Why the Lenovo Retro Thinkpad 25 is a piece of junk.

Posted Monday, October 9, 2017

Why we loved the Thinkpad.

The Thinkpad was a special machine, as I’ve explained three years ago when discussing my disappointment with modern Thinkpads.

Thinkpad interfaces allowed me to avoid moving my hand away from the keyboard to move the cursor. The anti-glare screen added to my viewing comfort. The keyboard layout felt like “home” – just like a desktop keyboard, no adjusting to laptop form factor required. The ports, the thinklight, the ability to swap drives without removing a bottom case. It was a special machine.

As laptop design evolved into more trendy, less productive designs across all brands, the Thinkpad stood out more and more as the last device of choice remaining for the practical tinkerer & engineer. The function over form kind of person that just wanted to get to work without feeling limited by laptop form factor bought this machine. The designers, the engineers, the service technicians; and it was a treat.

What happened to the Thinkpad?

Lenovo Thinkpad T61

The T61 Thinkpad with its classic keyboard layout, 4:3 aspect ratio, thinklight, and small trackpad is considered by many to be the last “true” Thinkpad

The T61 is a Thinkpad many refer to as the grandfather of all modern Thinkpads. Everything after being a compromise in some way.

The T520 went to a 16:9 display, and slightly changed the keyboard.

The Thinkpad T530 is where it became apparent the Thinkpad wasn’t simply a victim of a lack of 4:3 LCDs being mass produced, but rather under serious attack from marketing executives & “user experience” drones hell bent on killing what made the Thinkpad great. These individuals, dedicated to copying what everyone else sold in the hopes of mass appeal, saw fit to destroy the Thinkpad keyboard – the very thing that made the Thinkpad retain its value & cult following.  The keys were no longer located where they would have been located on a standard desktop keyboard anymore. and the trackpad became larger.

The Thinkpad T540 added insult to injury by removing the dedicated trackpoint buttons, and trackpad buttons. Lenovo went full RIMM, making a device with a click button interface, and it sucked. This copied none of the accuracy or feel of what made the Apple trackpad great, while reinforcing every negative stereotype about PC trackpads. aIt was incredibly easy to hit the right click when you thought you were hitting the middle button. It was very easy to hit the middle button and close a browser tab when you meant to right click it. It required bending your thumb for any sense of accuracy. it was garbage.

Palm rejection on Windows has become better, but for Linux users it has often been a bane. You can spend hours configuring it and it still works terribly. Thus adding this larger trackpad made life yet worse for Linux users. Even if you could get around the trackpadFurther, the new trackpad on the XX40 series required endless hacks if you used Linux just to get the buttons to work properly!

A numpad was added to 15″ models as well. The numpad requires we move the trackpad & keyboard to the left, so we now have an off center keyboard that is not standard. We have a trackpoint with no dedicated buttons that allows for easy mistakes in button clicks. We have a trackpad with almost non-existent palm rejection in Linux, and a 16:9 screen.

The Thinkpad is, for all we loved it for, no longer a Thinkpad. It’s dead.

Thinkpad T530

The T530 removed the old keyboard layout entirely in favor of a new, confusing design. The lack of island keys is not as apparent as the confusing location of the delete/page up/page down/home/end keys.

Thinkpad T540, the end

The T540 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. No dedicated trackpoint buttons, a numpad. a terrible large trackpad.

Talk of the “retro.”

Discussion about the retro began about two and a half years ago after anger over the T440/T540 blew over. Lenovo has had two and a half years to go over this decision, polling consumers on what they’d like and milling over how to make it happen.

Personally, I saw talk of the Retro as defeat in and of itself. Putting a proper keyboard back on all the old model lines meant that anyone could pick & choose the machine for them – ultrabook or workstation, 1366×768 or 4k, matte or touchscreen, and still get a proper interface. This would be an admission of defeat to the marketing departments that likely demanded we get this new keyboard, but it would be better overall.

