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6 True Tales of ThinkPads Cheating Death

Typhoons? Please. Explosions? Come on. High-altitude drops? Surely you’re joking. ThinkPad laptops cheat death every day–in fact, they’ve been doing it for more than 20 years.

We know because you told us (and because we tested them to survive events we hadn’t even dreamed of yet). You dropped your ThinkPad off the bed and down the stairs. You backed over it with your car. You spilled Coke, beer and a million cups of coffee on it. Ice cream, ramen and nail polish too. At least one of you even barfed on it. (Hi, Derek.) You treated your ThinkPad badly, but none of that compares to what you’re about to read.

Here are a few amazing-but-true stories from ThinkPad’s recent history.
Netherlands Dorm Fire (September 2012)

A Dutch university student returned home one day to find his dormitory ablaze. Thanks to a quick response from firefighters, no one was harmed but people’s belongings weren’t so lucky. The student lost virtually everything. Everything, that is, except his ThinkPad. It was badly burned & suffered significant water damage but he was able to boot it up and recover all the data.

Dropped From the Ceiling (May 2011)

“Anybody can do 6 feet—but can you do it from the ceiling?” Lenovo engineers took to the stage at a 2011 event to introduce the original ThinkPad X1 and dramatize how tough it was. (Hey, you can talk about Mil-Spec Testing all day or you can get hammy—we like both.) Yeah, the guys unnecessarily wore fluorescent vests and hard hats—and they dropped it onto a carpet instead of a hard surface—but tell me you don’t flinch when you see it hit the ground.


The Rainy Season Comes Indoors (November 2012)

This one came to us via Uknowsi on Imgur. Not sure what country he’s in but it sounds tropical. “I went on vacation for a month during rainy season & my house had a water leak. My [ThinkPad] laptop was soaked & it started to grow mold everywhere. I was sure the computer was broken but after drying it for a week and turning it on, it worked perfectly. Only permanent damage was some of the paint falling off. The computer is still going strong one year later.” Uknowsi, if you’re out there somewhere, reach out and say hi. Maybe we can send you a new, mold-free ThinkPad.

Bulgarian HVAC Explosion (September 2013)

This story came to us from the customer of a Lenovo business partner in Sofia, Bulgaria. When a faulty air-conditioning unit exploded, it ignited a fire and a wave of heat that swept through the office. “Some of the flames reached the machine,” said a witness, “but as you can see even burned it still worked.” Look at how completely toasted the keyboard is while Windows keeps running in the background like nothing happened. We’ve heard the laptop’s owner let our business partner keep it and that it stands on display to this day, a reminder of the power of good engineering and strong materials.

The Liquid Trifecta (March 2014)

There’s a great chef school across the street from our US headquarters so, when someone was soliciting ideas to highlight the famous spill-resistant ThinkPad keyboard, we knew what to do. We sent a crew over there, led by our pal Garrett, and they proceeded to do what you guys have been doing for years: spill a little bit (or a lot) of everything onto the poor defenseless laptop. The results were pretty amusing: watch ‘til the end and you’ll hear Garrett let out a spontaneous scream of delight.

Typhoon Mud (January 2013)

We loved this Facebook fan story, from a guy named “Rough” who lives in the Philippines: “Three days after a typhoon, my wife and I were walking our dogs in the park. I see a [ThinkPad] laptop sitting in the mud—covered by muck, leaves and dirt—soaking wet. I grab it thinking I can at least tear it apart and salvage something. I let the thing dry out for two days, plug it in and it works! I have not even cleaned the mud off it yet and it works. Bravo, Lenovo!” (Rough provided no picture but this is why we do dirt and dust testing on every ThinkPad.)

That’s it for now. Keep those great stories coming (say, in the comment field below) and maybe we’ll run a sequel one day soon.

Gavin O’Hara is the Director of Lenovo’s Brand Newsroom.

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