Which ThinkPad to choose --- T510/T520, T530 or W520?

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Impactor, Dec 23, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Impactor

    Impactor Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    9
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    31
    I am trying to decide which of the T/W5x0 ThinkPads to go for and I can't make up my mind. I was basically sold on T530, but then I started reading all the negative hype on the new keyboard and I started questioning whether I want to be stuck with it for the next ~5 years. Mind you, I have to way of testing the new keyboard before the purchase.

    Right now, I have a R61 and I do like the keyboard. I don't write code or use all the keyboard short-cuts, but I like having Next/Previous buttons next to the arrow keys, and Page-up/Down in the right-top corner. Plus the ability to find desired keys just by touch.
    I also like the pronounced TrackPoint and I don't know if I will like the slightly lowered one on T530.
    On the other hand, I do need to look at the keyboard anyway if I want to use some more advanced FN short-cut – I don't have it memorised, with few exceptions, like Brightness up/Down (which I would quite miss).

    So, here's the brake down of my dilemma (each scenario includes 1080p screen):


    T530:

    + superior graphic with Intel 4000 and Optimus Nvidia card
    + support for up to 32gb ram and 3rd generation i5
    + up to 32gb ram

    - the new keyboard – I think I do not like the loss of practicality of the old layout
    - slightly more expensive than others, which is not that much of an issue since it is an investment for at least 5 years (provided it does not start crumbling apart like my R61 did)


    W520:

    + good old keyboard layout and good old TrackPoint
    + marginally cheaper
    + looong warranty

    - slower and probably more overheating / power-hungry Quadro GPU
    - 2nd generation i7 (I assume higher power consumption?)
    - no USB 3.0
    - are Ws more heavy and bulky than Ts? And how does a W520 compare to R61 with regard to weight and thickness?


    T510/T520:

    + good old keyboard layout and good old TrackPoint
    + marginally cheaper
    + cheaper

    - slower and probably more overheating / power-hungry GPU (I would probably go for Nvidia)
    - older generation i5/i7
    - max 8GB ram
    - no USB 3.0


    I write a lot, but mostly text, not code. Most of the time I do not game at all, but I would like to occasionally try Diablo 3, for example. I use Linux as my base system. I use Virtual Machines (hence RAM requirement). I will use it daily, often for 10-12 hours. I won't carry it with myself too often. I want the laptop to last me LOOONG time.


    So, based on above, please, help me make up my mind.
    Or advice me an alternative to ThinkPad, if one exists.
     
  2. Bluebird20

    Bluebird20 Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Hey Impactor, I received my T530 a few days ago and so far I really like it. The screen is great (FHD), the keyboard feels very good and the battery life is more than 8 hours based on the limited time I've used it on battery (with the 9-cell). Right now, I'm typing on the T530 and the keyboard feels very comfortable to type on.

    I also considered getting the T520 but the cost difference was not too substantial. I also debated between several laptops but after some trial and error I ultimately chose the T530. You have listed the pros and cons of each system so you have an idea of what to expect. If you are concerned about the Trackpoint and the keyboard, then don't be. Although I have not used a Thinkpad prior to now, the Trackpoint is so great that I want one for every laptop I use. The keyboard is also good but it may take some time to get used to. I must say that the keys make a nice sound when typing. Wish you the best.
     
  3. ajkula66

    ajkula66 Courage and Consequence

    Reputations:
    3,018
    Messages:
    3,202
    Likes Received:
    2,318
    Trophy Points:
    231
    If the new keyboard layout is a big deal (which might be the case) I'd say W520.

    Presuming you have an option to somewhat customize it to suit your needs, that is...or are looking at one that already does.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

    Reputations:
    5,413
    Messages:
    10,725
    Likes Received:
    1,203
    Trophy Points:
    581
    W520 or T520 with Quadro should fit the bill, but honestly games don't run as well on Quadro cards than they do GeForce cards. Also I believe the W520 is a smidge heavier than a T520, but has higher CPU options because it has better cooling. I think W520 also has minimum 90W or 130W adapter while T520 will max out at 90W. The T520's NVS 4200M is a super weaksauce Quadro card.
     
