Keyboard and Touchpad
The ThinkPad line has a reputation for excellent keyboards, and the X220 Tablet is no exception. Lenovo packed in a full 89-key keyboard into the device, and included a few small design tweaks. Both the Escape and Delete button are larger than on those found on an average keyboard, making them easier to find and press, and the space between the keys is minimal to keep crumbs and dust out. Overall, the keys are large and snap down nicely when pressed.
The keyboard is solid, with only minimal bounce found on both the left and right edges. This is apparent when it is pressed firmly, and users probably won’t notice the give with day-to-day usage. Lenovo also included volume control buttons, mic mute button (for VoIP calls), ThinkVantage shortcut (calls up Lenovo’s utility suite), and power button.
Those not feeling the touch or pen navigation have other options in the form of the red TrackPoint familiar to previous ThinkPad owners and a textured touchpad. The TrackPoint works in conjunction with three buttons under the space bar, which mimic the mouse and open up the possibility for scrolling or zoom shortcuts. I don’t care much for TrackPoint as I find it too sensitive, but it has its fans who will be pleased by its inclusion. The Touchpad is buttonless and supports multitouch gestures like pinch to zoom. It interprets user input well enough so cursor jumps and errant zooms are not much of an issue. It’s also large enough that I didn’t find it too limiting or frustrating, though I’ll stick with the pen or a mouse, if possible.
Ports and Features
The ThinkPad X220 has the same ports and inputs as its notebook counterpart, the X220. NotebookReview declared it the “most robust port layout we’ve seen on any current-generation 12-inch notebook,” and the same applies for any 12.5-inch convertible. The only difference between the two is that the X220 notebook features the option of a USB 3.0 or always-on USB 2.0, while the X220 Tablet only offers the always-on option. I think it’s time USB 3.0 became standard considering it’s been available on laptops since early 2010, so color me a minor shade of disappointed the X220 Tablet only offers 2.0.
Other ports and inputs include an SD card reader (SDHC), Gigabit Ethernet jack, 3.5mm headset jack, pen holder, 54mm ExpressCard slot, VGA, and Display Port.
Lenovo also included a very accurate fingerprint scanner on the bottom-left corner of the display that is easily accessible in both tablet and notebook mode (software included) opposite sleep/wake, ctrl+alt+del, and screen orientation switch buttons on the bottom right, all of which are applicable to tablet mode.