Tuesday, May 26th 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II Stars Selling

For those addicted to the track-point on their ThinkPad notebook, and can't get themselves to use a mouse on their desktops, Lenovo rolled out the ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II back in January 2020, which started selling for USD $85.99. This is a wireless+wired keyboard that's laid out exactly like a ThinkPad T-series notebook's keyboard, with a track-point in the middle, and its two buttons. and a typical 13-inch class notebook's 83-key layout, plus three buttons for the track-point. There are three ways to connect this keyboard to your computer/notebook/tablet: over Bluetooth, over 2.4 GHz RF, using the included dongle, and plugging it directly with the included USB-C to USB-A cable, which charges its battery, as well as lets you use the keyboard as a USB-HID. The keyboard uses the same scissor-type switches found on ThinkPads, with Chicklet keycaps. It measures 305.5 mm x 164 mm x 13.7 (WxDxH).
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12 Comments on Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II Stars Selling

#1
s3thra
Good for HTPCs I guess.
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#2
InVasMani
Not a fan of chicklet keys, but at least lenovo's style on them aren't square. You can at least probably get a grasp of where your hand are on one of these ThinkPad TrackPoint keyboards. I personally prefer cherry's low profile beveled chicklet keycaps a whole lot better for my scissor switch keyboard. It feels good to type on with all the low travel perks of a scissor switch. I personally like them far more than a traditional full height membrane keyboard, but durability could still stand improvements is the negative side of it. I'm waiting on a scissor switch design that uses optical that would be ultimate keyboard and with a tiny bit of bottoming out cushioning gel or something. Perhaps Razor will do that eventually they seem to be heading in that direction with the optical switches. If I'm not mistaken Razor's optical switch keyboards are already very comparable to a scissor switch's low actuation.
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#3
Chrispy_
s3thra
Good for HTPCs I guess.
Yep, I broke my MS Arc keyboard, and couldn't stand the K400 because it feels cheap and mushy (I mean, it is cheap, so I can forgive that).
I'm making do with an aluminium-decked Amazon special from a company called "Jelly Bean" but it's meh and I would gladly pay extra for Thinkpad keyboard quality, even ignoring the handy trackpoint.
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#4
jeremyshaw
Does it actually work via USB-C as a wired KB? Early (prerelease) reports indicated otherwise, and that USB-C was for charging only. If it works over USB-C, it would be a surefire purchase for me. My main complaint about the previous thinkpad KB was it used the _30 series KB (or somewhere around there, maybe _40/_50 series), which didn't have clustered function groups.

Either way, it is also lacking a backlit option.

I do use mine as a SBC KB (Pi, Jetson), since it's the smallest KB with an integrated mouse, so I have less to carry around.

It also appears to be using the Carbon's lower profile KB, since it has the flat mouse buttons. Makes sense, even if I wish they used the current T series KB with more travel (T_90).
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#5
Caring1
Looks good to me, all it needs is an optional wireless number pad to use alongside it.
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#6
Valantar
My current (non-wireless) previous model trackpoint keyboard is on the verge of dying (the micro USB port is on its last legs thanks to an untimely yank on the cable a while back), so I've been googling the product number for the Norwegian version of this for the past month hoping that it'll show up soon. It's started to arrive in business-only etailers (though not in stock yet, ETA 6/2 listed some places), so hopefully I'll be able to order one soon. Absolutely love my current one, though wireless would absolutely be a nice addition.

@jeremyshaw I'm wondering about the same thing - their previous BT version was purely wireless with micro USB only for charging, and I'm fearing a repeat of history here. If it had the flexibility to work both wired and wireless that would be excellent. If nothing else, I'll report back here once I get my hands on one.
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#7
racedaemon
I wonder if the Fn can be swapped around with the Ctrl, like on ThinkPads. I'm sure I would never get used to that weird placement. It would be nice to be able to do that from the keyboard, independent of OS. As I plan to use it with a PC and a Raspberry PI.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to buying this but I would be somewhat disappointed if the feel is not that of the T590.
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#8
Valantar
racedaemon
I wonder if the Fn can be swapped around with the Ctrl, like on ThinkPads. I'm sure I would never get used to that weird placement. It would be nice to be able to do that from the keyboard, independent of OS. As I plan to use it with a PC and a Raspberry PI.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to buying this but I would be somewhat disappointed if the feel is not that of the T590.
If you're using it on a ThinkPad with that bios setting enabled, then yes, if not, likely not - at least it's not possible on my wired 1st gen keyboard.
Posted on Reply
#9
Chrispy_
racedaemon
I wonder if the Fn can be swapped around with the Ctrl, like on ThinkPads. I'm sure I would never get used to that weird placement. It would be nice to be able to do that from the keyboard, independent of OS. As I plan to use it with a PC and a Raspberry PI.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to buying this but I would be somewhat disappointed if the feel is not that of the T590.
Almost certainly not, Lenovo implement that in their BIOS. I doubt your PC has a lenovo laptop BIOS in it.

More importantly, why do Lenovo insist on doing this? The CTRL key needs to go in the bottom left corner. It's about as mandatory as the ESC key being top left and putting Fn there instead of CTRL is a boneheaded mistake that I have never managed to live with across almost two decades (My first T30 had the stupid Fn placement and for all I know IBM was making that dumb decision long before I was introduced to Thinkpads).
Posted on Reply
#10
racedaemon
Valantar
If you're using it on a ThinkPad with that bios setting enabled, then yes, if not, likely not - at least it's not possible on my wired 1st gen keyboard.
I use a Logitech K380 and i can toggle Fn Lock from the software. If afterwards i kill the process, the Fn Lock sticks (although i no longer am able to use the Fn key for some reason). I interpret this as a device level change not as something done trough a hook. If Logitech can do this one would think that Lenovo is also capable. But i'm somewhat concerned by the quality of the driver/application Lenovo user for this keyboard. I installed it in Windows sandbox and besides not being able to run the UI the installer looked like something from Windows 95.
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#11
Valantar
racedaemon
I use a Logitech K380 and i can toggle Fn Lock from the software. If afterwards i kill the process, the Fn Lock sticks (although i no longer am able to use the Fn key for some reason). I interpret this as a device level change not as something done trough a hook. If Logitech can do this one would think that Lenovo is also capable. But i'm somewhat concerned by the quality of the driver/application Lenovo user for this keyboard. I installed it in Windows sandbox and besides not being able to run the UI the installer looked like something from Windows 95.
No, as mentioned above, this is a BIOS-based feature on ThinkPads , so AFAIK on a non-ThinkPad there is no way of toggling this - at least there isn't on my current keyboard. Saying that it is possible with a product from another OEM has no bearing on this
Posted on Reply
#12
jeremyshaw
Valantar
My current (non-wireless) previous model trackpoint keyboard is on the verge of dying (the micro USB port is on its last legs thanks to an untimely yank on the cable a while back), so I've been googling the product number for the Norwegian version of this for the past month hoping that it'll show up soon. It's started to arrive in business-only etailers (though not in stock yet, ETA 6/2 listed some places), so hopefully I'll be able to order one soon. Absolutely love my current one, though wireless would absolutely be a nice addition.

@jeremyshaw I'm wondering about the same thing - their previous BT version was purely wireless with micro USB only for charging, and I'm fearing a repeat of history here. If it had the flexibility to work both wired and wireless that would be excellent. If nothing else, I'll report back here once I get my hands on one.
Just as a curiosity, did you get one, or is it more of a long term goal?

Professional "reviewers" are saying no, but not explicitly stating if they actually tested that out or are they just parroting Lenovo's spec sheet.
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