The IBM\Lenovo ThinkPad

My Lenovo ThinkPad T410

My Lenovo ThinkPad T410

Before I begin – let me just say that I don’t work for Lenovo or have ever worked for IBM.  Now to get to the point – it has been nearly 11 years since one of my first bosses gave me a laptop to build some software on.  That first laptop was a little chunky black laptop with some Intel MMX processor, called an IBM ThinkPad.  At the time of use it was pretty close to one of their advanced models (so I was told), and my boss had made a bet with developer that he could get the budget for buying the laptops.  The developer on his part of the bet said that if it happened he would walk naked down the street outside.  You see the IBM ThinkPad was a very expensive piece of hardware in those days and well regarded (as it is today by many corporations).  It was also my first experience of using a laptop and is still fresh in my memory.  For those of you who have used an IBM\Lenovo ThinkPad you will know the unique quality of its keyboard – there is nothing else to compare on the laptop market even today. 

Since that early experience – I have owned and used many other laptop brands, and all I can say is that “Once you have had a ThinkPad there is no going back!!!”.  The touch and feel of the keyboard alone is enough to make a lasting impression on anyone that they would not feel right using another laptop.  I know that there is a generation out there who think the design is very boring, and it just isn’t cool enough.  All I can say is that it is an acquired taste, and it does have a unique style which cries out “Use me for work “.  I believe that every gadget and especially laptops through their design send out a hidden message, the foundation of Apple’s styling of their products is based around this concept.  In a televised interview with the author/actor Stephen Fry, when told that Apple products were more style over substance, he replied that the argument was false because you want to use it more because it looks good.  I could not argue with that as I feel the same way about ThinkPads.  But the difference is that the higher end ThinkPad models have their unique style and the substance to go with it.  Usually when you buy a new PC/Laptop they come with a load of software that is usually removed by those who are competent at configuring and installing their computers the way they want to – but with the ThinkPad that particular software (called ThinkVantage) has the right mix that you actually want it on your system.  There are other great qualities of the ThinkPad which are legendary like the very sturdy build quality, which makes it a very durable product, and as such in the 90’s it was the only authorised laptop for use by NASA in its space missions.


Experienced Quote – Trust Me

The price of high end ThinkPad’s are not cheap but neither are Apple, and HP laptops.  I have only ever purchased one ThinkPad at the full price, all the others that I have owned were refurbished stock – but were as good as new and not outdated.  The one model that I really wanted is the now discontinued X300/X301 models – a rival in many ways to the Apple MacBook Air at the time but with far more hardware features built in.  I remember visiting shops just to look at the product to be inspired by it, but being a developer I could never justify buying one – although I read somewhere that the folks at Microsoft loved the machine and ordered many of them.  I write this article as I try and justify to myself that getting that 4GB DDR2 for my aging Lenovo ThinkPad T61P is going to be worth it.  The T61P was the IBM\Lenovo’s top model up until early 2009 – I bought my one from ebay for £750, even though it was still selling at some retailers for around £1,500. 

Now for fun – if a laptop represented a department store, or a lover here are my rankings after my experiences with each of the main brands which are mainly used by businesses:-

Laptop Brand Relationship Type Department Store Comparison
Lenovo ThinkPad You love him/her so much you can’t get enough of each other and life is still interesting and fun   John Lewis
Apple MacBook You feel like you will never be good enough for him/her.  But you want him/her but can never measure up to it so it becomes a fantasy.   Selfridges
 HP EliteBook  Steady relationship where everything just ticks along real nice.  Time passes slowly.   Debenhams
 Dell Business Class Laptops  How the hell did we end up together?  Seem like a good match but life is just boring and passing us by.  M&S
 Sony Viao Business Class  Top candidate for a one night stand.  Purely all looks and absolutely no substance.   Top Shop
 Toshiba Business Class Laptops  Seemed good at the time, but you realise you made a big mistake and are heading for a divorce/split.  PC World !!!

Some of you may disagree with those comparisons as it maybe against your moral fibre, or you may think it’s a little too far.  Perhaps comparisons with the make/model of a car would be better but that would be too difficult and simple at the same time.

This article was written using my Lenovo T410 (and yes it was refurbished stock) !!!

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