I spend most of my computing time switching between Google Chrome and Bash shell, especially the later. Therefore, a laptop with the best keyboard is essential to keep my hands and fingers happy, especially if you're suffering from Repeative strain injury (RSI). But this is manageable after all these years as I learned to how reduce the muscle spasm through massaging the correct trigger points.
If you ask me what is my dream laptop, it should be the legendary Thinkpad, especially the T-series or the lightweight X-series. Why so? If you spend a lot of time in the console which requires a lot of typing, a laptop with the best keyboard is a must, if you want to reduce injury to yourself. If you can, go for the classic keyboards (7 rows) instead of the newly introduced Precision keyboards (6 rows). After using both keyboards for a long period of time, I firmly believed that Lenovo made a big mistake by moving to Precision keyboards.
I used to own a E-series Thinkpad, which unfortunately, a cheaper, misleading, and fake version of Thinkpad without the durability and maintainability. Forget also the R-series, which is another economic version that is riding on the Thinkpad fame.
After reading the Used ThinkPad Buyers Guide, I bought or started to collect a used ThinkPad T420. Everything seemed good enough and looks like grade-A quality. Hardware details by inxi as shown:
$ inxi -b System: Host: motoko Kernel: 3.19.0-25-generic x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: Gnome 3.16.3 Distro: Ubuntu 15.04 vivid Machine: System: LENOVO product: 4180CTO v: ThinkPad T420 Mobo: LENOVO model: 4180CTO Bios: LENOVO v: 83ET63WW (1.33 ) date: 07/29/2011 CPU: Dual core Intel Core i5-2540M (-HT-MCP-) speed/max: 842/3300 MHz Graphics: Card: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: firstname.lastname@example.org GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Sandybridge Mobile GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.5.2 Network: Card-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e Card-2: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [Taylor Peak] driver: iwlwifi Drives: HDD Total Size: 500.1GB (14.8% used) Info: Processes: 253 Uptime: 1:16 Memory: 2738.2/7760.8MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.2.16
Although the stated maximum memory of the machine is 8GB, the result returned by dmidecode command shows otherwise, maximum supported memory is 16GB.
$ sudo dmidecode -t 16 # dmidecode 2.12 SMBIOS 2.6 present. Handle 0x0005, DMI type 16, 15 bytes Physical Memory Array Location: System Board Or Motherboard Use: System Memory Error Correction Type: None Maximum Capacity: 16 GB Error Information Handle: Not Provided Number Of Devices: 2
Unfortunately, after googling the full hardware details of the machine. I've noticed that the integrated Web Cam and fingerprint reader are missing from the laptop. It seems the seller rebuild the the laptop using a T410 case and T420 motherboard. I maybe wrong on this but that the best conclusion I can reach so far. Honestly, I have no one else to blame but myself but nevertheless, I can survive without these two features. Note to self, don't travel when buying any items.
On a related note, David Hill of Lenovo was conducting surveys on exploring on the idea of reintroduce a "Retro Thinkpad". Interesting outcome on the result of the surveys.