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Why Thinkpad laptops are popular, and what are their advantages?

Let’s Discuss The Reasons Why Thinkpad laptops Are Popular, And The Advantages That Make Them So

ThinkPad is one of the most popular & renowned brands in the laptops market. One could describe them as are the Apple of the Windows world. They are exclusively used by all sorts of professionals. And it’s not uncommon to see organizations like NASA use them. You can clearly see many of them used in ISS (International Space Station) pictures, like these below:-

It’s one of the long-running brands that IBM started in 1992, and continued even today after 25+ years. It’s hard to come with another laptop brand that continued for that long.

All that ovation would make one wonder why are ThinkPad laptops are popular? What are their advantages? That’s what I will try to answer in this post, in as many details as possible.

If you’re a ThinkPad lover, I hope I managed to list the reasons you like them and kept on using them. If you are reading this article because you’re curious about the answer, then I hope this article has given you that.

 You can check out available ThinkPad in the following Amazon & eBay links:-


Buy and check the price on eBay:-

Linux Support

ThinkPad is well-known for their excellent Linux support. They often run Linux out of the box. That alone is a great reason to be used by Linux enthusiasts & computer science students. This isn’t a coincidence, back when the ThinkPad was owned by IBM, they made sure Linux was supported from the get-go.

Given how Linux itself is community-driven, and because ThinkPad was commonly used by its people. It was given that it will get its support. That made ThinkPad a great choice for Linux users back in the day. It became a status symbol among computer science majors even today.

Today, Linux support is much better. You can run it on many laptops other than ThinkPad. But you won’t go wrong if you picked a ThinkPad for Linux, especially if you care about the other advantages they have.

To give you an example on Linux support, I will use a modern ThinkPad, the T480, as an example. Here’s its hardware Linux compatibility, according to this ArchLinux wiki page. The table below shoes you the different hardware parts are supported:-

Lenovo ThinkPad T480
Device Status
Intel graphics Yes
Wireless Yes
TrackPoint Yes
Touchpad Yes
Webcam Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Mobile internet Yes¹
Fingerprint Sensor Yes²
1. No working Linux driver for Fibocom L850-GL. See this thread and this thread for more info.
2. Supported on Kernel 5.8.1 with libfprint-tod-git. See this Reddit thread for more info

You can always use ArchLinux wiki to check the Linux compatibility of many other laptops. Including those of other brands, just click on the brand name at the top of the page and check the laptop model you have.

Built To Last

ThinkPad is known for their rugged design, and how they can withstand more hits than your average laptop. That’s not to say they are fully-rugged like these military-grade laptop you see in YouTube. This is great in the age where everything ought to be just thin & stylish. Let’s take a closer look at that.

Many ThinkPad laptops have a protective cage and metal inside that protects your laptop. Here’s a picture I took myself of the protective alloy at the bottom of the keyboard of the ThinkPad X230:-

The metal parts also helps protect the motherboard from bending and thus damaging it. Many of the ThinkPad models are spill-resistant, and can still work if you spilled water on them (they may stop working if you submerged them into water though, thus the term “spill-resistant”). They often have cut-outs on the side of the keyboard so that water won’t spill into the motherboard. Certain models have sealed keyboard, so flipping them after spilling water rids you of the water.

The following video showcases that wonderfully:-

While it’s nice to have a laptop that lasts, it’s not an excuse to not backup your data, which is always a must, no matter what your use case is.

It’s worth noting that some ThinkPad series are more known for durability than others. The T, W & X series are more applauded than other series.

Easy To Repair & Parts Availability

ThinkPad are so easy to repair. Unlike many laptops nowadays, where many parts are glued or soldered to the motherboard, ThinkPad are still upgradable and repairable. If you want to change a certain part, like upgrading the HDD & replace it with a SSD, you totally can do that. The cover case broke? You can buy another one & install it yourself.

You could buy spare parts from Lenovo themselves in many cases. Also you can find them on eBay for cheap. Even stores like Aliexpress sell many of their parts. So anytime something break on you, you will likely be able to get the part needed to do the repair.

On the top of that, there are repair manuals available for many of the models, so you can do the repair on your own if you like. To give you an example, here’s an example of the repair manual for the ThinkPad X230 & X230i.

Here’s another one for the ThinkPad T430 & T430i

These are all old models that are 6+ years old. The fact you could repair ThinkPad makes them a great choice in case you wanted to buy a used ThinkPad, which we will talk more about later. ☇

The Trackpoint

Giving the importance of the Trackpoint & how it makes the brand stands out on its own, the Trackpoint alone deserves a point on its own here. It’s one of the best things about the ThinkPad in my opinion. There are many ThinkPad fans that like the trackpoint so much that would never touch a touchpad. It’s a very defining feature of the brand. There’s a reason why the ThinkPad logo has a red dot on the in its logo:-

You can check out available ThinkPad in the following Amazon & eBay links:-


Buy and check the price on eBay:-

When you use the Trackpoint, you aren’t required to move your hand from the keyboard much if you wanted to move the mouse cursor. That makes it so convenient to anyone who type a a lot, and specially software developers and writers, where moving the cursor to a certain word or select some text is a common tasks they do while typing or coding. Anyone who likes to type a lot for whatever reason should try the Trackpoint.

Besides convenience, the trackpoint give you a lot of precision on the mouse movement. Some tasks like dragging & dropping files are easier to do with a trackpoint and physical buttons. These are things trackpoint tends to lack in many cases.

