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Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Hands On, Details, Specs And Video

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Lenovo has updated the ThinkPad X Series of notebooks and convertible tablets to include the new Lenovo X220 and Lenovo X220t. The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is an ultraportable notebook that weighs in at less than 3 pounds and has a claimed battery life of up to 23 hours with the optional slice battery. The 12.5″ notebook is powered by the latest Intel 2nd Generation Core i Family of processors including Core i5 and Core i7 options, and includes a number of improvements to the overall ThinkPad X Series experience.

Check out our Full ThinkPad X220 Review – Editor’s Choice Award.

ThinkPad X220 Quick Specs:

The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 notebook has a 12.5″ anti-glare display with a 1366×768 resolution and is available with the new Sandy Bridge processor options including Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 2nd Gen Intel Core i processors. This notebook can handle up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, but most configurations will ship with the 4GB. There are numerous hard drive and SSD storage configurations and all of the expected ports for a business notebook. It is worth noting that there is no optical drive in this small notebook.

ThinkPad X220 Hands On and Unboxing Video:

ThinkPad X220 First Impressions – Mini review:

We have had the opportunity to use the ThinkPad X220 for a full workday and have been impressed with the ability of the small machine to deliver a mobile work experience that is hard to match. While we do appreciate the power inside, coming from a 2nd Gen Core i5 processor and 4GB RAM, we have been most impressed with the usability of the mouse and keyboard on such as small and lightweight machine.

We typed most of this X220 review and overview using the keyboard without experiencing the fatigue or mis-typing that normally occurs on small notebooks. The mousepad also performed well with good responsiveness. The touchpad is noticeably larger than the other ultraportable business notebooks we have tested and we appreciate the effort that Lenovo put into delivering a stellar mousing experience.

It’s still early, and we will be putting this ultraportable through a full battery of tests and usage scenarios, but it looks like Lenovo has delivered an impressive and noticeable upgrade to the ThinkPad X series.

Thinkad X220 Processor Options:

While ultraportable notebook have typically been tied to lower voltage processors, the ThinkPad X220 comes with full voltage Sandy Bridge processors so that you don’t need to sacrifice speed with portability. This 12.5″ notebook can be configured with anywhere from a 2.1GHz Intel Core i3 processor up to the high-end with a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M processor. The inclusion of full voltage mobile processors is important to business users who need to rely on the full speed of their notebook while on the go.

The new Sandy Bridge processors are able to enter TurboBoost mode which can deliver enhanced performance for a limited amount of time as well as delivering 20% faster processing and 2x the graphics performance of the previous generation processors. The Notebook also comes with the Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 which provides a boot time of 20 seconds faster than the average Windows notebook.

ThinkPad X220 First Look Video:

ThinkPad X220 Storage Options:

Another area where ultraportable have traditionally made sacrifices is in the area of storage, opting for slower or small hard drive options to deliver longer battery life. The Lenovo ThinkPad x220 can be configured numerous hard drive options, in a variety of sizes and speeds, and SSD options. The hard drive options include either a 250GB or 320GB 5400RPM hard drives or 160GB or 250GB 7200 RPM hard drives. Alternatively, you can choose a 4GB SSD that can be added to select configurations to improve boot times. There are also 80GB, 128GB and 160GB SSD options which can improve the overall speed of the notebook.

ThinkPad X220 Display Options:

The X220 can be configured with two display options. By default, this notebook comes with a 12.5″ antiglare LED backlit display with a 1366×768 resolution. There is an upgrade which delivers an extra bright wide angle IPS display which can be configured at checkout. The display is a change from the previous generation ThinkPad X201 which had a 12.1″ display that was limited to a lower 1280×800 resolution. The larger resolution delivers more space to work on documents and can be used to compare to documents side to side in a pinch.

The display is attached with two metal hinges that allow the notebook to open up past 180 degrees so that you are assured of the ability to find an angle that works for your current work environment; whether it’s the back of a car, a picnic table or a tray on an airplane.

ThinkPad X220 Keyboard:

The x220 has traditional ThinkPad keyboard, and despite the small size of the notebook, it is able to deliver a very nice typing experience. The keys have a great amount of travel and the beveled edges which drop away at the edges of the keys make it easy to find the keys you are looking for without mis-keying. The keyboard includes a full number row as well as a full  row of F-keys and Function keys.

Lenovo has done a great job at moving the lesser used keys to the top of the keyboard so that you don’t need to deal with smaller tab, shift or enter keys. We especially enjoy the inclusion of large Esc and Delete keys which are at the top of the keyboard.

