The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is not an ultrabook by Intel’s trademark definition, but has been included in this group test as an example of another thin-and-light model that could be an alternative for someone who wants a portable, functional laptop.
There's plenty to recommend the X1. It's fast, scoring 126 points in WorldBench 6, and although this isn't the best score in the group – that goes to the 13in MacBook Air with 130 points – it isn't far off.
The keyboard is very good indeed. There are none of the problems of cousin U300s; keys are decently sized, accompanied by nice big right Shift, Return and Backspace buttons.
There's more storage on the 320GB hard drive than the SSDs of solid-state ultraportables, although this comes with its own problems.
The traditional hard drive can't match the data access times of an SSD, despite its 7200rpm rating. And the hard drive’s moving parts means it’s noisier and more fragile than solid-state storage.
But the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 has some advantages over the other contenders. There are more connectivity options on the X1 than regular ultraportables, for a start. There's a combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0, HDMI, gigabit ethernet and a Display Port available.
Other inclusions are a fingerprint reader and switch to turn wireless connections on and off.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is not without its problems. For a start, the touchpad is just a bit too springy, which makes double-clicking more awkward than it should be. The display, though it does a good job with colour depth, is very shiny – as is the bezel around it – meaning that reflections can be a problem.
It also isn't a looker by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is of sturdy build, as you'd expect from a ThinkPad.
The Lenovo X1 is a good example of a Windows-based thin and light laptop that isn't an ultrabook. It's certainly quite good value for money. There's no optical drive but there are a number of features that you won't find on any of the competition. It's not especially pretty, so if you're looking for sleekness you could look elsewhere.
Otherwise, we think it's probably a better bet than most of the ultrabooks – it's just a shame about the poor battery life and the glossy screen.
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