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Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Tablet (X220T) - Speakers, Screen and Webcam

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Tablet (X220T)

Summary

Our Score:

8

For a business-focused tablet and considering they don't carry the endorsement of a famous audio company, the X220T's stereo speakers are surprisingly accomplished. They lack the clarity and depth of examples like those found on the far smaller Toshiba NB520, but nonetheless pack a surprising punch and are certainly adequate for the occasional movie or game. Lenovo has sensibly positioned them in the screen's bezel, meaning they won't lose any of their impact in tablet mode.

What really makes the new X220-series special, though, is Lenovo's use of IPS panels for their 12.5in screens. As mentioned, this is the same screen technology found in the Apple iPad, and anyone who owns or has seen one of those will know this equates with almost flawless viewing angles and potentially excellent colour reproduction.

We've been waiting a long time for this panel technology to filter down into relatively affordable ultraportables, since even the RGB-LED backlit solution used in the display of the amazing ThinkPad W701ds isn't as good. On the X220, IPS is an optional extra, while the X220T comes with it as standard – a decision we heartily applaud Lenovo for, since on a tablet vertical viewing angles are far more important than they would be on a laptop.

Indeed, the display here is as close to flawless as we've seen on a laptop. It's slightly reflective thanks to its optional Gorilla Glass layer, but nowhere near as glossy as other glass-fronted displays and we're happy with this trade-off for the extra protection Gorilla Glass provides.

Colours were somewhat muted but accurate while contrast was excellent, managing dark blacks alongside subtle whites with great detailing in both. Backlighting was even, though there was some noticeable bleed from the left bottom edge. However, this could be due to our review sample being a pre-production unit.

Sharpness was also excellent, thanks in large part to the 12.5in panel's high 1,366 x 768 resolution (16:9 aspect ratio). We would have preferred 1,280 x 800 (16:10) here to give a little more vertical leeway, but that's the price of the market's unstoppable move towards ever wider screens (check out our preview of Philip's latest Cinema telly, the super-wide Cinema 21:9 TV, to see what we mean).

Speaking of widescreen, the webcam has also received an update and is now 720p, which along with the dual microphones for advanced noise-cancelling makes for a good video conferencing experience.

Andy Vandervell

March 24, 2011, 2:15 pm

A UK exclusive surely, not a worldwide one. ;)

Andy Vandervell

March 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

Ah, of the tablet version. My mistake.

NorthernSands

March 24, 2011, 2:38 pm

I really, really wish manufacturers would listen and provide more appropriate screen ratios. 16x9 isn't easy to work with and 16x10 isn't _that_ much better. This is a BUSINESS laptop after all, not some cheap, consumer 'media machine'.

I'm dreading having to replace my aged Thinkpad T60p with it's 14.1", 4x3, 1400x1050 screen. It's an almost perfect combination of size, ratio and resolution! And it's an IPS panel...

With panel makers dictating the ratio it's like the tail wagging the dog. :-(

Chris Hamer

March 24, 2011, 4:19 pm

I wish my Thinkpad T410s had an IPS panel, better battery life and a 54mm Express Card slot :/

KultiVator

March 24, 2011, 4:22 pm

I've tested a couple of older laptop/tablet hybrids at work - nice concept and great for short-term novelty factor, but I've always found them too heavy and clunky (mainly due to Windows poor pen/finger control integration) for serious use as a tablet.

Ultimately, we found it hard to justify the extra cost to kit our engineers with tablets, when few ofmour test subjects were able to tolerate the weight and goofy input method - instead preferring to use the device in it's laptop guise sat down at a desk!

This does look nicer - but weight and Window's clunky touch support are likely to still cause issues for many users.

ffrankmccaffery

March 24, 2011, 4:57 pm

@NorthernSands: Amen brother. I recently bought a refurbished X61s as a future replacement for my X32. Although I have to argue with you over whether 14.1" is an ideal screen size.

ChillinR

March 24, 2011, 5:46 pm

Very informative review! The one thing I missed was availability: do you have any information about release dates in the UK and continental Europe?

Arctic Fox

March 25, 2011, 7:04 am

Nice try but I am still going to wait until Win 8 is launched before I get a tablet. The Asus eee (the qwerty slider tab running Android) is also another example of things moving in the right direction. However, I am still going to keep my legs crossed for a year of so! When I see the right combination of os and hardware I will be willing to part with some serious wonga - but it is still to early in the development of these devices IMHO.

Michael G

March 25, 2011, 3:01 pm

You're going to wait for Windows 8? The rumours are for a 2012 release, which we all know means it probably won't be released until late 2013. You might as well just forget about tablets altogether.

TechVegan

March 25, 2011, 3:43 pm

@NorthernSands:
Amen, but unfortunately that's the way it's going.

@ChillinR:
Glad you liked it! Regarding availability, we should be seeing the X220 series here in the UK from April on.

@Arctic Fox:
I'm with Michael G on that one - still, can't hurt to wait :)

Arctic Fox

March 25, 2011, 4:34 pm

@Ardjuna

Basically what I am interested in is a tablet that is a replacement for my lappie rather than a supplement. Ie a genuine workhorse tab rather than primarily a content consumption device. As I said in my posting I think that Asus' qwerty slider tab looks promising and indicates that what *I* am looking for will, eventually (!), become available.

-:)

AF

autosapien

March 29, 2011, 3:18 am

Still enjoying my X61 Tablet three and a half years after I bought it.. This looks awesome though.

findbuddha

March 29, 2011, 11:50 am

Ardjuna,

Can you please clarify the battery situation? Lenovo's datasheets and system references list only a 3 cell, 6 cell, and 6 cell slice. Which battery did your system ship with?

Also, are you able to check the DPC latency? Preferably with http://www.resplendence.com/la...

Thanks!

Yang

March 30, 2011, 11:10 am

Hi, Ardjuna:

I love your review!

Would you please clarify for me the meaning of "5 finger gesture" written in the official X220 Tablet Specification document.

Also, can you please review the new X220 tablet sleeve as well? Thank you in advance!

Best regards,
Yang

NorthernSands

April 11, 2011, 3:56 pm

@UnderClock

The problem I have with 16:9 or 16:10 on a tablet, is that they aren't very good for viewing websites, or using a lot of software, in portrait. Very few websites are now easily accessible at 800 pixels across, never mind 768 (take this very site)!

The perfect package for a tablet, IMHO, would be the high resolution Thinkpad X61T, with a faster platform inside. It has a 12.1" 4:3, IPS, 1400 x 1050 screen. OK, text might be a tad small, and Windows is hopeless at handling DPI changes, but you tend to hold tablets closer to you, and the 1050 pixel width in portrait is perfect for reading websites and using Word or whatever.

Manufacturers are NOT seeing the light; they are accepting what the panel makers insist on making, not what we, the end user, actually want! Bring back 4:3 on business machines!

nandi

March 6, 2012, 10:00 pm

great review, thanks a lot. one thing i'd like to add is that "ThinkLight" is mysteriously missing on this device

TechVegan

March 16, 2012, 7:58 pm

@nandi:
Thanks for commenting, glad you like it!
Also cheers for the input.

pallavi

December 31, 2013, 4:54 pm

i bought this laptop now i need to register it.... how to find its model no n serial no... how to find it

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