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Thinkpad X220 and X220 Tablet Review, the new Benchmark for UltraPortables

March 11, 2011

ThinkPad X220 and X220 Tablet launch review. The new 2011 ThinkPad X220 and X220 Tablet are here and both are a huge step up in terms of performance, design and ergonomics.  This is real power at your command when you’re on the move.

<– Click Here, For more information on the incredible ThinkPad X220 Series

Featuring the latest Intel 2nd generation iCore Sandy Bridge processors with HD3000 Integrated Graphics the very latest 2011 ThinkPad UltraPortable and X220 Tablet make sure that Lenovo retain the crown for the ‘Best in Class’, in the Business UltraPortable sector.

Lenovo has opted not to go for the ULV Core i7 2657M processors that we forecast in the 2011 ThinkPad Release Date article, instead going for the same range of 2nd gen iCore Processors found in the 2011 T Series. Let’s take a look at each model separately

ThinkPad X220 UltraPortable Review

Features at a glance. With the option to specify up to the Intel® Core™ i7-2620M  2.7GHz  Processor, the new X220 comes close to perfection in terms of ultraportable processing power when combined with the new HD 3000 integrated graphics with 12eu’s.

The doubling of graphics processing ability over the previous 6eu’s of the HD2000 means you’re achieving twice the performance, virtually eliminating the need for a dedicated GPU, unless of course you are an avid gamer!

Combined with the  quad-core Central Processing Unit, graphics, cache, a memory controller and PCI-Express connectivity all etched onto a single wafer  of silicon you achieve an enormous performance increase, and vitally important in an UltraPortable, substantial increase in battery life.

The new X220 will also feature the enhanced VOIP functions that have been introduced in the new ThinkPad T420 and T520 which bring VOIP calling with the same quality as a landline using the dual array digital microphones.

You can enable either Private Chat mode which cuts out background noise when there is just you and  the person you’re talking to or you can choose Conference Call mode that will pick up everything in the room when you’re in a group around a conference table.

Keyboard noise suppression technology virtually eliminates  keyboard clicks from interfering with the call.

USB 3.0 is available along with the 3 USB 2.0 ports, one of which is ‘always on’ so that you can charge your favorite peripherals with the laptop switched off. USB 3.0 is only available with the Core i7-2620M processor.

Lenovo Rapid Drive Technology

Lenovo have developed ‘Rapid Drive’ technology, which we saw in its first iteration at CES 2010 on the IdeaPad Y460 as a pairing of a an SSD Drive with a conventional spinning hard drive. The idea was that the operating system and key data required for the boot sequence would be loaded on the small capacity SSD, with all the main programs and data loaded on the conventional Hard Drive.

There has been some confusion out there amongst other reviews with what exactly ‘Rapid Drive is in the new generation of 2011 ThinkPad’s so we spoke to Preston Taylor, who is the World Wide Manager for the X Series and asked him to clarify what Rapid Drive was, and how it had evolved from the original idea.

Preston told us that when they looked at Rapid Drive as a technology to incorporate into the new ThinkPad lineup, they had to re-think the concept as it was originally conceived in The IdeaPad Y460. (Which actually never really got off the ground)

With the advent of Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0, drive options are listed in order of speed which would be a firstly standalone SSD, then next a ‘paired set’ consisting of a micro msata SSD like the Intel 310 Micro drive and a conventional spinning platter Hard Drive, and then lastly a standalone conventional spinning platter Hard Drive.

When you combine Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0, you now have the latest iteration of ‘Rapid Drive’ technology, with speeds in order as follows

  1. 128GB or 160GB Solid State Drive  SATA + Lenovo EE 2.0
  2. Paired 80GB mSATA SSD with a choice of 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm HD up to 320GB + Lenovo EE 2.0
  3. A choice of conventional 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm Hard Drives up to 320GB + Lenovo EE 2.0

So the really interesting option for us is the ‘Paired’ drive option using the Intel 310 80GB micro drive which sits in the WWAN slot (So no WWAN if you choose this feature). What we get here is really the best of both worlds, with the speed of an SSD, combined with the capacity of a conventional HD, and with EE 2.0 juicing things up even further, its an enticing alternative, and one we can’t wait to try when we spec up our new ThinkPad for the office!

