There has been an incredible increase in the popularity of tablets in the past couple of years, and this can be highly attributed to the original Apple iPad. Since then, there have been numerous look-alike releases from heaps of less known manufacturers. But, what about the consumers who are quite serious about work as well as some fun; what we mean to say is something that is a real computer, but can take the tablet avatar, while in the fun mode.
So, we are looking at something like a laptop that comes with a swivel screen that can be folded down across the keyboard to look like a flat slate, also possessing an incredible 12.5″ IPS display, like the ones found on the professional monitors such as the famous iPad and even the HP DreamColour LP2480zx. The other “expected features” list might include a Intel processor, an entire day’s worth of battery life, a Wacom digitizer as well as a rugged exterior. Well, the Lenovo Thinkpad X220 seems to be just fitting in the above description. While it has got the feature list right, let us find out if it has done the same with the performance.
Conventional but smart:
We are pretty sure that as soon as you saw the image of the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Laptop, and thought that the manufacturer has just travelled back in time to about the year 2000. But we do not blame you for thinking so, with the aesthetics alone, the ThinkPad does not look much different from its previous X series laptops the company had released every year. However, that is heaps more than what meets the eye with this ultra-portable laptop, having all the latest state of the art technologies. On a closer look, you will find the Lenovo has made a few tweaks to the keyboard and touchpad of the ThinkPad, making a whole lot of difference that you might have not even imagined. Overall, the ‘Business’ and boring look of this Lenovo will completely fool you, and we will never regret if we said that this is one of the best laptops we had ever tested.
Once you open the TouchPad and switch it on, you get a shockingly crisp blue background on its 12.5″ matte display. The IPS display is great and has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which not only offers vibrant colours and pictures, but it also is amazing with its horizontal and vertical viewing angles. The display here is the closest to flawless we have ever seen. It is slightly reflective, thanks to its optional Gorilla Glass Layer, but is nothing as glossy as the other glass fronted displays we have seen. Irrespective of which angle the laptop was, we could make out what was on it, and our natural instincts yearned for a higher resolution option. Overall, the ThinkPad X220’s display is very close to perfect, particularly in comparison to the cheap and glossy panels that most of the current tables possess.
The display in Thinkpad X220 has support for both capacitive touch as well a stylus via Wacom’s Digitizer. The touch response is excellent and the solid glass front just offers effortless sliding of fingers. There is natural support for multi-touch and gesture control, which did not seem perfect. The display coating is pretty good at minimising the effects of greasy fingerprints, and after a complete day’s use smudging is only distractingly visible against dark backgrounds.
Durable and Sturdy:
As we had just mentioned, the ThinkPad X220 has a design that consumers might not even care to look, and has been highly undermined by the current standards. But we still have to note that there are a few parts on this device that are simply timeless. A uniform look is offered by the matte black plastic, beating numerous laptops that are just mismatched, such as the Asus U30JC. In order to keep out the dreaded fingerprints and dust collection, the lid has been given a rubbery coating. Though the metal exteriors of the current style icons of the laptop industry such as the Dell Vostro and HP’s EliteBook make the X220 look a little out-dated, it manages to be as tough as nails. The display has been kept wobble-free, thanks to the metal hinges and the base of the X220 feels the most durable than most out there. It meet the terms of the MIL SPEC principles for semi-rugged laptops, which means that it has been tested to survive environmental risks like humidity and temperature extremes, dust as well as vibration.
Being durable does not exactly mean that it should be heavy; like its predecessors X200 and X201, the X220 too is amazingly light. The 1.25″ chassis of the ThinkPad X220 weight just 3.6 pounds and, note that this is excluding the six cell battery, by adding the slice battery, it adds another 1.16” in thickness as well an extra 1.4 pounds to the entire package. The good news is that, this battery fits in pretty flush within the system and hence, does not obstruct any of the essential ports. Being lesser than an inch thick, it is easy to carry a pouch or just take it with some files.
X220 as a tablet:
Unfortunately, when compared to the earlier X220t, the manufacturer seems to have taken a back step as far as the usability of the devices as a tablet is concerned. To begin with, though the hinge is quite smooth and solid, it is not bi-directional anymore, which proved to be one of the main factors that managed to set its predecessors on top of the rival convertible tablet laptops. The number of buttons below the display has been reduced from 4 to 3, the one to get the chop is the handy orientation-lock button. And the power button is also the same size as that of the other two, making it quite easy to get on the wrong one. We were just wishing if only Lenovo had included a programmable button like the one found on the Packard Bell Butterfly Touch.