Creating a single retro model meant it had to be all things to all people, and is a show of ego from marketing itself. It isn’t that our design is bad. It’s those weirdos. Those basement dwelling redditors that demand that silly looking keyboard. “Come up with something for them so they shut up!” I can imagine a marketer saying. This is guaranteed to fail.

Retro release.

Fast forward to 2017. Two and a half years after the first mention of the retro, three and a half years after the butchery of the T440 & T540. Do we get a screen with a different aspect ratio? Do we get a thinklight? Are there choices? Are the specs something to die for?

Before we dig into specs….


Yes, it is not a workstation. That is the point; there is no customizability here. I can’t pay extra to get a beefier processor. I can’t pay extra to get a better screen. So there is nothing else to compare my current P50 to in the retro “lineup.”

If you use an X1 Carbon, there is no Retro ultrabook to compare it to.

If you use a P50, there is no Retro workstation to compare it to.

I am demonstrating how bad this entire retro premise is. Rather than bring good design back to the fully fledged, customizable Thinkpad line, where there was a machine for everyone, we have one model. One model for everyone who wants a good interface.

That is a severe weakness. I was hoping for good design to come back to the entire Thinkpad line, rather than getting a T470, with an older style keyboard and a price premium.

The display disappoints by ANY standard.

People who want the retro want a 4:3, 3:2, or 5:4 screen. They might even settle for a 16:10. The Retro gives us 16:9.

People who want a modern screen want something high resolution. Maybe even 3k. The Retro gives us 1080p.

If the surface can get 3:2, why can’t we?

The Retro gives us the worst of the old, with the worst of the new. The T25 has “old” resolution with “new” aspect ratios. Whether you’re into modern or classic, there’s something to hate with this machine.

Do you get an option for higher resolution for more $$? Of course not. It’s standard for laptop manufacturers to charge an additional $350-$400 for a higher resolution screen when the panel only costs them an additional $50, and that’s fine. At least they offer the option. Lenovo isn’t even going to bother offering a higher resolution screen if you were willing to pay, which is inexcusable. It is difficult to impossible to find a 4:3 screen, but it is not difficult to offer a higher resolution 14″ screen for a premium with a dropdown menu for those of us who use our laptop for viewing schematics and boardviews where 1080p is really a hinderance.

Many will say it is unreasonable to expect a different aspect ratio, as well as difficult to get a manufacturer to produce this. Just look at what Apple did with the A1425 in 2012 .Unlike almost every other pro level laptop, the screen was separate from the backlight. The resolution was 2560×1600 on a machine that was offered five years ago. Apple got LG & Samsung to mass produce non-standard LCDs for the A1425 which started at $1299. Yet Lenovo can’t get anyone to produce an LCD slightly outside what has been the cookie cutter mold for five years, on a machine costing $1899? Apple not only provided a better screen, but Apple’s 2012 A1425 model had an aspect ratio closer to “classic” Thinkpads than the actual Retro Thinkpad. I may crap on Apple a lot, but credit where credit is due.

Apple had an idea for a machine that would sell well. They pitched what they needed to LG & Samsung, and they created it for Apple. Lenovo could have done the same, but didn’t. “What if it doesn’t sell well? What if it isn’t worth it?” All valid questions, that reek of a lack of confidence in this model as well as the ability to market it. That type of thinking leads to what we get here: a half baked effort that makes no effort to even pretend it’s retro. 1080p. 16:9. 2017.

We have grieved the loss of the practical display. When we await the release of a T480, P72, no one is disappointed at the 16:9 display because we do not expect anything outside of 16:9. This is why I think it would make more sense to just put the retro keyboard on every other Thinkpad, rather than release a “retro” model. We would have 3k & 4k options available. We would not experience the disappointment of having “retro” dangled in front of us, only to end up being a 16:9 display. By advertising a retro model, you are teasing people by dangling the idea of a T61-ish screen in front of them and by releasing it with a 16:9 1080p touchscreen you are kicking them in the balls.

