Lenovo ThinkPad X1 continues IBM’s tradition

There is a lot to like about Lenovo’s latest laptop in the venerable ThinkPad line of portables but for me the most outstanding feature on the X1 is the keyboard. But let’s start with the specifications.

By Magnus Nysted

Published: Sat 2 Jul 2011, 10:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

The X1 is a 13.3-inch laptop running Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor. Since it’s not actually arrived in our market yet — Lenovo PR says it’ll land here in August — I don’t know exactly which options you will be able to select from. There’s a choice between SSD or HDD for storage and up to 8GB of RAM. The processors are the latest from Intel, the Sandy Bridge models, and their integrated processor graphics are good enough even for some light gaming and play back HD video without problem.

After buying IBM’s notebook business in 2005, Lenovo has kept the proud ThinkPad heritage intact. The design is black with red details you’ve come to expect and the build quality is top-notch as usual. However, Lenovo’s designers and engineers have managed to make the X1 very thin, less than one inch at its thinnest point, and light. This is a laptop you won’t notice carrying around with you. In getting the size and weight down they had to make some compromises so out is the internal optical drive and battery life is a not so great four hours or so. With an optional extra battery Lenovo says you can get 10 hours.

So, to the keyboard then; it’s quite simply the best keyboard I’ve ever experienced on a laptop. For me it has jus the right click, pressure, etc. That said, you may not agree as it’s very much a personal choice. The red trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard I don’t use, never have, but I guess some users want it there. Similarly, the two mouse buttons placed between the trackpad and the keyboard are a mystery to me but they’ve been there on ThinkPad computers before. It’s also spillproof so even if you get some coffee on the keyboard it won’t damage it, it will simply drain through and drip out the bottom of the X1. The laptop is also made durable in other aspects like the Gorilla Glass Lenovo uses for the display.

In terms of performance there’s more than enough in the Core i5 model I tested and with 4GB of RAM Windows 7 Professional was downright snappy. There are also plenty of ports and communications, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI out, eSATA, USB 3, a slot for a SIM card and more.

All in all, with price in the US starting at $1,200, the ThinkPad X1 is one of the most interesting laptops I’ve tried in a long time. Now I just wish that Lenovo could forget about this review unit and let me keep using it. As shocking as it may sound to some of you, it could even replace my MacBook Pro.

Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

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