I love my old Thinkpad, can't decide what to get next

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Omer D, Dec 3, 2015.

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  1. Omer D

    Omer D Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hello,
    I am a happy owner of a Thinkpad R500 for more than 6 years. I think it is a fantastic laptop. I especially love the keyboard (and touchpad as well). An excellent keyboard is very important for me, both because I am used to such high standards, and because I had a history of wrist pain and using a bad keyboard might make it come back.
    I need a more portable laptop, but with a large enough screen to comfortably write code. I am willing to go with 15 or 14 (i am really uncertain which tbh), and "sacrifice" portability to an extent as long as it is not extremely heavy. I am going to be carrying it quite a lot.

    Heat is something I am sensitive about, as my R500 is usually completely cool. Noise is less critical but also important.

    Overall what is important to me mostly is: keyboard, heat, noise, basic reliability.
    I don't mind if the computer is not THE fastest, as long as it is quite fast and doesn't lag.
    If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts I'd be happy to hear.


    Thank you! :)

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    600-800$ (not including shipping etc)
    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    15'' or 14'' - as long as it is somewhat portable. May consider 13 if really compelling.
    a. Netbook; 10" screen or less
    b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    Internet - international shipping.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like:
    b. Dislike:
    I love my R500 Thinkpad that is still working great going on 6 years.
    I don't like the changes i have seen in many later thinkpads (bumpy touchpad?!).
    I am contemplating Lenovo or Dell mostly, but open to hear.
    Will not get a Mac or Asus.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Programming, internet, some video editing, Office

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    I will be taking the notebook with me and leave it on my desk.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    No.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Average (or above) is okay.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Probably not going to happen - on-line is fine with me.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    Windows (maybe later add another Ubuntu installation)

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. (Scroll down to see screen resolution information.)

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (Scroll down to see explanations.)
    matte

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    no
    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    near future
    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    as long as possible (my current Thinkpad R500 is around 6 years old and still good.
    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    need around 300-500. SSD would be nice (but they seemed either too small or too expensive)

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    would be nice, not necessary.
    ==========
     
  2. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    Unfortunately, nobody is making that keyboard any longer, not even Lenovo.

    Given your budget and wants I think the Dell Latitude E5550 might make a nice fit. You should be able to get one in the Dell Outlet under budget if you can wait for coupons found via the Dell Outlet Twitter account, which Dell posts fairly regularly, so it shouldn't take long to get one. There's an extensive review of the E5550 here at NotebookCheck if you want to check it out. I'd suggest getting the 1080p LCD as it's an IPS screen and will offer much better PQ. Good luck and welcome to NBR.
     
  3. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    This may draw some ire from others, but I would recommend the last true thinkpad series, the Tx20. Preferable, a T420 or T520 with the proper keyboard, thinklight, and nvidia dedicated GPU, or an X220 with IPS if you are a trackpoint user.
     
    Starlight5, ckayte and Kent T like this.
  4. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    If you're okay with used, I'd definitely recommend the xx20 series Thinkpad as well. The keyboards on the xx30 and later are still good, but the keyboards aren't what they used to be.

    If you'd rather have something newer and want to try a non-Thinkpad, you could go for Dell's Latitude like or HP's Elitebook line. I personally went with the latter and it's a fairly nice replacement, though lack of a middle button is annoying...
     
  5. Omer D

    Omer D Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you for your helpful replies. I was contemplating between a Latitude or an old Thinkpad.
    I was thinking about a T420 but I really don't like the bumpy touchpad (can't understand why they did it).

    A few questions I had:
    Would it be possible to add a relatively small SSD along with the HD that comes to the T420 or the Latitude?

    Is it possible to get a good machine from ebay? Is it not advisable? Any not obvious warning signs? If everything is working I don't mind it not being new or having some artificial scratches or dents.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-Thin...945699?hash=item33adb97963:g:gsgAAOSwwE5WU7YF
     
  6. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    I'm personally not a fan of the T420, as the 900p display was of relatively low quality (and forget the 768p display...). From that era, I'd go for either the T520 or W520 with the 1080p option since the screen quality is fantastic.

    You can definitely have a 2.5" SSD and 2.5" HDD in the same machine if you're willing to replace the optical drive with a HDD bay.

    Personally, I don't do business with eBay, so I can't comment on that aspect.
     
  7. Omer D

    Omer D Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks. Being used to 15' I guess the T520 might make more sense as long as I can carry it around...
    I heard there was another place to put an SSD so that the optical drive remains but I never understood where it was and if I have it (on a R500).
     
  8. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    The T520 1080p LCD is a TN panel, so it's below par. There's the 3K IPS screen option, but then you've got the whole Windows and scaling issues.

    The T520 can do three drives if you like. There's the main bay. You can buy a modular caddy to put another drive in and replace the optical drive. Then there's the mSATA SSD, which plugs into the miniPCI slot on the motherboard. Potentially, you could have 5TB of storage with the T520.

    I've used the new Dell keyboards and thought they were pretty good, but I'm not much of a typist. The E5550 is significantly lighter than the T520 as well.
     
  9. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    Have to disagree with you there. IIRC, the T520 has the same 1080p option as the W520. And while it is TN (so no IPS viewing angles), the color reproduction is actually very nice, and it actually looks nicer than some IPS panels I've seen (such as the one in my 820 and my friends' retina MBPs). The >1080p resolution would of course be nice, but in a xx20 that would mean doing a custom display upgrade (assuming you could even retrofit a xx20 with a modern 3K display...).
     
    Kent T likes this.
  10. Omer D

    Omer D Notebook Enthusiast

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    I find the display on my current R500 to be adequate, so I guess I'll be fine either way... Nicer screen would be a plus, but screen size and lack of reflection is more important to me than resolution.
    Is the E5550 keyboard similar to the Inspiron keyboards? I tried a few of these and found the travel to be too short for my taste... Does the E5550 also support an additional SSD like the Thinkpad?
     
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