Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Review

by Reads (171,965)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.71
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Thin design with lots of ports
    • Excellent performance
    • Bright screen with Gorilla Glass
  • Cons

    • Integrated battery
    • Glossy screen
    • Annoying touchpad issue

     

Quick Take

A powerful notebook that combines the durability and features of a business-class Thinkpad with the style of a consumer laptop.


Although the ThinkPad line of notebooks from Lenovo is synonymous with business laptops, there hasn’t been a 13-inch ThinkPad since the old X301. The all new ThinkPad X1 promises to deliver all the features and dependability you expect from a ThinkPad inside a thin and lightweight 13-inch laptop.

Our review unit of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 features the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i5-2520M dual-core processor (2.5GHz, 3MB cache, 3.2GHz Turbo frequency)
  • Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
  • 13.3-inch HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit Display with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Intel Integrated HD 3000 Graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 (1333MHz)
  • 320GB Hitachi Travelstar hard drive (Z7K320)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (Taylor Peak) 2×2 AGN wireless card
  • Bluetooth
  • 720p High Definition webcam
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Integrated 6-cell battery (38.92Wh) and optional slice battery (36Wh)
  • Warranty: 3-year
  • Dimensions: 13.26 (L) x 9.1 (W) x 0.65-0.84 (H) inches
  • Weight: 3.75 lbs.
  • Price as configured: $1,399.00 ($1,549.00 with external slice battery)

Build and Design
Lenovo took a lot of time developing the X1 before bringing this notebook to market. As previously mentioned, the last 13-inch ThinkPad was the X301, and while that particular notebook wasn’t wildly popular for Lenovo, business customers have been asking for a 13-inch business laptop with a thin and light design that still delivers serious performance and is loaded with more ports than a 13-inch MacBook Air.

Can the ThinkPad X1 be the spiritual successor of the X301 and offer the attractive consumer appeal of a MacBook? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

In terms of build quality and durability, the new X1 offers many of the same hallmarks of previous generation ThinkPads. You get a well-made chassis with roll cage protection that passes 8 separate MIL spec tests (humidity, low temperature, high temperature, extreme temperatures, sand, altitude, vibration and mechanical shock). You also get a spill-resistant keyboard with drain holes and that traditional matte-black rubberized paint finish that resists scratches and fingerprint smudges.

One interesting quirk of the design of the X1 is that the hinge, although very durable, allows the screen to open until the notebook is perfectly flat. This wouldn’t typically be worth mentioning, but since the X1 has a screen with Gorilla Glass the lid is heavier than usual. If you hold the palmrests of the X1 in your hands and shake the notebook the screen will swing completely open.

A quick look at the bottom of the ThinkPad X1 reveals little in the way of expansion possibilities. There is a hard drive access panel on the right side of the notebook which is held in place by a screw on the bottom of the X1. If you want to upgrade the RAM or swap out the wireless card you’ll need to remove the keyboard and possibly part of the chassis depending on the type of work you’re doing.


Ports and Features

The ThinkPad X1 features a unique port layout as a result of the thin side profile which is just 16.5mm. You’ll see a headset jack and USB port on one side of the X1, a media card slot on the other, and the rear of the laptop is packed with more ports than you’ll find on any other ultra-thin notebook. All the port descriptions below are listed from left to right.


Front: No ports


Rear: Ethernet, SIM card slot, USB 3.0 port, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, power jack and security lock slot


Left: Headset jack and USB 2.0 port (located behind the rubber door)


Right: Wireless on/off, SD/SDHC card slot, hard drive access panel

In case you didn’t notice, the ports on the left side of the X1 are hidden behind a rubber door. Words simply can’t express how much I dislike that particular design element. I know that Lenovo’s engineers put the rubber door on the notebook to keep the edge of the notebook “clean” on that side, but there are other (better) ways to hide the ports on the edge of a notebook. The biggest problem that I have with the rubber cover is that it partially blocks the headset jack and also occasionally gets in the way of the USB port.



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