back to article Lenovo kicks down door of MWC, dumps a stack of sexy new ThinkPads

A bit like launching a new range of heavy-duty overalls at Paris Fashion Week, Lenovo has unveiled this year's T-series and X-series ThinkPads, its workhorse business laptops, at Mobile World Congress. These models are typically announced in the first week of the year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, along with …

  1. TonyJ Silver badge

    13.3" display in a 12" chassis

    We have some of those here from when they first introduced the format.

    I have to say it seems like quite a sweet spot - a small, light, portable machine with a much more usable display size.

    Although I'm typing this on a Yoga, I'd have no problem with one of those at all.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

      Sigh.

      And there I am waiting for a decent laptop with a sensible size screen - 17" or above like my 8-year-old laptop is.

      Seriously, tiny screen + stupendous resolution + requiring hardware scaling to actually make things the right size again + now the UI occupies the majority of the screen is a terrible combination.

      I'd much rather have a 17" 1080 display than any of this nonsense. It's not like, if I wanted a smaller-screen device, that I couldn't find a tablet or similar. Fact is, I actually *do stuff* on my laptop that's not just tapping on websites or watching movies.

      1. LeedsMonkey

        Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

        Look at the Lenovo P72.

      2. khjohansen

        Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

        [Sensible size screen]

        17" or above ... You're not actually planning on moving that, are you??

        ( prepare for sticker chok with the P72.. )

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

          My 17.3" laptop goes everywhere with me. It comes on planes with me. It comes on holiday with me. It goes in the car with me. It used to go to work with me (every single day for many years). It's used every single day for the entire life.

          It fits into an ordinary-looking thin backpack (actually a freebie from Novatech many years ago). Hell, I put an extended battery in it recently as it finally killed its original battery - that pokes out the bottom enough to act as an automatic "riser" for the laptop, while still fitting inside that backpack.

          1. DJV Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

            "My 17.3" laptop goes everywhere with me. It comes on planes with me. It comes on holiday with me. It goes in the car with me. It used to go to work with me (every single day for many years). It's used every single day for the entire life."

            Sounds like you and your laptop are in a wonderful loving relationship - are you two married yet?

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

              UI elements should scale correctly these days. Windows was slower than OSX to put the foundations in place, and even after MS sorted it it took 3rd party application Devs to do their job properly - Adobe were notably slow, for example. There was a chicken and egg situation for ages regarding high res application support and the availablity of high res laptops, and it's only been in the last few years that laptops have shipping with high res displays.

              Whether you benefit a high res display depends upon your workload, but it's invaluable in CAD and image editing.

              Merely watching videos benefits more from high dynamic range than it does high resolution.

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

                Adobe were notably slow, for example

                In just about every measurable way..

              2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

                Windows was slower than OSX to put the foundations in place, and even after MS sorted it it took 3rd party application Devs to do their job properly

                Alas, some of Microsoft's own GUI libraries still don't scale properly. Either WinForms or WCF - I don't remember which at the moment - doesn't, for example. We have an MMC snap-in that has a mix of WCF and WinForms components (WCF was Microsoft's "preferred" technology when the original code was written, but lacked some components that were available in WinForms), and if you enable scaling, the layout just goes to hell.

                The thing's being superseded by a browser-hosted UI, so we're unlikely to try to fix it properly. Apparently there's a way to disable scaling for an individual component, so that's probably what we'll have to do. Unfortunate, but there it is.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

          prepare for sticker chok with the P72

          Eh, a decently-configured P72 comes in around $2500. That's not that different from what my father paid for our first IBM PC in 1985; but thanks to inflation, the actual value is less than half that.

          And I generally keep computers for a decade or so. $250/year is pretty much negligible to me.

          That said, I'm not currently in the market for a laptop. But it's nice to know that there are some Thinkpad models with an isometric pointer (Trackpoint) and a decent screen available.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

      >13.3" display in a 12" chassis

      Are we measuring these in different ways or have the Chinese stolen some secret BBC/Galifrean technology ?