Weak, outdated graphics.

Why use the 1050 GPU which is faster and more powerful with same energy usage when we can use this retro to dump out last year’s inventory?

Thinkpad users aren’t looking at cinebench scores. We care about interface, screen aspect ratio, ports. The practical. If we’re going to miss out on some of the practical, and if we’re going to have a price premium, can we at least get some specs from this year? This card is available in laptops less than half the price.

Processor limitations: only dual core.

You get one choice, a dual core, at $1899. Its cpubenchmark score is a 5221, 1403 points lower than a Thinkpad W520 from 2011!

Thinkpad Retro T25 CPU

Last I recall there was a company that only offered you dual core options at this price.. yes, Apple. I realize the retro isnot a workstation. As such, people have said it is unfair to compare it to a workstation. I would agree if there were other workstations in the retro family, but there are not. It would be unfair to compare its processor to a workstation class machine IF THERE WERE A RETRO WORKSTATION. I am merely judging Lenovo by my shopping standards from 2011, back when you could choose between an ultrabook, a midrange, or a workstation with a good keyboard. Six years later and the choices are actually worse.

If you had a W520 you were looking to replace, you will be disappointed. Your six year old laptop was more powerful than this, and you might have paid less for it.

Thank you Lenovo for copying the negatives of Apple’s pricing & lack of configurability, without copying any of the innovation.

Battery life.

Lenovo’s never been known for amazing battery life. Early reports show it lasts under 7 hours even with the U processor on the default 3 cell battery it ships with. With battery life you could expect from $1899 laptops from six years ago, at least it lives up to the retro name in one way.

Pricing: starts at $1899.

$1899 is a lot for what is being offered here. There is not a lot of value.

Some will say this is being cheap. The price would not be an issue at $2300, or even $3000 if some degree of customizability were offered. The price would not be an issue if Lenovo pulled a rabbit out of their hat and got LG, Samsung, AUO, Chi Mei, or Sharp to produce a more square display. The price would not be an issue if Lenovo allowed us to configure a higher resolution display, a different processor, or maybe even had bothered to put the indicator LEDs that used to exist back where they were.

The reality is that this price premium is for nothing but a keyboard and a little colored logo engraving. This price premium exists without adding value. We get yesterday’s specs with today’s trends, all in a machine touting itself as worth its price for being “retro.”



When I say this isn’t worth the price as a “retro” machine, the ports say all that is necessary. This is not a “special” machine, but rather a T470 with an old keyboard and a different logo slapped on.

How many people have tried to use a modern laptop in a conference room or educational setting where the projector only offered VGA? You forgot your dongle at the hotel. Crap.

THIS is where the Thinkpad user’s smile stems from. Being able to pick that up and plug it right into their laptop. This is something that would be doable, cheaply, easily, if they weren’t copying & pasting the T470 motherboard directly into the retro machine.

But they did just that. You get no mini-displayport, only USB-C. You get less USB ports than the P50. You get no VGA port, which is the only port “retro” people were asking to have back.

Granted, one can argue you should be replacing your mini-displayport adapters/cables with USB-C adapters/cables. Yet this is not necessary on last year’s P50, the stronger machine that is $500 less.

Why skip out on the retro port, on a retro machine, that is still in widespread use, unless you just don’t care?

Conclusion: this is not “retro” – this is junk.

Not enough has changed to warrant having its own model.

Lenovo doesn’t want to alienate customers with an “old” design, and as much as I like 4:3 screens, I understand how many modern customers might balk at the idea of having bars as they watch netflix in fullscreen on a lunchbreak. I understand the idea behind making the retro its own model if it was vastly different from what the average consumer would accept. If they put a 4:3 screen, removed the trackpad, added indicator LEDs, a thicker chassis to fit a VGA port, then fine; the machine would have earned having its own model. It would be too far off from what is “mainstream” to be implemented into the standard T, X, and P series lineup.