Lenovo has never got the laptop keyboards wrong, and the ThinkPad X220 is no exception. There is nothing chiclet about this affair, and it is all the better for it. The feedback offered by the slightly curved keys is excellent and perfect for the touch typists. With the 12.5” wide display, Lenovo has been able to play around with the spacing and was far from being cramped. In addition to good feedback and spacing, there has been absolutely no flex too. Unfortunately, the Z key on our laptop was pretty loose and even when snapped back, it does not register the keystrokes occasionally. Just hope that this is not a widespread issue and just on this particular unit, but only time will give the answers.
The layout is pretty much spot-on, though, like always, the blue coloured Enter key is US styled and Fn key remains to be placed outside the Ctrl. Lenovo remains to be one of the few manufacturers clinging on to the archaic convention and, while we just wish it would not, you can always swap the functionalities of these keys in BIOS. Lenovo has also shrunk the function row, but the oversized Delete and Esc keys remain the same. On top of the function key row, there are clever buttons for mute, volume, as well as microphone mute. When you hit Fn + Page Up, the practical ThinkLight provides a soft white LED on the keyboard, which is simply great to be using in a dark conference hall or bedroom. We would have preferred the even lighting of a backlit keyboard with light shining through the transparent markings and letters on every key top. The keyboard is spill resistant, having “weep” holes on its bottom of the laptop in order to funnel the liquid away from the inner components will keep you worry from your favourite beverage spilling on the ThinkPad X220.
As in the case of most of its siblings, the ThinkPad X220 is not anything short of the navigational options and it is no surprise that the manufacturer has not given up on its combo of touchpad and pointing stick. The stick offers good cursor control as well as big buttons that are easy to press. The thin pen is quite comfortable and is also coated with the same soft finishing on the lid as well as the inner screen bezel. While its recognition of 512 pressure levels might not sound great in comparison to the 2048 of a Wacom Intous 4 graphics tablet, but it is just adequate for sketching and light drawing. If you choose to make use of the stick, just make sure that you hit on the Fn+F8 that launches the software to turn off the pad. Else, you thumb will end up sitting on the included key area of the pad while using the stick, and this will stop the cursor movement.
The nub and stick:
The famous red nub sits right in the centre of the keyboard, but even better, the latest ClickPad is effectively a touchpad with integrated mouse buttons. It still has the slightly raised braille like bumps, however, as the buttons are integrated, the surface is wider and longer than its X200 predecessor, and the numbers say that it is about 45% larger now. Having said that, this 1.95” x 3” ThinkPad still does not seem to be as spacious as we would like and will simply result in quite a restricted experience. The point and click functionality of the ThinkPad is good, but we found it to be lacking in sensitivity. Even when it was updated with new drivers, it made no difference with the multi finger gestures like pinch and zoom or scrolling. Hence, in spite of having the two modes of navigation, we would have liked a third mode, like the Anywhere Mouse.
At one glance, you will not be able to make out that Lenovo has gone through a lot of pain to offer you an impeccable video conferencing options. So, at least a deeper look into it will be justifiable. The 720p webcam on its crown is incredibly sharp, clear and crisp. The ThinkPad X220 Notebook Computer is also equipped with some noise cancellation mics that have been designed especially to get rid of the keyboard noise. The combination of Fn and F6 opens its communications utility which has the noise cancellation option. This proved to be much better than the ones found on the MacBook Pro. We are not trying to say that it gets rid of the keyboard noise at all, but they are far less noticeable than what the Macbook Pro is capable of. The webcam was good in all types of lighting conditions from bright to low. There was some minor motion blur at the highest resolution setting, but nothing as such is noticeable at 640 x 480, which is mostly the setting used for video conferencing.
The one voice or multiple voice options are very impressive. With the one-voice setting, that mics picked up the voice of the person sitting in face of the display, and the other person in the side sounded pretty low. When it was set to multiple voices, everybody sitting around the laptop sounded the same.
Ports and connectivity:
The ThinkPad X220 Laptop has one of the most robust port layouts we have ever seen on any of the current 12″ laptop. The connectivity options included in the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 are a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired network connectivity, VGA or DisplayPort Sockets, a trifecta of USB Jacks and a single 3.5mm combi jack headphone connector. You will also find an ExpressCard 54 and also a four-in-one card slot. The inclusion of a Display Port makes more sense; while most consumers might have been happier with a HDMI port, in UK, the business oriented displays use DisplayPort. And, if you just cannot bear with a DisplayPort and want a HDMI, you can always buy a Display-to-HDMI adaptor for very less. With some configure to order models, you get to personalise the device to your needs. Like most of the laptops weighing below 3 pounds, the X220 does not have a built-in optical drive.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is the first laptop that we have reviewed with Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz Core i5-2520M processor, and just like the MacBook Pro that was equipped with the Core i7, the power surge is quite noticeable. The CPU is powerful, yet quite efficient and will handle anything but the most intensively multi-threaded applications with a great deal of ease, With quite a few applications opened, such as Microsoft Word, Skype, TweetDeck, about 10 sides opened with the Chrome and also some photo editing software, the laptop was surprisingly incredibly quick. However, if you think that you will not need so much power, the CPU can always be downgraded to a Core i3-2310M, or, if you are just hungry for more, just get up to a quad-core Core i7-2620M for the sake of heavy duty works such as HD video encoding. The hard drive has active protection in order to protect the data in case you bump or drop it. That said, for some real crash-proof reliability, the X220 can be got with SSD options, and also Lenovo’s RapidDrive solution, that combines with an SSD and regular hard drive.
