Lenovo ThinkPad X200 Tablet PC Review

by tiffany boggs Reads (166,226)

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We have Lenovo’s newest Tablet PC, the X200 in office and we put it to the test. This 12.1″ tablet has a reinforced lid that uses carbon fiber on the top and glass fiber around the edges for added strength. It’s definitely a solid ThinkPad with some new features like a bi-directional hinge, which is a bonus and it’s powered by a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor. Check out how the X200 compares to other tablets in its class.

Lenovo X200 Tablet PC specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz L9400 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 160GB hard drive, 7200 rpm
  • SSD optional
  • Intel GMA X4500 graphics
  • 12.1″ WXGA (1280 x 800) display with active digitizer, touchscreen optional
  • Optional optical drive with weight saver with dock
  • Windows Vista Business OS
  • 3x USB ports
  • 1x Multicard Reader
  • 1x PCI ExpressCard
  • RJ-11 and RJ-45
  • VGA-15pin
  • Microphone and headphone
  • 8-cell battery, 4-cell available
  • Intel Wi-Fi 5300 and WWAN

 

Design

The X200 has a solid chassis and design. I mean after all it is a ThinkPad and lives up to its name and durability. It sports the same matte black design, but new to the X200 is a bi-directional hinge, which is great for presentations, much like the Fujitsu T2010.

Weighing in around 3.8lbs with the 8-cell extended battery, this 12.1″ tablet is still light and thin enough to take where ever you go. Perfect for mobile professionals or college students. I didn’t notice any signs of flex in any part of the tablet and was quite impressed with the screen. I would have liked the touchscreen/active digitizer model to review, but this one is still good.

The X200 is packed with a good variety of features and if you spring for the dock you definitely won’t be disappointed. The X200 also now has two speakers on the bottom for better stereo sound instead of one speaker like on the X61 series. Battery life seems way better as well, but I get to that later because that is an important feature for a mobile tablet.

Display

The X200 I am reviewing has a 12.1″ WXGA (1280×800) display. It has an active digitizer, but no touchscreen. The digitizer is accurate and the pen works great. I took notes like I was writing on paper. The hinge is solid, so the display looks great from all viewing angles. I didn’t notice any signs of color bleed, the display was really nice and bright.

It wasn’t too grainy like most tablets and can get really bright if need be. The colors are bold and vivid and even though the screen is 12.1-inches, I had no problem reading or viewing any documents. The X200 looks great in tablet mode as well and the display automatically changes orientation when rotated.

Performance and Benchmarks

The X200 is like most other ThinkPad tablets with their LV processors, but the X200 sports a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor that really can get work done. I was impressed with how fast the machine booted-up and ran PCMark05. It did well on the benchmarks and surfed the Web and ran multiple applications with no problems. It didn’t even seem like it was overworking itself.

Comparison Results for PCMark05

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Lenovo ThinkPad X200 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz, GMA X4500 graphics) 4,318 PCMarks
Clevo TN121R (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,697 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz, Mobile Intel 4500 MHD graphics) 4,864 PCMarks
HP tx2500 (AMD Turion X2 Ultra 2.4GHz, ATI HD 3200 graphics) 3, 873 PCMarks
HP tx2000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.3GHz, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics) 3,738 PCMarks
Asus R1E (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, GMA 965 chipset) 4,679 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,334 PCMarks
Gateway C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, ATI X2300 HD graphics) 4,342 PCMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,453 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 3,473 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,171 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950) 2,732 PCMarks

 

Comparison Results for 3Dmark05

3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook.

Notebook 3DMark 05 Results
Lenovo ThinkPad X200 (1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA X4500 graphics) 1,307 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 (2.26GHz Core 2 Duo, Mobile Intel 4500 MHD graphics) 1,520 3DMarks
HP tx2500 (2.4GHz AMD Turion X2 Ultra, ATI HD 3200 graphics) 1,622 3DMarks
HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics) 636 3DMarks
Asus R1E (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA 965 chipset) 923 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 566 3DMarks
Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo, ATI X2300 HD graphics) 1,956 3DMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 634 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics) 812 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics) 925 3DMarks
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 500 3DMarks
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300) 1,392 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150) 810 3DMarks
PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 590 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950) 519 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3DMarks

HDTune Results:

 

 

wPrime results:

Keyboard/Trackpoint/Pen

Lenovo has done it again with the X200 keyboard. It is solid and feels great to type on. The keys give the right amount of feedback and I don’t feel cramped when typing because the keyboard goes all the way to the edge of the casing. The Shift and Enter buttons are full sized, which is a nice change from my daily tablet, but the Fn keys across the top are separated in sections, no big deal once you get used to it. The PgUp, PgDn, Home and End keys are the same way.

The trackpoint is standard and typical of a ThinkPad design. It is accurate like a mouse and just as easy to use once you get used to it. I know some users don’t prefer this design, but once I started using the trackpoint awhile back I realized I do like it. The red rubber nub has nice grip and your finger just needs to move a little bit to navigate. Unlike the HP 2730p that now incorporates the touchpad and nub since their users didn’t like just having the pointing stick.

