Lenovo ThinkPad X230 – Great battery, improved keyboard
Intel recently brought out their Ivy Bride chips in to the market and they first made their way in to quad core high end systems. When Lenovo ThinkPad X230 came out, it became one of the first laptops in 2012 to have third generation new Intel Core i5 chip inside.
I have seen laptops like X230 before. X-series laptops from Lenovo are ultraportable high end machines made for travelling businessmen who need to work while they are travelling. X230 is a 12 inches laptop and it is the successor to X220. The X230 has fast processor, sturdy construction, and long battery life. All this is crammed inside a compact chassis. The X230 has the same 12.5 inches screen as that on the X220 but the manufacturer has changed the keyboard of this machine.
The newer ThinkPad is much more refined. It is a high performance laptop made for travellers and is fast gaining popularity just like the other smaller Ultrabooks. Hence it is hard to believe that machines like X230 will be around for a long time.
ThinkPads come with seemingly unchanging and unmistakable design footprint. Lenovo ThinkPad X230 looks a lot like X220, its predecessor. There is magnesium matte coating on the outside which gives a unique heft, bulk, and strength to this laptop. Screen of this laptop opens up 180 degrees on the metal smooth hinges and the top lid is angled for giving you some space to park your thumb while opening.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Keyboard :
The older Lenovo keyboard is now gone. The manufacturer has dumped the older model for all the ThinkPad laptops. Instead, now you get an island styled raised backlit keyboard.
This keyboard is new but Lenovo hasn’t changed the red trackpoint and small touch pad on this laptop. The Lenovo ThinkPad X230 is a bit bulky for ultraportable laptop but it is mainly due to all the security and ExpressCards equipment inside.
Highlight of the Lenovo ThinkPad X230 is the keyboard. The keys on this keyboard are raised and clean just like that on few other ThinkPads laptops and X1. Keys are unencumbered and large; similar in design to traditional keyboard of ThinkPad laptops. There is good travel between the keys and nice click too.
The manufacturer has given up the extra busy buttons located on the top of this keyboard and the function buttons on the top do double duty tasks like screen brightness and video chat. There are also buttons for dedicated microphone and speaker mute, ThinkVantage hotkeys, and volume control above this. ThinkVantage suite from Lenovo gives 1 stop access for all business friendly system and support tools in a single place including downloading software updates, trouble shooting, and managing the power settings and security.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 keyboard is spill resistant. There are drain holes which go at the bottom. There are 2 backlighting forms on this keyboard – 2 LED brightness levels under the buttons and LED overhead light that is tucked above Web camera that is located on top of upper lid.
ThinkPad X230 Trackpoint nubbin :
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 has ‘ThinkPad Nipple’ or red track point nubbin. I don’t have any problem with rubber point but there is a huge set of buttons above touch pad which cramps the space of the multitouch pad. There is something called chiral scrolling – spiral pattern which can be made using your finger. If you have used it before, then it is fine but if you don’t want to use it, then you will feel frustrated.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Weight :
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 is lightweight at about 3.46 pounds but when you take it in hand, the laptop feels quite bulky. The notebook is one inch thick and this laptop is nowhere close to Apple MacBook Air which is wafer thin. The thick shape is much thicker than other ultrabooks like Dell XPS 13. However, it is good to see that the chassis is rock solid and impact resistant.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Security :
ThinkPad laptops are made for business users and hence these machines come with a lot of security software and hardware inside. There is fingerprint reader located close to trackpad – v Pro technology along with suite of some IT friendly and encryption software services which business users will like. I often perceive ThinkPad laptops as BlackBerrys of laptops world.
ThinkPad X230 Display :
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 review says that this laptop has a 12.5 inches screen which feels much smaller than a traditional 13 inch display. However, it is still bigger than the 11 inches screen. This screen has a resolution of 1,366×768 pixels which is the same resolution of 13 and 11 inch laptops. This resolution is also seen in a lot of 15 and 14 inch machines. I have always been happy with Lenovo displays, they are bright and clear and their off axis viewing is pretty good. The screen can open up to 180 degrees fully. The display is matte and hence you won’t see any glares.
ThinkPad X230 Web conferencing :
If you are using this laptop for Web conferencing then you will be happy to find better quality microphones, high quality Web cam, and good stereo speakers.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Configurability :
Just like other ThinkPads, the X230 is configurable. For this year, the new updates are Mini DisplayPort and USB 3.0 ports. The options for processor start from Core i3-2370M 2.4 GHz and it goes up to Core i7-3520M 2.9 GHz processor. The options for storage are 320GB or 250GB hard disk drive and there is also 256GB SSD offered. Lenovo has yet to announce prices for all these updates.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Price :
Lenovo ThinkPad X23 price is $1,249. That was the price of my review model and it had 2.6 GHz Core i5 Intel 3320M processor, 7,200 rpm 320GB hard drive, Windows 7 OS professional, and 4GB RAM. The price of this laptop is a bit high considering there is no SSD storage or dedicated graphics card offered.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Processor :
Intel’s new third generation Core i-series Ivy Bridge processors offer major leap in performance as compared to the older Sandy Bridge chips. However, if you already have the last year’s chip then I won’t recommend buying the newer one because the gain doesn’t justify a replacement.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Graphics :
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 comes with next gen Intel HD 4000 GPU inside and there is some improvement. I played Street Fighter IV on native resolution of 1,366×768 pixels at 19.7 fps or frames per second. However, there wasn’t much eye-popping content. I played some other games with the graphics settings tuned down. I won’t complain about the lack of graphics prowess on this laptop since it is made for business users. If you are looking to play games, look elsewhere.
ThinkPad X230 Battery life :
Lenovo ThinkPad X220 which I tested last year had a battery life of over six and half hours. This one has lesser battery juice. In my tests, this laptop lasted for a little over six hours with the include six cell removable battery. The manufacturer is offering 9 cell battery as upgrade option but I am still happy with the default battery life. It is better than some ultrabooks out there. With good management, this laptop will last for an entire work day.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Warranty :
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 comes with one year warranty which is standard across the industry. There are services offered like accidental damage protection and at home service. There are also drive update and troubleshooting apps from ThinkVantage. There is manufacturer Website offering all kinds of information.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Specs :
- $1,249 price (my review model)
- Intel Core i5-3320M 2.6GHz processor
- 4GB DDR3 memory running at 1,333MHz
- 320GB hard disk running at 7,200rpm
- Intel HM77 chipset
- Intel HD 4000 GPU
- Windows 7 Professional OS (64-bit)
- 12.0×8.1 inches (WxD) dimensions
- 1.0 inches height
- 12.5 inches diagonal screen size
- 4.1 pounds system power adapter