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Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Tablet (X220T) - Tablet mode, Touch and Stylus

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Tablet (X220T)

Summary

Our Score:

8

Unfortunately, compared to its earlier X200t, Lenovo seems to have taken a small step back when it comes to usability of the X220 as a tablet. Starting off with the hinge, though its action is perfectly smooth and solid, it is no longer bi-directional – one of the main factors that set its predecessor above rival convertible tablet laptops.

The number of buttons below the screen has shrunk from four to three, dropping the rather handy orientation-lock button (at least when screen rotation is set to automatic and uses the tilt sensor). Also, the power button is now the same shape and size as the other two (manual screen rotation and the equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Del), making it too easy to press the wrong one. We can't help but wish Lenovo had given us a programmable button, like with the Packard Bell Butterfly Touch.

The X220T's screen supports both capacitive touch and a stylus through Wacom's digitizer. Touch is very responsive and the screen's solid glass front makes moving your finger around effortless. Naturally, multi-touch and gesture control are supported, though we found gestures didn't register quite as easily as with some other devices we've tested, such as the Galaxy Tab to pick a random example. The screen coating is very good at minimizing the effects of greasy fingerprints, and after a full day's use smudging was only distractingly visible against dark backgrounds.

Lenovo's customizable SimpleTap software can be launched from a permanent tab, or through a gesture on the screen or trackpad. It works well, offering quick touch control over volume, brightness, wireless radios, screen rotation and letting you disable capacitive touch altogether. You can also add launch icons for any software you wish. It's by far the least obtrusive and most usable touch interface we've come across barring HP's TouchSmart suite on its tm2 convertible.

If you don't want to get prints on your screen or wish to engage in some writing or sketching, a stylus awaits in its spring-loaded compartment, and you can just press its red eraser head to pop it out. Thanks to Wacom's patented Penabled technology it doesn't need batteries, and hovering it near the screen prevents the tablet from recognising input from your fingers or palms, allowing you to scribble without worries.

The thin pen is quite comfortable, and is coated in the same soft finish as the lid and inner screen bezel. It will recognise 512 pressure levels, which might not seem like much compared to the 2,048 levels of a Wacom Intuos 4 graphics tablet but is adequate for sketching and light drawing. Considering the price of a Cintiq (a monitor with Intuos built-in) this is an interesting alternative for artists who want to see what they draw where they draw it, with the added advantage of mobility.

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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