05-09-2013 03:25 PM
Dear Lenovo team,
since two years I am a proud possessor of a X220i (sadly I could not afford better back then). Since then I am actually quite enthusiastic regarding your products - or rather brand - using every chance for telling my friends to buy Thinkpads.
As a student, I think the X2xx-line is the best to get, since it has the ideal size and weight for carrying it around all day - literally, from one class to the next, not just from home to the workplace - while retaining a great deal of usablility and ergonomics (i.e. the x1 does not feel right while using it, I actually like how my palm rests exactly on the downcurve from "the Bento legacy" as I call the new lid design). Not too small or too big. Yes 14" is too big. Just the best thing for university.
Now having said all that, there is still things I wish to see for the next refresh of the X2xx-line:
1. Make the IPS panel available to all processor options. There is just no excuse for such a bad TN. (I will be able to afford a better processor - and thus IPS - next time, but it's sad for all the others who have to pay 250 more to even unlock the option for IPS) Also, could you find more screenspace within the existing size of the notebook?
2. Add Thunderbolt. Power plus 2 connectors, all at the very left side on the back. (I won't upgrade until X2xx has at least one port. Sorry.)
3. Remove the following things entirely:
- the HDD cage (instead make it possible to have a mSSD additionally to WWAN, or two while you are at it)
- the LAN connection
- the VGA and Displayport connection
- the analog jack
- the card reader (is btw. a weakspot for palmrest)
- the express card reader (see above)
4. Instead of the above utilise the daisy-chain technology of Thunderbolt to design smart adapter solutions. See end of post.
5. Make the following stuff optional when ordering:
- webcam (in some workspaces webcams are stricly forbidden)
- fingerprint-reader (there are people who do not trust those, why should they pay for it?)
- touchpad - yes I hate the touchpad, it is turned off yet still annoys the hell out of me - it is too small anyway
- mSSD (also applies to RAM: people might want to choose what exactly they get)
... all with respective bezels if not ordered. RAM and mSSD slots need to be accessible without disassembly.
6. Add buttons to the ThinkVantage bar:
- wireless toggle (the design should basicly be the same, make sure it is not to be operated sideways but forward and backward)
- the ThinkLight toggle (I somehow always have papers in my left when trying to operate it)
- the screen brightness buttons (same, never enough hands to operate)
- the media buttons (forward, backward, play and pause)
7. Utilise both sides of the notebook for a more elaborate cooling solution, keep the back free of venting instead. Even with 3 USB connections on both sides under the palmrest there is at least double the space on the left and the same space on the right. Powerful cooling also may add better processor options?
8. Utilise the additional space in the back for a bigger battery. I suspect with the right placement of the Thunderbolt connectors, there should now be enough space for 1 additional cell (or two for the bigger one).
9. Make all ports coverable with a cover that is attached to the notebook somehow.
I realise that implementing all of my suggestions would make it much of a redisgn instead of a refresh, but I do believe it would benefit this line tremendously making it an even more powerful, lightweight, ergonomic and most of all adaptable plattform than it already is, even if removing many different ports seems to make it less so on first glance.
I personally would even go as far as removing the USB ports also, but then again it might be a bit silly to require an adapter for the industry's most widespread connection standard.
I can foresee that many will disagree with me on removing all these different connection possibilities and I would not suggest doing it, if we would loose the option to connect to such devices. Smart adapter solutions in combination with the daisy-chain technology within Thunderbolt will prevent actually loosing connectivity with LAN, VGA, Audio and Displayport, while retaining USB ports keeps solutions to read storage devices and most expresscard usability readily available to the user in a much more adaptable way. And the rest is covered by Thunderbolt itself anyway.
The viablility of removing the intefaces which I suggest, just depends on which adapter Lenovo ships the notebook with (some sort of display adapter and LAN adapter would have to be included, I guess) and what kind of pricing the rest of the adapters (and cables) will they be able to offer the customer and how those adapters are designed.
For example I would not want to have additional cable clutter on my desk by daisychaining my audio, LAN and VGA adapter with cables between each. On the other hand I prefer if the adapter I buy does not have unnessessary functionality. This is why I imagine some sort of push-fit system that creates a nice and clean strip when plugged together and has one piece to close off the end. Of course daisy-chaining a high-resolution display and an external raid for videocapturing purposes is a bad idea, but the users that do such sophisticated things will know about that sort of thing anyway.
Well, I better stop here before I go on and on. Please tell me what you think.
05-09-2013 03:55 PM
I think non of the things you have mentioned are going to happen. The next generation of X-Series will be completely different from your wishes, thats for sure. Just look at the new X230s (which is an Ultrabook X).
- They will completely remove the ThinkVantage bar, the buttons (with the exception of the On-Off buttons) will be integrated within the 6th row of the keyboard in order to make the keyboard size smaller
- They won´t remove any of the ports you have mentioned (and they should not!). These ports are so much needed, and no company wants to deal with masses of adapters for Thunderbolt. This move would be dumb, and it isn´t going to happen. Thunderbolt is still a very rare and very special port.
