Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lenovo ThinkPad X121e NWS5QGE Subnotebook Review

Lenovo X series has always been a high level of mobility and quality. The latest entry-level ThinkPad X121e is designed to combine the current values ​​at a reasonable price. We have been tested extensively, which operates in merger and what was left behind.

The ThinkPad X121e is the successor to the ThinkPad X100e and should be able to do a little better. Battery, which generates less heat, more rounded performance are the basic objectives. The current model, you can choose from several models of processors. While the X100e is only available with AMD processors, now you can also choose an Intel Core i3-2357M processor. The Intel version has been tested by our U.S. publishers.

Here is the version with an AMD Fusion CPU E-350 with integrated Radeon HD 6310. Another alternative is available with the C-50 AMD CPU and GPU HD 6250, which can be set to Lenovo Web Shop. Other appointments in our test model consists of a matte 11.6 "screen, a hard drive of 320 GB and 4 GB of RAM. The unit comes without an operating system, which reduces the costs of particularly low 370 .- euros.

Specifications Lenovo ThinkPad X121e NWS5QGE :
  • Processor : AMD E-Series E-350 1.6 GHz
  • Mainboard : AMD SB850
  • Memory : 4096 MB, 1x 4GB DDR3 PC3-10600, 1 Slot free
  • Graphics adapter : AMD Radeon HD 6310 - 384 MB, Core: 493 MHz, Memory: 533 MHz, shared memory, atiumdag 8.813.4.0 / Win7 64
  • Display : 11.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, LEN40D1, B116XW03V1, TN, 135dpi, 61% sRGB, glossy: no
  • Harddisk : Seagate ST320LT007-9ZV142, 320GB 7200rpm
  • Soundcard : AMD SB800 High Definition Audio Controller
  • Connections : 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combined audio I/O, Card Reader: MMC, MS, MS Pro, SD, SDHC, powered USB
  • Networking : Atheros AR8151 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), 802.11 b/g/n (bgn), Broadcom 3.0 Bluetooth
  • Size : height x width x depth (in mm): 26 x 288 x 207
  • Weight : 1.54 kg Power Supply: 0.34 kg
  • Battery : 63 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1V, 5.6 Ah
  • Price : 400 Euro
  • Operating System : FreeDos
  • Additional features : Webcam: VGA, 12 Months Warranty, testet with Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
The appearance of small, portable X-series entry-level fits perfectly with the concept of the line. Design tricks are absent, the case is as sober as the fans prefer ThinkPad. The black plastic textured red with some obvious causes the familiar elements of the Assembly point of the route. If red display variant will be appreciated by existing customers will depend on individual tastes. Photos of this version can be seen in the test X121e ThinkPad Intel.

Although the appearance of our test unit is OK, you must accept a number of disadvantages compared to the quality of the event. The wrist rest is generally solid, but can be significantly reduced when you click the buttons on the touchpad. Another weakness is the large cutout for the battery on the back. Here it is possible to bend the house by pushing and pulling, which is cracking here and there. In each case, the battery fits almost perfectly and play a minimum.

The hinges hold the display firmly in place, and the cover display makes it a solid feel overall. The bottom is also robust, despite a large cap, and only with greater pressure in areas closely located. All relevant elements are easy to reach thanks to the great coverage. Remove the rest of the keyboard and palm add a UMTS module, for example, is useless. Drive modules, RAM and wireless are easy to share after the withdrawal of three small screws.

The device is smaller than the X220, but can not get a weight advantage. A 1.54 kg (3.4 lbs) that matches the weight of the X220 with IPS we tested before. The 11.6 "is nothing less mobile subnotebook, and the use of 3-cell battery available, you can shave about 100 grams (0.22 pounds). There was no cost savings in terms significantly enhances standard-size 65 Watt Lenovo supply, which can be left at home most of the time, with its weight of 360 grams (0.79 pounds)

For a laptop of this price, connectivity as well. 3x USB 2.0, HDMI 1.4, VGA, Gigabit-LAN, WiFi 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth 3.0, a combined audio port, Kensington lock attachment, a 4-in-1 card reader and a VGA camera provides a good level of basic equipment.

While all models are ready for the UMTS modem that would otherwise fingerprint reader available today can not be ordered for the laptop versions of AMD in the Lenovo online store. One of the USB ports on the right side has a yellow marker and can be configured in the BIOS to enable the collection of devices, even when the notebook is off.

The positioning of the connectors on the left side of the unit is not optimal. LAN, HDMI, and is located on the front, which interferes with the free movement of people balanced. USB connectors are well scattered on both sides, but the distance is too far apart to connect the Y cable on the right side. External DVD-ROM, use a Y cable to get a stable, adequate electricity.

The USB ports have been given a maximum of 25.7 MB / sec transfer speed in our tests, and a 4-in-1 card reader that can read data from 20.3 MB / s. The analog VGA gave a surprisingly good image quality, we 1280x1024 pixels of NEC, providing the opportunity to continue using old monitor without a digital signal.

For display, the Lenovo does not offer choice, 11.6 "1366x768 pixel panel has a reflective surface is used. It has an LED backlight and the density of 135 dpi. Parts of the screen may be too small for some users in this dimension of screen, but by adjusting the scale of the Windows screen have to count to 125%, and produces good results.

