Lenovo ThinkPad X1 - Battery Life, Value and Verdict

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Unfortunately, unlike the VAIO Z, the X1 doesn’t have a

removable battery. Also unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up nearly as well. We

were very disappointed by its score of only just over three hours in our

non-intensive battery test, with the screen at 40 percent brightness and

wireless radios disabled. Though this might increase by a little if you opt for

the SSD, either way it really isn’t enough, especially since this will decrease

further when using Wi-Fi or 3G. Lenovo ThinkPad X1

On the bright side, Lenovo’s rapid charging claims hold up,

with the battery easily charging to near full capacity in just over half an

hour. However, if you plan to be away from a socket for more than four hours at

a time, the optional slice battery becomes an essential rather than optional addition.

With it, you should get around double the battery life (which played out in our

battery test), giving you a full day’s worth on the go.

Unlike the hideously complicated attachment procedure for

the Z‘s external battery, with the X1’s it’s simply a case of clicking the slice

in and you’re good to go. Releasing it again is equally effortless. However, it

does add considerable bulk and ups the weight to 2.13kg, which hardly jams with

the X1’s ultraportable ambitions. Still, you can just leave it off for the

daily commute and short stints, and only take it with when you know you’ll be

going on lengthy trips without access to a power grid. 

When it comes to value, the ThinkPad X1 is difficult to

assess. On the one hand, it’s priced higher than many lighter ultraportable

rivals, and based purely on specs, weight or battery life it’s not the best of

buys. However, unmatched keyboard ergonomics and excellent connectivity make up

for a lot, while its mix of ruggedness (especially the Gorilla Glass-protected

screen) and business features aren’t offered by any equally light 13.3in laptop

barring perhaps Panasonic’s elusive (in the UK) and far more expensive

ToughBook range. Basically, with the hard drive version of the X1 starting at

£1054, it’s certainly not as expensive as we might have expected considering

its target audience.

If you’re just looking for the lightest 13in business

machine going, the Sony VAIO Z starts at ‘just’ £400 more (without its dock) and, aside from its

lack of optical drive in that configuration, is just as flexible. But then its

keyboard isn’t half as good and its build quality markedly inferior, nor can

Sony’s business support structure or software begin to match that of Lenovo.

Verdict

Lenovo’s thinnest and lightest ThinkPad laptop yet is a

dramatic mix of ups and downs. Its build quality is even more impressive than

usual thanks to the addition of a Gorilla Glass-protected screen, its backlit

and spill-resistant keyboard is by far the best to be found on any

ultraportable, it offers great connectivity, good specs and plenty of features. However, the X1 is a tad large for an ultraportable, its average screen doesn’t jive with its premium positioning, and its battery life trails 13in rivals by quite some margin. If these issues aren’t deal-breakers for you, it’s

a great machine, but many will be better off looking elsewhere – even at other

ThinkPads like the IPS-sporting X220.

Score in detail

  • Performance 7
  • Design 8
  • Value 7
  • Features 9
  • Battery Life 5

Software

Operating System Windows 7

Other

Type Other Laptop
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