Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Although the ThinkPad line of notebooks from Lenovo is synonymous with business laptops, there hasn't been a 13-inch ThinkPad since the old X301. The all new ThinkPad X1 promises to deliver all the features and dependability you expect from a ThinkPad inside a thin and lightweight 13-inch laptop.

Our review unit of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 features the following specifications:

* Intel Core i5-2520M dual-core processor (2.5GHz, 3MB cache, 3.2GHz Turbo frequency)
* Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
* 13.3-inch HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit Display with Corning Gorilla Glass
* Intel Integrated HD 3000 Graphics
* 4GB DDR3 (1333MHz)
* 320GB Hitachi Travelstar hard drive (Z7K320)
* Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (Taylor Peak) 2x2 AGN wireless card
* Bluetooth
* 720p High Definition webcam
* Fingerprint reader
* Integrated 6-cell battery (38.92Wh) and optional slice battery (36Wh)
* Warranty: 3-year
* Dimensions: 13.26 (L) x 9.1 (W) x 0.65-0.84 (H) inches
* Weight: 3.75 lbs.
* Price as configured: $1,399.00 ($1,549.00 with external slice battery)

Build and Design
Lenovo took a lot of time developing the X1 before bringing this notebook to market. As previously mentioned, the last 13-inch ThinkPad was the X301, and while that particular notebook wasn't wildly popular for Lenovo, business customers have been asking for a 13-inch business laptop with a thin and light design that still delivers serious performance and is loaded with more ports than a 13-inch MacBook Air.

Can the ThinkPad X1 be the spiritual successor of the X301 and offer the attractive consumer appeal of a MacBook? Let's take a closer look to find out.

In terms of build quality and durability, the new X1 offers many of the same hallmarks of previous generation ThinkPads. You get a well-made chassis with roll cage protection that passes 8 separate MIL spec tests (humidity, low temperature, high temperature, extreme temperatures, sand, altitude, vibration and mechanical shock). You also get a spill-resistant keyboard with drain holes and that traditional matte-black rubberized paint finish that resists scratches and fingerprint smudges.

One interesting quirk of the design of the X1 is that the hinge, although very durable, allows the screen to open until the notebook is perfectly flat. This wouldn't typically be worth mentioning, but since the X1 has a screen with Gorilla Glass the lid is heavier than usual. If you hold the palmrests of the X1 in your hands and shake the notebook the screen will swing completely open.

A quick look at the bottom of the ThinkPad X1 reveals little in the way of expansion possibilities. There is a hard drive access panel on the right side of the notebook which is held in place by a screw on the bottom of the X1. If you want to upgrade the RAM or swap out the wireless card you'll need to remove the keyboard and possibly part of the chassis depending on the type of work you're doing.
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