Posts tagged ‘t420’

18 May, 2012

Thinkpad 420 6-month review

by gorthx

There’s actually not a whole lot to report here, other than: I’m still very happy with my Thinkpad purchase.

The grippy matte finish on the cover has definitely contributed to me not dropping it. It’s acquired some weird smears on the cover that I can’t remove though.

It functions better as a “laptop” than the HP 2510p did; it doesn’t get quite as hot when it’s actually on my lap. Pleasantly warm, not hot.

And I love, love, love the keyboard light.

Two glitches:
It doesn’t play nicely with my HP L1706 monitor. The aspect ratios never turn out right. I could probably dink with it and fix it, or I could just replace the monitor with something that takes up less space (since it’s 5 years old anyway).

The card reader only works about 1 out of 10 times. I am not sure if this is a hardware issue or an OS issue (I’m mainly on Ubuntu); I can just connect my camera straight to my computer to download photos, so I haven’t bothered to boot into Windows to check it out yet.

Wonder of wonders, I haven’t spilled anything on the keyboard yet (this has to be the longest stretch *ever* of not spilling something on the laptop) so I haven’t had to test the drains.

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2 December, 2011

Installing Ubuntu 10.10 on a Thinkpad 420

by gorthx

(This post is mainly about getting the RealTek wireless card working.)

I went with 10.10, mainly because I had the image handy on a USB key, and I’m not so excited about what I’ve heard about 11 yet. (Although I do intend to try it at my next available opportunity.)

To get the Thinkpad to boot from a USB, I hit F12 during boot (gotta be quick with it!) to access the boot menu, then -s to get the startup menu. (The ‘thinkvantage’ button didn’t get me where I wanted to be.) Once I was in the startup menu, I was in the ‘boot options’ tab. Hit the down arrow to select “USB HD”, then hit enter. Voila.

The install went pretty fast, but then I spent a fair bit of time with updates. In retrospect, I probably should have updated the image on the USB key. :shrug:

First, the most important configuration change: put the #&@* minimize/maximize buttons back on the right side, where they belong.

Next: install my favorite font.

Everything worked out of the box (external keyboard, external monitor, card reader, etc) except wireless. My laptop wasn’t even detecting that I had a wireless interface.

First I tried enabling “connect to ethernet and wireless networks”. (System -> Administration -> Users & Groups; select the user; click “Advanced Settings”; select the “User Priveleges” tab; make sure “Connect to wireless and ethernet networks” is checked). No dice.

I could see my card:
lspci -nn
Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device [10ec:8176] (rev 01)

…but I needed the drivers. This thread (specifically, the post by canucked) had the info I needed:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lexical/hwe-wireless
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rtl8192ce-dkms

(Kind of confusing that the driver has what seems to be a different model # in it, but there it is.)

I pulled up System -> Administration -> Additional Drivers to check the status of my new driver, and discovered it was activated but not currently in use. Deactivating and reactivating it didn’t change anything, but a reboot did.

25 November, 2011

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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