Why Thinkpad?

ThinkPads, in comparison with other laptops, are engineered from the ground up to be reliable and durable, able to survive even the harshest environments. They are simultaneously designed to be completely modular. In most 'true' ThinkPads, at least 90% of the components can be replaced by removing only a few standard screws, and the entire process is well-documented and will not void your warranty. They are also highly upgradable, sporting modular bays that allow you to add in an extra GPU, hard drive, or whatever you might need. On top of all this, they have fantastic software support for almost every operating system you might use, especially Linux. One of the strongest points about ThinkPads, though, is that they're durable. Not only will one you buy last you a long time, but because they've been around for a long time and are very reliable, older models are sold frequently for incredibly low prices. Why buy a low-end netbook when you could, for the same price, buy a slightly older ThinkPad that will end up lasting longer anyway?

What model?

The T series is often regarded as the middle of the road between the extremities of laptop placement. They’re fairly durable machines for more business or long-term oriented owners that aren’t looking for workstations, but aren’t looking for ultraportable, either. The T series comes in 15.6” and 14.1” variants (T4#0 and T5#0) and generally houses current-gen i5 and i7s, dedicated Nvidia NVS GPUs, and modern expandability options.

The X-series line of Thinkpads is more geared towards portability than power and durability. These Thinkpads are fairly small, with most of them housing 11” displays, and very thin, often being compared to netbooks. They rarely have touchpads, instead opting for only TrackPoints, and they have reduced size keyboards, with Enter buttons the size of normal letters. There is also a tablet line of X-series laptops, denoted by the “t” character following the model number. These tablets are convertible laptops with only a single hinge in the middle of the display that allows the display to rotate around 180 degrees and fold upon itself, turning the laptop into a touchscreen tablet. These tablets also feature Wacom digitizers with pens.

The W series is the workstation beast of the Thinkpad line. It boasts large displays, a large physical footprint, full-size keyboards (w/ numpad), large resolution displays, and desktop-class components. If you’re looking to have a durable Thinkpad that you can place on your desk all day and process demanding tasks, yet still be able to pack it away and bring it home at the end of the day, the W series is what you’re looking for. The W series is also the only place you’re going to find multiple drives in RAID, multi-GPU setups, and multiple monitors in a modern Thinkpad. It is also extremely common for W-series Thinkpads to have Wacom digitizer pads between the standard touchpad and fingerprint scanner/number pad.