Head to Head – ThinkPad T410s v Thinkpad X201, a Faceoff!
December 23, 2010
ThinkPad Head to Head: ThinkPad X201 vs the ThinkPad T410s. If your professional career or personal life tends towards a combination of office based and travel, then you’ve probably taken a look at Lenovo’s ThinkPad ultraportable notebooks, the ThinkPad X201 and the ThinkPad T410s. The question is inevitable: which is best?
<— Check the latest ThinkPad T410s and ThinkPad x201 offers on our ThinkPad Coupon Code page
Well, let’s first narrow down the contestants. 18 months ago, the choice was a simple one, the ThinkPad X200 Ultraportable was the ultimate travel companion. That was before the introduction of the ThinkPad T400s in June 09 and the updated ThinkPad T410s in January ’10.
So now we see the battle lines being drawn between Lenovo’s ThinkPad T410s and the company’s ThinkPad X201. Just explore one of many message boards or forums and you’ll see that these two machines, despite their outward differences, are frequently the final two machines in a buyer’s tossup as the ultimate traveling companion.
In fact Wired Magazine recently called the ThinkPad T410s “a near perfect machine”
The ThinkPad X201 is part of Lenovo’s ultraportable line of computers and is often marketed as the traveler’s ultimate notebook. It’s also reasonably low in the ThinkPad price range, starting at just $879 for the Intel Core i3 equipped ThinkPad X201i or $999 for the Intel Core i5-560M notebook. This laptop is a favorite of business people and professionals that travel a lot, but who don’t need a full portable workstation. It has a 12-inch display and the latest version incorporates an optional TouchPad.
The T410s has already established an almost cult following amongst professionals, and has a special place in the hearts of anyone with a love for graphics and video on the move; that’s because the T410s has a beautiful 14-inch display and the option of a high-end graphics card – NVIDIA NVS Optimus Graphics with 512MB memory coupled with an Intel Core i5-560M Processor. The ThinkPad T410s has a starting price of about $1,299 and is billed by Lenovo as a “portable powerhouse.” The ThinkPad T410s is the ‘Thinest lightest’ T Series ever.
Let’s take a closer look at each and try to draw out the important distinctions. To draw a comparison, we gave both the ThinkPad X201 and the ThinkPad T410s similar specifications to try and get a ‘like for like’ reference.
ThinkPad X201 specification for the purposes of this illustration – Processor: Intel Core i5-540M – Memory: 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 – Graphics: Intel HD Graphics Card – Display: 12.1″ WXGA LED Panel – Hard Drive: 128 GB Solid State Drive
ThinkPad X201, Online Sale Price: $1379.00 (correct at 6th Dec, ’10)
The ThinkPad X201, though not usually billed as a powerful machine, offers a lot more than similarly sized and priced laptops on the market today. What really makes the ThinkPad X201 shine is the fact that it weighs less than three pounds and has a profile of less than 1.5-inches, making it a truly ultra-portable machine, ready for any user on the go.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X201 we tested sports an Intel Core i5-540M processor – the highest available in this model – that is easily capable of handling a variety of computing tasks, from multi-tasking and office computing to surfing the Web and streaming audio and video. This version received a bit of a boost from the 4GB of DDR3-8500 RAM, which is further upgradeable to 8GB.
The 12-inch display on Lenovo’s ThinkPad X201 is certainly crisp and sharp, and it features the Intel HD Graphics Card, but the lack of a high-end graphics card makes it difficult to really enjoy high-definition video and video games without lag. If you don’t have extreme graphic demands, the X201 is certainly suitable for basic games and video.
Lenovo updated the ThinkPad X201 this time around, offering an optional TouchPad. Previous versions of the X201 were TouchPad-free, forcing users to rely on the TrackPoint only. That, certainly, was one of the broad appeals to space-conscious X201 users, but Lenovo decided that it was best to give the option. Of course, the TouchPad is very well designed and fits within the confines of the palm rests, making it as unobtrusive as possible.
Generally, the ThinkPad X201 is THE go-to machine for anyone who wants a lightweight and compact, but still powerful laptop. Now, there are a couple more options we would add to the specifications, as an instance, no ThinkPad X201 is complete without an Ultrabase, and we would certainley want the TrackPoint with Fingerprint Reader and TouchPad. So that is going to add to the price a bit
Now for comparison lets take a look at a similar specification ThinkPad T410s
ThinkPad T410s, Online Sale Price: – $1699.00 (correct at 6th Dec, ’10)
Processor: Intel Core i5-540M -
Memory: 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 -
Graphics:NVIDIA NVS Optimus Graphics 512MB -
Display: 14.1” WXGA+ TFT with LED Backlight -
Hard Drive: 128 GB Solid State Drive
One of the first models in what Lenovo markets as its portable powerhouse line of laptops, the ThinkPad T410s lives up to that billing. For the purposes of this comparison, we equipped the T410s with a mid-range processor and 4GB of RAM. This configuration is priced at $1879.00, making it a bit more expensive than the X201, but you’ll see why in a moment.
The processor and RAM combination, ably handles operation of multiple simultaneous programs and is agile in switching from one task to another.
There’s also a 128GB solid-state hard drive in the T410s, which is also present in the X201, that allows for very quick access of data. You immediately notice the speed of these drives when opening large files or transferring files to and from the drive. Take my word for it, solid-state is the future of data storage. And as take up accellerates, they will get bigger, and cheaper.
Where the ThinkPad T410s really shines, however, is in its display capabilities. The NVIDIA NVS Optimus Graphics Card features 512MB of graphics memory. Not only can you save battery power without losing processor quality, but you can also enjoy the extra graphics memory, which plays seamless high-definition video and even 3D computer games, albeit at lower frame rates for some of the higher end games.
The ThinkPad T410s is the perfect middle-of-the-road laptop. Not only is it portable, but it’s also very powerful. It’s energy efficient and also high performance. If we had to pick the most versatile ThinkPad, the T410s would probably be it.
ThinkPad X201 vs the ThinkPad T410s: Conclusion
The price gap between the ThinkPad X201 and the ThinkPad T410s may not be massive, but it’s not small either. Also, there are very important distinctions in the abilities of each machine, which, when you see all of the available options, only become clearer. In a sense, comparing the T410s and the X201 is like comparing apples to oranges.
However, since this is a comparison article, and budget constraints apart, I believe that the T410s is the best choice. While the ThinkPad X201 is a wonderful machine and still the ideal choice for those in search of a lightweight laptop with sufficient power, its lack of a more powerful graphics card and its small form factor, make it less than ideal as an all-around mobile computer.
The ThinkPad T410s, however, is a “just right” laptop, bridging the gap between the higher end ThinkPad T510 and the ultra-portable X-series.
Our recommendation? If you are looking for the ultimate in portability in a small form factor then go for the ThinkPad x201. It’s an incredible notebook that is well deserving of its Ultraportable crown. If however you wallet will stretch, and you really do want the near perfect combination of portability and power, then the ThinkPad T410s is for you.
Check the latest ThinkPad T410s and ThinkPad x201 offers on our ThinkPad Coupon Code page