RAM, HDD and OS:
The system seemed to be faster with the everyday tasks than what the older Core i3 or i5 systems were able to. One of the main reasons for this quickness might be because of the 320GB hard drive with the spindle speed of 7200rpm and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. This is of course, expandable to 8GB. For the hard drive too, there are also various options available, including SSDs of about 160GB. The entire system is running in Windows 7 Professional in 64 bit flavour as standard, and as with the options are concerned, you can choose the Home Premium 64-bit or Home Basic 32-bit.
For wireless connectivity, there is Bluetooth and 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi networking. There is a small physical wireless switch on the left of the laptop controlling both the X220’s Bluetooth and WiFi, and a fingerprint readercan be found on the screen’s bezel. 3G comes in just as an optional extra.
As far as graphics is concerned, the X200 does not have any dedicated graphics, so you will be just stuck with the Intel’s integrated option. Lenovo has equipped the ThinkPad with Intel’s lowly integrated HD graphics, and in fact, IGP will be just perfect for light video editing and HD playback. Fortunately, the latest HD 3000 series are integrated in to the CPU and seem to be far superior than the earlier solutions from Intel. Intel has definitely packed in a lot more punch to its new HD graphics options. In fact, you will be able to risk a couple of odd games with substantial drop in detail and resolution and this new Intel’s graphics also offers dedicated hardware video processing acceleration; note that this demands compatible software. But, you are not going to use this for gaming, are you?
Most of Lenovo’s business clients order their ThinkPads pre-configured just the way they want them. And, Lenovo still makes it quite easy for the consumers who wish to upgrade the X220 on their own too. The hard drive can be easily prepared by removing the single screw on the side access panel, and as far as RAM is concerned, you will find two slots that are placed beneath the main access plate on the bottom of the laptop.
As always, Lenovo has equipped the X220 with an amazing set of its own utilities such as ThinkVantage, including fingerprint reader configuration, power controls as well as an enhanced backup and restore. Amazingly, not everything has been installed in the system; hence if you are opting to use one of these, you just have to go to a small download process. We also appreciate that it does not have any third-party crap-ware preloaded. In fact, the system is a pristine desktop, which is quite rare in the world that is cluttered with bloated crapware systems. The X220 also features Lenovo’s Enhanced Experience 2.0 features that works with the Windows 7 Operating System that has the ability to fasten up tasks like resuming, booting-up, as well as reconnecting to the WiFi networks.
The ThinkPad X220 12.5 inch Laptop has a few unique as well as compelling security features that cannot be found on heaps of other gadgets. The Lenovo AutoLock can be configured to lock the desktop once the system had been idle for some time, and when the webcam does not find a webcam not staring at the system. This just makes sure that, if you happen to walk away from the system and forget to secure it, no one else will be able to access it. Unfortunately, the face detection system will work fine only as long as you stared directly at the system, if you happen to be looking sideways, it simply gets locked. There is no doubt that the powered fingerprint reader is the ultimate security feature a laptop can have. Once you are done with the configuration is done, the device can be powered and log into Windows with just a swipe.
The base of the ThinkPad X220 has down-firing speakers that deliver more sonic presence than what you could have expected. It is just fine for the basic web audio. Unfortunately, the music playback is quite thin and tinny, which is the case in most of the ultra portables. The maximum volume output is loud enough to fill a large room with a clear sound. The maximum volume setting and bass output is almost non-existent. The speakers on the bottom front means that the sound is directed down and away from you rather than up towards your ears. While using the X220 in the laptop mode, then the sound is often muffled against your clothes or legs.
Noise and thermal performance:
It is notable that this standard voltage processor means, no thermal issues. The ThinkPad X220 remained quite cool during usage, and even with heavy YouTube use, it does not fire-up the laps. The noise levels were almost a non-issue with normal daily use on the X220. The default fan speed is extremely quiet and if at all you wish to hear it, you have to just place your ears next to it.
