Lenovo Abandons Beveled Keyboards On New ThinkPads, Unveils X1 Carbon

Subject: Mobile | May 14, 2012 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, news, Lenovo

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Brace yourself, enthusiasts. The recent rumors that Lenovo will be ditching its traditional beveled keyboard in favor of a more modern – and some would say, inferior – chicklet-style design are true. Lenovo today announced new ThinkPad L,T, W and X series laptops. All of them ditch the old design for a keyboard similar to the one Lenovo has been using on the ThinkPad Edge since its introduction.

Lenovo’s ThinkPads have held strong for years as chicklet-style keyboards overtook the industry, causing enthusiasts looking for a great typing experience to flock in the company’s direction. Changing the design is sure to raise the ire of some enthusiasts.

The “Precision Keyboard,”as it is being called in Lenovo’s literature, is not entirely without benefits. The key surface allegedly reduces typing errors. It also finally gives ThinkPad owners a backlit keyboard option, something that couldn’t be offered on previous models because the beveled keyboard could not accommodate it. 

Some rumors had suggested that the ThinkLight (a small LED used to illuminate the laptop’s interior) would perish as a result of the new backlit keyboards. This does not seem to be the case. Screenshots clearly show that the light remains.

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Lenovo’s other big announcement is the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Lenovo’s previous X1, which we reviewed last year, was an ultrabook that predated the ultrabook – super slim, fast and expensive. Lenovo is now bestowing the X1 with the label and, as the new name suggests, a “roll cage” made of carbon fiber. 

The changes don’t end there. The new X1 is lighter, weighing it at 3 pounds instead of the 3.73 pounds of its predecessor. It has a better display, which is now 14 inches in size and ups the resolution to 1600x900.  And, as you’d expect, it receives Intel Ivy Bridge processors. That’s true of all the other ThinkPads announced today, as well. 

What do you think of the new keyboard? Love it? Hate it? Or don't care? 

Source: Lenovo

May 15, 2012 | 12:40 AM - Posted by lcarsos (not verified)

Sooooooo glad I bought my T420. I never did like the keyboard on the Thinkpad Edge.

But it does look like the keyboard is the same dimensions as the real Thinkpad keyboard. I'd be interested to see if they can be swapped out. Maybe I should stock up on replacement keyboards though.

May 15, 2012 | 12:49 AM - Posted by Kevin (not verified)

Where do you see the ThinkLight? There is definitely no keyboard button for it and the top cut out is much narrower than normal, normally this its quite wide so that the ThinkLight doesn't shine on the camera.

May 15, 2012 | 03:13 AM - Posted by Mr.Prayer

What is a "roll cage" in notebook?
Is it some kind of system of crosspieces preventing it from crushing?

May 16, 2012 | 09:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Roll cage is a protection frame made of aluminium alloy that protects the internal parts such as HDD from impact and pressure.

You can go to Lenovo's website to read more about it.

May 15, 2012 | 07:50 AM - Posted by j0hndoe

I don't mind it. I can't really give an honest opinion until I get a chance to use it for a day or so. Hopefully, it'll be a welcomed change.

May 15, 2012 | 12:30 PM - Posted by djskinnyb

Now I guess I get to carry a mouse AND keyboard with me everywhere. I hope this trend doesn't migrate to the desktop keyboards.

May 16, 2012 | 08:59 AM - Posted by Sharpe (not verified)

Guess it's time for me to abandon Thinkpads. My X220 will be the last.

May 16, 2012 | 11:36 AM - Posted by genomad (not verified)

I would like to try the new keyboard to see if it truly lives ups to expectations.

Over all this computer looks a like a winner. Ultra light notebook with a matte screen, a true lenovo trackpoint (other companies trackpoints don't work as well), and good battery life.

I doubt that I could justify the price, but I want it.

May 17, 2012 | 06:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe there is a way to put the Ivy Bridge possessor in my T61. This way I could keep the decent keyboard. Best of both worlds. Anyone know how doable this would be?

June 10, 2012 | 12:31 PM - Posted by Dirk (not verified)

Why the hell would they make this move? Lenovo was the only company in the world making laptops with good keys. Now there are none, they simply abandon their unique market niche for...what? Now there's nothing that sets them apart anymore.

The new chicklets are a tad better than the norm for laptop keyboard, but not enough to really warrant choosing Lenovo over other manufacturers. A sad day, and I hope someone at Lenovo gets fired when they realise their mistake.

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