Thinkpad T420 – initial impressions

by gorthx

A few weeks ago my HP 2510p up and died on me*. My repeated attempts to rescusitate it, complete with plaintive “no, baby, no!”s, only intensified my sinking feeling. No, not “when was my last backup, anyway?” but “this means I have to go shopping, doesn’t it.” Based on recommendations from friends and the desire to just get it over with already, I now have a Lenovo Thinkpad T420.

The Internet is awash with promo photos & vids of the T420, so how about some comparison photos with other laptops:

stack of laptops, top view

stack of laptops, side view

stack of laptops, side view

stack of laptops, side view

Top: HP 2510p (“he’s dead, Jim”)
Middle: Lenovo Thinkpad T420
Bottom: Dell Latitude E6410

Things I like so far:
– it feels pretty sturdy, but it’s lighter than I expected it to be.
– grippy surface on the cover. Maybe I won’t drop this one.
– power port in the back, out of the way.
– the battery doesn’t stick out the back.
– wide (deep? long?) wrist rest – I feel much more supported than on my HP.
– default sound is pretty nice.
– responsive keyboard action.
– the bumpy touchpad. I still like the HP’s better, but this one isn’t annoying.
– the keyboard light, OMG. I am using it right now
– BIG FAT delete key.

Things I need to get used to:
– power port in the back, where it’s hard to get to.
– headphone port near the front. My speakers are USB-powered and I had to split the cord to get them to plug in to both a usb port and the speaker port.
– keyboard layout: I keep hitting the fn key on the lower left instead of crtl, which it’s right next to. Some key remapping may be in my future.
– buttons for the touchpad feel like they’re off the edge of the chassis.

The Thinkpad also has keyboard drains, increasing the odds that I will not actually spill anything on it. (Same principle behind “it rains right after I wash my car.”)

Next week, installing Ubuntu on this thing.

*Current theories are: a short somewhere, or a problem with power management.

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3 Responses to “Thinkpad T420 – initial impressions”

  1. FYI, for the Fn/Ctrl thing, I think there’s even a setting in the BIOS for remapping… That way, it should work “everywhere”.

    • You are correct! There’s a BIOS setting under the config tab to swap the Fn and Ctrl keys. Sweet! I’m all set now. Thanks for the tip.