Lenovo Launches ThinkPad X220 Notebook, Convertible Tablet

Lenovo on Monday launched its latest ultraportable ThinkPad X220 laptop along with the similar X200 convertible tablet PC, aimed at bringing mobile enterprise features to thinner, lighter form factor devices.

Lenovo said its X220 PCs run up to 75 percent faster compared to its competitors' ultraportable offerings. In addition, the X220 includes extended battery life of up to 24 hours as well as a refreshed design featuring hinge-based latching, a thinner device, and an enlarged touchpad.

Preston Taylor, ThinkPad product marketing manager at Lenovo, said the X220 includes enhancements to its video-calling capability, its functionality as a smart PC, as well as its battery life. The ThinkPad X220 offers up to 15 hours battery life with a standard 9-cell batter, according to Lenovo. Battery life increases up to 24 hours with the new ThinkPad Battery 19+ external battery.

"Both the X220 and the X220 tablet will get up to 23 hours of extended battery life with standard voltage, and over 24 hours with ULV CPUs," Taylor said. "There's also a new external battery pack added to the system, in combination with a 9-cell battery, further extending the life of the battery."

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Lenovo says its X220 PCs are speed-optimized and yet fit the same fully-powered CPUs as larger 14- and 15-inch notebooks, while systems of comparable weight only offer low-powered processor options. Taylor said Lenovo has modified its ThinkPad design for the new X220 models. "In this new design, one of the key features is a hinge-based latching design," he said. "We've gotten rid of the latches, and have added instead a wider hinge that acts as a closing mechanism, as pressure from the hinge keeps the lid closed. We also created space for the readjustment and realignment of the antennas with the goal of getting better wireless reception."

Given the trend toward the consumerization of IT, Taylor said Lenovo focused on making the devices easier for end-user customers to use. "We're making the system actually look cleaner, especially the area outside of the display bezel," he said. "It's not just what it looks like but how it feels, responds and reacts. Our core focus is on a better user experience, but we also focused on the needs of businesses and enterprise customers running Intel's new Core vPro technology, with the added durability features in the design."

Taylor said that among the X220's selling points is the full performance that it offers on a reduced form factor. "It's the number 1-selling, ultra-portable PC," he said, "Our designers and our engineers were able to fit full-performance CPUs in light design, with up to 17 Intel CPUs running on the system, while still making it comfortable to use in terms of heat and other things."

In addition to Intel's second-generation Core I7 Sandy Bridge CPUs, Lenovo's new systems will include Intel Turbo Boost technology and Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 technology for increased performance from Intel's integrated graphics platform. Lenovo's new X220 models also support USB 3.0 connectivity technology.

Next: Design Adjustments To The ThinkPad X220

"Our key focus areas for the ThinkPad X220 include several design changes, including a new keyboard and a new touchpad, larger ESC and DEL keys, and LED-backlit Microphone mute buttons, as well as a button-less touchpad that's given us a forty-five percent larger touchpad area," Taylor said. "We also offer an updated spill-resistant keyboard that drains faster and thermal design enhancements in order to run the system longer than we were before with a focus on durability for our IT managers."

Taylor also said the X220 includes two vents for its thermal system, a dual-vent structure that provides added ventilation, through a more efficient cooling process. Finally, he said Lenovo added a premium panel feature to its X220 design, an IPS panel option for those looking for a better multimedia experience.

As for the X220 tablet, Taylor said the convertible device will include the same notebook features as the regular X22O PC -- including the addition of a button-less touchpad, redesigned hinges and improvements in the keyboard -- as well as a new outdoor panel, and protection from scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. Finally, the tablet version's speakers have been moved from the bottom of the system to face users. "It's an enhancement our customers have asked for, in order to get improved audio and better displays," Taylor said.

While the notebook version weighs under 3 pounds, and its width has been decreased by 2mm, the slightly thicker, heavier tablet will weigh in at 3.6 pounds with a standard 4-cell battery, Taylor said. "The key difference is just that the tablet offers a convertible top, it comes in clamshell mode or in tablet mode," he said. "It offers the same functionality for someone who isn't at a desktop, for folks on the field or on the go who need to access data or take notes, while standing or walking for example."

Taylor said that the multitouch X220 tablet is especially useful to students, as well as mobile professionals working outdoors, as it now incorporates durability features alongside its consumer-friendly bright, 300-nit screen with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass ideal for consuming graphic content. Lenovo's ThinkPad already passes military specifications for durability under extreme conditions, Lenovo said, to which it now adds Gorilla Glass that strengthens the screen allowing the system to withstand scratches, scrapes and abuse from the field.

Taylor said Intel's anti-theft technology, which is incorporated into its new Core vPro processors, allows users to remotely manage and authenticate devices, as well as remotely disable devices when they're stolen. He said host-based provisioning and configuration and the securing of data if a laptop is lost or stolen are all benefits to the vPro platform that Lenovo's X220 model leverages.

Lenovo says it incorporates several technologies that enable voice and video conferencing, including chat and conference call microphone modes and keyboard noise suppression. It also comes with Lenovo's new Instant Resume function, maintaining connections during sleep mode for up to 99 minutes, eliminating the need for business users to constantly login and reconnect.

Lenovo's ThinkPad X220 laptop starts at $899, while its X220 tablet starts at $1,199.