On the left side, you’ll find controls to handle the volume, mute and other options.

ThinkPad X220 Mouse:

One of the most noticeable changes to the X line is the mouse on the ThinkPad X220 which is 45% larger than on the previous ThinkPad X201. This increase is possible thanks to the new buttonless multitouch design which allows the touchpad to extend to the edge of the notebook. Comparing this touchpad against the other small touchpads typically fond on notebooks of this size we were impressed, and hope that it signals a trend in ultraportable business notebook space.

One of the things that really makes the new, larger, touchpad on the X220 is the ability to push to click anywhere on the pad. While other mousepads like this allow you to tap to touch, we really like having the ability to push and perform a left click almost anywhere on the touchpad. The lower third of the mousepad can be depressed on the left or right to perform the corresponding mouseclick. Overall this is a very intuitive and responsive mousepad and one of the best we have used on a business ultraportable.

The X220 keeps the traditional pointer nub and mouse buttons that ThinkPads are known for. The nub and buttons work as advertised, which will delight users that rely on the pointing stick to navigate while typing.

ThinkPad X220 Ports and Connections:

There are a full complement of ports that you would expect on a business notebook. Select models will be available with USB 3.0 technology.

Starting along the left side of the device there is a USB 2.0, VGA, DisplayPort, USB 2.0, ExpressCard 54 and a Wireless switch.

On the right, we have an SD card slot, USB 2.0 (charging), Ethernet and combo microphone and headphone port as well as a kensington lock slot.

ThinkPad X220 Video Conferencing Options:

The X220 has a 720P HD webcam built into the bezel and a microphone that has been tuned to deliver a superior video conferencing solution. The X220 has noise suppression technology which is designed to cancel the noise that comes with typing on the keyboard during a conference call. You won’t notice the difference, but the person on the other end of the call will thank you.

The ThinkPad X220 also provides users with the ability to switch between private and conference mode when video chatting. When in Private mode the microphone is able to tune out the surrounding noise and focus in one the one person in front of the notebook. In Conference mode the microphone listens to the entire room, acting like a speakerphone.

ThinkPad X220 Battery Options:

The ThinkPad X220 comes with two battery options that can deliver up to 23 hours of battery life. The standard 9 cell battery is rated for 15 hours of battery life and the optional Slice battery can connect to the bottom of the X220 to stretch the battery life to the 24 hour mark. These ratings require that you take advantage of the adaptive power options and use the Lenovo Power manager to scale back the performance of the processor and graphics.

The adaptive technology works by figuring out what you are working on and reducing the power used by components that aren’t needed. One example of the adaptive technology is that while watching a movie, listening to MP3s or streaming web content the battery should last 30% longer than on a notebook without this technology.

The optional Slice battery costs $179 and adds weight and bulk, but the extra battery life will be worth it for travelers who need to be away from an outlet for extended periods.

Users can enable Battery Stretch mode and make use of the Lenovo Power Center to really take control of battery usage. Whether you are trying to be green or just trying to get the longest battery life possible, the Power Center will help you get there.

Lenovo ThinkPad X220 and X220t Extended Battery Video:

ThinkPad X220 Durability:

The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is mil-spec tested to endure in harsh conditions. This notebook has been tested to meet military specifications for exposure to physical shock, thermal shock, altitude, dust, vibration, humidity, heat and cold.

ThinkPad X220 Pricing and Availability:

The ThinkPad X220 will be available in April with starting prices around $899. The optional slice battery will cost an additional $179.

ThinkPad X220 Accessories and Docking Compatibility:

The ThinkPad X220 is compatible with the T, L and W Series docks and has numerous accessories available for purchase including;

  • Lenovo 90W Ultraslim ThinkPad Ultrabase™ Series 3 AC/DC Combo Adapter (0A33932)
  • Lenovo Power Hub (57Y4600)
  • ThinkPad Battery 29 3-cell (0A36281)
  • ThinkPad Battery 29+ 6-cell (0A36282)
  • ThinkPad Battery 29++ 8-cell (0A36283)
  • ThinkPad Ultrabase™ Series 3 (0A33932)
  • ThinkPad Ultrabase™ Series 3 (6-10W)
  • ThinkPad Mini Dock Series 3 (4337-10U)
  • ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (4338-10U)
  • ThinkPad Battery 19+ 6-cell Slim External (0A36280)
  • Kensington MicroSaver Cable Lock from Lenovo (73P2582)
  • ThinkPad Ultraportable Case (41U5062)
  • ThinkPad Executive Leather Case (43R2480)

ThinkPad X220 Gallery:

ThinkPad X220 Specifications:

