Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Laptop Review

By on July 20, 2011
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The business laptop that’s also consumer friendly.

Good: Beautiful design, excellent keyboard and amazing audio.
Bad: Glossy screen, less than stellar battery life, slightly noisy fan
Price: AED 5499
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Its not often that you come across a tech product that you fall in love with almost instantly. However, such is the enigma that the Lenovo X1 exudes- a notebook that isn’t necessarily perfect but one that is clearly a labour of love. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the designing and construction of the X1 and although Lenovo has been churning out some extremely impressive products like the U260 and the Edge 11, the X1 is in a class of its own.

Starting off, construction quality on this ThinkPad is top notch with a soft to touch finish all around. The magnesium alloy lid roll cage will protect your investment well while a spill proof keyboard with drainage zones at the bottom will keep it chugging even if you mistakenly drop your beverage on it. At 16mm, the X1 is the thinnest ThinkPad though not as thin as the Samsung U series or the MacBook Air.

The left side of the ThinkPad X1 has the 3.5mm audio connected along with one USB port- both hidden under a door while the right side features an SD card slot and a switch to disable wireless radios. Lenovo keeps the front clean with the back sporting all the connectors- a bit unusual for laptops of today. The reason for that is that the X1 does not have a removable battery like most laptops have on the backside. Thus Lenovo had ample of space on tha back to house the Gigabit LAN connected, a SIM card slot for 3G connectivity, HDMI and mini display ports as well as a USB 3.0 and another eSATA/USB port combo that can charge your gadgets even when the laptop is switched off. The power connector is also placed on the back side which gives the X1 a very clean look on your desk even with all the wires connected.

There is a reason that ThinkPad keyboards have been labelled as legendary. They are pretty much the best you can find on a notebook and the X1 proudly carries that tradition forward. The keys are slightly curved inwards and decently sized with just enough space between them to not hit the wrong key. Lenovo does a wonderful job of making frequently used keys like Backspace/Del, Shift and Enter larger than normal. Other than the usual keys, you also have volume buttons and a finger print reader along with the famous blue ThinkVantage key. While I normally prefer quieter keyboards, I loved the slightly-mechanical noise that the X1’s keyboard makes. For those who prefer working in the dark, you’d be delighted to find out that the X1 has a backlit keyboard however, Lenovo doesn’t equip the X1 with a light sensor so you will have to manually enable the it by hitting the Fn and Space key.

Like most Lenovo business products, the X1 comes with a trackpad as well as a trackpoint. I still don’t think anyone comes close to making a trackpad as good as the one found on Apple laptops, however, the trackpoint is an awesome replacement. My very first laptops- a Winbook, a Toshiba and a Thinkpad all had the pointy stick and I am super comfortable using that. In my opinion, it offers better precision than a trackpad and the one found on the X1 gets the speed and acceleration just right.

If you do prefer to use the trackpad instead, you’ll be pleased with what Lenovo offers on the X1. Although a tad bit on the smaller side, the button-less design and the textured finish of the trackpad offer a pretty impressive experience. Multi-touch is also supported with two-finger scrolling that works about as well as any other Windows based laptop. Also, Lenovo integrates the mouse buttons inside the trackpad for a cleaner look without sacrificing any usability.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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  • Colaxs

    Hi Abbas

    Very nice review. Does it compare well with the macbook air?

    And the bigger question is, would you recommend the X1 over the X220, which ran like a marathoner, on its battery?

    • t-break tech

      Had you asked me this two days back, I might have suggested the X1 but with the new Airs featuring SandyBridge and a backlit keyboard, the equation changes. While the 13″ Air will still be slightly slower in raw CPU usage, it’s battery life and a better screen would make it my choice of laptop.

      Sadly, I never got to test the X220 so can’t comment on that.

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