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Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Review
A Bit About Lenovo
March 9, 2011
Lenovo is the fourth largest manufacturer of computers in the world. Based in China they have offices in Bejing, China; Morrisville, North Carolina U.S.A.; and Singapore.
They have been building computers including the ThinkCentre (desktop), ThinkPad (notebook), ThinkStation (workstation), and ThinkServer computers since the 1990s. They also manufacture handsets (smartphones), LCD and CRT monitors, projectors (ThinkVision) and are planning video games in the near future.
Lenovo acquired the IBM ThinkPad designs and manufacturing techniques for one billion seven hundred fifty million ($1,750,000,000) dollars in 2005.
When Lenovo bought out the "Think" line of IBM computers in 2005 there was quite a bit of concern about the product line, quality control, and the potential for Lenovo to use the IBM branding as a means to market cheap knock-offs of the robust IBM line.
This didn't happen. In fact, if anything, Lenovo has continued the high quality and engineering standards that made IBM the safe vendor for corporate purchases. The ThinkPad line remains robust, well thought out, and innovative. The ThinkPad X220 reflects this forward thinking.
The Most Notable Thing
Lenovo, with the ThinkPad X220, has finally broken heretofore unknown territory. Battery life that could extend to twenty-four hours with power management software. This review and the associated chart (below) discusses operational life without the use of power management software.
In other words this laptop, with an optional slice battery pack could run up to twenty-four hours on a single charge. Yes, twenty-four hours!
This is unheard of. But it does come at a weight cost; about one additional pound of weight for the optional battery pack on top of the less than three pounds for this unit. Still, this is not bad for a world-traveler, especially when you consider that this computer could literally span the entire globe without the battery charger along for the ride.
What else does the Lenovo X220 have?
The new Intel "Sandy Bridge" processors, up to eight gigabytes of RAM, a larger trackpad (45% larger) along with the trackpoint device, and all of this in a less than three pound (sans slice battery) and a twelve (12") inch diagonal display.
Thinkpad X220 Specifics
Lenovo is targeting this laptop to the business traveler, so the laptop can be ordered in almost any configuration imaginable. Any of Intel's three new chips can be ordered including the i3, i5, and i7. It also comes with three (3) USB 2.0 ports or an optional USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. The X220 also has a web-cam (720p), an optical disc reader/burner, dual pointing devices (trackpad and trackpoint), 4Gig of memory standard, and a host of disc storage options including SSD flash drives.
The ThinkPad X220 will be available with:
- Intel i3 2.1 GHz
- Intel i5 2.3 GHz
- Intel i5 2.5 GHz
- Intel i7 2.7 GHz
The ThinkPad X220 will be available with Microsoft's Windows 7 OS including Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium (32bit), Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit), and Windows 7 Professional (64bit).
Twelve point five (12.5") inches diagonal (1366x768 pixels). There is an optional display with the same specifications, but with a brighter backlighting system and wider viewing angle.
The ThinkPad X220 features an extra large buttonless trackpad device as well as the patented trackpoint device.
The ThinkPad X220 comes with two (2) USB 2.0 ports and one (1) USB 3.0 port. One of the USB 2.0 ports can be set to the "always on" mode. It also has an SD (fifty-five millimeter) card slot, VGA port, HDMI port, RJ-45 Ethernet port and PCIe slot. The Ethernet port has lights on either side of it. An amber light to indicate a connection and a green light to show a data flow.
In following the communications trends of this decade the X220 will communicate in a wide variety of ways. These include:
- Advanced N Wi-Max
- Ultimate N 6300
- Advanced-N 6205
- WWAN Gobi 3000 Sierra Wireless
- Ericsson HSPA+
- LeadCore WWAN Minicard
- Huawai EV-DO Minicard
Note that the Wi-Fi connection is no longer controlled by a soft-key sequence. Instead the X220 has a toggle switch on the right side for turning on or off the Wi-Fi chip. I personally like this idea.
