This past week I bought my first non-Thinkpad laptop in over 15 years. I'm writing this with the unlikely hope that someone at Lenovo might read it and care. I seriously prefer thinkpad keyboards, the trackpoint, thinkpad ergonomics, and Windows... but Lenovo machines are not even close to state-of-the-art anymore.
Here is the machine I WISH I could have just bought...
Lenovo W530u. <5lbs w/90 watt-hour battery, <1 inch thick, 16:10 aspect ratio 1400x1050 15.4" display, thinkpad keyboard and trackpoint, Ivy Bridge i7, switchable NVidia "Kepler" discrete graphics, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. ~~ $2000.
Instead, I replaced my W520 "back breaker" and 130W power-brick-embarassment with a Retina Macbook Pro... here are the reasons...
1) 15" thin and light ... The 15" Retina MBP is almost 1/3 the thickness, possibly 1/2 the volume, and just a little more than half the weight of my W520 (with the 9-cell). I'm willing to deal with a slightly thicker Thinkpad if I can get the original thinkpad keyboard, but this size and weight difference is not even close.
2) 16:10 instead of 16:9 ... PLEASE, stop making laptops designed for HDTV movies. I don't buy a $1.5k+ graphics discrete graphics workstation so I can watch DVDs. I buy them to WORK! (and occasionally game)! Honestly I was happier with the 4:3 aspect ratio on my late T40 and T42. I understand letterbox is all the rage in laptop form factors, but please, 16:10 is going far enough. 16:9 is less usable for webpages, documents, programming, and all manner of real things we do with computers. Stick to 16:10. (or bring back 4:3!)
3) Make a small power brick.. consider total travel size... The W520 power brick seriously feels like I'm carrying a whole additional laptop. The thing is RIDICULOUS. How can Apple ship me a machine with 2x faster graphics and 30-40% more battery life and use a small 85W power brick instead of Lenovo's silly 130W monster? Okay, maybe Ivy Bridge and Kepler are newer than the W520 innards, but please, Lenovo has all the same access. Where is their updated 15" workstation? If I include the 9-cell and a power-brick that make the W520 remotely competitive in battery life and utility, the W520+brick is seriously more than double the size and weight of the rMBP+brick.
4) No optical drive. Please. I don't watch DVDs on my $2k laptop. I havn't handled a DVD in over two years. I don't bring optical media when I travel. I havn't used an optical drive in a laptop in a long time. On my old T40/T42 I put a battery in the optical drawer (even though it hardly gave me any more runtime).
5) 5-7hr "real" wireless web usage. This means working switchable graphics and a big battery. My W500 did switchable graphics, though I'm not sure if my W520 even does it. I know making switchable graphics work as well on win7 as it does on MacOS is a bit "out of your hands", but try. Twist MSFT's arm. Make a totally custom integrated video driver. Find a way.
6) <2 second sleep-resume, and reasonable (20-30 day) standby time. Again, hamstrung by MSFT and win7, but do your best. Fight the good fight. Get that DRAM refresh powered down and hibernate to SSD!
I understand the Retina Macbook pro is "cheating" in that everything is soldered down. I'm fine with a bit of thickness compromise to socket some of the parts (battery, memory, SSD). I'm also fine with the parts soldered down. I just want something competitively thin-and-light
I love and will dearly miss my "real" thinkpad keyboard (not the island one). I'd gladly take either thinkpad keyboard on my fantasy W530u as long as it comes with a trackpoint and a thinkpad-style smooth front edge. (the sharp front edge of the macbook pro is very irritating)
Good luck Lenovo! Wow us with some new machines soon.