New Thinkpad laptop for the road. Which one?

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
Post Reply
Posts: 3463
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Europe

New Thinkpad laptop for the road. Which one?

Post by ze2be » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:50 pm

Budget would be prefered within €2000, but if nessesary can be streatched to €2500.

There are so many Lenovos to chose from now, its confusing! My old Thinkpad x61 has been rock solid for almost 10 years. No other comp has lasted me that long, and with no hardware problems aswell! Just incredible. So id like to go there again!

This is a straigt up live laptop, and will only be used for that purpose. I have others for my home studio.

Now there is Lenovo touchpads with quad i7s, and 2 usb ports! Damn comfortable on the hotels and airports! This actually matters as you spend more time there then on the actual gig location. Weight also matters a lot as I want to carry all my most important gear on my body at all times while traveling.

There is the Yoga Thinkpad which is a hybrid that can flip around to be a touchpad, while still being a full laptop, with quad i7, 3 usb ports, terrabyte ssd, and so on. But is it as good for the road as the classic Thinkpad laptops? Not only thinking about physical sturdyness, but also chips that works solid with audio converters and controllers.

If neither the touchpad or the Yoga cuts it, then Id go with the classic Lenovo Thinpad again. I can do with only 2 usb ports, but 3 would be very convenient. The chosen model will be maxed out with ssd and ram, while chosing the best cost/performence/usability ratio for the cpu as I dont want to spend an extra 400€ for something that potentially pushes towards overheating in a few years just to gain a tiny bit more cycles. One of the quad i7 for sure though, but maybe not the bigest one.

Thoughts or input/knowledge about these models?

Posts: 15844
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: New Thinkpad laptop for the road. Which one?

Post by H20nly » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:17 pm

i used a Thinkpad T500, before i switched to a Macbook Pro. it was an AWESOME computer. it even had a sort of roll cage with shock absorbers for the HDD.

so i can tell you that, in my experience, the T series are built tough.

one slight issue i remember having... the onboard vs. discrete graphics gave me some trouble. but that unit was built for Windows XP/7, so whatever it was is probably long gone as a consideration when buying a newer model. it was definitely related to running Live and the TC Electronic Audio Interface i was using at the time. i do remember that i eventually (and reluctantly) disabled discrete graphics - i paid extra for the added video card.

personally, i like the Yoga... but i would be worried that the display would fail or that the unit would get damaged more easily than a more conventional laptop.

given the price point you mentioned, it seems to me that you could resolve your USB issue with a docking station and still have change left over.

Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:54 pm

Re: New Thinkpad laptop for the road. Which one?

Post by mhult » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:25 am

I am also a long time Thinkpad user, and have gone through a few of them over the last decade, so I can give you some tips from that perspective.

First, buying a new Thinkpad in 2019 you will find that they have changed quite a lot in the way they are built, compared to ten years ago:

- They are not quite as sturdy as they used to be. The edges of the lid don't wrap around the base anymore.
- The keyboards are not quite as good anymore, with island type keys and shorter throw, but still among the very best, and vastly superior to anything from Apple.
- The keyboard layout has changed, with dedicated function keys for media gone, and keys like home, end, pgdn, pgup, etcetera moved around.

Second, you will find that performance and stability will be very good and generally not an issue at all, as long as you go for an i5 or i7 processor, especially compared to the old X61.

Personally, I have always prioritised portability, and thus mostly stuck with the X series, with my favourite being the X1 Carbon. I have no interest in tablet functionality on my PC, so I always go for the conventional models. My current device has an i7 cpu, but if I was looking to save some money, choosing an i5 model while still having top level storage and display would be my priority.

If you find the X series too weakly built, the T series could be better. The T480s is quite portable.

I am also using a Thinkpad P50 for work, and while it is MUCH clunkier than the X1 Carbon, it is not nicer to use in any way, just heavier, in my opinion.
Live 10 Suite, Push 2, Roland V-drums, lots of plugins, hardware synths and drum machines...

Posts: 3463
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Europe

Re: New Thinkpad laptop for the road. Which one?

Post by ze2be » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:38 am

Thanks guys!

I god hit with fever and cold so research is a little delayed, but im planning to make a purchase in the following weeks.

Still unsure if the Yoga would hold up compared to the X or T. Im doing some graphics work next year, so could be handy to be able to draw on the Yoga screen, but not if its at the cost of unstability and fragility..

Post Reply