Lenovo is considering building a modern ThinkPad laptop using some vintage design elements. Chief Design Officer David Hill unveiled the concept last month, and while the company hasn’t committed to actually building a Retro ThinkPad, Lenovo is running a series of surveys to solicit feedback.

The third survey just went live, asking users what kind of hardware they’d like the laptop to have under the hood.

retro thinkpad light

Preliminary results from earlier surveys show that most respondents want a laptop with a 14.1 inch display, a 7-row keyboard, and some sort of illuminated keyboard — but people seem to be pretty evenly split on whether they’d prefer backlit keys or a “ThinkLight” that shines down on the keyboard from above (which works better on keyboards with narrow gaps between the keys).

Among other things, the latest survey asks users whether they’d like a system with a powerful quad-core 47W processor or a more energy-efficient dual-core 15W chip, integrated or discrete graphics, support for up to 16GB of RAM or up to 32GB, and whether they’d prefer a hard drive, solid state drive, or some combination of the two.

In addition to the new survey 3, surveys 1 and 2 are still open if you want to submit your ideas. At least one more survey is coming next week.

thanks Aaron!

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21 replies on “Lenovo seeks input on its Retro ThinkPad concept”

    1. Yes that would be nice to have a proper OS altenative to Windows. As it stands I have been installing a Debian on every single thinkpad I have ever owned, straight out of the box.

  1. i still do have a real retro – x21 with detachable base station for extra drives.
    kick in a modern processor and ram and there you are. all the rest of this marketing hoe has nothing to do with retro.

  2. This has to be a joke right? A logo? Silly “lights” instead of a proper backlit keyboard? And the rest listed there was just as silly. Who is the market for this anyway, and what about any of this is “retro” in any meaningful let alone useful way? I’d hate to see their other products!
    I’d think “retro” would mean things like an optical drive, good selection of ports including VGA out, discarding SSD in favor of cheap reliable HD, etc.

    1. The LED light in the top of the screen frame might still be cheaper to produce than a back lighted keyboard. And I would be fine with this option.

  3. Am I the only person who misses the eraser pointer? I just loved how fast you could get to things once you got the hang of it.. though now I have tablets and no need for it.. if Lenovo made a compact bt keyboard with one on it that’d be nice..

    1. I miss that too. I liked it better than the touchpad that is used now.

    1. I absolutely love the 1400×1050 SXGA+ resolution on my T60. I want that but in a modern 300 nit IPS panel w/ 98% RGB color gamut. Alternatively, a 3:2 panel like the Chromebook Pixel has would be also acceptable.

  4. The Thinklight is atrocious. Backlighting all the way. And another little piece of retro functionality that goes back to the beginning of speaker technology, point the frakkin speakers at my ears, not the wall in the opposite direction, not at the table or desk, not at my lap… at my ears.

    What I wish I could convince Lenovo to do is to use Core M in capable laptops like the x series (and bring back the x series convertible option with the twist/swivel hinge, yoga sucks). Wanting a silent, cool device doesn’t necessarily mean you want a wafer thin sheet of paper with no ports or battery life. I want 20 hours battery life, I want to be able to swap an optical bay in sometimes and I don’t want a laptop that would be hazardous to use on a lap. And I want ports coming out my ears. I’d rather have some I don’t need than have to carry adapters and hubs to supplement. 1 thicker, heavier laptop is more portable than 1 thinner, lighter laptop that requires extra cables and whatzits and thingamabobs in tow.

    1. The Thinklight isn’t great, but it’s not atrocious, and the Thinkpad speakers have never been great. My current T430 has better speakers than any I’ve owned before.

      1. I’ll admit to hyperbole on thinklight, but I wasn’t suggesting thinkpad speakers used to be better, merely that the concept of pointing speakers at listeners (before computers existed) is ‘retro’ and also ‘the only reasonable way of doing things’. I’ve never seen anyone point all their home theater speakers at the floor or the wall behind the entertainment center.

        I don’t need great speakers, I’m just sick of completely unnecessary muffling of voices as sound waves have to wrap around screens or bounce off surfaces to reach my ears.

  5. Thanks for the heads-up. As an ex-IBMer, I have been a Thinkpad user for a very long time, and will continue to be for as long as they continue to support the Trackpoint pointing device on their keyboards.

    A retro 16×10 screen Thinkpad with the coveted 7-row keyboard would definitely be a strong contender for my next Thinkpad.

    1. Might as well wade in! I have the last and greatest of their ultrabooks, the X220. It’s a small tank; chunky, serious, with easy access to all it’s innards. Great build quality, divine keyboard etc. Its let down by poor speakers (but this seems the norm) and the resolution could be a bit better. If they made this machine with a 13+ inch screen instead of 12.5. But to be realistic, since when do big companies like Levono actually go back to basics and listen to customers. More likely they will cull comments and pick the easiest and cheapest way to pretend to be retro.
      Regarding bloatware and spyware, getting rid of same is something you’re supposed to know how to do…basic computing skills.

  6. User removable battery, matte (anti-glare) screen, user removable/upgradeable main storage, user upgradeable memory… Basically, what we once had, a long time ago – before you stopped listening to us and embraced planned obsolescence. Yes, I will pay more for this; and no, I do not live for “thin and light”. I just want quality, and a reasonably long device lifespan. Oh yes, I forgot one more thing – STOP loading the machine up with bloatware and crap that spies on me!

    1. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Thinkpads never had spyware loaded on them, and the T series Thinkpads still have all those things you claim they removed.

      1. You don’t know what you are talking about! Where were you when fairly recently Lenovo was caught Red-Handed loading third party spyware/malware on their machines before shipping them out? Lenovo was forced to back-peddle and issue a public apology. Remember, this article & survey is about Lenovo, not the legacy IBM company or its products.

        1. As Brad says, Thinkpads have never been loaded up with third party spyware. This article is talking about a retro Thinkpad that Lenovo is considering building. The Thinkpad T Series still has a removable battery, a matte screen, and user upgradable memory & mass storage. How do I know? I’m using one right now!

      2. And another thing. I recently went to my Lenovo distributor and took a good long look at what my options were – and NONE of the machines gave me all the things I listed. The non-shiny screen is a real problem. That is the way it is in my country (SE Asia), I don’t know about your country. I just gave up and went back to my old but trusty T30.

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