wide screen laptops without trackpads?
February 25, 2016 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Back in the day I had a Toshiba Libretto L5. A small, widescreen laptop with a pointing nub in the middle of the keyboard. I really loved this form factor. Is there is modern laptop or "2 in 1" that is similar?

The Toshiba Libretto had no trackpad. Instead it had an IBM style "pointing stick", the eraser like nub in the middle or the keyboard. Recently after seeing the Asus transbook t90chi I remembered how much I loved this type of laptop. Unfortunately I can't find a place to buy the Transbook online with an English keyboard, only a Japanese one (I live in Japan) and the screen does not bend back far enough to be comfortably used. Are there any other laptops like this that I am missing? I also looked into getting a Sony Vaio P but it seems they have not aged well.
posted by Infernarl to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just got a 15.6" Thinkpad (W541, I think) that has both a pointing nub -- they call it a "trackpoint" -- and a trackpad. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of other Thinkpads have trackpoints also. (The 550 does also.)
posted by amtho at 9:09 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you don't like the trackpad on the Lenovos, you can disable it, or disable certain features on it--this works better on versions that still have the separate buttons like the X-Series--but yeah, getting the pointer nub is the main reason I bought a ThinkPad, although I noticed one other company still offers the feature. If I recall which one it is I'll post later.
posted by sardonyx at 10:47 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe something like a google pixel C?
posted by kickingtheground at 11:08 PM on February 25, 2016

I used to be firmly in your camp: I've had a Thinkpad X22, X31 and X40, all for the small size, trackpoint and absence of trackpad, and I (clearly) never considered buying another brand because I staunchly believed these requirements were essential....
That was until I was in Japan recently and discovered the Panasonic RZ4 (now the RZ5): bonkers-good convertible touchscreen laptops weighing 745g with a 10hr battery - and they're made in Japan (at the Panasonic Kobe factory). And what I've found with this machine specifically with regard to having a trackpoint is that when you have a touchscreen, this requirement rather becomes a moot point (there's also a cute app that turns off the top corners of the trackpad so that you don't accidentally hit it when you're typing).
I haven't found the Japanese keyboard to be a problem at all - you can set the keyboard to US easily in Windows, and the only keys that are different are the shift characters on the right half of the number row and some of the punctuation characters - but if you can touch type you don't notice the difference at all. In fact, having a Japanese keyboard means that you have extra keys, which you can remap to useful shortcuts e.g. browser back and forward. Admittedly they're a bit pricey, but you can pick up cheaper RZ4's now that the RZ5's are out - I got the low-end model for ¥119000.
Lenovo make a somewhat similar convertible ultralight - much cheaper, but weighs twice as much, has half the battery life, and comes with a Celeron processor. Thinkpads definitely *used* to be the go to laptop brand for trackpoints, but it looks like Lenovo have been phasing them out/ are now only incorporating them in select models.
posted by forallmankind at 12:54 AM on February 26, 2016

If what you're trying to avoid is the bulk of the big trackpad area under the keyboard, maybe a tablet with a keyboard case would fit the bill? I don't think you'll find the extreme widescreen aspect of the Libretto in any tablet, but the whole thing still ends up being very compact and the touchscreen of the tablet obviates the need for a trackpoint.
posted by contraption at 10:39 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I ended up getting a Transbook T90chi with the Japanese keyboard. There is a way to make the screen bend back much more. I got used to the keyboard fairly quickly. If anyone else is thinking of getting one beware, the wireless card is terrible and very prone to interference from bluetooth devices.
posted by Infernarl at 6:30 AM on March 26, 2016

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