Brothers from the same stable
A review, going from R61 to E595. This isn't strickly a comparision because they are very different laptops and there's about 14 years between them! However to see how far the laptop has come, what new, what's been left behind etc. In a way I've come to see them as brothers.
The ThinkPad E595
These are the basic specs:
- The basic spec for this laptop I have here is:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700U with Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx (8) @ 2.300GHz
- GPU: AMD ATI 05:00.0 Picasso
- AMD Radeon Vega graphics
- 16Gb ram
- 500Gb ssd NVME
- A 15.1" display res 1920x1080 60hz
- USB3, HDMI, USB C power in, Micro sdcard reader, ethernet & headphones.
Note: Battery internal and not unplugable, no CD drive (However space for second drive internally).
Comes with Windows 10 preinstalled.
Overall the build quality is good.
The screen has a metal (aliminium?) frame which makes is sturdy. The screen is bright and clear with the matt finish, which i prefer.
The keyboard is good, although not as good as the R61, but this could be that I'm not used to the feel of this one yet.
The main body is plastic which feel solid enough and doesn't really flex. It does get warm when used on your lap but not burning hot. I haven't opened it up, yet.
The presentation overall is quite plain and minimal, with only the iconic "ThinkPad", subtle "Lenovo" branding and few stickers. Comes in the usual matt black.
One thing I'll mention here is that after using a macbook pro with the back lit keyboard, this is something that should be here as standard and in this case lacking. If I can get one tht would word, I would definately upgrade, as there is no feature for dim lighting use.
The ThinkPad R61
The basic spec (upgraded from orignal)
- CPU: Intel Core 2 duo T8100 (2) @2.101Ghz
- Graphic : Intel mobile GM965/GL960
- 4Gb ram (original 2Gb)
- 500 Gb SSD
- disply 14.1" Res - 1270x 780 50hz
- USB2 Firewire, Powerin, pcimie, sdcard reader, cd/dvd player/burner (now not working), ethernet, headphone socket, mic socket, wifi no/off switch, mic on/off switch.
- Replaced battery with larger one.
This is one solid workhorse! It has been bashed and dropped, tea & coffee split over it, and it continues to just get up and work. This little unit will become my backup just in case, and for some projects that require a long time computer usage, like compiling an android rom. Last time I tried that on this machine took 14 hours! I dread how long it would take now.
The build quality is solid with metal chassis in the base and metal frame for the screen. The screen, at the time was good and it still works well but a second screen of high deffinition and resolution is required for graphics or detailed work.
The keyboard - second to none. The R61 althgouh doesn't have the backlit keyboard (not around at the time) does have an led light in the screen houseing that shone onto the keyboard, making is usable in dim lighting conditions.
The overall presentation is again plain and minimal. The usual branding.
Moving from the R61 to the E595
I was wondering how to explain the differences and I thought the best way is explaining the usage and how some little things I am going to miss. One thing I really liked about the R61 was a small set of LED icon notifications just below the screen. These are for useful things like caps lock, num lock, hard drive in use, wifi in use, battery charging/discharging, power plugged in and on, and sleep mode. The E595 Has a bright LED in the num losk & Caps Lock keys, a red LED on the screen lid to show sleep (pulsing on/off) and solid red for laptop on, an LED on the power button, and an LED when the power is pluged in. The difference is on the R61, they were all in one place, on the E595, they are scattered all over the place.
The power cables are different to and although the USB C plug is now a standard, the connector does feel fragile compared to the original.
One of the most notable differences is the size. The R61 is chunky while the E595 is bigger length and bredth, thickness is a lot slimmer. And being bigger means a bigger screen!
What I do like about the E595 though is the bigger screen, the numberpad on the side and a more powerful processor & larger RAM to match. It's also a lot, lot lighter. The finish is similar with the matt black styling, smooth on the E595 and grippy on the R61.
Both machines came with Windows (R61 - XP & E595 Win10).
With the R61 I kep Win XP on it for a while as there were some apps I had/used that could only run on XP. However, one of the first things I did was to shrink the Windows partition and install Simply Mepis (a Debian based distro) which became my standard for a long time. My old laptop, a Toshiba Satalitte (P3 700Mz, 192Mb Ram) would run Simply Mepis easily and out performed many P4's with 2Gb ram & XP! Through the years The R61 Has had Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and a few others, and has performed well in every case. Having the Intel hardware made it easy to find the drivers.
The E595 ws booted to Windows10 just to see, but only until it wanted my info. Then it was shutdown and MXLinux installed. Along side is Obarun (and arch based Distro without systemd) and Linux Mint (for running one app only that isn't available for Linux - details in another post later). The only drawback with this laptop at the moment is that it's too new and the graphics has caused problems with some distros - Linux Mint 19 with kernel 5.3 give a black screen yet 5.0 works fine. Others I've tried - Antix Linux has X-server crash, as does some others. Installed and deleted: Calculate Linux works well and does Ubuntu 20.04 (which I do not recommend - another time), Fedora & OpenSuse (live USB only) work well too.
If I can find a couple of 4gb ddr2 sodimm modules I'll upgrade the R61 to the 8Gb Ram that it should have had from the beginning.
I do like the E959 a lot and I'm already enjoing using it, and will continue to enjoy exploring its capabilities.
Now to find some more projects to utilise the power of this machine...
Have you recently invested in a new machine? What was it and was it a good choice?