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

        My guess is that the smaller display had large enough bezels that they could fit a larger display into the same size chassis by making the bezels thinner.

        I don't care enough to check. That's just a guess.

      2. DJV Silver badge

        Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

        It's larger on the inside.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

        Butterfly keyboard, meet butterfly display.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

      We have some of those here from when they first introduced the format.

      I have to say it seems like quite a sweet spot - a small, light, portable machine with a much more usable display size.

      I'd prefer laptops that still have some actual substance around the LCD panel. When I see those units with the paper-thin lids, I can't help but cringe to see how much it flexes. Certainly guaranteed to shatter sooner rather than later.

      But hey, the entitled millennials might strain a pinkie if their cutsie alppy was a gram too heavy.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: 13.3" display in a 12" chassis

        I thought that when I took delivery of my PC Specialist custom built Defiance II in August 2015. The 4k display panel is exquisite in terms of colour and brightness etc, not to mention detail (although until very recently, Windows' high DPI scaling was a bit crap).

        With all of the above, the display is incredibly thin but in a plastic case. I was disappointed at how much flex there was in the display and expected it to break either the display panel or the hinges in fairly short order.

        Fast forwards almost 4 years and it's as good as new and that thing has been up and down and across the length and breadth of the country with me.

        They're surprisingly tough things these days.

  2. big_D Silver badge

    Gained?

    The T-series has changed less, being based on a 14-inch display, but has gained a webcam shutter, Thunderbolt 3, and lost some weight.

    I have the T480 (the 2018 model) and it has a webcam shutter and Thunderbolt 3...

    It also has an 8th generation Core processor.

    1. Mr Humbug

      Re: Gained?

      Yes, as do the T480s and the T580

      1. Mr Humbug

        Re: Gained?

        I see the T490s has lost the full size ethernet port in favour of a silly dongle, and it looks like it's a different silly dongle from the one on the X1 Carbon. That's a shame.

    2. joed

      Re: Gained?

      in other words, t490 has lost removable battery. Hopefully both RAM and SSD have not been soldered to MB yet.

      BTW, if Lenovo's ability to deliver its current product on time would be better than promise of new models.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Gained?

        The 480 also had a sealed battery.

        1. Portent
          Thumb Up

          Re: Gained?

          The T480 has the bridge battery system; an internal battery and a hot swappable external.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    400-bit FHD display

    I suspect that might be a 400 *nit* display, a measure of brightness. You might have a display boasting 10 bit colour space, but never anything near 400 by an order of magnitude.

    This ain't a criticism - my phone autocorrected nit to bit as well :)

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: 400-bit FHD display

      "You might have a display boasting 10 bit colour space, but never anything near 400 by an order of magnitude."

      It could make a good advertising line though. "Our display has such a wide colour space only bees can appreciate it!" Is there an equivalent of audiophiles for screens? Throw in some gold contacts and they'll be flying off the shelves.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: 400-bit FHD display

        "The best Laptop for Mantis Shrimp!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 400-bit FHD display

          The best Laptop for Mantis Shrimp!

          You'd need keyboard and screen even more robust than traditionally found on Thinkpads to survive that. They pack a mighty punch to the point of causing water cavitation..

      2. Arctic fox
        Happy

        @Cuddles Re: " Is there an equivalent of audiophiles for screens?"

        Videophiles perhaps?

      3. ShortLegs

        Re: 400-bit FHD display

        >Is there an equivalent of audiophiles for screens? Throw in some gold contacts and they'll be flying off

        >the shelves.

        No no no no no, it needs to be marketed as "oxygen-free grade gold plated contacts, leading to a clear improvements in auditory spaciousness with a increased resolution and a revelatory separation of instruments"

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: 400-bit FHD display

          a revelatory separation of instruments

          Have you been taking lessons from AManFromMars?

          Or (horror of horrors) could you both be Marketing types?

