Knowing when to say "when" – Goodbye, X60 Tablet PC…


 

Goodbye, Lenovo Thinkpad X60.  In addition to the problems I had in the past, I experienced a new one last week.  The lenovo tablet has a sensor in it which determines the orientation of the screen.  When a user flips it around, the screen re-orients itself from landscape to portrait mode.


 


Last week, the sensor started firing for no reason.  My screen would flip while I was typing with the tablet on a stable desk.  Sigh.  Enough is enough.  Time to call this machine a “Lemon” and move on (are there lemon laws for computers?).


 


So I had to get a new tablet.  My manager and I decided on a Gateway, and it came in today.  I don’t have any particular concerns about any one brand over another, so Gateway is fine with me.  Also, this increases the “hardware diversity” of our team.  We try to get as many different pieces of hardware as possible for all of the testers, developers and program managers to use as possible.  While there are real world advantages to standardizing on one piece of hardware for everyone  (makes tech support calls a bit easier), we have to cover as many bases as possible with our hardware to test.


 


The OneNote test team here in Redmond has 13 total people on it.  We also have testers overseas but I’m not sure exactly how many there are.  So that gives us 13 total tablets for everyone to use on a daily basis.  A little quick searching newegg.com or amazon.com will show that there are far more than 13 tablet models for sale.  To help increase our hardware coverage further, Office has a configuration lab for everyone to use which has a huge amount of other hardware.


 


Now I’ll have some comparison between 2 tablets.  During the time the Lenovo worked, it worked well and I strangely have a positive impression of the machine.  I really feel I just had the bad luck of getting one single poorly created machine.  I hope the Gateway is better.  Only time will tell.


 


Comments, questions, concerns or criticisms?


John


Comments (10)

  1. What Gateway did you get?

    I think that’s great that you all make a concious decision to have mulitple HW platforms.

  2. James B says:

    We have been deploying a decent number of Convertable Tablets to customers since the spring and I myself went with one as well once I could get a Dual Core model for a decent price. We have one user with an X60 and he has had little or no trouble with it. He did decide he wanted something smaller so switched to the pure Tablet. Gateway Tablets, made by Quanta, are feature rich and priced right. The nice thing I’ve found so far on the Gateway is the base model is more or less the same across multiple model versions so a battery for one works with another, my dual core unit will take a core 2 duo and so forth.

    We have found those users that really get into using the "Tablet" prefer to go pure Tablet. I myself love the concertable setup. It will be interesting to see what Dell comes out with this fall. I spoke with a source inside Dell a few months ago and they had let on the main reason for Dell not going Tablet was they could not come up with a price point that the customers would go for and Dell could make the required return on but expected that to change by fall.

  3. Jonathan says:

    John:

    So what’s the defective X60t doing now?  Surely a quick in-warranty fix is worth it to at least have it available as a backup Tablet, right?  

    James:

    Are you referring to "slate" Tablets when you say "pure Tablet"?

    As a student and a techie, I’m really into my convertible X61t.  Taking notes with OneNote 2007 is amazing, but there are just some things that need are made to be typed and/or are easier to do in the laptop form-factor.

  4. JohnGuin says:

    The main problems (in summary, documented at http://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/06/14/lenovo-woes.aspx) were:

    bad memory modules (twice)

    noisy/broken fan blade

    a hideous experience trying to get a correct, working docking station

    port replicator returned and I never got a refund

    broken stylus holder

    the motion switch is finally kaput.

    Oh, and the tblet PC direction button quit working for UP/DOWN.

    The warranty fixed the memory problems, but caused the stylus problem.  The docking station/port replicator problems were caused by Lenovo employees.  Sigh.

    All told, though, I still believe the one device I had was simply a lemon.  I wish I could get our money back and replace the darn thing, but I guess our contract doesn’t include that option.  

    John

  5. Steve Wilson says:

    You’re not alone – my Lenovo Lemon X60 Tablet is getting worse by the day.  Performance has not really been that impressive to start, then my screen developed a weird tick.  Any time I close the screen (when hauling it to a meeting for example) the lower third of the screen goes screwy.  The only ‘fix’ I’ve discovered is to squeeze the bezel in the lower left hand corner.  My fix isn’t working so well, so I will have to break down and call support.  <sigh>  Maybe it’s time to call Gateway.

  6. JohnGuin says:

    Oh, and my battery light started flashing.  This piece of hardware had a recalled battery.  I filled out the form and they sent a new battery.  And a card that said to recycle the old one (Dell at least sent an envelope to send them the old one so they could recycle it).  I have to pay a fee to recycle computer equipment.

    Sigh.

  7. Eli Allen says:

    If you look at http://www.lenovoblogs.com it seems like you aren’t alone with the tablet complaints

  8. Steve Wilson says:

    Props to Lenovo service – I called on Friday, shipped on Monday once their box arrived and had my machine back with a new screen on Wed.  Completely painless, and one of the best service calls I’ve placed.  Too bad the Vista performance still sucks, but at least my ‘little guy’ is back.

  9. Rod says:

    I feel your pain. I’m a teacher, and heading to China, I decided on buying an X60.

    Crashes constantly and has the weird ‘tick ‘you described. It is a real shame as I like the actual build of the machine. I am almost afraid of touching it; every time I use it just wait for it to crash or do some voodoo thing. Being in China now, not sure what I will do. Lemons suck.

  10. John says:

    The real kicker to all of this is that I am back to using the Lenovo.  Once the screen orientation sensor burned out completely, it became relatively stable.  The fan blade is still making noise but seems to be working.  I have all my data backed up and keep using it.  

    The keyboard is excellent and the more I use it, the more I appreciate it.  In fact, Lenovo, based on the keyboard alone, is at the top of my list for replacing my home notebook when it finally dies.