The X220 has a wide range of on-board storage solutions in both fixed disc and solid state drive. These will include:
- 160Gigabyte drive (7,200 RPM)
- 250Gb drive (5,400 RPM)
- 250Gb drive (7,200 RPM)
- 320Gb drive (5,400 RPM)
- 4Gb Solid State Drive (SSD)
- 80Gb Micro SSD
- 128Gb Micro SSD
- 160Gb Micro SSD
Video In & Out
The front facing web-camera is a 720p motion capture device supporting thirty frames per second. Output is via HDMI also at 720p.
The X220 can come with a six (6) cell or nine (9) cell battery. The six cell battery is listed at up to eight (7:51) hours of battery life without power management. The nine cell battery is listed at up to twelve and a half (12:31) hours. The slice battery add-on adds another eight hours (8hr) of battery life so that with the six cell battery and the "slice" adapter the computer could run up to sixteen hours (15:44) or with the nine cell battery pack and "slice" adapter the computer could run up to twenty and a half (20:30) hours on a single charge.
All of these figures do not take into account any power management software so it is conceivable that with judicious use of power management software you could run the X220 for up to twenty-four (24h) hours on a single charge.
There is a weight cost as the "slice" battery pack adds an additional pound the the weight of the machine.
The X220 is twelve inches (12") by eight point one (8.12") inches by seven tenths (0.7") of an inch think. The "slice" battery pack adds another half (0.61") inch to those dimensions.
The X220 weighs just over three (3lb) pounds with the six cell battery pack or about three and a half pounds (3.5lb) with the nine cell battery pack. The "slice" battery extender adds another pound.
For a full list of specifications see the table below.
Lenovo Thinkpad X220
Core i7-2620M Processor (2.7GHz, 4MB L3 Cache)
Core i5-2540M Processor (2.5GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
Core i5-2520M Processor (2.5GHz, 3MB Cache)
Core i5-2410M Processor (2.3GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
Core i3-2310M Processor (2.1GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
Preloaded OS (Operating System)
7 Home Basic 32-bit
7 Home Premium 32-bit
7 Home Premium 64-bit
7 Professional 64-bit
Display 12.5" HD (1366x768) LED Backlit Display
12.5" Premium HD (1366x768) LED
Trackpoint & Buttonless Touchpad
Up to 8GB DDR3 - 1333MHz (2 DIMM Slots)
I/O (Input/Output) Ports Display Port
3 USB 2.0 port (1 Always On port; 1 optional USB 3.0)
Slots 54mm Express Card Slot SD Card Reader
UltraBase with Multiburner UltraBase with Multiburner with Write Disabled
Dual digital microphones Combo Microphone Headphone Jack
Integrated HD Graphics
PCIe Slots 1 full, 1 half
Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 (Kilmer Peak) 2x2 AGN
Ultimate-N 6300 (Puma Peak) 3x3 AGN (performance)
Advanced-N 6205 (Taylor Peak) 2x2 AGN (performance)
WWAN 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)
HDD 160GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm4
250GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
250GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm with limited OPAL FDE Technology
320GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
SSD 4GB Solid State Flash Drive, Serial ATA
80GB Micro Solid State Drive, Serial ATA
128GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA
160GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA
Webcam 720p High Definition camera
Up to 23 hours with the 9 cell battery along with the ThinkPad "slice" battery pack
Up to 15 hours with a 9 cell battery
< 3.0lbs (1.3kg)
12 x 8.12 x 0.7" (slice battery ads 0.61") [305.0mm x 206.5mm x 19mm]
At just over three pounds this is a direct competitor to the MacBook Pro 2011 running Windows rather than OSx.
I find the wide variety of options almost dizzying, but Lenovo has always offered a large assortment of options to the business community.
What I find most exciting, however, is the unbelievable battery life on this machine. I predict this will be a very popular travel computer for those whose business life includes wide ranging travel across the globe.
The projected retail price of the base model is roughly $1,000 ranging up to $1,600 for the top model. The "slice" battery pack is projected to cost just under $200. The X220 will also work with the docking port and replicator port. The usual list of options will also be available including additional battery packs, charging units, memory upgrades and the like.
As of this writing Amazon and other "big box" vendors are selling the unit for just under $1,000, the top of the line for just under $1,300 and the battery pack for just over $100.
The author was not compensated in any way, monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.
Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.
The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.