  5. MidnightSun

    MidnightSun Emodicon

    Reputations:
    6,668
    Messages:
    8,235
    Likes Received:
    228
    Trophy Points:
    231
    The T- and W-series share the same chassis, so any weight differences will be pretty much unnoticeable. There are no dimensional differences.
     
  6. Impactor

    Impactor Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    9
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    31
    I just discovered W520 will not work with my travel 90W PSU and that is probably a deal-breaker. I can't carry around the massive 137/170W brick. I move around too much.

    How about the noise that the new keyboard does while typing? Is it quieter than classic thinkpad keybaord?
    Cause the one on R61 is quite annoyingly noisy.
     
  7. Kaso

    Kaso Notebook Virtuoso

    Reputations:
    744
    Messages:
    3,547
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    116
    The keyboard sound is soft, providing just enough auditory feedback. Also, key travel is deep enough. To me, the typing experience is better than that on a MacBook Pro and a Samsung Series 9: the generic term "chiclet" may be misleading.

    I have been reluctant to accept this year's ThinkPad models. Like many ThinkPad users, I am put off by the new key layout. Recently, I had the chance to spend some time with a T430 and a W530, and found the typing experience commendable.

    If you consider the purchase a long-term investment, with current technologies, and don't mind the new keyboard, a T530 could be a good choice.
     
  8. hotsauce

    hotsauce Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    20
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    31
    I have a T520 and a work issued X230 tablet. The new keyboard is actually a pleasure to use, but it "fixes" something that frankly didn't need repair. The T520 keyboard is fantastic, the machine (with FHD screen) is buttery smooth and it's cheaper to boot. For some reason, the island keys on the X230 feel too far apart as compared to the traditional Lenovo keys. I don't think that's the case, but it feels like it to me. Not a deal breaker, just an observation. Also, the page up/down keys are down by the arrows, which drives me crazy...many years of muscle memory is hard to break.

    Unless you can get a screaming deal on a T530, I'd say just grab a T520 and call it a day. And lol at the W-series power adapter. It's why sold my W520 for a T520.
     
  9. OtherSongs

    OtherSongs Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    113
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Agreed.

    Agreed.

    Agreed that "the generic term "chiclet" may be misleading"

    I have a few quibbles with the key layout of my new T530. But what else is new when it comes to compact keyboards???

    The T430 and W530 are both current models, and come with 3rd gen Intel i5/i7 cpu's.

    The older T520 might be a worthy purchase, given that it likely has a slightly better keyboard. Provided that you could find one for enough of a lesser price than that of a new or used T530.

    But the older T520 comes with the distinct downside of having an older gen cpu.

    Agreed that a new (or open box) T530 "could" be a good choice.

    I own a new T530, my only real laptop so far, so count me as very biased and with very limited laptop experience. :)

    FWIW I've done mainly s/w and business system design all my life. In my experience, the best keyboards always came with "IBM" on them, whether the old IBM typewriters or the IBM PC keyboards. ALL of the great IBM keyboards were very noisy. It was the key action that made users LOVE those keyboards!

    IMO Lenovo has adequately carried on that tradition of excellent/great keyboards, with their ThinkPad keyboards, even the *current* ThinkPads.

    Added by edit: I can add that the 90watt A/C adapter that came with my T530 is very light. And that I got a 6-cell battery. I plan to buy a 2nd A/C adapter (likely not Lenovo) and a 2nd battery (likely "Lenovo" branded and 9-cell) on Amazon.

    2nd edit: With bios dated Sept.2012, one can switch the Fn and Cntl keys! Yes, yes, yes!! So that removes my main quibble with my new T530 keyboard key placement.
     
  10. Impactor

    Impactor Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    9
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    31
    The problem with T520 is that I can't find anything even close to what I want. Only T510s come close being quite a lot cheaper than T530.


    Does that qualify as a screaming deal?
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page