The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Technology Program Chooses ThinkPads

ThinkPads replace Toshibas as the official school laptops

New students, sixth-graders and sophomores who have finished their four-year contract with the  Toshiba tablet received new laptops this year; the model is the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Convertible Ultrabook, which offers students a variety of tools and programs with flexible and user-friendly features.

These new ThinkPads come after six years of the use of Toshiba laptops and one year of use of the older ThinkPads at Hockaday. The change, according to Technology Department Head Jason Curtis, “is fairly organic. That’s going to happen over time. We are going to improve.”

He said this switch in hardrive was a natural shift; it was just a matter of time.

Toshiba also made an offer to Hockaday with their new tablet. However, the school chose the Lenovos because of the benefits they have for the students.

Lenovo released the new Helix ThinkPads this summer, complete with the all updated Windows 2013 software. These laptops also have the new Outlook software.

One unique feature of the laptop is the removable screen that adapts to a tablet. To detach the screen, the student has to press the side button and remove it from the keyboard. To put it back into laptop mode, the student simply has to place it back onto the keyboard.

“You can choose what environment you want to work in—you can work with a lot of apps and just use the screen a lot, or you can just use it as a regular computer. I think that’s pretty unique,” Curtis said.

The new ThinkPad weighs 3.68 pounds. Curtis thought the light form factor made the laptop versatile and easy to carry around.

Sophomore Cameron Todd, who had a Toshiba last year, enjoys the lightness of the laptops because they are easier to walk around with. “It is a lot less clunky and much lighter,” she said.

The ThinkPad’s stylus functions more accurately than the Toshiba’s and has a built-in sensor for detecting a person’s palm. In this way,  the sensor avoids accidental clicks and errors. With this feature, students do not need to worry about their hands getting in the way of working on their laptops, as the screen ignores the touch of their hand while using the tablet pen.

While using the Toshiba’s stylus caused the screen to move around, the Lenovo senses the hand as irrelevant and isolates the pen when using it as a tablet.

Another new feature of these laptops is the Windows 8 software which allows students to have access to setup an account in the Windows store to buy apps.

Todd also noted battery life improvement. The battery life on the ThinkPads in laptop mode is 10 hours and in tablet mode six hours. She no longer needs to plug in her laptop all the time like she did with the Toshibas, which had a battery life of three hours.

Additionally, the laptops include a rear and front HD Webcam, 4G memory and an enhanced Keyboard Dock.

The only complaint Todd had was that the Lenovos do not have a drive to insert DVDs or CDs. “However, the benefits definitely outweigh the detriments,” she said.

The Technology Department has encountered challenges with the new ThinkPad’s hard drive because it is such a new laptop. Internet is the primary issue. Compared to the Toshiba’s, the Lenovo’s wireless capability is not as substantial as the Toshibas, but the department is trying to resolve this issue by testing out a new driver.  “With this new laptop,” Curtis said, “we are moving forward.”

-Noor Adatia

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