The X200s utilizes the latest Intel Core 2 Duo low voltage processor. This particular review unit comes equipped with the Intel SL9400 1.86GHz processor. While the SL9400 is on paper a slower processor than the Core 2 Duo 2.40GHz processor, there was no noticeable performance difference for the daily tasks a typical business user would be doing. The PCMark05 score generated by the X200s was actually slightly higher than what was achieved on the X200. PCMark05 measures overall system performance, not just processor, so a faster hard drive and fewer background processes might have been helping the X200s out in this case.
PCMark05 benchmark results (higher scores are better)
|Lenovo ThinkPad X200s (Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 @ 1.86GHz, Intel X4500)||4,309 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X200 (Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 @ 2.40GHz, Intel X4500)||4,298 PCMarks|
|HP EliteBook 2530p (1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400, Intel 4500MHD)||5,787 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad U110 (Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 @ 1.60GHz, Intel X3100)||3,445 PCMarks
|Lenovo ThinkPad X300 (Intel Core 2 Duo L7100 @ 1.20GHz, Intel X3100)||3,467 PCMarks|
|Apple MacBook Air (1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7500, Intel X3100)
|Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950)||2,446 PCMarks
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||4,153 PCMarks|
|Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||3,987 PCMarks|
|Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB)||4,189 PCMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||4,234 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)||3,637 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,646 PCMarks|
3DMark06 is a benchmark that measures graphics performance, or more accurately measures the notebook's ability to play 3D computer games. The score is based in part on overall performance, but the single most important factor in this benchmark is the performance of the dedicated or integrated graphics. In the case of the X200s, the integrated graphics performance wasn't bad ... but you certainly won't be playing Crysis on this machine: 3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance (higher scores are better):
Lenovo ThinkPad X200s (Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 @ 1.86GHz, Intel X4500)
Lenovo ThinkPad X200 (Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 @ 2.40GHz, Intel X4500)
HP EliteBook 2530p (1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400, Intel 4500MHD)
Lenovo ThinkPad X300 (Intel Core 2 Duo L7100 @ 2.10 GHz, Intel X3100
Apple MacBook Air (Intel Core 2 Duo P7500, Intel X3100)
Lenovo IdeaPad U110 (Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 @ 1.60GHz, Intel X3100)
HP 2133 Mini-Note (1.6GHz VIA C7-M ULV, VIA Chrome 9)
Averatec 2575 (2.2 GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-64, ATI RS690T)
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100)
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB)
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)
3DMark06 is a benchmark that measures graphics performance, or more accurately measures the notebook's ability to play 3D computer games. The score is based in part on overall performance, but the single most important factor in this benchmark is the performance of the dedicated or integrated graphics. In the case of the X200s, the integrated graphics performance wasn't bad ... but you certainly won't be playing Crysis on this machine:
3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance (higher scores are better):
The ThinkPad X200s comes with three different battery options: 4-cell, 6-cell or 9-cell. The bigger the battery the longer the battery life and of course the heavier the weight. We have the 9-cell cylindrical battery which causes the system weight to jump to about 3.3 lbs instead of the 2.6 lb weight you get with the 4-cell. However, the 9-cell may well be worth carrying the extra weight, especially if you're a mobility freak that hates having to hunt down the next power outlet.
With the screen set to the to 8/15 level of brightness, Vista power mode set to power saver, wireless on and using the X200s for 4 hours to write this review, surf the web, check email and download programs and the rest of the time spent idling the X200s went into hibernate with 5% battery remaining at exactly 7 hours and 30 minutes of usage.
The power adapter for the X200s remains the same as that used for the X61 and X300, though the battery for the X200s is compatible with neither of those X-models. The power manager interface within the ThinkVantage software has also changed, the UI is a little more friendly, though some long time ThinkPad users may have to figure out how to find information they were used to seeing in a different way before, there's a bit of a re-learning curve if you will.
Heat and Noise
The ThinkPad engineers have once again raised the bar on reducing both heat and noise. The X200s has adopted the "owl-like" fan design that was first seen in the ThinkPad X300. The fan is amazingly quiet when it runs and does its job well. Even if you don't care to appreciate the details of the engineering with the fan design, you'll appreciate the fact there's simply no areas of noticeable warmth on the X200s. Even if you put your hand up to the heat vent area it's hard to feel anything more than a bit of warm air coming out. We often find with ultraportables that the heat buildup can be off the scale and noisy fans the norm as designers have to cram all the internals into a smaller space. The X200s proves this does not have to be the case if the right type of engineering is used. Reducing the heat buildup is important to both your comfort and also ensuring that the system doesn't cook itself and break down under the heat stress.
The X200s has a number of Wi-Fi options: the Intel WiFi Link 5100, WiFi Link 5300 and ThinkPad 11b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express. The new Intel WiFi Link 5300 worked well for the most part, though sometimes we found that the ThinkVantage connection software froze for a few seconds while the card was trying to connect to a network. Once connected things were fine though and the range and speed what you'd expect. The antenna placement at the top of the X200s screen and non-metal lid help when it comes to improving wireless range.
BlueTooth is also an option with the X200s. It's definitely a recommended feature for those that want to use a wireless BlueTooth mouse or pair the X200s with a PDA or Smart Phone device. Also part of the mix now is a built-in GPS option if your opt for WWAN.
The X200s has an updated docking connector and so there is a new UltraBase dubbed the X200 UltraBase. The X200 UltraBase allows you to snap into a dock with the following ports: UltraBay Slim (SATA), four USB 2.0 ports, VGA, DisplayPort, Microphone in, Headphone out, Stereo Speakers, RJ-45 Ethernet, Cable lock slot, Key lock slot, second battery charger. The list price for the X200 UltraBase is $219.
The ThinkPad X200s offers a few premium features over the X200 that do make it more desirable as a travel laptop, but you'll have to carefully assess whether the $500 price premium of the X200s over the X200 is worth it to you. The higher resolution screen and lighter weight of the X200s are definitely nice to have, and the performance is so close between the X200 and X200s that it's not even worth considering the difference. The battery life achieved with the X200s isn't much different to the X200 in our testing, you'll get about 9 hours with either if you turn off wireless radios and dim the screen. At the end of the day, both the X200 and X200s are great ultraportables, the higher-res LED screen on the X200s really gives it the edge and the lighter weight is sugar on top.
The downside of the ThinkPad X200s compared to the 12.1" screen HP 2530p and Toshiba Portege R600 is that there's no optical drive built-in and no touchpad for those that prefer that style of input. Having no built-in DisplayPort, HDMI or DVI port could be a deterrent for some. The all black and professional look has stood the test of time and looks both clean and professional, we like it, but the appeal for a more contemporary design such as the Latitude E4200 offers might sway some.
Overall, the X200s is an excellent business ultraportable due to its durability, light weight, great battery life (at least with a 9-cell battery) and more than adequate performance when it comes to business related applications.
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