Not quite 2 years ago now my employer issued me an IBM Thinkpad T23. At the time, I thought I'd have it made for the next three years, since this thing with it's Titanium composite case is supposed to be one of the most robust laptops going. Now, almost 2 years, three hard drives, one motherboard and 2 keyboard bezels later, I have to wonder just how bad other laptops must be for this one to be classified as robust.
I hadn't had this unit but a few months when the original hard drive just dropped dead. No warning, no nuthin. OK, I thought, it's a fact that most failures come in the first few months of use. No big deal.
About a month later I noticed that the top part of the base--the part that surrounds the keyboard (called the bezel, I think) had broken on the left side, right over the eject buttons on the PCMCIA port. At that point the bezel is nothing but a narrow rail running alongside the keyboard. I couldn't figure out what had happened, but it affected the way the keyboard typed. A couple of days later I noticed that the other side was now broken the same way! What was going on? Oh, well, it still worked, and I just picked up the phone and called our support department, and in a few days I had a new bezel.
The new bezel lasted less time than the first one. Within a couple of months, this second one was broken in exactly the same way as the first one. Huh??? Then I started having trouble with memory disappearing. This unit has 512mb, in two chips. But Task Manager would show only 256. I opened the memory compartment, reseated the chips, and re-booted and the problem would be solved. But it kept recurring, and eventually even reseating didn't do any good. Another service call.
This time, they had to take the machine in. Next day I got a call from the tech. MB was failing tests. So was the hard drive. Sigh. This time it took them a week and a half because the depot was out of both bezels and hard drives. Luckily I had a decent desktop that could attach to our VPN so that the crash project I was working on wasn't impacted very much. And after it all, I had an almost new unit. This was back in November of last year.
So here we are now, less than 6 months later. Both sides of the bezel are broken again, but this time I caught the second one in the act!!! Or rather, I found out what I had been doing wrong. Do you own a T23. Wanna break that rail? Here's how. Open the lid partway--say, about a third of the way. Like you were pausing in your work for a few moments to talk to someone across the room and didn't want the lid up in their face. Now, in your conversation, something comes up that makes you want to show the other person something on your laptop, so you pick it up, get up and walk over to them. Now comes the moment of truth. You're standing there and need to open the lid further. So you hold the laptop in one hand, let's say the left hand, holding it by the left hand corner of the base. Now you use your right hand to push up on the right corner of the lid. Lotta torque going on there, and “pow!” That's all it took. Just hold the unit the wrong way as you push up on one or the other corner of the lid and that rail is a gonner. Thinking back on things, that is exactly how I was accustomed to using the unit when I needed to show someone something and they weren't standing right where I could show them with it in my lap or on my desktop.
This time, I discovered that super glue seems to repair those breaks well enough, and now I'm treating this thing like an eggshell.
Aint it grand to have one of the most robust laptops on the market?