The Bottom Line
May 17 2011 - The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 certainly provides a very high performance and stylish design for a 13-inch ultraportable. Thanks to the new Intel Core 2011 processors, the system is able to power through just about any task. It has a relatively small profile but it still lacks the portability of ultraportables. The biggest distraction for this 13-inch laptop is the battery which is just too small for the target market. It can be boosted with the optional slice battery but this shouldn't really be a required item for such a feature packed laptop.
- Strong Performance From 2nd Gen Core i5 Processor
- Solid, Sturdy Feel
- Excellent Backlit Keyboard
- Relatively Low Battery Life Without Optional Slice Battery
- Cooling Fan Pretty Audible
- Intel Core i5-2520M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 3.0
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, eSATA (Shared), HDMI, DisplayPort, 4-in-1 Card Reader, Fingerprint Scanner
- 13.3" x 9.1" x .9" @ 3.7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Professional
Guide Review - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 13.3-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC
May 17 2011 - Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 follows the company's recently released X220 by providing a slimmer overall profile with the same overall level of performance and features. While the system does have a more svelte profile, it still isn't something you would call ultrathin like the Apple MacBook Air or the Samsung Series 9. It more inline with a MacBook Pro 13 in terms of dimensions but with a slightly lower weight but still heavier than the X220.
The appearance is also quite different for the ThinkPad X1 while still retaining much of the basic appearance of past Lenovo ThinkPad products. Rather than the boxy design of past models, it features more sharp angles and edges that give it a performance feel. The surfaces are also covered more with a rubber like texture that give it a nice grip when being carried. Lenovo packs in their new chiclet design keyboard with the twist of it being backlit for use in low light conditions. Also changed is the buttonless trackpad that works well for the most part but the trackpoint method felt more accurate with its distinct buttons.
Performance from the ThinkPad X1 is quite good and pretty much identical to that which I saw in the X220. This is most likely due to the similar configuration of a new Intel 2011 Core i5-2520M dual core processor combined with 4GB of DDR3 memory that let it zip through most tasks without a problem. If you always need more performance, Lenovo does offer the Core i7 with its quad core configuration. The extra performance did have a slight downside of the cooling fan running fairly often and was quite noticeable.
Like many other ultraportables, the ThinkPad X1 has dropped an internal optical drive in order to reduce costs and weight. Most people don't really require this form of drive in their computers much more other than for the occasional DVD viewing. Data storage is handled by a 320GB hard drive that offers modest storage space but a very quick 7200rpm spin rate akin to a desktop drive for fast data access.
One major change to Lenovo's design of the ThinkPad X1 is the display. Rather than using the traditional anti-glare coating, the X1 features a glossy Gorilla Glass over the display panel. While this is very scratch resistant and stylish design, it has the unfortunate drawback of creating too much glare and reflections that otherwise mar a very nice performing 13.3-inch display. Resolutions are relatively low at 1366x768 for Lenovo's business class product but it is inline with most other 13-inch laptops. The graphics are handled by the new Intel HD 3000 graphics engine that is built into the processor. They do a much better job than previous Intel integrated graphics especially when accelerating certain tasks such as video editing. It still has relatively limited 3D performance compared to discrete options though.
The most disappointing aspect of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is the battery. For its size, the laptop features a relatively low 38.9 WHr capacity internal battery pack. This is nearly half the capacity of the battery found in the ThinkPad X220 or the Apple MacBook Pro 13 and just slightly larger than a MacBook Air 11. In video streaming playback testing, it was only able to last roughly one and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is pretty low for a business class laptop. Lenovo does offer an optional slice battery pack that clips onto the bottom that will add some thickness but also provides an additional 36WHr of capacity for more reasonable three and a half hours of video streaming playback.