Retro ThinkPad Survey 4 – misc options

David Hill’s latest blog post, Retro ThinkPad Survey 4, takes us through the last and final survey on the Retro ThinkPad. An estimated 25,000 people have participated in the three previous surveys(#1, #2, #3) so the Lenovo team got a ton of information to work with. I personally think this is a huge outcome and with the last survey launches it looks like the interest in the Retro is definitely real.

ThinkPad Powerhouse – not a thin little fashion accessory

Survey 3 had honestly very few surprises (in my book that is, David was a little surprised that the SD card option rated as high as it did) with powerful dual and quad core CPUs being the preferred CPU range.

We didn’t see any charts on this, but the two top choices had significant numbers behind it that I suspect it was an easy overview.

With previous ThinkPads being powerhouses in terms of performance, build quality and durability, I’m as I said not that surprised that the CPUs with the predominant choices were the two biggest CPUs on the market. Did surprise me a bit that there wasn’t any news in there on the new Xeon chipsets – but, maybe we’ll see them when they’re launched.

Feedback is important

I don’t think many realise how big a step these surveys are in terms of market segmentation – but in my last blog on the surveys I mentioned a bit about it.

Getting this much feedback on product and device features is a huge benefit. It’s not a closed door with some fancy marketing ads springing up, showing happy hipsters sitting parks or looking relaxed and stress free. This is real feedback, from those that buy quality kit, and I seriously hope Lenovo pays attention to everything in the surveys AND the comments that’s coming in on David’s blog posts.

linuxist couldn’t have been any more spot on with this comment.

Comparing Lenovo to Apple, I think Apple would be never to do a survey like this and absolutely not as extensive a survey as this. They believe they just know what’s best. This is their tragic flaw. Sometimes they get it right, but sometimes they’re just plain wrong.


Another spot on comment from David’s blog by Alex:

Sometimes it is good to have a benevolent dictator. But of course, asking a niche group of users like us will also give you the chance to spot new trends.



Take the last and final survey here.

The guts, more guts and then some – Retro ThinkPad survey #3

Now as I mentioned in my blog post from last week, a laptop is more than just a fancy accessory for me – it’s a tool and I spend a lot of time weighing up what I’m going to be using it for. That’s why the 3rd survey (in a series of 4) for the Retro ThinkPad is one of the most important ones for me. This survey now looks at the guts of the laptop – yup, and it’s now live.

More than 6000 took the 2nd survey!!

What? That’s absolutely awesome and I can only say that this amount of responses are going to do  the Retro ThinkPad a lot of good. The more that answers the surveys, the more accurate Lenovo and team Hill can be when it comes to actually building it.

Some of the answers that’s come out of the 2nd survey actually surprised me – especially how equal the votes were around Lighting.


Would you prefer ThinkLight or Backlit keys?

  • ThinkLight: 50.6%
  • Backlit keys: 49.4%

This question came from the 1st survey as well and was asked again in the 2nd survey as the results weren’t clear enough. Guess that’s still the case.

The question around what screen size most wanted didn’t surprise David Hill (the 14.1″ came out on a clear winner) and neither was the aspect ratio (at 16:10) which more than half of the responses favoured.

Some of the true diehard fans commented on David’s blog that they were disappointed with the aspect ratio and even wanted to forego the device altogether because of that.

Without going into a full scale virtual war here, then I honestly think that’s just being a little bit too much of a purist imho – would you also prefer a CPU from 1999 and a CD drive, running Windows ME?

I personally think the Retro will have a lot more to offer as well as bring it into the 21st century without us going down the road of being too purist about things. Lets also be practical, those types of screens are hardly manufactured these days.

That being said, reading the comments on David’s blog shows just how strong the fan base are around this device and that’s also a good thing.



2nd Survey up for the Retro ThinkPad

As I mentioned in the blog entry from last week, Lenovo is working on feedback for the Retro ThinkPad and this week we see the 2nd survey launched.

The focus of the 2nd survey is display size, aspect ratio, resolution and system status indicators (Last week was keyboards and lighting). With more than 4,000+ people responding to the 1st survey and the response was overwhelming to say the least – the 1st survey is still up if you haven’t participated yet.


Results from 1st survey

In David Hill’s 2nd blog post, announcing the details of the 1st survey and also what to expect from the 2nd survey the results was quite interesting.

For instance, a 7-row keyboard was without a doubt the preference (one of my choices too), with the results from the survey coming in as follows.


Would you prefer a 7 or 6-row keyboard:

  • 7-row keyboard: 80.3%
  • 6-row keyboard: 19.7%

With regards to the keyboard lighting then the results wasn’t decisive and David has added the question to the 2nd survey again to see if it could be narrowed down some more.


My preference unfortunately didn’t make it to the 2nd survey – i’d like to see both the ThinkLights and a backlit keyboard, but with the option to turn both on and off individually.

Why do I think these surveys are important?

Well, it’s actually very simple. When you normally pick a laptop (or device) there’s a focus on both brand and budget. Mostly you see a lot of fairly “generic” laptops on the market, even from the big makers, with nothing really standing out so the choice comes down to what you prefer and branding here usually have a big impact.

I view laptops as a tool – yes, i have clear preferences as to which brands I wont touch (Apple being one of them) but within the other brands on the market the offerings are usually fairly standard – so price plays the second role. Where can I get the most bang for my buck.

Having an opportunity to give feedback, which addresses all of my preferences within a device, is almost like building a high-end custom laptop – which when I’m honest I really can’t afford. I’m not naïve enough to think that all of my choices will be addressed, but if I can weigh in on those that most concern me then I’ll definitely be doing so and when it only takes a few minutes of my time, what more can you ask for?