- They won´t make the touchpad optional (instead, the Touchpad will getting much bigger, and the TrackPoint buttons will be integrated)
- They won´t add port-covers. Thats something they had in the 90s, and they learned back then that it was a bad idea.
And the rest is also very unlikely to happen...
05-10-2013 02:30 AM
I think one of the reasons the X2n0 series has been so successful is because it has packed many of the expansion options of larger devices into a smaller form-factor. To me, it sounds like what your really looking for is an "ultrabook" class system like the X1c, or maybe even a device like the Yoga 11, which runs Windows RT.
To date, I'm not aware of much in the way of Thunderbolt peripherals. There are quite a few external drives, some third-party docks for Macs and, of course, Apple's own displays, but it hasn't quite developed into the same ecosystem that USB has.
Laptops actually did use to ship with things like gaskets and sliding covers covering their expansion ports, but those have largely disappeared, except in MILSPEC models where being water and dust resistant is a requirement.
While I think a lot of the simplifications you are looking for will appear over time as notebooks evolve in a post-PC era, there's still probably a few generations to come where people are going to need to connect to things like wired LANs, projectors, etc., and that means that systems like the X2n0 series are probably going to be around businesses, academic institutions and government agencies for quite some time.
05-10-2013 03:38 AM - edited 05-10-2013 03:51 AM
1. 7-row keyboard layout (at least optional), including mechanical trackpoint buttons
2. 16:10 or 4:3 or 3:2 display aspect ratio
3. IPS or PLS display with at least 900 vertical pixels
4. Thinner display bezel
5. 4G/LTE WWAN option for European region (AirPrime MC7710 etc.)
6. DisplayPort (no HDMI)
7. Better cooling (at least as good as X31 was) and silent fan
8. LAN connector on the back side
Do not remove LAN
Do not remove USB ports
Do not remove DisplayPort
Do not remove audio jack
Get rid of VGA
Make webcam, fingerprint reader and touchpad optional (i.e. 7-row keyboard layout without touchpad or 6-row with touchpad).
05-10-2013 04:54 AM - edited 05-10-2013 04:56 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone!
Well, it's not like I did not see it coming that people want all their connectors and I already addressed that. Additionally everyone is entitled to their opinion, so it would be tedious to argue about dealing with adapters here. The the really important thing was adding Thunderbolt anyway.
But if we retain all those connections, I would move LAN, VGA and displayport to the back and Audio to the left. Most such cables are sturdy and take away workspace by plugging them into the sides.
What I want to say though, is that I am by far not looking for an X1 (too big, just feels bad handling it) or even a Yoga (Tegra? Seriously?), because the X2x0 has just the right size and design from my perspective. It's the features I have wishes for.
Integrating the Trackpoint buttons into the touchpad would be my worst nightmare. I started looking at Thinkpads because of the Trackpoint and went from there. Removing the dedicated buttons, which are obviously very thoughtfully designed to be ergonomic (you can's say that about the Carbon also) would be a huge loss. I would even rather ask to make them mechanical instead.
About covering ports: Hell, I'd happily pay 5-10 bucks, to get a set to close off those ports I never used to date (LAN, Audio, VGA, Card Reader, Displayport) The only thing I did use was the ExpressCard Slot for an eGPU solution and that (hopefully) will be redundant with Thunderbolt in the future.
05-16-2013 04:06 AM
05-16-2013 05:43 AM - edited 05-16-2013 05:50 AM
@ Goretsky: Hey, thanks for your input.
@ ibmThink: You are absolutely right. And with their very clearly depicted arrogance (just look at the design blog entries, o my god!), they will not change their evil ways.
Sadly yesterday I saw the T431s (or better yet read 2 related blog entries from Lenovo) and it really got me discouraged about Thinkpads from Lenovo. The X220 is my first Thinkpad (my first notebook for that matter), and I knew that I would have to live with some drawbacks compared to the Thinkpads I was introduced to this brand with (back in the day before I could even think about affording one, let alone any notebook). But the direction the Thinkpads go just makes me wish I had the expertise, leadership and references to start a kickstarter (hail the kickstarter ^^) for a real professional notebook and not some apple clone the Thinkpads are going to be (dreaming like a kid here I know, but hell Lenovo takes away my toys).
Yes I know I wished for more simplicity with the connectors, but that's about all the new trend is taking with it's direction.
No physical buttons for the nub, changing keyboard layout to be unusable by people who grew accustomed to using shortcuts or have to use arbitrary software needing all those keys, a FRU battery!, still no better display option (yeah, yeah they just have not announced one yet... I get it Lenovo_marketing), no connectors at the back instead a display-hinge that disables us from using bigger batteries, are just some of the new fail-tures of a Thinkpad "designed for a cleaner look"... it will just be a matter of time until the Trackpoint vanishes.
Let's face it: If Lenovo does not turn around 180 degrees right here and now, they just killed everything the iconic Thinkpad stood for, including the user-centered experience.