[ltp] x250 experience

Vivek Dasmohapatra linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Wed, 27 May 2015 14:09:45 +0100 (BST)

So we've landed a couple of x250 thinkpads + docking stations at work, now
that the x240 trackpad fiasco has been consigned (we hope) to the dustbin
of history, and here are my thoughts on them, having had to support users
on them for a month or so:

  - mouse: An improvement from the low-point of the x240, but you need
    either some magic kernel module and mouse config to make the mouse
    buttons work (which means you can't disable the trackpad) or kernel 4.0
    or later

  - keyboard: The descent more or less continues - keys still feel
    a bit mushy compared to my trusty x220 and x201 (hell, even my
    on-its-last-legs t43p compares well) and the layout is slightly
    worse than before (@ and # are on extra small keys for no reason,
    the crazy pgup/pgdn layout madness continues)

    The non-key function key row is at least gone, which I guess we
    should be grateful for.

    The capslock LED is still missing, which has caused multiple
    "my password doesn't work" incidents.

    The splash-resistant drain-through feature that was so great in the
    old keyboards is still missing.

  - memory: Only one slot, and you are limited to 8 GiB unless
    you want to pay for a very expensive 16 GiB DIMM. No idea
    what (if anything) the designers were thinking here.

  - maintainability: All the easy access panels for memory, disc
    keyboard etc are gone. You have to unscrew and unclip the whole
    back panel to get at anything (which takes forever because it
    always feels like you are going to snap the clips).

  - misc: all of the indicator lights (wifi, blutooth, capslock,
    disc activity, suspend) are gone.

    The power connector is the rectangualar one (introduced with
    the x240? Not sure exactly when it came in).

  - wifi: Works, but if you do go to kernel 4.0 you will need new firmware
    which may or may not be packaged yet

  - docking station: This thing is terrible. You need kernel 4.0 or
    later simply to have the laptop not lock up when docked. The
    dock feels insecure as it's just a wedge that sits under your laptop,
    not a tray like before (user feedback).

    Video output through the dock is unreliable, sometimes it works,
    often it does not. And you can't use displayport as it presents
    external monitors as extra streams on the existing display,
    (aiui), instead of as extra displays, which seems to be understood
    by exactly no software.

My verdict: Not as bad (in some ways) as the x240. Definite overall
downward trend continues, but unlike the 240 it is at least livable
with, unless you need a dock, in which case avoid until all the bugs
have been worked out.

If you are in the position of needing to do maintanence-y things
like swapping out hard discs and memory and so forth, these aren't
thinkpads anymore, they're just generic laptops.