Lenovo ThinkPad X1 review

Tom Morgan
10 Jul 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

There are very few business-oriented ultra-portables with this much power and style, but the X1's battery life is disappointing and it's hugely expensive compared to the competition



13.3 in 1,366x768 display, 1.7kg, 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2520M, 8.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

It’s not often that we get excited about a laptop aimed primarily at business users, but Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 is an exception; the 13.3in ultra-portable might be less than 2cm thick, but it still squeezes in some clever features and plenty of high performance hardware.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Back

Instead of using an Intel low-voltage Core processor, Lenovo has opted for a much more powerful Core i5 based on the newer Sandy Bridge technology. The dual-core i5-2520M can Turbo Boost from 2.5GHz up to a healthy 3.2GHz when more power is needed; this, combined with hyper-threading and 8GB of RAM, helped it achieve a very respectable 58 overall in our multimedia benchmarks, which should be plenty of power for almost every desktop task. However, it has an unavoidable effect on battery life. The laptop lasts just under four and a half hours in our light-use test, so you’ll need to take the mains adaptor with you for all-day computing.

This is a shame, as at 1.7kg, the ThinkPad X1 won’t weigh you down when on the move. Although not a substitute for a larger battery, Lenovo’s RapidCharge feature can restore up to 80% battery life in just half an hour; this is great for frequent travellers that may not have much time between to recharge their laptop. Other refinements designed to protect the laptop from mishaps while in transit include a spill-proof keyboard and a screen made from scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass - although as any iPhone 4 owner knows, this is just as shatter-prone as normal glass.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Having a scratch-resistant screen is a bonus, but it comes at a price; instead of the matt coating preferred by many business customers for its reflection-defeating properties, the X1’s 1,366x768 display has a glossy finish. This makes it difficult to work in direct sunlight and under harsh office lighting, but thankfully there’s over 180 degrees of screen tilt and reasonable viewing angles to help prevent screen glare. Images looked sharp and fast moving video played without noticeable blurring.