In the comments on the evidence X121e ThinkPad Intel (U.S. model), it was noted that there are devices, which is considerably smaller than the brightness of the screen, we were put in the sample. The current values ​​of the candidate delivered 176 cd / m² up to 208 cd / m² typical nine points of measurement. This allows the use of sound and lighting an area of ​​approximately 85% was also good, with no variation in brightness, which would be visible to the naked eye.

Hem, the screens can not be bright enough. Here, 190 cd / m², the average brightness is sufficient if you decide your position and, at the sun or shade, there was inadequate recognition of the contents of the screen. It 'a bright day or in direct sunlight, the screen can not challenge the sun longer, and will reach its limits.

When powered by battery, the screen fades a bit 'in the middle of 192 cd / m², which is almost imperceptible. 163:1 contrast down does not have a negative impact of black text on a white background can not be distinguished because it produces shades of gray than true black and white. The colors are faded photos due to poor video and watch.

Viewing angles are also basic level of quality. Vertical, the image fades or reverse fast enough. This effect becomes stronger with increasing angles, making it recognizable content of the screen. Optimum viewing is limited to a narrow cone of about 15 ° to 20 ° ahead of the screen. Horizontally, the objects remain recognizable on the sides, but simply changes the brightness and color must be provided.

Like all models currently available pre-configured AMD 0ur sport tester AMD Fusion E-350 APU, which contains a dual-core processor, GPU and memory controller. The processor runs at 1.6 GHz and Sports 1 MB L2 cache (2x 512 KB). This processor is not turbo or hyper-threading. At least with integrated Radeon HD 6310 Video Processor UVD3 and 80 shader units is powerful enough for a GPU and can perform many routine tasks.

The GPU runs at 493 MHz and uses shared memory, as usual. According to the data sheet, the memory controller has only one channel. Since there is no dual-channel operation, different configurations of RAM should have no effect on performance. We conducted several tests on this direction and we will return to this later.

The alternative configuration with the AMD Fusion C-50, available in Lenovo's online store, a sports facility near identical, but has been optimized for low thermal design power (TDP) of 9 watts instead of 18 watts. Therefore, the processor is running at only 1 GHz, and the GPU (HD 6250) reaches a peak performance of 280 MHz is comparable to an Intel Atom Z550, we tested this combination in the form of fusion W500. The APU Iconia C-50 could be an alternative for those looking for a cool (probably) with a silent computer battery long-term trade in a lower yield.

E-350 APU equipped with our test system has provided a number of relatively good performance. Cinebench CPU benchmark pure R10 (1158 points each, 2196 points multimedia), Cinebench R11 (0.61 CPU), wPrime 1024m (2057s) and superPi 32m (2427s) to demonstrate a relatively high processing power, but does not touch a very better than the Intel Core CPU 2357M i3. But compared to similarly priced Atom-based competition is a significant increase in performance is evident.

This GPU further enhances the performance increase. The Radeon HD 3250 Radeon 6310 Intel GMA crushes used in atomic systems. With 3D Mark06 2035 points, 720 points in 3D Mark Vantage Points und 1881 Cinebench R10 OpenGL shading, the solution is solidly surpassed Intel. In a direct comparison with the X121e with an Intel GPU HD 3000 GPU AMD to raise the white flag if, with 2962 points in 3DMark06 and 1158 points in 3DMarkVantage, the HD 3000 has exceeded by a wide margin.

In usability testing with different applications, they were good subjective results. Office tasks, Internet and communications were treated liquid. Chopper and hold-up was not met. Changing images, we took our portable test runs smoothly, the speed with which we are accustomed. With iTunes, we convert MP3 songs to AAC of 11.1 times the speed.

To re-encode the video from our test movie "Seven", using the Cyberlink media Expresso 6.5, we need only acceptable for 4643 (77 min), E-350 with a material of the APU. But it brings the processor load up to 99%, so that the system is largely blocked. Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is only necessary to our 1540s (25 min) for the same task using Intel HD 3000 GPU and fast synchronization, which requires only the CPU load of 41%.

Hardware HD video can be played fluently with the Radeon HD6310 in various resolutions up to 1080p. We tried Quicktime, WMA, H.264 MP4 files und ua mit dem Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Big Bugs Bunny (H.264, 1920x1080), for example, published a proceccor load of 23%.

This positive overall impression of system performance was subsequently confirmed in PC Mark 2354 Vantage points. The performance is well above the standard netbooks, but exceeded in equal parts by the Intel version of the X121e (4170 points). For common tasks in this category of phones, which has no effect because you are not bitten by the disadvantages.

Some of the tests, Cinebench, including shading, 3D Mark and PC Mark, we also conducted with RAM upgraded to 8 GB. Since the AMD system commands on a single memory channel, we chose the same result, as part of the measurement accuracy. The addition of a second memory module, just to help the activities need a lot of memory and, unlike Intel, it offers increased performance.

A 320 GB Seagate hard drive is a mass storage in the X121e. It has 7,200 RPM and 16 MB cache above average results, with a maximum of 117.6 MB / s read and offers transfer rates of high-performance hard drives. On average, the unit still reaches 86 MB / s and access time is usually 17 ms.

Alternatives to mass storage is hard to find, like Lenovo uses 7mm thin disks. The selection is very limited and the capacity of over 320 GB SSD is only possible with (Intel 320) to date. They also offer a significant performance increase and replace the buzz of a motor with quiet operation.

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