          (Sorry to other commentards for suggesting that someone from M*arketing might be sullying these hallowed pages..)

      4. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: 400-bit FHD display

        "Is there an equivalent of audiophiles for screens?"

        Yes, the people who buy Monster HDMI cables. Though judging by their recent financial results, those people are an endangered species.

  4. ninjaturtle

    Still no Linux support for fingerprint readers, very flaky power support (the T480 i am typing this on thinks it's secondary battery will last 54 more hours until empty, somehow I doubt it will actually last that long..).

    Lenovo support already confirmed they intend to not release Linux drivers, and it's turning out very difficult to reverse engineer drivers for the latest fingerprint reader which seems to be present in every new Thinkpad ( https://github.com/nmikhailov/Validity90 , no progress in the past 12 months)

    Don't buy a Thinkpad if you intend to run anything but Windows 10 on them, I already made that mistake :(

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Linux + secure enclaves?

      I would assume it's because of the secure enclaves and/or proprietary integration to some on chip security that is not supported in Linux.

      They fear keys getting out. SMC all over again?

    2. Bogle
      Unhappy

      XPS 13

      So another manufacturer sees the Linux mob as a tiny minority not work supporting - are there really that few of us? What about all those Mac users looking to move away from the very dodgy Apple butterfly keyboards? Dell think otherwise and they seem to be cleaning up.

      1. Craig100

        Re: XPS 13

        I wouldn't say Dell are cleaning up. I've been waiting 3 weeks for them to get their shit together enough to actually get parts and engineer together at the same time to replace a loose trackpad on a brand new XPS15 i9 custom build I ordered. 1st engineer tells me it's meant to be rattley when you touch it! Since then, total incompetence from their logistics dept. Last chance this Friday or it's going back for a refund. If it's fixed I'll be running Linux Mint on it. Takes a bit of wrangling but can be done :)

    3. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Windows

      Flinger print scanner? Really?

      Real Linux using men can remember passwords and type!

      /me runs for the hills, chased by angry mob

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Real Linux using men can remember passwords and type!

        *Real Linux using men directly access the kernel memory to directly enter security tokens..*

    4. ibmalone Silver badge

      My old T420 is fine with Linux. Admittedly it also works extremely well as a doorstop or ballast.

    5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Don't buy a Thinkpad if you intend to run anything but Windows 10 on them

      What if you don't give a crap about the damn fingerprint reader? I really don't care whether I have a driver for the damn thing or not.

  5. wolfetone Silver badge

    So here we are, Lenovo still not giving us the opportunity to buy a ThinkPad with a proper keyboard - not this chiclet Apple-like bollocks that has infested the line for years. The keyboard, really, is the only reason why my T500 is still used daily today. If there was a laptop with a comparable keyboard my T500 would be retired. Alas, there isn't, so on it goes with it's 4th battery and new SSD.

    1. JoeCool

      You missed out on the TP25 ?

      Lenovo claims that the "island" style KB is mechanically the same as previous kbs, but in a more modern frame. Is your issue the keycaps, or the key-switch feel.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Not me who originally raised the point, but I continually find that my error rate on the chicklet style keyboard is much higher than on the older style keyboards (I use a chicklet keyboard on my work supplied Thinkpad, and the old style on my personal T400, which is still going strong running Ubuntu).

        If I had to say what the difference is, I would say that it is the fact that the older pattern of keys had a more pronounced edge, and a taper to actually reduce the effective size of the key, so that you could feel how close your finger was to the center, and thus where your fingers are relative to the keyboard in general. With the mostly flat key caps of the chicklet type, I do not get that feedback, and wander to the edge of the keys, and can end up pressing two keys. I can feel that, but the fact that I then have to go back and correct the mistake slows down my typing.

        I'm sure that this is an artifact of the way I type, but after using computer keyboards for 40+ years (almost exclusively on keyboards with curved tops and pronounced edges, some even more so than Thinkpad keyboards), I doubt that I am likely to change my typing style.