However, this is nothing more than a T470 with a different keyboard. Here, we get the downside of an “exclusive” model(lack of customization) with all the downsides of the mass produced models(16:9, no VGA, no indicator LEDs).

This is the worst of both worlds, and outside taking some old keyboards out of inventory and shoving them into a T470 casing, they didn’t budge at all.

The screen is straight up 16:9, with the resolution I would expect from 2011. It is missing ports that you can get in a used, two year old T series(which, btw, you can buy with a better processor for less $$). So long as Lenovo sees people who desire a proper Thinkpad as a fringe group to be shut up by a token model that was half assed, they will never return to what made so many so loyal to the line.

To quote Philippe Hébert

You said something very important in this video, and it's true. Lenovo marketing dept. ad no idea what they were doing and to who they were marketing this to.

First: They launch it on Facebook ?? Really!? People who buy thinkpad are IT staff, engineer, motion designer, corporate executive, enterprise laptop bought for employees, etc..

Who is on Facebook? Teenagers, and people who don't have a clue about technology. It's the average person who buys a computer with the first thing in mind: price. These people don't buy ThinkPad, because you already pay more than an "IdeaPad" for the laptop. A ThinkPad is a business computer. It's easy to service, it's customizable at purchase to suit your needs, it has an anti-glare screen.

Then you have the T25, which has no vPro support nor Intel Trusted Execution Technology, because it only comes with an i7-7500U CPU, instead of a i7-7600U. Lenovo states that the T25 wasn't aiming the business market with this product, and that they wanted to keep the cost to the lowest, as a 7600U is more expensive.

Well, why are you selling the laptop with Windows 10 PROFESSIONAL if you're aiming to non business people? Why are you selling it with a TPM chip, fingerprint reader and a 3D HELO camera, those are all security features that no home user uses.

Beside that, a i5-7300U cost the same as a i7-7500U, but it as vPro.... The only differrences between a i5 and an i7 this gen, is the few speed MHz bump on the i7, and, the i7 has the Intel InTru 3D Technology. But what is the point of having the Intel InTru 3D Technology, if you ship the laptop with a discrete GPU?? The discrete GPU already offer such feature.

It's kind of an identity crisis this laptop has.

Then you have a touchscreen. Really? The multitouch screen is "anti-glare". But it is still glarier than a regular non-touch screen. Plus, there is an higher resolution screen than 1080p offered in the T470, and they don't even offer it in the T25.

That multitouch screen is dimmer than the 1080p non-touch too. If you compare the option of the T470, there's a 50$ USD extra for the multitouch screen over the non-touch screen. If they cared about keeping the price down for the customer, they wouldn't have forced the multitouch screen in their product, they would have put the non-touch screen instead.

Also when you think about it, they mostly put that multitouch screen in there, to clear their inventory. Because, let's be frank, who is buying a ThinkPad with a touchscreen? This was their way of eeping cost down, by not having to buy more 1080p non-touch screens from LG or Samsung or AUO, and simply using what they had sitting on shelves in their inventory.

20$ USD for a fingerprint reader (see T470 option)
50$ USD for a multitouch screen (see T470 option)
30$ USD for the IR camera (see T570 option)

That's already 100$ you're charging your customer for shit they might not even need. But since you don't offer customization, they are forced to pay for it.

Now, since we all know that it's business customer who buys ThinkPad, we know that Windows 10 Pro makes sense, but it doesn't when the marketing dept. tells you that it was aiming business customers with the T25. So if that's the case, there's another 40$ USD (see T470 option) you can remove if you offer Windows 10 Home instead.

The 940MX is 80$ USD (see T470p option). The 940MX is an old GPU, that consumes the same power as the newer MX150 GPU that is twice the power. Why didn't they put an MX150 instead? Again, probably to clear out their inventory. They didn't care about the price the customer will be paying, all they were caring about, was the price it would cost them to manufacture this model.