2011 ThinkPad Design elements

The new ThinkPad X220 also features a newly designed ‘buttonless’ TouchPad with 45% more usable surface area, enabling more control over swipe and pinch gestures. The traditional ThinkPad TrackPoint however retains the two button control.

The X220 is latchless with a self closing hinge design that closes the lid

A really neat highlight we love is the ‘corridor warrior’ feature, or Lenovo’s ‘Instant Resume’ which keeps your ThinkPad connected to the wireless or VPN, for up to 99 minutes as you move from place to place in your office, conference, or hotel. Great idea, and just another one of those thoughtful touches that make the ThinkPad range as whole such a superb business machine.

Battery life is up to 15 hours with the 9 cell, or up to 23 hours with the new external battery pack. UltraBase? Yep, no X Series ThinkPad would be complete without an UltraBase and Lenovo have retained the Series 3 for the X220 so there is no need to purchase an new one if you already own a Series 3 UltraBase or you have standardized on them as a business.

You have the option of specifying the gorgeous new 12.5″ HD 1366×768 resolution LED Backlit IPS (In Plane Switching) Display which will give you bright, extra wide viewing angles

The design of the new ThinkPad X220 and X220 Tablet has evolved again and the 2011 models have a clean, slimmer elegant look, with the hint of a curve on the front edge of the keyboard, and at 3 lbs, are a far cry from the heavy, boxy ThinkPad’s of days gone

ThinkPad X220 Tablet Review

For the general feature set of the 2011 ThinkPad X220 Tablet it is virtually the same as the standard X220, with a few distinct differences which we will outline in this review.

The first and most obvious is that this is of course a Tablet PC and whilst the ThinkPad X Series Tablets have long been the very best, the new X220t takes that definition to the next level, and offers pen, finger and keyboard input options. And how about this neat little feature? How many times have you lost a Tablet Stylus? Not with the new X220t. Walk away from your stylus, and your Tablet gives you an audible warning! What a superb idea!

The MultiTouch 300 NIT display accepts 2 finger touch 5 finger gestures, plus Pen and the Outdoor 300 NIT WV IPS Display for Pen Input has scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass which is military specifications tested to survive in excessive environments. Corning  Gorilla Glass strengthens the display enabling it to resist scratches, knocks and mistreatment when you’re out and about.

This feature is a boon for construction workers, site visits, and field work of any kind.

Battery Life with the 9 cell is up to 15 hours and 16 hours with the external battery pack.

Processor options go up to the Intel® Core™ i7-2620M but in the spec sheet we received, the Core™ i7-620M is also offered?  2nd gen Sandy Bridge starts with the Core™ i3-2310M 2.1GHz  Processor

ThinkPad X220 Specifications

Processor Intel® Core™ 2.7GHz i7-2620M – i5-2540M 2.5GHz – Core™ i5-2520M 2.5GHz – Core™  i5-2410M 2.3GHz – Core™ i3-2310M 2.1GHz.

Operating System Windows® 7 Home Basic 32-bit2 to Windows® 7 Professional 64-bit

Display 12.5″ HD LED Backlit Display at 1366×768 Resolution  or 12.5″ HD LED Backlit Display with extra bright wideangle viewing  IPS at 1366×768 Resolution

Trackpoint® with Buttonless Touchpad – Up to 8GB DDR3 – 1333MHz Memory

Ports – Display Port – VGA Port – 3 USB 2.0 port with 1 always on plus optional USB 3.0

Slots 54mm Express Card Slot SD Card Reader – Optional Series 3 UltraBase with Multiburner Optical Drive

Audio Multimedia Dual Array digital microphones with combination Microphone Headphone
Jack – High Definition 720p Webcam.

