Thinkpad to framework migrants, how do you like the keyboard?

I like the idea framework represents and generally agree with right to repair initiatives, and owning your own hardware. So I was interested in the project and now I also ordered a notebook (that I didn’t need - I know, not very sustainable).
Anyway, currently I use a notebook that I bought 2 years ago, a Thinkpad P14s gen2 AMD. I have an aunt that has low income and always struggles, has 4 computers all kind of crappy (last straw was her 10+ Aldi notebook broke and I tried to see why but man the experience of taking these apart is ewww…) and I thought here’s my opportunity to get a framework and give her my thinkpad for christmas.
However I am worried about they keyboard. I never really liked any keyboard other than thinkpads (older ones are better but even the new one I have is better to type on than all other notebooks I tried - the slightly curved shape of keys, travel and tactile feel).
I am curious if anyone made a similar switch, how bad it was to get used to the framework keyboard? I already know I am going to miss the trackpoint, I always disable trackpads, but that’s just something I will have to try to live with. So the plan is to do what I normally never do, get a logo and wear it proudly, then if I can’t get used to it, take the loss and switch back to a thinkpad… but curious of some of your experiences.

I’ve been a heavy ThinkPad user over the last 15 years and the Framework 13 keyboard is pretty good. More travel than ThinkPads of the last few years.


I’ve been using many Thinkpads over the last 15 years as well and I am pretty satisfied with the FW13 keyboard. I think it is not better than my 6 years old X1 Gen 5 keyboard, but I certainly like it more than any of the other Thinkpad keyboards I have used in that very long time (T480, X240, X230, X201, T500, R61).

What I currently struggle more with than with any of the subtle differences between the X1 and the FW13 keyboard is the “correct” order of [Ctrl] and [Fn], but this is on the Thinkpads where I never bothered to switch the function of those two. And also I’m not the biggest fan of the arrow key layout and I’m missing a little bit the track point. But none of these is relevant enough for a significant negative impact on my joy using the FW13.

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I was a stalwart Thinkpad fan who watched the beloved brand be bled dry. It is a shadow of its former self at this point, all in the name of an ever increasing profit margin. That little rant out of the way, I will say that everything about the Framework laptop impresses me.

The keyboard, however is one of the best I have ever used on a mobile platform. That fact that it is repairable and designed to last are just that much better. The trackpoint was something I miss, because I love the ergonomics of the thing. But that is something that I don’t even miss anymore.

Granted I use Linux and my workflow is a bit more keyboard based than all my years on Windows. If Framework ever offered a keyboard with trackpoint added I would buy it immediately, but it isn’t the big deal I thought it would be. In short Framework is doing so many things right that I practically forgot all of the things I thought were missing.

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I have to curb the enthusiasm here a little bit.

Compared to classic Thinkpad keyboards pre -40 generation with 2.5mm key travel → framework is definitively worse.

Compared to new chiclet style keyboard introduced with T440 and 2.1mm key travel → worse

Compared to the then reduced stuff (starting with the first X1 Carbon abomination of a keyboard) and present I think from T470 onwards with 1.8mm key travel → still worse

Compared to utterly unusable T14 Gen3 1.5mm key travel → I would say about the same

So, you will suffer and it will be worse. But, frankly speaking you don’t have any alternatives. And as all requests for keyboard improvements haven’t been picked up by framework (or even acknowledged), there is not much hope.

But, on the other hand, that is really the only crappy part of the framework laptop. Rest is phenomenal!

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That is definitely too harsh. While not being the best I have used the Frameworks keyboard is quite nice for an ultra portable notebook. I’m by no means a keyboard connoisseur but I think keyboards are a highly subjective topic. I have owned/used several T-series ThinkPads since the T430 as well as Dell Latitudes of the last 15 years and am a fan of mechanical keyboards for desktop use. There are utterly crap keyboards out there and the Frameworks is not one of those.

AFAIK you can switch those on the Framework as well :wink:

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In my experience there’s people that like good keyboards and the rest that somehow don’t know the difference. :slight_smile: nut sure it’s that subjective. That being said I was just curious of opinions and they are all good and valid. I somehow dislike the completely flat small travel ones, my fingers wander between the keys I don’t feel the keys (where am I on a key to self correct) but one can get used to anything technically of course so I’ll just see.
If there would be keyboard variations I would defo be curious of them, but I guess the demand is just not as high as we would wish for proper ergonomic key switches :slight_smile:

That is correct! @Patrick_Hanft check out you BIOS settings, there you can swap Ctrl and Fn!

Yes, true. Compared to most laptop keyboards it is acceptable. It’s just when coming from good Thinkpad keyboards (I mean like 10y ago) it is a step down. But, as you pointed out, could be worse. There is pretty much nothing better anymore out there :frowning:

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I think the class of laptop is important to remember as well. All of the Thinkpads that have the keyboards that you feel are better are also MUCH thicker and heavier. I have an X220T with the awesome old school mechanical keyboard on it. It is lovely, but it is also a tank compared to the Framework 13. Physics matter. What can fit in the space of the genre the Framework 13 belongs in is fantastic. That is my point.