Lenovo tried to make a ThinkPad with a bunch of marketing staff that ThinkBad. The end result is that their fans ThinkMad.

19 thoughts on “Why the Lenovo Retro Thinkpad 25 is a piece of junk.

  1. Jesse Hill says:

    Louis Rossman, you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but after seeing your videos and reading your reviews, I have a lot of respect for you. It genuinely makes me happy seeing someone like you still left in this field as there aren’t too many people left who share a mind like the one you have. You share a passion, see the good in what’s good, and know how to share constructive criticism where it counts in a way that counts. I like how you see the good in the good and call out the bad where it genuinely is bad and I notice you really try not to speak in a bad way on anything. But… it’s really, really frustrating that this trend in technology doesn’t seem to have any end in sight. It’s not just with Lenovo but across the board. I recommended my mother a Lenovo laptop during a time when they were still at their peak but she bought one right when they fell. She is now disgusted with them and I can’t blame her. It didn’t help she went with the cheaper models and now she’s happy with HP. HP had been BAD with their thermal designa over the years (looking at you Pavilion DV series…) but she seems quite happy with this one.

  2. Jesse Hill says:

    Ok… I am a huge IBM aficionado and grew up around the most advanced and largest IBM installation. Kingston, NY. This area used to be booming. I remember my mother working on an IBM PS/2 Model 80 in an insurance company and I remember the extremely high quality components and build quality of the machines I grew up with. Ever since Tech City got shut down, it’s been a crumbling mess. NY has not recovered at all since the shut down and (Sorry Louis… I really really really hate how NYC doesn’t have any respect for the Upstate NY way of life or any respect by way of government and regulation but I’m sure you understand, your government rules us after all.) we all get to watch and suffer as there are no jobs up here and a beautiful installation just crumbles that once used to single-handedly shut down the are from traffic alone.

    IBM’s PC business was pretty much run out of here during it’s heyday. They should have never sold off their PC/Server divisions. however I understand completely as to why.

    All of the criticisms are well deserved as I have a collection of Thinkpads that go back to 1994 and a collection of IBM computers that go back to 1983. I currently am typing this on an X200t which has the classic keyboard and a 4:3 display. I also have a Lenovo ideapad P500.

    Yes… I’m going to compare the P500 to a modern Thinkpad… they are no longer apart from one another. I’ve had my hands on both. The P500 don’t get me wrong, it’s sexy, it’s light, it’s powerful, as notebooks go it’s probably the only one I like out of today’s garbage. But still… Sex and power only get you so far…

    While I love the P500 and it’s hardware is powerful as all hell, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Thinkpad quality. Keyboard is garbage and has terrible feedback, the keyboard backlight is pointless and useless (I touchtype), display is horrible to look at (the worst IPS i’ve EVER seen and it kills my eyes), the chiclet keyboard again is disgusting, and that touchpad makes for the most miserable experience I’ve ever had on a notebook.

    I don’t care how good the hardware is when the user experience is so damn bad that it makes me not want to use the damn thing. I have to look at the keyboard to know which F keys I’m pressing or to do anything outside of the home row. The Thinkpads I can run blind without looking down once. That design was thought out well enough to make sure my mind and attention remain on the most important thing to any kind of serious user… productivity. The Thinkpads are victims of “cost cutting” and the same shit they put in the ideapads are getting put into the Thinkpads.

    Anybody who is a serious businessman/woman whom has productivity in mind now has to settle for older hardware if they want any kind of quality or get any kind of serious work done. If I had a modern day CPU in this X200, I’d be set. The saving grace is that intel/AMD haven’t made any serious jumps and demands haven’t warranted upgrades making these older machines still viable and that’s a blessing. Lenovo is continually getting worse and worse.

