A Love Letter to a Laptop

If David Pogue can write a love letter to a camera, I don’t see why I shouldn’t write one to my laptop — or, actually, to a family of laptops, the Thinkpad.

I just bought what will be my third Thinkpad. It hasn’t even arrived yet, so I should be cautious about singing its praises. I shopped around and looked at various laptops — and, yes, I considered Macs. I finally settled on the Thinkpad 410, nicely equipped and at a fair price.

Durability is what sold me. My first Thinkpad, a 600E, is more than a decade old. The darn thing just won’t stop running, although its old Pentium II processor now seems slow as heck. Six years ago, I retired the 600E and bought a T43. It has remained my primary computer until now and still runs without a hitch. Powered by a mere Pentium M processor, it still is up to any office task I throw at it and does a yeoman’s job with heftier programs such as Photoshop.

Here’s what a reviewer wrote about the T43 in 2005:

The ThinkPad brand has been built over many years now and has come to stand for high-quality, solidly built notebooks that are rugged in their matte black look, yet sleek and professional at the same time.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. And it remains so today, well after Lenovo took over the Thinkpad brand from IBM.

Here is what a reviewer wrote this year about my latest Thinkpad, the T410:

The ThinkPad T410 continues the ThinkPad T Series’s long tradition of providing workstation level performance in a portable package. If you want a lighter business notebook, you might want to consider the slimmer but more expensive T400s. However, if you’re looking for a top performing 14-inch business system with a comfortable keyboard and a dash of style, the T410 is a great choice.

Ross Kodner — who goes through laptops, as he puts it, “as if they were Schick Quattro Pro blades” — recently wrote about his latest Thinkpad, the ultraportable Thinkpad X100E netbook. Bravely, he plans to use it as his primary computer, substituting it for his brawnier T-series desktop. I’m not quite that brave, but Ross’s trust in that tinier Thinkpad is a testament to his faith in the Thinkpad brand overall. “I’ve long been partial to Thinkpads based on my personal experience with them as rock-solid workhorses,” he writes.

The worst criticism I’ve heard about Thinkpads is that they’re ugly. I guess that just proves that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I probably could have saved myself a few dollars in the short run had I gone with a different laptop, but I just couldn’t break off my long relationship with the Thinkpad.

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  • Bob, I suspect you’ll love your Thinkpad T410 – my brother, who works for Oracle, got one recently and is raving about it. I think in terms of mainstream laptops with 14″ displays, the Thinkpad T410 and Dell’s Latitude 5410 / 6410 series are the best of breed. Perhaps my Thinkpad affection derives from my obsession with pointing sticks – Dell and Lenovo are the two holdouts who still offer them.

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone could prefer the precision movement, hands remaining on the keyboard where they should be, versus vague touchpads that require fingers to come off the keys and be bent unnaturally backward into an inevitability carpal-tunnel-inducing position.

    Enjoy your new Thinkpad Bob!
    Ross Kodner
    Ross Ipsa Loquitur
    http://rossipsa.com

    • How did I forget to mention the pointing stick! Another reason I love Thinkpads. Thanks for bringing it up.

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