Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Review

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Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Exceptional performance
    • Amazing battery life
    • Excellent durability
  • Cons

    • Buttonless touchpad may bother some users
    • No docking station pass through on the optional slice battery

Quick Take

The ThinkPad X220 is quite simply the best 12-inch business notebook we've reviewed so far.

Buy Direct From Manufacturer

Lenovo’s newest 12-inch business notebook, the ThinkPad X220, offers the latest Intel Sandy Bridge processors, a high-quality IPS display, and battery life that is so incredible you’ve got to see it to believe it. Keep reading to find out more about what is sure to be a very popular business laptop.

Our review unit of the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 features the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i5-2520M dual-core processor (2.5GHz, 3MB cache, 3.2GHz Turbo frequency)
  • Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
  • 12.5-inch Premium HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit Display (IPS)
  • Intel Integrated HD Graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 (1333MHz)
  • 320GB Hitachi Travelstar hard drive (Z7K320)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (Taylor Peak) 2×2 AGN wireless card
  • Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet
  • 720p High Definition webcam
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 6-cell battery (63Wh) and optional slice battery (65Wh)
  • Dimensions: 12 (L) x 8.2 (W) x 0.5-1.5 (H) inches with 6-cell battery
  • Weight:
    • 3.5 pounds with 6-cell battery
    • 4.875 pounds with 6-cell battery and optional external battery slice
  • Price as configured: $1,299.00 (starting at $979.00)

Build and Design
Lenovo recently announced their latest ThinkPad line of business notebooks, but they had one more surprise in store: the ThinkPad X220. If you’ve never heard of the “ThinkPad” brand name then I’m glad you finally left that cave you’ve been living in since the mid 1990s. ThinkPads have long been regarded as some of the best business laptops thanks to a trusted combination of cutting-edge performance, solid build quality, excellent keyboards, precision TrackPoints (that red dot in the middle of the keyboard) and fantastic warranty support. The previous generation of 12-inch Thinkpads, the ThinkPad X201, was widely regarded as the best 12-inch business notebook on the market.

Can the X220 do even better?

At first glance, the exterior of the ThinkPad X220 has only a few minor changes from the X201. The location of several ports has been shuffled around, but you’ve still got the same tried and true boxy design combined with durable magnesium alloy and plastic construction covered in matte black rubberized paint. Lenovo continues to provide essentially a full-size keyboard on a 12-inch ultraportable notebook, but that larger keyboard comes at the expense of space for the palm rests. Although typing is very comfortable on the X220, your wrists don’t have abundant space with your fingers in the traditional typing position.

Regardless of the compact design, the X220 continues Lenovo’s trend of “business rugged” laptops. This ThinkPad is Milspec tested (physical shock, thermal shock, altitude, dust, vibration, humidity, heat and cold) for proven durability. Translation: mobile professionals don’t need to treat this laptop with kid gloves. Toss the X220 in your car or let the flight attendant jam it into an overhead compartment. The X220 will take the beating and keep working.

The majority of Lenovo’s business clients order their notebooks pre-configured exactly the way they want them. However, Lenovo still makes it reasonably easy for those customers who want to upgrade the X220 on their own. The hard drive is easily replaced by removing the single screw on the side access panel. As far as RAM is concerned, there are two slots located under the main access plate on the bottom of the notebook. Our review unit came with a single 4GB memory module installed, so it would be quite easy to upgrade to the maximum 8GB memory capacity by installing a second 4GB stick of RAM.

Ports and Features

The ThinkPad X220 has what can only be described as the most robust port layout we’ve seen on any current-gneration 12-inch notebook. You get two standard USB 2.0 ports and your choice of either one “always on” USB 2.0 port (for charging USB devices when the notebook is powered off) or one USB 3.0 port for high-speed data transfers. The X220 also comes with a VGA port, Display Port connection, Gigabit Ethernet and a SDHC card reader. Oh, and the engineers at Lenovo also managed to squeeze in a full size 54mm ExpressCard slot for accessories and port expansion. If that isn’t enough ports, there is a docking station connection on the bottom of the notebook so you can turn this 12-inch laptop into a desktop replacement.

Front: Speaker grills

Rear: AC power jack and battery

Left: USB 2.0 port, VGA, Display Port, USB 2.0 port, ExpressCard slot and Wi-Fi on/off switch

Right: SD/SDHC card slot, optional “always on” USB 2.0 port or USB 3.0 port, Ethernet, headset jack, and security lock slot



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