02-25-2018 12:41 AM
As a long time user of Thinkpads I periodically refresh my machine and every time there are compromises I'm having to make. I am looking to update my T540p and have several issues.
* Keyboard cusor keys: There's still no option of a keyboard without number pad. Personally, I'd like to see a standard layout set of cursor control keys, rather than having small keys and home, end, pgup/down all in the 'wrong' place. Having a broadly similar layout to standard keyboards would be great.
* Too few USB-A ports: Laptop and computer usage has taken it's toll on my neck, so I carry a laptop stand to raise the screen up for 50% of the usage time. I use a Matias wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. This is a great setup, but requires two USB dongles. I don't see a single gen 8 i7 model that has more than two USB-A ports. My standard setup would leave me with no spare USB-A ports.
* No ports on the back: New models seem to also be moving the power connector to the side, away from the back. Rear entry connectors keeps cables out of the way.
* I'm now over the move away from 4:3 aspect ratio screens! Not having enough ports is not so easy to accept though. I'm looking at other brands now - shock, horror! What a shame when Lenovo can't find space for sufficient ports with sensible placement, in my opionion at least.
I work in multiple locations and so have to carry everything I want to use. The USB-C dock would resolve my USB shortage but mean carrying more kit with me.
I'm interested in knowing whether this is a problem for others, and understanding Lenovo's thought process in making these changes.
02-25-2018 06:33 AM
Personal website: ThinkScopes
02-25-2018 10:10 AM
I cannot help with the "ports on the back" problem. As stated above, they just are not possible with the thin machines and more people want "thin and light". I'm afraid that USB-A ports are on the way out, right after DVD drives. The discussion is similar to those that were going on when PS-2 ports were being replaced by USB or when floppy disks were going away, etc. You might think about carrying some of these or leaving them at the various places you work. The link is just an example. I have never used this seller so it is not any sort or recommendation.
02-25-2018 10:47 AM
The T series machines I've been looking at are not really *that* slim. The hinges on the models I've owned and had occassion to open up have screens hinged at each end of the chassis. Typical battery placement would obviously get in the way. When you look at the innovation and engineering challanges overcome by smartphone manufacturers then I don't accept that they *cannot* do it, they likely just choose not to as a compromise - or genuinely feel that people don't want conectors at the rear.
It's not the end of the world, I'm just interested in knowing whether I'm the only one who'd prefer tidier cables.
As I say, I'm over 4:3, and probably wouldn't want to go back to that format now I'm used to 16:10.
02-25-2018 11:14 AM
What! DVD drives have gone! ;-)
I'd be happy for USB-A to transition to USB-C, but I don't feel there is sufficient peripheral support for USB-C just yet. Providing support for USB-C makes sense but not at the expense of severely limiting USB-A. I'm used to four USB ports on a laptop, the T580 I'm looking at has three - two As and one C... or potentially two USB-C as there's a Thunderbolt 3 that *should* work as USB-C.
If I moved over to say a USB-C wireless mouse - instead of having a low profile (say 5mm) USB-A dongle I'd have a large USB-C dongle pretruding I guess 15 mm (from the couple I've been able to find.) I.e. not suitable for leaving plugged in whilst in the case (integrated BLE4 (say) and good interop standards should get rid of dongles anyway - but that's another thing!)
I can't even find a wireless keyboard with USB-C dongle - let along a descent keyboard like the Matias! :-(
I'm just struggling to see a slick solution for my setup. Maybe the C / A adapters you helpfully provide a link for, will be workable for plugging in USB-A devices and existing flash drives. Plus when spending a lot of money I feel I shouldn't have to be compromising.
Maybe I'm just too demanding!! That's the problem!
02-25-2018 10:49 PM
They have their reasons for mounting thte displays like this. At the end of the day, they are the engineers, we're not.
I'm quoting an employee of Lenovo:
"Thinness requirements have driven drop-hinges, which eliminates rear ports. The keyboard piece is driven by complexity - more 15" users want a numpad (I understand the feeling). The screen piece is driven by the industry. There are currently more ports on its replacement (2xUSB 3.1, a USB-C and a TBT-3)."
I personally don't mind not having ports at the back, because you have to close the lid or look at the back to plug something in, which is quite annoying. Now basically you peek to the sides to plug something in. It cannot get easier than that.
All the changes you mentioned are results of requirements set by both Microsoft and Intel. Manufacturers like Lenovo, HP and Dell can't get around this. A quick Google search for 'imposed requirements ultrabook intel' will probably give you a head start to a basic understanding of the changes.
The best you can do right now is keep your head down and buy whatever is available on the market.
Personal website: ThinkScopes
02-28-2018 12:20 PM
Yes, the P51 is an option I'm considering, though with a P52 in the wings, with gen 8 i7, it puts me off getting an older model. I'll be hammering it for a few years so like to get the latest and greatest when I change. Again, it's a shame I should have to consider compromising when spending so much.
I guess there's just not the demand for 'proper' cursor control keys. Lenovo could clearly offer an option if there was the demand. Demand is certainly not apparent from my posting!
Thanks - Steve
02-28-2018 12:35 PM
Thanks for the Lenovo quote. Interesting.
Obviously you wouldn't locate frequenty used ports on the rear. Power, Ethernet and say a couple of spare USB (for permenent low profile dongles say!) The engineers obviously choose to direct their efforts elsewhere.
Maybe it's time to have a serious look elsewhere.
I appreciate your input.
Cheers - Steve