On September 2012 I bought my first laptop after relentlessly comparing the several educational offerings at my university. It was a ThinkPad X230. In the following 8 years it has been my primary laptop for study, leisure and work.
I bought my ThinkPad X230 for HK$6,180 in 2012, which is HK$ 7,005 in 2020’s money. For the same price, it is easy to buy a laptop with way superior spec today but impossible to sell this for anywhere higher than HKD$1,000.
Despite I have ranted about this laptop growing old, and looking for a new laptop, this laptop stays on my desk. I did switch to a Razer Blade 14 2015 for some time before spilling a glass of water over its keyboard, causing it to sometimes refuse to charge the battery. For serious work though, it’s always been the ThinkPad X230.
This laptop was built like a tank. Its magnesium alloy case cracked and Delete key chipped away. I left a cut on the screen with a screw driver (which recovered on its own over the years) and partially submerged it in rain water. All the while it worked flawlessly and reliably for me.
These days I kept hearing complaines about poor laptop build-qualities from my peer, made worse by non-serviceable or service-unfriendly design. Planned obsolescence plus the drive to pack more powerful hardware in smaller package causes laptops these days to break even before warranty ends and beyond self-repair more easily. I cannot reasonably expect a shiny expensive laptop I buy today last more than say, 3 years without developing any annoying glitch which I cannot repair by myself or costing almost as much as a new laptop to fix!
When I stumbled upon a post on LOW-TECH MAGAZINE about buying and using old laptops from the days when they were built to last, I could instantly sympathize with the author. Instead of having half-working digital junk piling up at my house when the older ones work but glitch irritatingly, I want working laptops that I can repair for cheap.
While a laptop from the 2000s may seem too old for my need, something from the ThinkPad X 200 series seem like a good fit for me. They are portable, sufficiently performant and come with replaceable battery so battery life is less of a concern. I could upgrade them with an SSD or an extra stick of RAM, and they’ll work just fine.
I can’t imagine how my ThinkPad X230 kicks the bucket in the foreseeable future, or how it becomes so unusable I have to switch to another laptop. So for the time being I am staying with it, not looking for a laptop anymore.