December 9, 2013
- Sturdy design
- Extremely long battery life
- Good performance
- Touch screen display
- Lower-resolution display
- Keyboard is mushy
The all-new Lenovo ThinkPad X240 is a lightweight business-oriented laptop that delivers extremely long battery life, decent performance and a touch screen display. For business-use, the design is absolutely perfect but it does have a lower than average screen resolution.
The design of the X240 is very basic but sleek. It has a black exterior with a rubberized touch, so it's easy to hold onto and carry around. For durability, it has an internal roll cage, a magnesium bottom and a carbon-fiber lid, so it can handle some wear and tear. It measures 12.0 x 8.2 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.2-pounds, so it's definitely portable. These measurements are using the standard battery, but if you use the extended 6-cell battery, you add some height and weight.
Lenovo has made some adjustments to the keyboard compared to previous ThinkPad laptops. First, the palm rest has been lengthened to make things more comfortable to use. This laptop's keyboard is also spill-resistant, but we didn't test that out for obvious reasons. We found the laptop to feel relatively comfortable, but at times the keys did feel a little mushy, especially the Spacebar, which was very mushy. They could have had just a bit more spring to them. The keyboard is backlit too, which is a must these days.
For the security-minded, there is a biometric fingerprint reader to the right of the keyboard, which can be useful for business and enterprise users.
You get both a pointing stick and touchpad with the X240. The traditional pointing stick users will love the latest installment because well, not much has changed! It still provides a great way to navigate without having to move your hands off the keyboard. If you're a new user, it definitely takes some getting used to at first. There are two click buttons integrated into the touch pad under the Spacebar for use with the pointing stick. The standard touchpad is one that everyone will enjoy because it's roomy (3.9 x 2.6-inches). It's extremely smooth and very accurate. There are no click buttons on the bottom of the pad, instead you click the whole pad down to right-click (or tap touch to left-click).
For the display, you get a 12.5-inch touch screen IPS display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. The display looks good overall with wide viewing angles and good brightness. Unfortunately, the display is lower resolution than we would have liked to see. A 1080-pixel display would have made us much happier. We really liked the touch screen integrated into the X240's display. It worked well and made navigating that much easier.
For ports, the ThinkPad X240 includes two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, VGA-out, DisplayPort-out, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, a SIM card slot for WWAN and a headphone port. Wireless includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. There is no optical drive included, which helps to reduce the laptop's thickness.
Our review unit included a configuration that had a fourth-generation Intel Core i5-4200U (1.6GHz) CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) and integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics. In a PCMark 8 benchmark, the X240 scored 2,853, which is just shy of the ultraportable laptop category average. However in real-world use, this laptop is speedy. We didn't notice any slow downs or performance issues. It booted up to the Windows 8 Start screen in 18 seconds on average, which is just a tad slower than other similar, SSD-containing laptops. The SSD does mean that you'll get speedy file transfers and program installs. The integrated graphics work perfect for the usual tasks as well as streaming HD video, but don't expect to do any 3D gaming on this laptop.
Battery life is one of this laptop's strongest suits, again playing into the business-centered focus. This laptop has several battery options. First, there is a non-removable 3-cell battery and a rear removable battery. There are two removable batteries available: a 3-cell and a 6-cell capacity. With the standard 3-cell battery, you'll get about 7.5-hours of life and with the 6-cell, you'll get almost a whole day's worth of life at around 21-22 hours. This is very impressive! While the 6-cell battery does add some bulk and weight, it's well worth it if you're away from a power outlet for extended periods of time.