The pen with the X200 is standard as well, but still feels nice to write with. I took notes and had no problems with it on the screen. It is comfortable to hold for long periods of time, it doesn’t feel cheap at all and has a nice rubber texture to it. It even has an eraser, which I think all tablet pens should have because it is a convenient feature when you make a mistake.

Ports

The X200 has a good variety of features for a thin and light category tablet. It has three USB ports, 5-in-1 Card Reader, PCI ExpressCard, VGA, RJ-11 and RJ-45, microphone and headphone and if you get the dock tons more. The dock is small enough to travel with you or use at your desk to have four more USB ports, an optical drive and the ability to charge that spare battery.

Front view of the X200.

Left side view of the ports.

Right side view of the ports.

Back view of the X200.

Underneath the X200.

Heat and Noise

As far as I have noticed during my testing and usage the X200 doesn’t get hot or loud. I didn’t notice any part of the tablet getting uncomfortably warm. Even in tablet mode I had no problems. I could hold the tablet for hours and not be bothered by excessive heat.

The optical drive with the dock makes the usual noise, but the fan only kicks on when need be and isn’t that loud. I think it would be fine for classes. Even when I ran the benchmarks it didn’t get annoyingly loud.

Battery

The battery life on the X200 is supposed to be much better according to Lenovo and they claim up to 10 hours of life with the 8-cell battery that extends out the back. If you get the 4-cell they still claim 4-5 hours and the tablet weighs less. The unit I have has the 8-cell and it was showing 6 hours on Balanced/High Performance battery life with a full charge. You can adjust the meter in between to your liking from Energy Saver to High Performance. It seems to be very impressive and lasts long through normal tasks like checking email and surfing the Web.

The 8-cell gives a nice handle to grab on to while in tablet mode as well. I give it two thumbs up even though I didn’t get 10 hours out of it, it did last for almost a full work day.

Speakers

Lenovo upgraded the speakers on the X200 ThinkPads. The X200 has two speakers on the bottom for better stereo sound instead of one speaker like on the X61 series. The sound quality is much better, but it gets a little distorted when at loud levels and when sitting on a desk. Since the speakers are on the bottom, the sound isn’t as clear.

Wireless

The X200 has Intel Wi-Fi 5300 and WWAN. I was impressed. It could pick up a wireless signal almost anywhere and it was strong. Th X200 did way better then my Asus and the HP in the wireless test. I mean the X200 picked up a stronger signal even on the move. I had the tablets sitting next to each other and the X200 was the first to connect and stay connected. I also like the Wi-Fi manager that shows all the wireless networks in the area and which ones are strongest by percentage fro 100-0.

X200 vs HP 2730p

The Lenovo X200 and HP 2730p are considered to be in the same class. They are both marketed toward business use, although many college students use them too. They both have great features and I did a little comparison between them.

Pictured above X200 to the left and 2730p to the right. The X200 is plain with its black ThinkPad signature design and the 2730p is sleek with its stainless steel look. Both are solid tablets, but which is a better fit for you. The ThinkPad is more durable in terms of daily bumps and bruises, but the HP feels a little lighter in terms of weight. They both have 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processors, but different hard drive options.

The X200 has a touchscreen option like the X61 series, which is very nice. Although the 2730p from HP doesn’t the tx2500 does. Both these tablets are are great for taking notes and have nice displays, but I do like the bi-directional hinge now offered. They both have peppy processors and similar benchmark performance, but the X200 picks up wireless signals better on the go, great for business users.

Now they both have the trackstick, but the X200 red nub has a better grip for your finger. Some users though aren’t fans of these pointing sticks, so HP offers both the stick and a touchpad. It is nice to have both. I think the trackstick is easy to use, just takes a few times. The X200 has a solid keyboard, so does the 2730p, but he X200 is easier to read, the keys stand out more. The 2730p does have a nice light for the keyboard, which other manufacturers could take note of.

X200 with Dock

The dock is definitely a good accessory to the X200. I mean it is portable and gives you more features and an optical drive for the complete package if you need that.

X200 on the dock, right side view.

X200 on the dock, back view.

X200 on the dock, left side view.

Conclusion

The X200 is a solid tablet with the same signature ThinkPad design. If you don’t like the plain black design your out of luck. It has new features like the bi-directional hinge that used to only be available on Fujitsu tablets, improved battery life and better wireless radio. I had no problems connecting to the Internet once I changed a few settings around. Some users may get confused by this, but it was easy.

The display was clear and crisp, would have liked the touchscreen to compare it to the X61, but no luck with that. The processor was peppy and had no problems running benchmarks. The array of features are good, but some users will definitely need the dock for more and may complain about that. The X200 should have heads turning and users thinking about making a new purchase.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Solid durable design
  • Nice pen
  • Clear bright display
  • Bi-directional hinge

Cons

  • Could use more features, besides getting the dock
  • Keyboard keys separated like the Fn keys

 

 

 

 


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