Back in the day, there were many laptops that came with trackpoint, but trackpads slowly dominated the laptop space. ThinkPad laptops is one of few laptops that kept coming with them, and a good one at that. There are many laptops from HP & Dell that come with their own version of the Trackpoint, but they are nowhere as good as the one in the ThinkPad.

Ideally, modern ThinkPad gives you both the trackpoint as well as a touchpad, so you won’t feel out of place if you are a trackpad user who got into the them. It’s good to have a trackpad in place in case you needed to use any gestures or features that requires it, like zooming in & out with two fingers, for example.

Giving the importance of the trackpoint. I am thinking of writing an article on its own just for it. ☇

Excellent Keyboards

ThinkPad are known for their excellent keyboards, they are quite different to type on compared to different laptops. Try one in a nearby shop if they have them around to see what I mean.

It’s worth noting that the keyboards of the older ThinkPad are quite different from the modern ones. Many enthusiasts seek to buy ThinkPad used ☇, just so they could get their hand on the better keyboard and its layout. The ThinkPad X220 keyboard is one of these great keyboards. Some people go back to buy ThinkPad that date back to the IBM days for the reason.

Here’s how the keyboard of the ThinkPad X220 looks like:-

In my personal opinion, I prefer the older ThinkPad keyboards. But the keyboard in some of the higher models, like the T-series, are still very good. Unlike the trackpoint, which are almost only good on the ThinkPad laptops, I find that many laptops from other brands come with great keyboards.

Cheap To Buy Used

If you’re interested in the older ThinkPad models, or looking for a cheap but good used laptop, you can find a used ThinkPad in good conditions, refurbish on your own, and then you got yourself a laptop that can be used for a lot of purposes. Many of the things people use ThinkPad for like development or running Linux don’t requires powerful machines. General-purpose usage like internet browser can easily be done on a few years old laptop, as well.

You could find many of the older ThinkPad models under the $300 mark, even way less. Depending on the model & where you are looking for them.

You can check out used ThinkPad in the following Amazon & eBay links:-

Features Business Want

ThinkPad tend to have many features businesses would appreciate, especially those that care about protecting their data. Some individuals may appreciate some of these features, as well.

Here’s a short list of some of these features:-

  • Fingerprint sensor.
  • BIOS Supervisor password:- to make sure no one temper with the settings.
  • TPM chip:- TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module, it’s a security chip that provides many security features. Some of the possible features are encrypting data, creating a hash key for the software & hardware configuration, and making sure if wasn’t altered.

If Thinkpad Are That Great, Then Why Not More People Buy Them

Despite the ThinkPad popularity among many professionals, and giving the advantages they have. You may wonder why ThinkPad are not more widely used compared to other laptop brands, there are many reasons for that.

    • They aren’t exactly stylish:- While the ThinkPad laptops are not that bad-looking, and some of them are considered beautiful. They are much less stylish compared to many of the laptops out in the market. They all look the same, and they look old-fashioned for people. Many of the general crowd care about the looks of their laptops, and how it reflects their image to others. The fact some of the other laptops look shiny and beautiful make me give them that.
    • Some people only have basics needs:- A good spectrum of people only want a laptop for very basic needs, like browsing & typing documents. So they tend to buy cheapest possible that fulfill their needs. They won’t care for any of the ThinkPad features. If the machine broke, they can just replace it for another one. Getting a non-Windows machine like ChromeBook is a good choice for good chunk of those people. Buying a used ThinkPad is an option for those people, although it’s one of many.
    • Price-Per-performance:- A lot of people consider the Price-Per-Performance when they buy a laptop or computer. They want to get the best CPU they could, more storage space, and even more RAM. All under a specific budget. So even if any of these people considered a ThinkPad, they are less likely going to buy one, since the price-to-performance won’t get them to want it. Buying a used ThinkPad can be an option for this kind of people with a low budget. Since they can be found for really cheap at times, and give a good performance for a lot of uses.
    • Not exactly gaming machines:- Most ThinkPad aren’t suitable for gaming out of the box. For the most part, they don’t even come with a discrete GPU. Even if we considered the ThinkPad with the discrete GPUs, those looking for a gaming laptop are less likely going to go for them, unless they wanted a ThinkPad to begin with. The price-to-performance I mentioned above strongly applies here.
    • Upgradability are not always priority:- Not everyone care about upgrading their laptop. Many people buy a laptop, use it for 3-5 years, then sell it and buy new one once it gets older. They don’t bother upgrading the machine, even by adding more ram or replacing the HDD with SDD. I believe that’s one of the reasons why there are many good bargains in the used laptops market.

So, in short, many people won’t buy a ThinkPad, even if they knew about the advantages I discussed in this article. The opposite applies too, some will buy a ThinkPad if they did, especially if they care about convenience of the trackpoint or the durability of the machines.

Despite all the reasons I listed above. There’s still a chance people will catch on to the ThinkPad someday. Back when I used to be an Apple fan, there was a time where I was the only Macbook user out there, and it was hard to convince anyone to use them. Few years later, people started buying them more & more, and it wasn’t uncommon thing at all. The same may or may not happen to the ThinkPad, who know~

And Finally

ThinkPad may not be the same as they used to be in some aspects, but many of the things that made them great are still there. The trackpoint became better in my opinion, although you may or may not like the newer keyboard.

Some of the advantages of ThinkPad laptops are also found in business-grade laptops, which I wrote an article on a while ago.

I hope my post helped illustrate the advantages of ThinkPad laptops over other brands, and see you again with another article.

All Hail ThinkPad!!!

You can check out available ThinkPad in the following Amazon & eBay links:-


Buy and check the price on eBay:-

See Also:-

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