    Keep in mind how they bought out Motorola, blew all their money on Motorola, and then didn’t do anything with Motorola. I am disgusted by technology in general with the lack of quality or care. I don’t care if I have to pay a premium if it means I can have what I want in a system as much as I hate to admit that. Being trendy unfortunately has caught on and us all as consumers have failed because we all bought the crap proving to these assholes that we are willing to settle for garbage, will pay for garbage, and will welcome garbage as it’s shoved down our throats.

    Not everyone is like us, not everyone knows how to work an older machine or get true use out of the good tech so they suffer even worse and just accept it. It wouldn’t be hard to put out quality. That excuse some of these commenters are leaving where “oh they have to redesign X” well maybe Lenovo shouldn’t have fixed what wasn’t broken to begin with. We wouldn’t have this problem and the damn things would still sell as we all know it. They have the power, and we are all assholes. Good job guys.

  3. Borsky says:

    I still have T61 and it works. I couldn’t agree more that this was the first and the last Thinkpad. After that they are producing shit, which nobody wants. Why on earth do they think that business machine needs 16:9? If I want to watch videos, I’ll do it on TV or if I’m going to watch it on laptop, I don’t care if there is some black band arround…gees… T61 is still a keeper for me as long as it works.

  4. Whitcroft IT says:

    We have had a TON of these come through at work. I actually don’t mind the new unit but honestly, it didn’t need to happen in this day and age haha.

  5. The Lenovo ThinkPad used to be the first of choice by anyone at the time of its launch but slowly it started to lose its base after so many new and advanced laptops came. Every office used to have this and nowadays many offices still using it. many new versions of this have come but the feel of this old ThinkPad will remain the dame.

  6. GregM says:

    Given this, I wonder what laptop you would recommend for me? I loved the old ThinkPad keyboards, and hate the keyboard (and limited ports) on my current Yoga. I’m a writer, so a good keyboard is essential, and I have a feeling that the current ThinkPad’s are still the best I can do? I work with data a fair amount, so run visualization programs like Tableau, open some large Excel files, run some memory intensive programs like SPSS, and occasionally edit small multimedia projects using programs like Premier. I don’t do anything with CAD or machine learning or really large video files or VR or anything that requires a truly robust machine, but I want it to be snappy no matter what I am doing and ideally something that could handle more resource intensive applications should I start using them. And I don’t want it to be monstrous in size as I do use it in the field and at conferences (this is a factor for me in terms of price/performance too. I don’t want to pull out all the stops on a machine that I then abuse on the road). I am basically thinking about a high-end configuration of the T470, a lower end configuration on the P51, or the equivalent Dell Latitude or Precision machines. Any advice would be great appreciated!

  7. Wess Walters says:

    I am grateful I now don’t have to show up at a business meeting with an Alienware monster just to get the keyboard I want. I all accept all the criticisms of Lenovo made here and I am grateful someone has taken the time to explain what’s so wrong with “modern” laptop offerings. Chiclet keyboard – yeah that’s a real upgrade; makes me think of low end computers from my childhood (and I am 50 yrs old).

  8. chx_private says:

    Compared to my hacked-to-full-HD T420s, I got a 32GB and TB3 and no hacks. The GPU might be weak but there’s the graphics dock sporting an 1050 which is a league ahead of the MX150 anyways — and the timing didn’t work for the MX150. The criticism might be valid but I am a happy ThinkPad 25 user. You can criticize as much as you want but you can’t get a modern T series ThinkPad with a 7 row keyboard unless you buy the TP25.

  9. Rufus says:

    If the keyboard is literally from a T470, then don’t we have a whole line of retro machines? Can’t I just grab a T470 (maybe T460) where I like the specs and have the keyboard too? Like you said, the logo isn’t jack.

    1. Rufus says:

      Maybe I need to be more explicit. That Thinkpad 25 is going to have replacement parts available at some point in the near future. When that happens, why can’t I order a retro keyboard and put it on a T470? The discussions I’ve seen of this product suggest that this is just a T470 with some options. Do you think they deliberately put a different keyboard connector on the Tp25 keyboard to keep people from putting it on a T470? I’m betting it’s a slight bios change and just a different layout to the keyboard.

