Lenovo ThinkPad X230

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The Positive The Lenovo ThinkPad X230 matches a full-power third-gen Intel Core i5 processor in a 12.5-inch 3-pounder, and has nice battery life and an improved keyboard.

The Imperfect A cumbersome, throwback design, tiny contact pad, and a excessive price ticket throw off the equation.

The Outcome There is probably not a greater full-fledged enterprise ultraportable than the ThinkPad X230, however extra environment friendly, inexpensive, and thinner ultrabooks are the actual way forward for this class.

Rating

7.8 Overall

  • Design7.0
  • Features7.0
  • Performance8.0
  • Battery9.0
  • Support7.0

The time of yr has lastly come for Intel’s newest Ivy Bridge processors to flood into mainstream laptops, after first showing in high-end quad-core programs. The Lenovo ThinkPad X230 wins the prize for being the primary laptop computer we have seen in 2012 to include a brand new third-gen Intel Core i5 processor.

However, we have seen the likes of the ThinkPad X230 earlier than: a number of instances, actually. Lenovo’s X-series laptops have at all times been high-end ultraportable machines for enterprise vacationers who have to work on the go along with little compromise. This 12-incher is the successor to the ThinkPad X220, a wonderful all-around ultraportable that crammed a quick processor, lengthy battery life, and durable development right into a compact however not cheap kind. The new X230 retains the X220’s uncommon 12.5-inch display and spacious keyboard format, however the keyboard itself has seen an enormous change.

Gone is the previous Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard: not simply right here, however in all new ThinkPad fashions. Instead, a clear raised island-key backlit keyboard has taken its place. Don’t fear, this keyboard has been well-tested in different Lenovo laptops already.

While the keyboard is new, the tiny contact pad and purple trackpoint stay stubbornly the identical. And this ThinkPad stays a considerably cumbersome piece of kit for an ultraportable, one clearly meant for legacy tools like ExpressCards and IT-friendly software program deployment and safety.

This is your cleaner, extra fashionable ThinkPad: not a brand new ThinkPad, actually, however a barely higher and extra refined one. It’s each bit the high-performing, ever-so-slightly thick street warrior as ever, however in a altering world the place MacBook Airs and tinier ultrabooks are gaining floor, one can not help however marvel how for much longer laptops just like the X230 might be round.

Price as reviewed $1,249
Processor 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-3320M
Memory 4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 320GB 7,200rpm HDD
Chipset Intel HM77
Graphics Intel HD 4000
Operating system Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 12.0×8.1 inches
Height 1.0 inches
Screen dimension (diagonal) 12.5 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 3.46 pounds / 4.1 pounds
Category Ultraportable

ThinkPads have an unmistakable and seemingly unchanging design footprint. The X230 seems to be similar to the X220 from the skin, or almost some other ThinkPad: matte magnesium casing throughout provides this laptop computer a energy, heft, and bulk that is displaytinctive. The X230’s display opens up a full 180 levels on easy metallic hinges, the highest lip angled all the way down to cup the laptop computer and supply a spot to thumb open the lid.

The X230 is comparatively light-weight at 3.46 pounds, but it surely would not really feel that method as a result of it is cumbersome. At an inch thick, this laptop computer’s removed from a MacBook Air when it comes to being wafer-thin. It’s additionally a far cry from ultrabooks just like the Dell XPS 13, however no less than the chassis feels impact-resistant and rock-solid.

The huge story on the brand new X230 is the keyboard, however the clear, raised and barely convex keys have been seen on ThinkPads earlier than: specifically, final yr’s ThinkPad Edge collection and X1. The giant and unencumbered keys are wonderful, nearly as good as the normal ThinkPad keyboard after which some, all the way down to a pleasant clacky click on and good key journey. Gone, too, are a few of the busy additional buttons on the highest of the keyboard: a easy row of operate buttons do double obligation for display brightness, video chat and different hotkeys, whereas devoted speaker and microphone mute, quantity management, and ThinkVantage hotkeys lie above that. Lenovo’s ThinkVantage software program suite provides you one-stop entry to the entire business-friendly assist and system instruments in a single place, together with troubleshooting, downloading software program updates, and managing safety and energy settings.

Not solely does the keyboard have spill resistance (drain holes run to the underside), however there’s two types of backlighting: two ranges of LED brightness below the keys, and an overhead LED mild tucked above the Web digicam on the highest of the higher lid. Overkill? Sure, but it surely’s good for in-flight use on a red-eye in case you’ve got misplaced your USB drive.

Not so new is the purple trackpoint nubbin, or the “ThinkPad Nipple.” Dedicated ThinkPad customers swear by them, however nobody else does. The rubber level’s not the issue; it is the massive set of devoted buttons above the contact pad that cramps the in any other case effective multitouch pad’s usable house all the way down to virtually postage-stamp vary. If you’ve got displaycovered how you can use chiral scrolling for making your method down Web pages, you will be effective. If you don’t have any concept what chiral scrolling is (it is a spiral sample you make along with your finger), you will be pissed.

ThinkPads are enterprise laptops, and the X230 comes with loads of safety and software program. A fingerprint reader sits subsequent to the trackpad; vPro know-how and a set of encryption and IT-friendly software program companies lie ready to entice enterprise use. ThinkPads usually really feel just like the BlackBerrys of the laptop computer world: dependable, and filled with enterprise options that many companies do not at all times want anymore. A MacBook Air or an ultrabook, such because the Dell XPS 13 or HP Folio 13, match the invoice for a lot of, and in lots of instances may even price much less.

The 12.5-inch display undoubtedly feels smaller than that of a 13-inch laptop computer, but it surely’s a strong step up from the extra frequent 11-inch display. At 1,366×768 pixels, this is identical decision you’d displaycover on almost all 11- to 13-inch laptops, and a great variety of 14- and 15-inch ones as properly. Lenovo’s screens are at all times clear and brilliant, with good off-axis viewing, and the X230’s display is not any exception: that is a great factor, because the X230’s display hinge opens up a full 180 levels. Even higher, as it is a enterprise laptop computer, it has a matte display, which is healthier for glare-free studying (a function sadly virtually inconceivable to seek out in a shopper laptop computer).

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