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.
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