      If this is true, the you, Louis, get your wish for an entire line of retro machines. BTW your youtube channel is addictive, like schedule II.

  10. Tong Zou says:

    The criticism is unreasonable, I think. Louis, you’ve been making thousands of dollars on your Youtube channel based partly on talking about ThinkPads. Lets remember that Lenovo didn’t have to release this model at all. They could have just continued to release the modern models as they have done. Instead they at least gave us the 7 row keyboard back on a model. That’s better than nothing. To bitch about 4:3 displays and thinklight, display latch etc is unreasonable because this is a one off model. Lenovo would have to redesign the chassis, the lid (for the thinklight), the motherboard (for the vga) and source 4:3 displays from somewhere just for this one model? I think people were expecting too much. Its a top of the line T470 with a 7 row keyboard + 940MX ok? Thats better than the T470. You can’t say that its worse. Maybe only in price – but lets see its limited edition and the FULL price (not discount) of the T470 would have been similar. Also check out the other shit laptops on the market like the Macbook Pro – you get 90% less ports a shit keyboard and gimmick touchbar. How come no one says that one is overpriced? Also its not supposed to compete with the workstation laptops. Its a T series not a P series well you may say the T470p has a quad core processor but that one is also heavier and thicker its not the same laptop design. I think people have to expecting so much. Its not a retro laptop. Its a modern day laptop with a 7 row keyboard – and thats sure as hell still better than a modern laptop with a 6 row chiclet keyboard.

    1. Louis says:

      Whether I have or have not made the unverified sum of $$ you pulled out of your ass by discussing Lenovo has nothing do with my criticisms of the machine.

      So long as they don’t offer a retro workstation, this will be compared to it. They used to offer workstations with a proper design.

      If they didn’t want me to compare this to a workstation, they could have offered this keyboard in a workstation. Making this keyboard an option on all models would have been far preferable to this one size fits all nonsense. have a checkbox that says “+$100, retro keyboard” across their product line and be done with it.

      Apple has routinely sourced or told manufacturers to create entirely new types of parts for their devices, which sell for less money. Their devices selling for $1200 use parts no other laptop for years did. The 940MX is a pile of crap to be included in a machine of this cost.

      People say this is ungrateful, but it isn’t what many asked for. Make the good keyboard available on the entire line. To make a one size fits all limited edition with these specs, at this price.. they should have known better. They didn’t even try!

  11. EMS says:

    I was interested when the idea of a modern Thinkpad with the old keyboard was brought up (I’m typing this on a T410 circa 2008). I was disappointed when I saw what was offered.

    My question to you then–for those out there that want (need!) a great keyboard in their portable… what do you recommend?

  12. Gabriel says:

    It was a regrettable and bad move from IBM to sell its PC division to Lenovo.
    Lenovo machines are getting more “cost-effective” each year (read: less and less features and build quality of the original ThinkPads).
    Please, would someone buy the division out, and make regular ThinkPads again?

  13. panda says:

    I took all the T25 surveys and have been waiting for the final product ever since. One thing I noticed was that most of the feedback indicated the need for a more traditional display aspect ratio, at least 16:10 if not 4:3. It was not the gamers or the movie aficionados that made the Thinkpad popular. It was the IT working class. Mr. Hill stated the difficulty in purchasing such panels. Where do the panels for MacBook Pro come from? Chromebook Pixel? Surface? Why is this a problem for the laptop manufacturer with the largest market share in the world?
    I’ve been working in China for the last 10 years and often have to participate in the meetings where the input of the team is allegedly sought. Needless to say, it is hardly ever seriously considered by the top leaders/owners. Mr. Hill is a foreign face to Lenovo but Lenovo is a Chinese company and it does things top-down.
    Spending years re-designing or re-vitalizing the keyboard and the logo while at the same time releasing tens of other models is pathetic. So disappointed.

