Why my X230 might be my last Lenovo laptop

15Aug14

I got my Lenovo X230 when I started with CohesiveFT almost 18 months ago. I’ve generally been very happy with it, but the cracks are starting to show – literally:

Frame above wrist pad coming away, and also a hairline crack at the top of the ExpressCard slot.

Frame above wrist pad coming away, and also a hairline crack at the top of the ExpressCard slot.

Not as robust

I’ve had a succession of ThinkPads – T20[1], T41, X60T, X201T, a loaner X220 from the good people at Bromium, and now my X230. They’ve all been pretty indestructible apart from the X230. The screen has always felt a bit flimsy, but now other bits are falling off it. Earlier in the week the ThinkPad logo on the wrist rest came off:

Look closely and see the marks from the superglue I used to put this back

Look closely and see the marks from the superglue I used to put this back

and now I see that the indicator cover for the top LEDs has gone missing:

X230_LEDs

I don’t think I’ve been treating this one any harder than other ThinkPads I’ve owned, so I can only conclude that build quality is being compromised. I’d also note that my other Thinkpads have generally done 3 years of service before being retired, meaning that this one should only be half way through its journey. It also needs a new battery, as endurance has fallen from 5hrs to just over an hour – at least the battery is replaceable (and not too expensive).

The reason I got it in the first place

I chose the X230 because it can take 16GB RAM (and because I know from experience that 8GB isn’t enough for my typical usage). The newer X240 only takes 8GB RAM, which seems to me a significant step back.

X230_X240_RAM

From the Crucial memory configurator

I’ll soldier on for the time being

As there really aren’t any great alternatives. I quite liked the Dell XPS13 that I got on loan a little while ago, but that also tops out at 8GB RAM. At a push I might go for a 13″ MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM, but what I really want is an 11″ (or better still 12″) MacBook Air with 16GB RAM (and a 1TB SSD[2]). My fingers are crossed that after this year’s Intel Developer Forum we see some serious machines with lots of RAM and storage in a lightweight and robust package (and not more gimmicky convertible tablety things).

Notes

[1] My T20 survived an incident where a Newark taxi driver slammed the trunk down on my bag carving a gouge into the lid of the laptop. I’m pretty sure that most lesser machines would have been smashed to bits by that. My T20 came through with a scar, but it had no effect on how I used it, and it delivered a few more years of reliable service.
[2] I recently swapped out the Samsung 840 500GB SSD that I put in when I got the X230 for a Samsung 840 evo 1TB mSATA SSD. The process was pretty painless as I was able to have both drives in the laptop at once. Having completed the migration I moved the new SSD to an mSATA to SATA adaptor, as the mSATA port on the X230 is only SATA2, so I was missing the full (and impressive) speed of the newer drive.



8 Responses to “Why my X230 might be my last Lenovo laptop”

  1. Did you get the three year warranty with yours? I’m considering taking mine to for a walk-in repair for marks on the screen. Do you know of any good places near London for that?

    • It seems that it does have a 3yr warranty, and that I have 11 months left. I sadly have no idea about walk in repair places in London. I guess my whole point was that my previous ThinkPads haven’t needed any attention.

  2. 3 Boris

    Exactly the same issue here. Have the X230 with 16GB and 1TB SSD and cracks and parts coming off everywhere. Also never had the problem with older Thinkpads. I have extended warranty but they refused to replace the palmrest etc. as they claim it is not covered but due to improper handling.

    Let’s the what the X250 brings. But I have my doubts already…

  3. 4 Michael

    I too have noticed Lenovo hardware going downhill. The palm rest on my T410s has cracked. And many Thinkpads that I see have indentations in the screen from the keyboard and the red mousepointer in the middle of the keyboard. This shows that the screen needs to raised a bit when the lid is closed. Poor design.

    When combined withe Superfish, I am done with Lenovo.

  4. 5 Vish

    Actually i am planning to buy x230 . this blog really helps me and in this blog you mentioned “Intel Developer Forum we see some serious machines with lots of RAM and storage in a lightweight and robust package” . Do you have any update on this information . so which model do you suggest with the similar configuration ?

    Thanks in advance

    • I might have hoped that IDF would bring machines with more RAM, but it didn’t. Sadly the trend seems to remain that 8GB is where normal configurations top out (even on so called ‘developer’ machines like the Dell XPS13) and 16GB is reserved for a tiny handful of super high end offerings (that are usually way too big and heavy).

  5. Re: Thinkpad quality/robustness – Lenovo recently announced TP production being sent back to Taiwan as the expected cost & quality gains never appeared when production was transferred to China

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-Moves-production-reportedly-back-to-Taiwan.172382.0.html

    • Without even making that move it seems that Lenovo have their quality mojo back. I’ve been much happier with the X250 I got at the end of last year.


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