I have a new computer to add to my collection: a new Lenovo ThinkPad T430!
Okay, so mine doesn’t have a webcam or fingerprint reader, but it’s still a Lenovo ThinkPad T430.
I got it for a little less than $745, which is about $300 to $600 less than the average retail price. This isn’t a refurb, either! Lenovo had a 15%-off sale, plus I have a passcode to get into the “Friends” section of the site, which offers a further discount.
I’ve decided to name it “Penny“.
Some quick specs:
- Intel Core i5-3230M Processor (3.20GHz, 3MB Cache, 1600MHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Windows 7
Home Premium, 64-bit
- 14.0″ HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit AntiGlare Display, Mobile Broadband Ready
- 4GB memory (possible upgrade in the future)
- 500GB Hard disk drive, 7200rpm
- DVD Recordable drive
- 6-cell Li-ion battery
Why a ThinkPad? Simply because everything else is annoying. As you may have noticed, I’m very particular about my user experience.
The lack of a TrackPoint is one of the reasons why I find other non-Apple laptops annoying. Although I’m more of a keyboard user, the pointing device is important. I don’t like using trackpads, except on Macs, because it seems only Apple has developed a proper trackpad (I’d even prefer to use a trackpad on an iMac). Using a mouse seems counter to the portability of a laptop. Tilting the TrackPoint moves the cursor in the direction of the tilt, with a speed dependent on the pressure applied.
The TrackPoint is placed in the middle of the keyboard, in the space between the G, H and B keys on a QWERTY keyboard. Mouse buttons for use with the TrackPoint are placed below the spacebar. This allows the user to move the cursor without leaving the home row on the keyboard. The less movement of the hands, the more productive one can be. Being a Vim user, I’ve gotten quite used to it.
Although I’ll mainly use the TrackPoint, I won’t disable the trackpad. I’d prefer it if the trackpad was depressed instead of level with the surface, but this multi-touch trackpad does have some useful features I can take advantage of, including the silent tap-to-click feature (useful in quiet situations) and a slow-pointer mode.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T430 comes with a new island-style keyboard. I don’t know what it is about island-style keyboards that make them so popular nowadays, but as much as I’d prefer something like my Unicomp keyboard, I won’t bother replacing the keyboard. I agree with the conclusions on the T420 and T430 keyboard comparison on the LaptopMag blog post (that the new keyboard is better than the previous one except for the layout), except that I do miss the keys they eliminated. Apparently, some of their functions are still present with the following keystrokes:
- Break = Fn+B
- SysRq = Fn+S
- ScrLk = Fn+K
- Pause = Fn+P
No, really, I don’t need it. Some of the useless software that came with the ThinkPad: Norton Antivirus trial, Lenovo SimpleTap, SugarSync, Skype, MS Office 2010 trial, MS Silverlight, and Google Chrome. I’m almost tempted to do a clean install of Windows to get rid of the stuff I don’t need.
Nowadays, almost all new non-Apple computers will have Windows 8 preloaded. Not this one! Ordering from the Lenovo website, the default choice is Windows 7 Home Premium; Windows 8 is a free “upgrade”, and choosing the “Professional” editions of either OS is an additional charge. I don’t mind that it’s Home Premium because I can get Professional for free
very soon . Having Windows 7 means I don’t have to deal with the numerous annoyances present in Windows 8, and dealing with Win7 annoyances is simplified because I’ve already dealt with them on DustPuppy.
I plan to dual-boot it with Arch Linux when I get a chance. I want Arch because it will give me much control over my system. I start of with a minimal base and install what I want, and update when I want. openSUSE (the Linux distro on TODD) comes with programs I don’t need and wants you to upgrade the whole OS to get major updates for programs. Arch will also help me learn a little more about Linux without building it completely from scratch.
Following my “tradition” of naming my computers per OS after a comic strip/cartoon character, I’ve decided to name my Windows installation Penny, after Penny Gadget in Inspector Gadget. Anyone who has watched the show would know that Penny is really good with technology and almost always ends up solving Inspector Gadget’s cases for him without him knowing.
future Arch Linux installation will be named after Jason, after Jason Fox of Bill Amend’s FoxTrot. Jason and his friend, Marcus, once set up a Linux server in 30 seconds, but it would have been quicker if Marcus hadn’t tangled the cables.
Some people think that the exterior of the ThinkPad is plain, blocky, and old. Yes, the exterior of the ThinkPad hasn’t changed much since its introduction by IBM in 1992, but it is still elegant nonetheless. Being a Windows Classic user (and not for performance reasons), I’d prefer it no other way. Keep in mind that the ThinkPad was black in a time when computers were beige.
The design of the ThinkPad was inspired by the Japanese Shokako bento box. As the post on the Lenovo design blog says, “When closed, the Shokado lunch box is a simple lacquered black box, but opening it reveals an orderly and beautiful arrangement of delectable foods (like the functions of a ThinkPad).”.
The ThinkPad is very durable. It comes with a lid latch — which can be opened with one hand — to keep the lid from accidentally opening, plus ridged edges to protect the screen and metal hinges that last long. Just to prove how durable the ThinkPad is, a Lenovo team brought a T400s along storm-chasing…
… and ran one over with a 13-ton truck …
Don’t try this at home, it will void your warranty.
The ThinkPad has also been used in space and is the only notebook certified for long-term use on the International Space Station (contrary to popular belief, the GRiD Compass was the first laptop in space, not the ThinkPad, unless you don’t consider the GRiD a laptop).
Can your laptop do this?
Yes, that’s right: the screen extends to the full 180°!
The Lenovo ThinkPad is almost perfect; I love it! I am going to have a lot of fun with my new Lenovo ThinkPad T430!