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Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 review

£1200 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Lenovo

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Lenovo is aiming for a touch of style with its Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ultraportable, a laptop to take on the Apple MacBook Air - UPDATED 5 MARCH 2012

Lenovo bills the ThinkPad X1 as the thinnest ThinkPad yet. At around 23mm, it’s fairly thin if a little chunky compared to most other ultraportables. It’s built for speed and durability, and the Windows 7 Professional OS betrays the intended business audience.

Two processor options are on the table for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Intel Core i3-2310M at 2.1GHz or Core i5-2520M at 2.5GHz.

We tested the latter, with 4GB of memory and 320GB hard disk, all selling for around £1200. Our sample also included an optional clip-on battery which fastens to the underside.

With just the internal (and non-removable) battery, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 lasted for 6 hours (246 mins) in MobileMark 2007 Productivity.

With the extra 36Wh power pack, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 stayed alive in the same test for around 8 hours (491 mins) total.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Performance

Overall speed was good, almost as fast as a 13in MacBook Air. It scored 120 point in WorldBench 6 against the Apple’s 122 points. The Lenovo trails because of slow storage, a 2.5in SATA hard disk, where the Air is pure solid-state. You can find the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 with an SSD if you look around. We've seen it selling for £1666 with 160GB SSD and 8GB RAM.

Build quality is quite sturdy, with a rubbery matt black coating that aids grip. At 1.7kg it’s reasonably light, rising to 2.1kg with the extra battery pack.

Lenovo’s specs describe the ThinkPad X1 as having a 16mm chassis. Where not sure what Lenovo's marketing department is using for a ruler: at its thinnest at the front, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 measures 18.5mm thick, rising to 23mm at the back.

Strap on the extra battery and you’re looking at a 38mm wedge. We've stepped well clear of ultraportable territory now.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Display

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1's 13in LCD screen is glazed with an extra sheet of alumino-silicate Corning Gorilla Glass, often favoured for modern smartphones.

While it may be quite tough and scratch-resistant, we’d question its value here. Laptops never experience the abuse of keys and pocket change rubbing against their screens; and placing a pane of glass in front of the LCD reduces screen legibility at a stroke with its mirror-like sheen.

Behind the glass, the 1366 x 768 resolution panel is well-judged for a 13.3in screen, although some may prefer higher resolution. But a 16:9 letterbox ratio could be less attractive to business users, as it would be to home users wanting to watch films in widescreen.

The LCD itself is very bright, but has a strange patina of fine grid lines when viewed closely. We found this a little distracting and suggests Lenovo hasn't selected the best quality LCD available.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Other Features

Powering the screen is Intel’s integrated graphics from the Core i5 chip, a safe choice for a thinnish ultraportable. In our FEAR game test, we saw an average of 13fps at Maximum detail.

Two USB ports are available, a USB 2.0 behind an annoying plastic flap on the left, ready to tear off anytime, and a USB 3.0 at rear behind the screen. Also along the rear edge is an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and gigabit ethernet. Another flap conceals a slot for 3G modem SIM card.

On the right side is an SD card slot, and a hatch to give easy access to the internal hard disk.

With the lid open, we’re in familiar Lenovo territory – a great tactile keyboard with dished keys, trackpoint steerer in the centre; and new to Lenovo, a buttonless touchpad.

Similar to Apple’s trackpads, it loses traditional left/right click buttons, leaving you to click in either corner of the whole touchpad for mechanical clicks. The pad has a dimpled texture for the fingertips.

Andrew Harrison

NEXT PAGE: Original Computerworld review >>

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Expert Verdict »
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 NWK2PUK Scores 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 reviews
2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2520M (3.2GHz Turbo)
13.3in (1366 x 768) LCD
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
4GB DDR3-1333 RAM
320GB 2.5in SATA HDD
Intel HD graphics
gigabit ethernet
802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
fingerprint reader
3G modem
HDMI
Mini DisplayPort
1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
SD card slot
webcam, mic
headset jack
non-removable 38.4Wh battery
337 x 232 x 18.5-23mm (38mm with extra battery)
1761g (2143g with extra battery)
3-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 8 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

For corporate customers, familiar Lenovo fare such as spill-resistant keyboard, fingerprint reader and integrated 3G broadband may be useful. And ThinkPad old-timers will value the trackpoint mouse steerer. Against the best of the competition though, this Lenovo ThinkPad X1 falls short in size, weight, longevity and build quality. And the glass screen is a retrograde step that seriously dimishes screen quality.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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