When we reviewed the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon roughly two weeks ago, we noted that while its touchscreen, battery life, and input devices were excellent, we also predicted that ThinkPad veterans would likely be put off by the revamped keyboard found on the newest iteration of Lenovo’s long-running notebook line. It turns out that we were onto something there.
If this thread on the official Lenovo forums is any indication, there is a significant number of ThinkPad X1 Carbon owners who are none too pleased about the new keyboard layout, which removes the Caps Lock key entirely, compresses the Backspace and Delete keys, includes a digital row of adaptive function keys that changes based on which program you’re using at any given moment, and more.
We could go on and on about the changes, but we’ll let owners of the new X1 Carbon take it from here. Here’s what “Mike” said on this Lenovo forum thread titled “New 2014 X1 Carbon owner very unhappy.”
“What astonishes me the most about the new X1 Carbon keyboard is the removal of the Insert key.
I’m looking at the programs I have running right now and use every day, and all of the following have important keyboard shortcuts that use the Insert key, either by itself or combined with other keys:
Visual Studio 2013
Paintshop Pro X6
I guess ThinkPad users aren’t expected to use programs like these any more.”
Ouch. Poster “brianfriesen” responded to Mike’s comment by weighing in with this:
“That’s another excellent point. I routinely use 3 to 4 of those programs you listed and I can tell you firsthand that in both Visual Studio and Excel this new keyboard and FN keys have made functionality an absolute nightmare!”
After that, the hits just keep on coming, with “xynamax” adding this to the discussion:
“Ugh. I had hoped the new X1 would be the saving grace.
Like you, I’ve been loyal to Thinkpads since mid-90’s. I returned a T540p that I spent $2500 on recently because the trackpad/keyboard were just plain awful.
I was hoping the new X1 would have had the same keyboard/trackpoint setup as the first-gen X1, guess not. I saw the photos of the kbd and thought exactly the same thing, where did all the function keys go?!@#
For got sakes Lenovo, STICK TO WHAT WORKS!
“Syndication” also expressed disappointment regarding the new X1 Carbon’s keyboard.
“With that said, this laptop is solid and well built, but crap design decisions ruin such a great laptop. If Lenovo keeps moving this direction with their corporate line, T450/etc (next gen), we will likely stop purchasing Thinkpad laptops company wide. Leave the flashy light bar to the ideapad line where it belongs. Anyone who works for a living is not going to sit there and screw around with all the extra functions on the light bar when they can do it quicker via a decent keyboard, trackpoint/and or touchpad.”
Ditto for “andrew4ceo,” who had this to say.
“Thanks for the review. And I agree. I am not buying the new X1 cabon unless they bring back the keyboard and trackpad of the previous model and the SD card reader.
Sorry Lenovo, you failed on this one. Instead of telling us what we want, you should ASK us what we want. We are the consumer….. And we are not dumb like those Mac users who thinks anything Apple does is right.”
Based on this forum thread, it’s clear that some owners of the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon are just not keen on the changes made to the ThinkPad’s keyboard. However, this doesn’t necessarily represent a majority of how X1 Carbon owners feel about its keyboard. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see what the X1 Carbon’s sales figures look like later on this year, and whether the next version of Lenovo’s ThinkPad will stay the course on the keyboard front, or go back to employing a more traditional key layout.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.