Lenovo ThinkPad X1 review: First Look

We take a sneak peek at Lenovo's new super slender ThinkPad X1 ultraportable laptop to see whether it can rival the MacBook Air.

Price
£1,118
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1

The chiclet-style keyboard felt comfortable and responsive, but the jury is still out on the enlarged touchpad and its integrated buttons.

The familiar touchstick is still present, but there's also a touchpad which now has buttons integrated into the bottom of the pad itself rather than as separate pieces of plastic. The right 'button' didn't seem to work on one of the pre-production models on show, but did on another. In any case the pad is large, feels accurate and supports basic multitouch gestures.

An integrated 3G modem will be included as standard alongside a USB3 port and a combo eSATA/USB2 port. Mini DisplayPort and HDMI connectors are for connecting an external display. Intriguingly, an optional accessory called the Power Hub combines a four-port USB hub with a power supply for recharging the laptop's battery. It would be brilliant if such a useful accessory was included as standard in the box, but sadly it isn't.

Processing power will be provided by a full-voltage 2.5GHz Core i5 2520M chip rather than a more energy-efficient, but slower low-voltage processor. The pre-production unit we saw was equipped with both a 320GB hard disk for storing your files and a 64GB Intel SSD used as the boot disk. It's not clear whether the X1 uses a Z68-style chipset and could therefore used Intel's new Hybrid SSD technology where the SSD is used as a giant cache for the hard disk, speeding up access to frequently used files.

So what are our first impressions?

Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 looks promising, if only because of its classic ThinkPad design backed up by a Lenovo onsite warranty, but it won't be cheap with a starting price of £1,118 ex VAT. Whether it will be worth the money will depend a great deal on its battery life. In this respect it faces a tough challenge from the 13in MacBook Air which is available for as little as £898 and lasted an astonishing 13 hours and 40 minutes in our light usage battery test. We'll bring you a full review of the X1 as soon as we can.

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