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The Thinkpad X1


May 19 2011

Lenovo has entered the "thin and light" 13 inch laptop market with the X1 computer--the market for computers that cost over $1000, have a 13-inch screen, and weigh as little as possible.

Being a Thinkpad, Lenovo has made different compromises compared to other similar offerings, as shown in this table (data mostly comes from Laptop Magazine reviews):

  Thinkpad X1 Sony Vaio Z Macbook Air 13" Samsung Series 9
Weight (pounds) 3.8 3.0 2.9 2.88
Display 1366x768 glossy 1600x900 hybrid [1] 1440x900 glossy 1366x768 matte
CPU / PCMark i5-2520M / 7,535 i5 / 9,936 Core 2 Duo / unknown i5-2537M / 6,857
Battery life 4:11 / 8:00 [2] 5:35 6:36 5:11
Hard disk Standard Custom SSD Custom SSD Custom SSD
Toughness Mil-spec Unknown Unknown Unknown
In the above table, we can see that the ThinkPad X1 is noticeably heavier than similar notbooks; this is probably because the X1 has mil-spec magnesium alloy casing, an internal roll cage, and Gorilla glass protecting the LCD panel. In addition, the ThinkPad X1 uses a standard laptop hard disk that can be readily replaced. Quite frankly, these features are worth adding 30% to the weight of the laptop.

The battery life in the base model is not as long as other models; the thinking being that people who need long battery life (trans-Pacific flights, etc.) can get the optional slice battery which lasts some eight hours.

What isn't mentioned in the above table is the ergonomics of this computer. This model, being a ThinkPad, naturally has a trackpoint (as well as a touchpad). The keyboard is very comfortable to use and has a backlight.

The ThinkPad X1 is about as small and light as a computer can be and still be a full-sized ThinkPad. Things taken for granted in a ThinkPad model (durable design, standard parts, readily serviceable) end up adding to the weight to the computer, but do not make the computer a burden to carry.

For people who have $1,400 to budget on a small laptop, the ThinkPad X1 is definitely worth a look.


[1] The Sony Vaio Z uses a technology which combines the advantages of the deeper colors of a glossy display while readable in sunlight like a matte display.

[2] The ThinkPad X1 has a "slice" battery option which greatly increases the battery life, but increases the weight to 4.6 pounds.

ThinkPad X1 image is courtesy of Lenovo. To post a comment about an entry, send me an email and I may or may not post your comment (with or without editing)

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