When we started KO GmbH I proposed that the default laptops for our company would be thinkpads, with a choice between small or big, depending on people’s needs. My first company Thinkpad was a W500 — 15″, 1900×1200 screen. It was my main development workstation until I got an additional desktop machine, but even then, I used it a lot.
It always had one big problem: the screen simply wasn’t bright enough. And when it aged, the screen problem became worse. It could take up to an hour for the backlight to warm up until the screen became properly readable, and I often had to move windows away from the right-hand side because that always remained darker than the rest.
And then the unbelievable happened. The right hinge snapped! Thinkpads are famous for being sturdy enough that you can pick them up by the screen, no matter the size of the laptop. I didn’t do that, but even so, the metal hinge thingy inside the plastic of the screen broke and forced the plast of the screen apart — and then the screen didn’t stay upright anymore without some kind of support.
Time to get a new Thinkpad…
I got me a T430, because I’ve got the desktop with a big screen now to do development, and the W500 really is too big and clumsy to travel with. I didn’t want to go with an X230 because, well, my eyes are bad and those screens are just too small.
Today the T430 arrived. I swapped the disk from the old laptop and I was ready to go. Pretty much everything works fine, that I can see. Wifi (except for a bug, I think in OpenSUSE, where I need to disable and then re-enable the wifi support to make it work, same problem occurred on my W500, so it might even be a local settings issue). It’s fast, the screen is bright and the resolution at 1600×900 not too bad. It’s not too heavy, there’s plenty of memory and the CPU is well capable of compiling Calligra, and it doesn’t get too hot in the process.
There are two gotcha’s that I haven’t solved yet: the fan is always running, and OpenSUSE doesn’t seem to have the thinkpad packages you can find for *buntu that can handle that. That needs a bit of investigation.
The other gotcha is the keyboard. Lenovo has decided to go with the flow and use a flat, separated keys style keyboard. It’s not horrible, but it’s worse than the old style keyboards. And they changed the layout… No longer the escape key over the F1 key, no longer the top-right island with insert, delete, home, end, pgup, pgdn. For some reason, the prtsc button now is placed between right alt and right ctrl. This will take more time getting used to. Not cool, Lenovo, not an improvement!