Lenovo X220 – full review from a consumer

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you probably knew I purchased the best 12.5″ netbook out there, the Lenovo X220. I’ve had my X220 for about 4 weeks now, so I gave myself some time to use it, and then write up a review about it. What I thought about it as a consumer. I did a fresh install on my SSD, running Windows 7 Pro x64. As a quick background note of myself, I usually see about 10-12 different laptops throughout the year (Dell, Asus, HP, etc). The hardware in my X220 is :

Intel Core i7-2620M Processor (3.4GHz, 3MB L3, 1333MHz FSB) w/ USB3
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
12.5″ Premium (IPS) HD (1366×768) LED Backlit Display, Mobile Broadband Ready, 2×2 Antenna
Intel® HD Graphics 3000
4 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
128GB Crucial M4 SSD
ThinkPad Battery 29++ (9 cell)
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (2×2 AGN)

Battery life : I get about 11.5-12 hours with my normal/daily tasks. This is one of the reasons I waited so long to write a review on this laptop. My daily tasks include wifi on, VPN’d into the data center doing some putty work (few session open). I usually have 1-20 firefox 4.0 tabs open, as well as thunderbird fetching every few minutes.

12.5″ Screen : The only issue I noticed with this screen is some minor tearing when scrolling on text heavy websites, otherwise simply gorgeous. I usually run around 9 brightness plugged in and on battery.

Graphics – Intel HD 3000 : I have not had time to run any games yet, but I have noticed that it does get a 5.6 on the Windows score.

Overall design/feel : I have read a lot of reviews where people did not like the touch pad, and where they loved it. I definitely love it. I removed some of the features of the touchpad via the software, and have felt that the touchpad is much more useful. The biggest annoyance with my big hands was with clicking with 1 finger, and mousing at the same time. I would always get the scroll to pop up, so I disabled it. I also disabled the side scrolls, as those are relatively useless for me too.

The camera is mediocre, does poorly in low light, but does a pretty good job in a decently light room. I do plan to use it when I am traveling and need to skype in. It worked really well for that. The only thing that was missing, was some software to play with the camera, outside of an application like Skype.

I have yet to take some benchmarks of the USB 3.0, but if anyone would like me too, I can.

I do LOVE the keyboard, it feels fresh, and new every time I use it. I have about 5-6 computers I sit at throughout the day, and I am always happy to go to the X220’s keyboard. Overall, this was definitely worth the price I paid for it ($1,046.34 after tax/shipping/SSD).

If you’d like me to take some detailed pictures, will do. Just ask!

You can view some previous benchmarks that I have run here :

I also made a post about how to convert a Crucial M4 9.5MM to 7MM :

4 replies on “Lenovo X220 – full review from a consumer”

Hey there- thanks for the great review on the X220! I’ve been trying to decide between this model and the W520 for graduate school. The fact that the drive bay is only 7mm is a huge bummer… but it’s great to see that a little tweaking will make a Crucial M4 work.

What made you decide to try that little operation on the M4? Do you think it would work with an even larger capacity (256GB) M4 drive, or an altogether different brand (Intel) drive?

Thanks again for all the great posts. I like what you have going here!

You’re welcome!

From what i’ve read, it is possible to tweak a few other 9.5mm drives down to 7mm. I’d have to imagine the 256GB version would be similiar, just more chips on the board. Just make sure to use some electrical tape to not cause any shorts. This is a decent list, but definnitely not up to date, as he hasn’t added the M4 as I tested :

I wanted an SSD, and the M4 had low power consumption compared to some of the other SSD’s. This thing is a battery beast … ranging from 11-14 hours depending on my daily usage.

I’m getting a similar config as well, although overpowered for me, I simply needed USB 3.0 & i7 was the only way to go w/o a clumsy express card.

So I would love to get to the heart of the matter from a person who probably knows this better than me and therefore my questions to you are concerning the SSD install.

There are so many things I’ve read, I’m confused about it all but if you can clear ANY of the confusions I’d be much obliged.

1) I am getting the system but will buy a msata ssd much later (like a few months at least) & will need to install other apps on the system so in prep for the best install to a future ssd what do you recommend I do?
a) Lenovo Thinkvantage recovery image?
b) Clean install (& how)?

Thing is i would really like the Lenovo EE programs I hear a lot about so I don’t know if I’d want just a plain jane Win7 boot as this is my first Thinkpad ever

2) How on Earth does one go about doing it, without the world of problems I hear about, UEFI bios, ATACHI set up? clone-alignment problem?
Especially if I do not buy an Intel drive with migration tool?

I am wondering on how to go about this right for the fastest setup (on msata anyway) and there seems to be enough coverage, just no one central clear spot on how to go about it so I’d be grateful to hear your comments.
Thank you.

1) I have zero issues with a fresh install (from USB).

The only thing I installed, software wise, was the lenovo update tool, the thumb software/touchpad, and the battery tweaker software.

2) I have heard there are very little difference in speed between UEFI and BIOS, so I stuck with BIOS and it boots in 15~ seconds or so. What are you confused with exactly during a fresh install?

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