We try not to bring you too much news about product announcements unless there's something particularly intriguing about them; we get inundated by them and most of the time it's the most generic of refreshes. Happily that's not the case with Lenovo's shiny new ThinkPad X220 notebooks.

Inexplicably Lenovo is opting to label these two very different notebooks under the same X220 header: one is a tablet clocking in at 3.88 pounds with a 4-cell battery; the other is an ultraportable that weighs less than three pounds. Both come with support for either SSDs or mechanical hard disks (with a 4GB SSD option as a special order).

 

We'll start with the ultraportable X220. Lenovo is shipping it with a 12.5" 1366x768 LED-backlit screen, but you can upgrade to an IPS panel. It maxes out at 8GB of DDR3 and has a strong spread of Sandy Bridge mobile processors to choose from, starting with the Core i3-2310M at 2.1GHz and going all the way up to the i7-2620M at 2.7GHz. Strangely, only the i7-equipped models come with USB 3.0 connectivity. Reviews of the X220 are already popping up on the internet and the IPS screen is proving as impressive as you'd expect, but not nearly as impressive as the battery running time: Lenovo claims up to 15 hours on a 9-cell battery, a hyperbolic figure to be sure but not as crazy as you'd think. NotebookReview's test model came with a 6-cell battery and was pushing nine hours.

You can see and eventually order the ultraportable X220 here, and MSRP is expected to start at a not-unseemly $899.

 

The other X220 is the tablet model. Again it ships with a 12.5" 1366x768 LED-backlit screen, but in this case the only choice is the finish you want on the IPS panel: Infinity Glass or Corning Gorilla. Yes, the X220 tablet comes with an IPS panel standard, proving that Lenovo understands what ViewSonic couldn't figure out with their tablet: that viewing angles are really important. Unfortunately the X220 tablet is nearly a pound heavier than its ultraportable cousin and doesn't come with an option for USB 3.0 connectivity. Lenovo quotes nine hours of running time with the 8-cell battery.

The X220 Tablet isn't up on Lenovo's site yet, but MSRP is expected to start at $1,199.

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  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    That's true, but why can't they offer a higher resolution option?

    If I have to go 16:9, I'm ok with it as long as I'm using nothing less than 1600x900. I'll pay an extra $100, maybe $200, for it.

    It's like everyone forgot about the 12.1" X200s (smaller than the 12.5" X220) with its 1440x900 screen. Now we're talking! A 900p X220 would have 146ppi, not far off the 140 ppi of the X200s.

    This is like Apple denying the new MBP13 a 1440x900 option when the MBA13 defaults to 1440x900 for the same screen size! We know it can be done, why isn't it an option?
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Just checked the Sony Vaio Z and it's wonderful 1920x1080 pixels in 13.1" of screen.

    I had to use the UK site because the Z isn't offered in the US anymore, but the prices are close enough.

    The Z has 1600x900 by default and the 1080p option is only £100. That's a little more than 150 USD! How can they offer such an insane density (168 ppi) for so little money?

    Granted, the Vaio Z already costs quite a bit, but that is still a wicked price for an amazingly dense screen.
    Reply
  • shiznit - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    It's not an option because if would make the more expensive 15" MBP even less attractive while the 13" MBA is the top model.

    Frustrating I know, I was really hoping for 1440x900 for my first mac since the MBA doesn't have a backlit keyboard but the wait continues.
    Reply
  • the_chillmaster - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - link

    dan, you a smart man!! :) Reply
  • quillaja - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Agreed. The IPS display is nice, but the resolution is pretty crappy. Still, if I had to choose low res IPS and high res washed-out crap, I'd go with IPS.

    Lenovo, bring me a 200+ppi 12in IPS (or something equally as good), preferably 4:3, and I will never look at another PC again.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Playing devil's advocate here....

    I'm not so sure 768p is a "bad" resolution on a 12.4" device. Sure, 1280x800 would be better in a lot of scenarios, but dot pitch really is a problem if you go higher res. I supported a bunch of laptops at a large corporation at one point. They were all Dell Latitudes with 14" 1450x1050 LCDs. Is anyone surprised that we received regularly complaints from the users (who were almost all over 30) that they had trouble reading the display? So we ended up running every laptop at 1024x768 to avoid that problem.

    Now, the nice thing about higher resolutions is that you actually have the option to drop to a lower than native res. But, don't say people should just use Windows' DPI setting. It doesn't always work well, and I say that as someone using it one several PCs daily; I regularly run into applications where some of the buttons or labels get messed up because they weren't designed with DPI scaling in mind. Considering these are business class laptops, I suspect a large number of business users would be more than a little unhappy with running at a native 1600x900 resolution.
    Reply
  • quillaja - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    I don't want old peoples' eye holding back progress.

    I will admit your DPI related woes, though. The unfortunate thing is that more and more things are moving to the web (in web browsers that are basically DPI unaware) just when desktop OSes start to really support resolution independence.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    I've got 30" LCDs for my two main PCs. Both have 120dpi setting enabled. I still end up using the "magnify" option ([CTRL][+]) to make text and images better on many websites for easy reading -- including AnandTech. It's not that I can't read the screen from three feet away, but it's a heck of a lot more comfortable to do so at a 150% magnification.

    Now, when I open up Photoshop, you can bet I love having 2560x1600 pixels to work with. And I do that quite frequently. But for text work, I'm always "zooming" even with the high DPI.

    Getting old sucks, kids. Don't do it! [From a 37-year-old. Yes, I'm now the old man of AnandTech, since Gary and Wes are gone.]
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    "It's not that I can't read the screen from three feet away" - why are you 3 feet away? I sit 1.5 feet from my 30".

    I think 1366x768 is absolutely perfect on a 12.5". It's virtually identical density as 14" 1400x1050, and it's an extremely common res.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    btw, Firefox add-on "Default Full Zoom Level" is great. I use 115% by default for all pages. Reply

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