That doesn’t mean I feel it is the best keyboard ever. I’m some what of a keyboard enthusiast, and there are many other boards that I would say fit in that category. I currently use a ZSA Moonlander, for example, on my desktop.

That said, there are some advantages to the low profile and diminished travel that the Framework is forced to embrace. Less work for your fingers and the keyboard is pretty quiet compared to the mechanical cherry browns I prefer.

For the space that the Framework 13 lives in, and the real physical constraints it has to deal with, I think the keyboard is an excellently engineered piece of kit.

This is my point.


My first Thinkpad was a T430 (admittedly an inferior keyboard compared to the T420 and earlier), and of course I loved it. Great keyboard compared to the keyboards on HP’s which is what I was coming from. I then moved to the T480s to me no appreciable diffecrence. Then I got the Framewrok 12th gen Intel…could not tell the difference at all except for the trackpoint missing and the dedicated touchpad buttons…the buttons I miss more than the trackpoint. If they ever offer one with dedicated touchpad buttons and trackpoint I will be at the front of the line.

For a thin, light, 13" mobility focused laptop, this keyboard is pretty much peak keyboard. Lenovo’s offerings today don’t really compare, which is said considering that was really the Thinkpad’s claim to fame.

I have an old X120e, and a somewhat recent T495. I still like the X120e keyboard over Framework keyboard. I guess T495 keyboard is similar to Framework keyboard.

But I hate the arrow keys on the Framework. Inverted-T FTW!

I also haven an HP EliteBook 725 G3. That keyboard is the most awful thing I’ve ever typed on.

Ultimately, I hate all notebook keyboards/trackpads/etc., so I just hook up external keyboard & mouse whenever I can.

I have a p14s gen2 (bought 2 years ago) and the shape, tactile feel, travel of keys is also not bad. No need to reminiscence about 20 years ago :slight_smile: (yes those lightweight / plasticy / greyish blueish? / shiny type of keys were the best). In contrast my work latitude has those square flat keys where i mistype a lot primarily because they aren’t convex and fingers don’t find the middle of key so easily. Thinkpad keyboards are still best even with the downgrades.

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It’s nice that Framework provides that option, but honestly, it is time to stop doing that. [Ctrl] in the wrong spot is especially a pain when using [Ctrl]-[Shift]-* keyboard shortcuts that are especially common in linux terminal windows. So, while it bothers that I had been used to this stuff on Thinkpad keyboards, it is time to move away from this.

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I fully agree - also coming from Thinkpads, I had trouble every time using an external keyboard. So in the end, changing my muscle memory here will lead to way more relaxed typing across different keyboards :slight_smile:

I think the framework kayboard is “more than good enough”: did I like my thinkpad keyboards more “back in the day”? Yes, the older ones did feel better, but only if I went back from one to the other.

The travel and feel is great on the framework keyboard for the thickness of the laptop. I got very used to this keyboard and never think “wow, this needs a better keyboard”.

So… if you wanting to migrate to framework, what I am saying is: you’ll get used to keyboard quickly and it won’t be a problem. Combine that with the repair ability (can you easily even change the keyboards on modern thinkpads?) and upgradability, and I like the framework philosophy… so I just don’t think you will think about the keyboard after using the laptop for a week.

Thanks for the opinion, although I was not looking at nostalgic memories that are always different. :slight_smile: It’s not a contest, but the answer is yes you can replace keyboard on mine pretty easily.

After using it for a few days I think it’s (in my opinion since keyboard goodness is mostly a matter of taste anyway) a bit worse than the one on the t480s which in turn is a bit worse than the one on the x260 and the one on the latitude 7470.

It is however a lot better than the one on my c720 chromebook and the 8th gen consumer yoga and a bit better than on my precision 7560 work laptop.

That about covers the laptops I used for some time in the last couple years.

All in all the keyboard is alright, not great, not terrible.

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Yes and no. True, the framework is slimmer and sleeker compared to 10y old Thinkpads. But, on the other hand, we are here talking between 1.5mm and 1.8 mm key travel.

They could have certainly added 0.3mm (!) of thinkness to improve keyboard a lot. That would at the end haven’t made that much of a difference.!

It’s pretty good for a laptop keyboard, honestly. I still rather type on my brown-switches mechanical keyboard of course, but it’s way better than those of my old Huawei or Zepto (I wonder if anyone even remembers those) laptops.

Dito on a pretty recent zbook. It makes my fingernails curl.

Edit: which reminds me, the old X220 was pretty decent as well, but way too cramped layout. The framework one is better size-wise and hitting the keys I expect to hit is more important in my book. The tactile part is a bonus.