Graphics Intel® Integrated HD 3000 Graphics – Internal PCIe Slots 1 full height and 1 half height

WiMAX/Wifi Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 – WLAN Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 – Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6205

WWAN Gobi™ 3000 Sierra Wireless EV-DO/HSPA WWAN Minicard – Ericsson HSPA + WWAN Minicard - LeadCore TD-SCDMA WWAN Minicard – Huawei EV-DO WWAN Minicard

Hard Disk Drive Options – 160GB 7200rpm4 Hard Disk Drive – 250GB 5400rpm Hard Disk – 250GB 7200rpm Hard Disk Drive (with limited OPAL FDE Technology – special order) – 320GB 5400rpm Hard Disk Drive

SSD Options – 128GB SATA Solid State Drive – Intel® 160GB SATA Solid State Drive – 4GB Solid State Flash Drive (Special Order, for Thin Client solutions only) – Intel® 310 80GB Micro Solid State Drive, mSATA, installed in WWAN slot, for ‘Rapid Drive’ pairing with a conventional Hard Drive

Battery Life Up to 15 hours using 9 cell battery or 23 hours with optional ThinkPad X Series external battery pack

Weight 3.0lbs Dimensions  12″ x 8.25″ x .75″ (1.4″ with battery pack)

ThinkPad X220 Tablet Specifications

Processors Intel® Core™ i7-2620M 2.7GH Processor – Core™ i5-2520M 2.5GHz – Core™ i3-2310M 2.1GHz – Core™ i7-620M 2.7GHz (At the time of writing this review we were not sure why the i7-620M was listed as an option on the spec sheet and we are attempting to clarify this with Lenovo)

Operating System – Windows® 7 Home Basic to Windows® 7 Professional

Display 12.5″ HD, 300 NIT WV (IPS), MultiTouch, Finger and Pen with Infinity Glass for Indoor – 12.5″ HD, 300 NIT WV (IPS) Pen Input for OutDoor use with Corning Gorilla  damage resistant glass.

Memory Up to 8GB – Ports – Display Port – 3 USB 2.0 port with 1 always on

Optional Series 3 UltraBase™ Optical Drive  with Multiburner

Audio Multimedia Dual Array digital microphones with combination Microphone Headphone Jack – High Definition 720p Webcam.

Internal PCIe Slots 1 full height and 1 half height

WiMAX/Wifi Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 – WLAN Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 – Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6205

WWAN Gobi™ 3000 Sierra Wireless EV-DO/HSPA WWAN Minicard – Ericsson HSPA + WWAN Minicard - LeadCore TD-SCDMA WWAN Minicard – Huawei EV-DO WWAN Minicard

Hard Disk Drive Options – 160GB 7200rpm4 Hard Disk Drive – 250GB 5400rpm Hard Disk – 250GB 7200rpm Hard Disk Drive (with limited OPAL FDE Technology – special order) – 320GB 5400rpm Hard Disk Drive

SSD Options – 128GB SATA Solid State Drive – Intel® 160GB SATA Solid State Drive – 4GB Solid State Flash Drive (Special Order, for Thin Client solutions only) – Intel® 310 80GB Micro Solid State Drive, mSATA, installed in WWAN slot, for ‘Rapid Drive’ pairing with a conventional Hard Drive

Battery Life – Up to 9 hours with the 8 cell battery or up to 16 hours with the X series battery pack

Weight 3.88lbs with the 4 cell battery - Dimensions – 12″ x 9″ x 1″-1.25″

The new 2011 ThinkPad X220 Series has been certified for Linux® Redhat®, Novell® &
Unbuntu.

ThinkPad X220 and ThinkPad X220 Tablet – Lenovo excels

Lenovo has done a remarkable job with the new 2011 X220 Series. From the superb enterprise class features like ‘Instant Resume’, class leading VIOP functionality and legendary ThinkPad reliability to the power of the full blown Sandy Bridge architecture, these are supremely capable Ultraportables, equaling the power of many 14″ and 15″ laptops.

The ThinkPad X220 and ThinkPad X220 Tablet yet again leave the rest of the industry playing catch up, and that’s a game they are not likely to win. Both the ThinkPad X220 and X220 Tablet will be available mid April. Make sure your at the front of the queue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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