    …All the above was successfully typed on the Thinkpad W500…

  14. nitrocaster says:

    Your criticism would be reasonable if Lenovo released a new ‘retro’ series, not just one ‘retro’ model. Lenovo is doing a business, so let’s look at this whole situation from a business perspective. Lenovo makes modern ThinkPads which receive good reviews and sell well. Then some nerds like us ask Lenovo to bring the classic design back. Lenovo takes on that idea (it’s actually much more complex than just ‘takes’, but let’s skip that part) when the 25th anniversary is approaching. They couldn’t just bring the classic design back in the next series update because that is quite a big expense (lots of R&D, contracts with LCD manufacturers to get custom screens, complete chassis and electronics redesign) which requires a strong reason. They could choose to continue develop and sell the modern ThinkPad design which sells well, or to spend tons of money and make a completely new design, hoping it’s going to sell better to cover the expenses. As the time passed, Lenovo sticks with the easy option and releases 60 series. They still don’t want to throw money on something that they think won’t give them return on investment. By the time 70 series is finished they eventually decide to try make a special anniversary model. They still can’t spend too much money, so they take the most suitable design which is 14″, not too heavy and can carry 9 lithium cells – T470. They they decide to pick the main ‘retro’ feature, which is a classic 7-row keyboard. They redesigned the c-cover of T470 and the keyboard itself. And that was it. Every other Retro feature would require more and more redesign, which they couldn’t do. ThinkLight, status LEDs and support for 1440p and 4K displays require a new motherboard. 3:2 or 16:10 displays require a complete chassis redesign and after all they are not available on the market – Lenovo would need to pay tons of money to LCD manufacturers to build new production lines. That being said, T25 is actually the best Lenovo can make right now without taking a risk of losing money. Computer hardware business has pretty low profit margins. Lenovo makes only 0.71%. Apple makes 20.87% and that’s how they can have 16:10 screens.

    1. B.M. says:

      “Lenovo makes only 0.71%. Apple makes 20.87% and that’s how they can have 16:10 screens.”
      But this is profit which already *excludes* the price for manufacturing the LCD or setting up the assembly lines.

    2. Lenovo Should ThinkMore says:

      I really don’t get why people bother trying to defend Lenovo’s ill advised decisions here. Louis’s criticisms of the model were perfectly valid. Any criticism citing specific reasons why a machine doesn’t meet your needs or achieve its designer’s purported goals is perfectly valid. You may have different needs and preferences, so your critiques would be different, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t have valid points. ThinkPads were always customizable, configurable, choose-able machines with a wide variety of options, notable innovations, and the best keyboard and pointer system in the business. Then Lenovo destroyed something that wasn’t broken to pander to Apple fans, removing or moving useful keys and using the space for a bigger touchpad no one asked for, but they failed to succeed there, also. In the end, they alienated their most loyal customers, with little to show for it. I haven’t looked up their profit margin vs. Apple’s, but if it’s 0.71% vs. 20.87%, consider why. Apple innovates and charges a premium for it. IBM used to do the same, but in its own way. Lenovo today is just copying what everyone else is doing. That’s not how market leaders with big profit margins get their success, and trying to excuse your failures by complaining that your profit margin is too small just ensures you’ll never be one of them.

      1. I am afraid this is all crying over spilled milk. Looks like the nerds that appreciated and relied upon features that made classical Thinkpads so excellent are the very negligable minority without sufficient buying power and it makes no business sense for Lenovo to waste money on such a niche market (i dont have the thinkpad sales figure pre and post 6row kbd, but the fact that they keep selling thinkpads with botched keyboards for so long cannot be interpreted in any other way).
        We can only consider ourselves lucky at least for the one-off T25 retro model and we can only hope that we get T40 or T50 on next significant anniversary. By then the only option seems to be living off this T25 or old/refurbished models from 2012- era.

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