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Kevin OBrien

Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Review Discussion

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The ThinkPad X220 is one of Lenovo’s best selling laptops, and for good reason. The ThinkPad X220 features power and portability in the same package, a bevvy of appealing upgrade options, and a surprisingly low price of under $1,000 for many configurations. The X220 replaced the ThinkPad X201 earlier in the year and added several important changes highlighted by the latest Intel Sandy Bridge family of processors, options include everything from the budget Core i3 to fast Core i7 processors and larger 12.5" display with 16:9 ratio.

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While I *love* that Lenovo finally improved the screen quality, the 16:9 form factor is really annoying, especially this small. We use exclusively Thinkpads and moving from a X60 (4:3) to a X201 (16:10) was already challenging. Now, I consider 16:10 the sweet spot. Well, I can't have everything.

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Yea well it really comes down to what the market as a whole is using and what manufacturers can put in notebooks. 16:9 was the ratio settled on, so Lenovo was kind of stuck using it.

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Yeah, it is unfortunate about the ratio, but the mSata drive, battery slice and IPS screen does make up for it a little bit :D

Thanks for the review.

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With each generation the X/T series screen has been stretched wider there has been a lamenting from diehards of the more vertically oriented resolution. There will certainly be a market for used ThinkPads for a long time as some will just refuse to "go wide". I guess the good news is that we've arrived at a screen ratio where we are going to to any wider, 16:9 should here to stay for a long time. I'm waiting on a laptop where you can rotate the screen freely like you can a tablet, choosing vertical or horizontal depending on the task at hand B)

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The IPS screen would have me sold, if my T61 wouldn't hold up so well :)

And for me the resolution would be fine at 12.5". I find it borderline unfomfortable at 11.6", so it should be fine on the X220. If one needed to do serious work 16:9 is not the issue, but it would have to be e.g. 1600x900 like offered on the T420. But this one is not available as IPS.. which is a deal breaker for me.

And for what its worth, a few points I don't like about the X220:

- USB3 only with i7 - seriously, WTF?!

- why do ALL current Thinkpads offer 4 GB RAM only as 1x4 GB module?! The review unit has the expensive i7, yet feeds that by only 1 memory channel. And that's using the integrated graphics, which is in desperate need of bandwidth! For me I'd get an i5 and occasionally do serious number crunching. And occosional gaming. I'd NEED the full bandwidth, but not more than 4 GB. So naturally I don't want to pay 70€ more to step up from 1x4 GB to 2x4 GB. That would be frustrating if I were really about to pull the trigger.

- in Germany you can't order the X220 with an mSATA drive. That's such a shame, as vendors tend to get good discounts on SSDs, especially compared to aftermarket mSATA prices.

- I'd want a 500 GB HDD along with the mSATA SSD, now that 2.5" 500 GB platters are available (or maybe better "kind of available").

- I'd want to use a ~40 GB mSATA SSD as cache for the HDD. Currently there doesn't seem to be any software solution which would enable this. Lenovo.. are you listening?

MrS

Edited by [ETA]MrSpadge

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MrSpadge' timestamp='1322001501' post='272682']

The IPS screen would have me sold, if my T61 wouldn't hold up so well :)

And for me the resolution would be fine at 12.5". I find it borderline unfomfortable at 11.6", so it should be fine on the X220. If one needed to do serious work 16:9 is not the issue, but it would have to be e.g. 1600x900 like offered on the T420. But this one is not available as IPS.. which is a deal breaker for me.

And for what its worth, a few points I don't like about the X220:

- USB3 only with i7 - seriously, WTF?!

- why do ALL current Thinkpads offer 4 GB RAM only as 1x4 GB module?! The review unit has the expensive i7, yet feeds that by only 1 memory channel. And that's using the integrated graphics, which is in desperate need of bandwidth! For me I'd get an i5 and occasionally do serious number crunching. And occosional gaming. I'd NEED the full bandwidth, but not more than 4 GB. So naturally I don't want to pay 70€ more to step up from 1x4 GB to 2x4 GB. That would be frustrating if I were really about to pull the trigger.

- in Germany you can't order the X220 with an mSATA drive. That's such a shame, as vendors tend to get good discounts on SSDs, especially compared to aftermarket mSATA prices.

- I'd want a 500 GB HDD along with the mSATA SSD, now that 2.5" 500 GB platters are available (or maybe better "kind of available").

- I'd want to use a ~40 GB mSATA SSD as cache for the HDD. Currently there doesn't seem to be any software solution which would enable this. Lenovo.. are you listening?

MrS

In the same boast with my T60 and its 15" FlexView/IPS panel... thing works so why replace it.

The options are kind of odd I have to admit, but what company doesn't like a good upsell.

With the 4GB memory module, think of it as glass-half-full. Its easier and much cheaper to upgrade the memory yourself. 4GB x 1 costs more than 2GB x 2.

Also *cough* http://www.storagereview.com/diy_ssd_hdd_notebook_caching_nvelos_dataplex *cough*... not available to purchase yet but who knows in the future.

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With the 4GB memory module, think of it as glass-half-full. Its easier and much cheaper to upgrade the memory yourself. 4GB x 1 costs more than 2GB x 2.

Yeah.. I'm just not a big fan of "buy one module now and then try to find a matching one", especially in laptops. It's certainly worth the ristk if you've got a frinedly local PC dealer, which would take the new module back in case of failure (and let you try the next one). Anyway.. I love the X220 without ever seeing one in person yet :D

MrS

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It's all very well saying this laptop looks like the ultimate mobile business warrior's tool. Sure it has the specs, and the dependable looks. I followed the advice of reviews like this one and shelled out $1,200 for a high-spec X220 but when the laptop's casing developed a crack on the side by no accident or fault of mine, I was in for a ride from Lenovo Customer Service. The following thread on the Lenovo forum gives you a pretty good idea of what I've been through:

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/X-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/Crack-in-X220-casing-poor-support/m-p/693719#M36529

My opinion after owning an X220 for five months: not only is this laptop of low quality build, but you can forget customer service. My experience of customer service at Apple on similar issues was lightyears ahead of this. Also: "milspec tested"? Give me a break! And what does "milspec tested" mean without actually getting some kind of milspec certification anyway? You can "milspec test" a fisher price toy and it would come out better than the X220, I'd wager.

Edited by wimute

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