Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Battery Life, Heat and Noise

March 8, 2011 by Jerry Jackson Reads (866,875)
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

Heat and Noise
Noise levels were virtually a non-issue during normal daily use with the X220. The default fan speed is whisper quiet–so much so that you have to put the notebook to your ear in order to hear the fan at all. The fan does get louder when the system is under heavy stress (benchmarking, gaming, or HD video editing/encoding), but even then the fan noise isn’t likely to bother a co-worker or the passenger sitting next to you on your next flight. We were impressed by the relatively low exterior temperatures considering the impressive level of performance in our test configuration. All temperatures shown below are listed in degrees Fahrenheit:

Battery Life
The ThinkPad X220 with Intel Core i5-2520M processor delivered 8 hours and 47 minutes of battery life with the 6-cell battery. Our standard battery life test sets the screen to 70% brightness, wireless active and continuously refreshing a website on a 60-second interval, and Windows 7 set to the “balanced” power profile. This is almost a half hour more battery run time than an Intel Atom netbook like the HP Mini 1103. That’s extremely impressive for a business notebook with this level of performance.

Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):


Lenovo was also kind enough to send us a review sample of the optional slice battery. The slice battery costs an additional $179 and makes the notebook look and feel significantly thicker; making the X220 a full 1.75 inches tall (not including the rubber feet). On the brighter side, our tests showed the slice adds roughly 10 hours of battery life to the X220. During our standard battery drain test the X220 with 6-cell battery and slice kept running for 18 hours and 34 minutes. I have little doubt this could have been extended past 20 hours if the Wi-Fi was off and the screen brightness was turned down.

The only minor annoyance I found with the slice battery is that it lacks a “pass through” for the Lenovo docking station. In other words, you can either dock the X220 with the slice battery or you can dock the X220 with the docking station, but you cannot do both at the same time.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is arguably the best 12-inch business notebook currently on the market … and we won’t argue. Any business laptop that can deliver top-of-the-line perfromance and more than eight and a half hours of battery life with a standard 6-cell battery is amazing. The fact that the X220 can keep running for more than 18 and a half hours with the optional battery slice is nothing short of astonishing.

Considering that the starting price of this notebook is less than $1000 we have a hard time not recommending the ThinkPad X220 for businesses looking for a powerful and durable notebook for a mobile workforce.


  • Exceptional performance
  • Amazing battery life
  • Excellent durability


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



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