Brand Lenovo
Model ThinkPad X220
Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-2620M (2.70GHz, 4MB L3, 1333MHz FSB) W/ USB 3.0
Intel® Core™ i5-2540M (2.60GHz, 3MB L3, 1333MHz FSB)
Intel® Core™ i5-2520M (2.50GHz, 3MB L3, 1333MHz FSB)
Intel® Core™ i5-2410M (2.30GHz, 3MB L3, 1333MHz FSB)
Intel® Core™ i3-2310M (2.10GHz, 3MB L3, 1333MHz FSB)

Intel® Core™ i7-2620M (2.70GHz, 4MB L3, 1333MHz FSB)

Display 12.5″ HD (1366×768) LED Backlit Display

12.5″ Premium HD (1366×768) LED Backlit Display (w/ extra bright wide-viewing angle IPS display)

Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Basic 32-bit

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-bit

Storage Choice: 160GB (7200rpm)1

250GB (5400rpm/7200rpm OPAL1)

320GB (5400rpm)

4GB Solid State Flash Drive, Serial ATA1

Intel® 80GB Micro Solid State Drive, Serial ATA

128GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA

Intel® 160GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA

Memory / RAM Choice: Up to 8GB
RAM speed 1333MHz
Memory Type DDR3
Optical Drive UltraBase™ with Multiburner UltraBase™ with Multiburner with Write Disabled
Graphics Card Intel® Integrated HD Graphics
Available Integrated Communication WWAN ,Bluetooth 2.1, WiMAX, WLAN
Supported WLAN Card Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 (Kilmer Peak) 2×2 AGN

Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 (Puma Peak) 3×3 AGN

Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6205 (Taylor Peak) 2×2 AGN

Supported WWAN Card Gobi™ 3000 Sierra Wireless EV-DO/HSPA WWAN Minicard

Ericsson HSPA + WWAN Minicard (F5521gw)

LeadCore TD-SCDMA WWAN Minicard (LC5730D)

Huawei EV-DO WWAN Minicard (EM660)

Navigation Trackpoint® & Buttonless Touchpad
WebCam 720p High Definition camera
Microphone Dual digital microphones Combo Microphone Headphone Jack
Dimensions 305.0mm x 206.5mm x 19-34.6mm
Weights < 3.0lbs (1.3kg)
Ports Display Port

VGA Port

3 USB 2.0 port (1 Always On port; 1 optional USB 3.0)

54mm Express Card Slot

SD Card Reader

Internal PCIe Slots 1 full, 1 half
Battery Life Up to 23 hours with the ThinkPad external battery pack

Up to 15 hours with a 9 cell battery

Josh Smith is a longtime mobile tech user, currently using a Droid as his primary smartphone. Josh is also an editor at Notebooks.com where he reviews notebooks and other mobile tech. Follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Smith or email him Josh@Notebooks.com.

16 Comments

  1. cmw

    March 8, 2011 at 7:05 am

    This ain’t no iPad. ;-)

    Looks like a great down to business machine!

  2. Name (required)

    March 9, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Is there the “ips” display on your x220 (from the video)?

  3. termikel

    March 9, 2011 at 4:31 am

    lenovo is the brand old IBM. Thats really good and strong barand..

    Thanks for really good share.. notebooks.com

  4. George

    March 9, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Is there a backlit keyboard or night lite (like my old IBM x20) to see the keys in low ambient light?

  5. Greg

    March 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Can u use the 9cell with the battery slice or only the 6cell ?

  6. Peter

    March 19, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Is the drive 1.8 or 2.5″?

    • Frank

      June 24, 2011 at 11:59 am

      2,5 but 7mm only – see my posting below

  7. Ashe

    March 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    really looks great! do you have a review about his cousin Ideapad U260?

    that look like this

    http://www.ideapadtoday.com/lenovo-ideapad-u260-review-the-laptop-disguised-as-a-leather-journal.htm

    Thanks

  8. Frank

    June 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Good review, but here are some things to consider:

    - you cannot fit in a “normal” 9mm 2,5 inch HD. the slot is 7 mm only
    - therefore currently you cannot put a HD larger than 320 GB (there is a 7mm announced with 500 GB but it is not available yet).
    - yes we like it slim. but adding another 2 mm for a “normal” HD wouldn’t kill the design.
    - USB3 only comes with the i7
    - I like the keyboard, but I love the X1′s keyboard
    - the IPS screen of the X220 is way better than the X1′s gorilla screen glass. keep the gorilla glass for real gorillas.

    Don’t get me wrong. I will still get a X220.

    F.

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