October 30, 2012

Best-of-Breed Ultraportable IBM ThinkPad X220

Lenovo's X-series laptops have always been high-end ultraportable machines for business travelers who need to work on the go with a Lenovo ThinkPad R500 battery minimum amount of compromise. The X220 continues this tradition and adds a few new twists at the same time. The biggest design change is a move to a 12.5-inch display--a very unusual size. This allows the chassis to be a tiny bit wider, which in turn leads to a more spacious keyboard, and one that feels very different from that of just about any other laptop on the market.
Lenovo ThinkPad X220

The keyboard is an old-fashioned layout that looks a world away from the sleek black isolation-style keys seen on an HP Envy 17 or Macbook Pro. But it quickly becomes apparent that the keys are excellent for typing on. The keyboard takes up all the available Lenovo ThinkPad R500 AC adapter space, and the large, embossed keys are comfortable.

The unfortunate caveat is that the touchpad is very cramped. The integrated click buttons curve over the palm rest at the bottom and can be awkward to hit. Lenovo has included a TrackPoint pointer as an alternative, but we still found the touchpad easier to navigate.

The X220 managed an incredible nine and a half hours in our light-use test. You’ll be able to work all day without having to reach for the power adaptor. This is partly because the X220 uses Intel’s integrated GPU to power the display, rather than more power-hungry dedicated AMD or Nvidia graphics. It’s fine for high definition video, but not for games – our Dirt 3 test produced an unplayable 14.3fps. You’ll have to drop detail settings or stick to older Lenovo ASM 92P1130 battery titles to get playable frame rates.

The 720p webcam, which supports Skype HD calls, provided crisp but washed out images. Making a Skype call from our dimly lit living room, our facial features were clearly visible, but colors were muted. Under bright overhead lighting, details were sharper, but had way too high of a white balance at both auto modes; tinkering with the settings didn't help. At one point during our testing, the webcam even stopped working and displayed a black block instead of an image. This problem persisted until we finally powered off the system completely for a few seconds before booting again.

Graphics are courtesy of Intel with their new Intel HD 3000 graphics. That’s perhaps the most exciting part of Sandy Bridge: Intel made significant improvements to integrated graphics Lenovo ThinkPad R500 battery and the Lenovo X220 is thus capable of some decent 3D gaming. The Intel HD 3000 in the X220 scored a respectable 3812 on 3DMark 06. Not bad for a business ultraportable. You can indeed play Left 4 Dead 2 in the hotel room after a long day of meetings (see our gaming video review below).

Connectivity, meanwhile, is excellent, easily at the top of the class for a 12in laptop. On the left we have a single USB 3.0 port, VGA and DisplayPort for analogue and digital video respectively, a second USB port of the slower USB 2.0 variety, and a handy wireless switch. What makes the X220 stand out from the crowd though is the 45mm ExpressCard slot also found here, which can be used to add all kinds of expansions Lenovo ThinkPad R500 adapter and accessories, such as extra eSATA or USB 3.0 ports, or external graphics.

The X220 includes the gamut of wireless connections, including the latest, longer-range Intel WiFi chips, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G (via Gobi), and 4G technologies. It's equipped with a 320GB, 7200rpm hard drive, the fastest spinning hard drives available on ultraportables, with upgrade paths to higher capacities or solid state drives. Otherwise, the three USB ports, Ethernet, and an SD card slot are common finds in most laptops.

Better yet, the X220 can now handle 3D games without a discrete graphics chip, as the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 is more than 4 times as powerful as the previous iteration, as indicated by 3DMark06 tests (4,083). With more-advanced titles, like Crysis and Lost Planet 2, however, you'll need to crank down the eye-candy.

The textured surface is pleasing to the touch, but Lenovo has foregone separate buttons in order to maximise the size of the touchpad in a very cramped area. The bottom portion of the touchpad wraps around the end of the palm rest, and to click you press on these corners of the pad. Unfortunately Lenovo ASM 92P1130 battery, something's off with the engineering of this: The pad misses clicks all the time, and it makes the cursor stutter badly when you're (subconsciously or not) resting a thumb on the pad as you prepare to click. Great idea, but the execution isn't there.

Posted by: miko at 09:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 798 words, total size 6 kb.

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
12kb generated in CPU 0.01, elapsed 0.0095 seconds.
33 queries taking 0.0046 seconds, 45 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.