I have a ThinkPad X220 which has been pretty awesome, but it’s getting long in the tooth. The only major downside is the screen - it has really bad, albeit temporary, image retention issues, and the 1366x768 resolution is dismal. I’m also not sure if I’m used to the keyboard, if it actually worn down, but tactility just doesn’t feel good anymore. I have a Chromebook now, and does address some of the concerns, but has it’s own downfalls, such as the limited utility of ChromeOS, and I think Chrome and the web are becoming a bit bloated for its Mediatek SoC - feels sluggish in use at times.
The primary use case is school work, and I am most definitely a power user. I use Ubuntu almost excursively on this machine. I love that the X220 is very much focused on function
- The keyboard layout is perfect. If I had a gripe, Ctrl key should be on the outside (without resorting to BIOS option to switch Fn/Ctrl, but at least it’s there), and the could have made the left super key slightly larger, and space bar slight smaller.
- TrackPoint (the pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard for mouse input ) feels amazing, and trackpad is good size (extra small, because no one should be using it in a productive environment).
- portability - while it is a product of it’s time (thus a fair bit bulky/robust), it still is pretty portable - relatively lightweight, and decent battery life (4-6 hours). I like how I can toss this thing in laptop (sometimes literally), and not worry about. The rigid chassis no doubt contributes to the phenomenal keyboard feel as well.
- Durability and stability - Everything is built well, with durability in mind, and is relatively easy to access: battery is easily replaceable, 2.5" is easily swapped, good I/O (especially for 13"), RAM is upgradable, etc.
- While the screen is a bit of a sore-point, it was a good choice for the time: IPS (in 2011!), matte finish display is great for work if it weren’t for the defect of image retention.
- This epitomizes a no non-sense, tool for productivity.
That said, almost every laptop I see these days is form over function (large trackpads, symmetrical keyboards/compromised layouts, glossy/touch screens, ridiculously thin, I/O, planned obsolescence) and basically the antitheses of what I fell in love with about the X220. I just feel like there aren’t any real workhorse laptops anymore, and I feel especially betrayed by Lenovo and their current thinkpad lineup.
I’m hoping I’m missing a gem somewhere. Are you aware of such a gem? Maybe a Chinese manufacturer has filled in this niche?