The battery life of the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 can be summed up as, “We have never seen an ultra-portable device or laptop that managed to last this long on a single charge”. The 63Wh six cell battery lasted for about seven hours and 19 minutes on video, and on typical use, you can get about eight hours of run time with that cell, yes, you read it right, EIGHT hours. Note that, this is just with the standard batters, so what will the whopping slice battery add to it? well, another ten hours, believe it or not. With this the X220 was on a SD video loop for about fourteen and a half hours, that is almost the entire time you will be awake. But do not forget that you have to spend a decent sum on the slice battery.
Lenovo offers one year warranty for parts and labour. You can always get extended warranties for up to three years and, the ThinkPlus protection plans insures it against accidental damages, at additional cost.
From a distance, you can be forgiven for thinking that the Thinkpad X220 is an early 2000’s model, which cannot last more than 4 hours without a cable, which is absolutely sluggish by today’s standards. The fact is, this laptop is the longest lasting as well as the fastest ultra portable device we had ever tested. Considering that is one of the fastest systems with an amazing panel, there can be no difference in opinion with the fact that its starting price tag is worth it. While the premium priced systems need not worry about compromising on design, durability, features or performance that does not apply to the ultra portable systems in the market. You might find some of the flashier options such as Asus U36j and Apple’s MacBook Air, but you will never get 15 hours in one charge.
Said that, there has not been a lot of choice in the convertible laptop field; there are very few of them, like the Acer Aspire 1825P TZ, HP TouchSmart tm2 and Packard Bell Butterfly Touch. But, while the Acer and Packard Bell’s Core 2 based CPUs are pretty slow and are without the pen input, the HP TouchSmart suffers from outdated processing power and graphics. None of the above said issues should concern you as far as the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is concerned.
Check 2011 Latest Laptop Reviews in this website.
Lenovo Thinkpad X220 Laptop – Technical Specification Table
|PC type||Ultraportable Newbook tablet convertible|
|Name||Lenovo ThinkPad X220|
|DIMENSIONS AND DISPLAY|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||12 x 8.1 x 1.25 inches|
|Weight||3.4 pounds / 5 pounds (with battery slice)|
|Available colours||Matte Black|
|Display size||12.5 inches|
|Display resolution||1366 x 768 pixels|
|Touchpad size||3 x 1.75 inches|
|PROCESSOR, MEMORY, STORAGE|
|Processor type||Intel Core i5-2520M|
|Clock speed||2.5 GHz|
|Multi-Core Technology||Dual core|
|Processor technology||Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0,
Integrated memory controller,
|Hard drive size||320GB|
|Spindle speed||7200 rpm|
|RAM Type||DDR3 SDRAM – 1333 MHz|
|Chipset Type||Mobile Intel QM67 Express|
|Cache||3MB L3 cache|
|Input features||Multi-touch touchpad,
|GRAPHICS, VIDEO AND SOUND|
|Graphics processor||Intel HD Graphics 3000 Dynamic Video Memory Technology|
|Compliant Standards||High Definition Audio|
|Audio Output||Sound card|
|Audio Input||Stereo microphone|
|Bays and Drives||Optical drive in supplied UltraBase docking station|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR|
|Wireless Display Capability||No|
|WiFi model||Intel Centrino 6205|
1280 x 720
|CONNECTIVITY||2 x Hi-Speed USB – 4 pin USB Type A,
1 x PoweredUSB,
1 x Display / video – VGA – 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15),
1 x Audio / video – DisplayPort – 20 pin DisplayPort,
1 x Network – Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T – RJ-45,
1 x Audio – Headphones/microphone – Mini-phone 3.5 mm,
1 x Docking / port replicator,
1 x Display / video – VGA – 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
( On expansion base ),
1 x Audio / video – DisplayPort – 20 pin DisplayPort,
1 x Hi-Speed USB – 4 pin USB Type A ( On expansion base ),
1 x Network – Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-
TX/1000Base-T – RJ-45 ( On expansion base ),
1 x Microphone – Input – Mini-phone 3.5 mm,
1 x Headphones – Output – Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
Wireless LAN antenna,
SIM card reader
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional|
|Microsoft Office Preloaded||Includes a pre-loaded image of select Microsoft
Office 2010 suites. Purchase an Office 2010
Product Key Card or disc to activate preloaded s
oftware on this PC.
|Embedded Security||Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip,
|Software||ThinkVantage System Update,
ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery,
ThinkVantage Power Manager,
ThinkVantage Access Connections,
Norton Internet Security 2011 (30 days subscription),
Lenovo Password Manager
ThinkVantage Active Protection System,
Security lock slot (cable lock sold separately),
Hard drive password,
|Battery technology||63 Whr (Watt hours)|
|Estimated battery life||8:40 hrs|
|Energy Star Compliant||Yes|
|Power||AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )|