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.
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.
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
Battery Life 5