Lenovo ThinkPad X220

9.0
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Reviewed by trivialex (Currently owns)

Impending chiclet keyboards finally compelled me to buy an x220 and going last gen got me a top-of-the-line configuration for $959.

Gripes? Trackpad sucks, but I would've bought one with NO trackpad. Screen resolution is low but has similar pixel density to my girlfriend's 15" MacBook Pro (WSXGA). I'd like more real estate, but quality is superb. Speaker location muffles them, and max-volume isn't all that loud. Sound quality is middle-of-the-road, but acceptable.

Biggest plus for this device is the form factor. Hardly any larger than a netbook, hardly weighs anything more, and it blows any netbook out of the water from a performance and human-interface standpoint. I imagine that this may replace my desktop.

Design: Beveled palm-rest, easy on the wrists. Grippy matte-texture surfaces. Superlative trackpoint. Form that's all function is understated beauty. Timeless. [10]

Keyboard: I'm not sold on chiclets. It wouldn't stop me from buying the x230, but I wouldn't pay more for an inferior keyboard. Tactile feedback is hugely important. [10]

Touchpad: It would be worse if you couldn't disable it. Works well enough, but doesn't adds anything to the device. Too small to be really useful, and I don't like the textured surface. So why an 8? One word, TrackPoint. [8]

Display: 1440(or1600)x900 would be nice, but the quality is first rate, and the resolution for the screen size is certainly acceptable when compared to anything other than a 'retina' display, which isn't available on anything this small. [8]

Performance: If you don't have a need for high-power GPUs, it's about as good as it gets. [10]

Heat/Noise: It has a fan, therefore not silent, but quiet enough to be innocuous. No warmer than my old netbook, and way cooler than my girlfriend's MacBook. [9]

Battery Life: 5-7hrs on a charge, and I have the middle of the road 63wHrbattery. That alone doesn't merit a perfect score, but I can replace it, and do so with a slice battery.[10]

Software: I use Linux on my other machines (haven't had a windows license since 2003), MacOS on my girlfriends laptop, and Windows7 at work. All are imperfect. I installed ArchLinux, but I spend about equal time in Windows7, and will pay the $15 for Windows8. I appreciated the minimal bundled crapware, but it was there. One point for that, and one for forcing another redundant license on me.[8]

I spent a long time pondering which laptop to buy. The x2*0 was always near the top of the list. I waited until new keyboards threatened to replace the tried-and-true, looked at the upcoming MacBook Air, and ultrabooks, but at less than $1000, the x220 was too good to pass up. It may not be a 10, but it's the closest 9 I've seen.

The Breakdown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 10
  • Keyboard 10
  • Touchpad 8
  • Display 8
  • Performance 10
  • Heat / noise 9
  • Battery life 10
  • Software 8
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