourse. Had to reassemble mine with a non-ATI mainboard a few years ago. Very reliable now, keeping it to Linux makes it quite useful.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      look wolfye, as someone who owned 6 thinkpads, T43p, R61, W520, T430s, W530 and P71, I can tell you, your comment is utter shit. yes, the 7 row was a must, yes the numpad is a stupid idea, BUT the tactile feel of the keyboard is not just as good as the old one, is even better, because thinkpad chiclet style keyboard is not a generic chiclet keyboard, they designed it from scratch to feel just like the old one. and they actually did it. if that would have been all they changed it would have been better, so the problem is not the keyboard but rather the disappearance of the 7th row and the appearance of the numpad.

  8. WatAWorld

    tech journalists should run the CPU to 100% while measuring the CPU temperature

    The phrase "Almost Apple-like", I was expecting to read about 2 year-old hardware in a new model. Anyways,

    "The P1 is a new addition to the P-series that embeds workstation specs into something an Apple user might recognise: a thin and light portable"

    Meaning when tech journalists get their hands on one they should run the CPU to 100% while measuring the case or junction temperature (which ever is available) to ensure that it stays below 85C and that there is no throttling.

  9. VerySlowData
    Alert

    keyboards

    I am reading the comments on my W520 tricked out with 16 Gb RAM and 1Tb SSD. It works just fine, but a P1 sounds rather grand (the Hi Res screen would be good), but I wonder if the keyboard quality is up to the standard of the older models!!

  10. karlkarl

    The hinge looks cheap.

  11. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Windows

    4lbs in old money

    Nobody under the age of 54 will have learned pre-metric weights in school, does their inclusion mean this laptop is aimed at the worker near retirement? If so, the weight is no kindness on old bones.

  12. Steve Graham

    *Bootnotes

    Since the asterisk came at the end of the sentence as in "the battery life of a Mayfly.*", I expected the Bootnote to admit that mayflies do not actually have any batteries.

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