The keyboard hasn’t changed at all since the previous generations of the ThinkPad series. Its mechanical properties are good and its layout hasn’t changed a bit. I’ve got a few complaints about the layout, by the way. Long-time ThinkPad users should have got used to them already, but you may want to know them if you are planning to buy your first ThinkPad.
First, the Fn button occupies the place of the left Control. Second, the Esc button is shifted up while the functional buttons (F1 to F12) are shifted leftwards by one button. As a result, you often hit F2 instead of F1, F3 instead of F2, etc. It’s not good as these buttons are assigned frequently used functions in Windows.
Third, the integration of the Back and Forward buttons into the block of Arrow keys doesn’t seem right to me. An accidental press on one of them during the process of editing an email letter in a web-interface or at a forum can be most annoying.
The touchpad is quite handy, sensitive and as large as necessary, but its buttons are too close to the edge of the case, which is not very convenient.
As before, ThinkPad notebooks come not only with a touchpad, but also with a mini-joystick called TrackPoint. The latter is optional, though. Don’t forget to order it if you need one.
The additional buttons are scanty: three of them control the sound volume of the integrated speakers and the fourth evokes the ThinkVantage control center that provides access to various system features and to a Help system.
System indicators are placed in the right part of the case. They are green and amber, but one is blue. Logically enough, this LED reports the status of the Bluetooth interface. What other color should it be?
The last thing I want to mention is the fingerprint scanner. Note that this useful feature is optional. It is not available on all the configurations.