        I remember many old keyboards (Dec VT100 and VT220, IBM 3278 etc.) whose keys were significantly dished, giving very positive location feedback. Flat keys of the type I first saw on Apple systems are just wrong.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Not me who originally raised the point, but I continually find that my error rate on the chicklet style keyboard is much higher than on the older style keyboards

          I thought it was just me since it seem increasingly the only type available. I hate the feel of typing on a chicklet. It feels all wrong under my fingers, can't tell what you're hitting and fingers easily slip.

          At work its been Dells and HPs and the keyboards are dreadful. I've been waiting for the chicklet/island fad to die out, but so far no luck.

          I remember many old keyboards (Dec VT100 and VT220, IBM 3278 etc.) whose keys were significantly dished, giving very positive location feedback. Flat keys of the type I first saw on Apple systems are just wrong.

          Precisely. Those are the kind of keyboards I learnt to type on.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            I think one factor is that if you genuinely type by touch, then the chiclet style keys present a flat surface, while indented keys on traditional keyboards provide a better guide to the key grid that stops you losing alignment with it. On the flat keys there's no indication you've drifted off the key centres until you hit a gap or wrong key. Haven't used newer ones intensively, but I also found older ones also got a bit sticky if hit sufficiently off-centre (not actually sticky, but slightly trapped, requiring more force or an adjusted keypress), while any cheapish full-fat keyboard I've used has consistent pressure across keys.

            Is any of this the end of the world? No. Is it weird that something that's mildly irritating is seen as a luxury feature? Yes.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Flat keys of the type I first saw on Apple systems are just wrong.

          There, FTFY.

        3. AK565

          I was wondering why I prefer to use my x200s when ive a t431s and a Dell, both of which have far superior screens. Now I know.

      2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        I have to agree with Wolfetone

        Thinkpads used to be one of the few laptops with a usable keyboard.

        The feel of the modern 'chiclet' style keyboards is just not nice for some of us to use.

        It even baffles me when people use chiclet external keyboards. I'm writing this on an Appledesign keyboard, not a proper mechanical keyboard like an Extended Keyboard, but a halfway house.

        And the T25 is no longer on sale, and was underpowered and overpriced for what it was.

        https://www.rossmanngroup.com/lenovo-retro-thinkpad-piece-junk/

        Sadly it looks like they used it as justification for "Nobody wants a proper keyboard anymore"

      3. Portent

        The chiclet style keyboard also had several keys removed and rearranged, as well as different key caps.

        The TP25 wasn't available for non-US keyboard layouts.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Lenovo think people have forgotten about....

    Superfish?

    Lenovo Service Engine?

    Lenovo Customer Feedback program?

    Lenovo Accelerator?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Does Lenovo think people have forgotten about....

      Yes. The vast majority of those with the purchasing power in large orgs have either forgotten or never knew about it in the first place. Most of our corporate and Local Authority customers are choosing Lenovo over HP or Dell at the moment. (although Local Gov. tend to go for the L series rather than P or X.)

  7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Has trump banned them yet?

    Or are these made by the nice Chinese?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Has trump banned them yet?

      Trump's Signature Shirts are made in China. I hear the buttons are tiny little bugs,..... : -)

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Has trump banned them yet?

        Trump's Signature Shirts are made in China. I hear the buttons are tiny little bugs,..... : -)

        Nope, they're teeth taken from Falun Gong prisoners.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Lenovo listen to their customers?

    Yes they might sell a lot of these things to enterprise but are they actually listening to what people actually want?

    1. M man

      Re: Do Lenovo listen to their customers?

      Enterprise want ethernet ports and quiet fans.

      Yogas are noisy.

  9. skalamanga

    Two words that just do not sit well together are 'sexy' and 'thinkpad'

    10chars

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge

      Re: Two words that just do not sit well together are 'sexy' and 'thinkpad'

      They are ummmm errr orthopaedic; But I quite like them :)

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