"The chiclet, back-lit keyboard is a total joy to use – apart from being spill-resistant, they have a very curious but kinda cool rounded shape and feel as responsive as steel guitar strings"
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 isn’t just aimed at business bods – it’s got a couple of features that will appeal to other user types as well. It’s slim but robust, with a good keyboard but also with above-average sound specs.
What we like best
You wouldn’t want your work computer to be too easily affected by stuff like scratches, coffee spils and drops, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 comes with all the reassurance you’d want. It’s very solidly built, with sharp edges and the classic, rugged, rubbery ThinkPad finish on the lid, and there’s a Corning Gorilla Glass protective shield for the screen . The shell is reinforced with magnesium for extra resistance.
Despite its forceful protection features, the ThinkPad X1 is still remarkably thin, measuring just 0.65 inches at its thinnest point, and despite not being as ultra-portable as the MacBook Air, it’s easy to pick up and transport using only one hand.
The chiclet, back-lit keyboard is a total joy to use – apart from being spill-resistant, they have a very curious but kinda cool rounded shape and feel as responsive as steel guitar strings. This being a ThinkPad, the little red nubby mousepad in the middle of the keyboard (which continues to divide the tech community) is still there. It’s got a ribbed texture to set it apart from the smooth keyboard.
As far as CPUs are concerned, users have the choice between Intel’s latest three Sandy Bridge processors. RAM (up to 8Gb) and storage (up to 160Gb) can also be configured to the user’s heart’s content.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 comes with Dolby speakers that are fantastically loud for such a small laptop, with a wide range of dynamics that won’t make you run to your nearest store in search of a decent set of headphones, like other laptops.
What we like least
The fact that Lenovo have gone with the Gorilla Glass scratch protector means that the ThinkPad X1’s screen reflects light more than is desirable. Horizontal viewing angles are poor, and images often appear too glossy. Also, the resolution is limited to 1366 x 768 pixels, which will put off gaming fans and film buffs.
Lenovo have boasted that the ThinkPad X1 will be able to run for up to ten hours without being hooked up to a charger, but that is stretching the truth to say the least. You’ll have to buy an extra slice battery to improve the pretty average battery life you get from the six-cell unit that comes with the laptop, and even then the time you can spend surfing and working will approximate seven rather than ten hours.
Skype calls and simple web games tend to drain the battery quicker than you’d expect, so don’t plan on hosting a Seinfeld marathon on this ThinkPad.
Overall, this is a very good business laptop with decent mainstream appeal. All the design aspects people have come to expect and appreciate from the ThinkPad series have been kept, and the generous processing and storage options make sure that the user gets what he wants. It’s not as portable as its most obvious competitor, the Apple MacBook Air, and its battery life often lets it down, but the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is a great combination of robustness, savy design and usability.
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Intel Core i5-2520M
Up to 8 Gb
Intel HD Graphics 3000
Hard Drive Storage
Up to 320 Gb
1MP web cam
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 3.0
1 x eSATA
1 x HDMI
1 x 4-in-one card reader
Weight & Size
337mm (W) x 21mm (H) x 231mm (D)
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
The X301 is the sleekest ThinkPad yet weighing 1.5kg, depending on your battery choices, and measuring at 19mm thick.
It is built very much like its predecessor, the ThinkPad X300, with its 13.3-inch display and built-in DVD burner, but the real difference is on the inside. The X301 uses the latest ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo SU9400 processor which creates a great compromise between performance and battery life.
The X301 has little touches that keep it a step above its competitors, such as the noise-cancelling digital microphone and a 1440×900-pixel resolution (sharper than a MacBook Air) shown on a matte screen.
It is very energy efficient, like most notebooks in the X Series, and has even achieved EPEAT™ Gold qualification and is ENERGY STAR™ 4.0 certified.
This ThinkPad comes at a premium price; if you include the add-ons such as the integrated DVD burner, extended-life six-cell battery and double the RAM, it ends up costing more than a MacBook Air.
The Lenovo X301 “sharper than the MacBook Air”
The Lenovo X301 is recommended for frequent travellers looking for an ultraportable laptop that does not compromise on its performance. It is lightweight, has plenty of storage and excellent battery life, which is extendable with add-on battery cells.
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