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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  • 8steve8 - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    and if it was even an option, that mean they reserved space in the laptop for it, so people who dont want it are still paying for it with weight and space wasted. Reply
  • LostPassword - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    899 seems unseemly to me. Hope street price is lower or I'm getting a fusion for half that Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    1) It's a business laptop. There is a difference between business and consumer lines. I doubt, for example, that you'll find a Fusion net/notebook with a magnesium chassis, an IPS display, or a Trackpoint. Business notebooks like the ThinkPad and Dell's Latitude E-Series cost more than Lenovo's IdeaPad line or Dell's Inspiron for a reason --and people who purchase business laptops are well aware of those reasons.

    2) A Sandy-Bridge mobile processor can kick a Fusion around the block. Maybe you don't need that, but there is a corresponding difference in price. for that as well.

    3) Fusion isn't even in the same market as Sandy Bridge. The Fusion APU is targeted for netbooks and value notebooks, not performance laptops.
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Umm, you will. And, coincidentally, it is a Thinkpad. Reply
  • Pylon757 - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    Well, x120e's battery life isn't anywhere close to the X220, and build quality is worse. Reply
  • Lifted - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    $899 is bare minimum - nobody will pay that.

    I paid $2,249 for my x201 with a pretty standard configuration.
    Reply
  • drsilverworm - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Given how much time spent staring at it, it's great to see manufacturers bringing in cutting edge display technologies to laptops, like the IPS screen. Ever since I first picked up a Samsung Captivate in July 2010, I thought, "my next laptop HAS to have a Super AMOLED screen". This is kind of a pipe dream for the time being, but it's very exciting to see the almost-as-good IPS display make it into a not-ludicrously-expensive laptop.

    However, I'm not sure that anything can make the Fn key being where the Ctrl key should be worth it. From the screen shots, it appears that the Lenovo is still putting their Fn keys in the far bottom left corner. WHY??? My college has some Lenovo laptops, and it's always a pain in the butt to use them for this reason.
    Reply
  • quillaja - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Why would you want the Fn key, which is practically useless, closer to the center, and the Ctrl key, which is used a lot, farther away and harder to reach?

    I wish they'd move the stupid Fn key somewhere else, like to the top next to the other useless keys PrtSc, ScrLk, and Pause. Then, make the Ctrl and Alt keys bigger and move the windows key over to the corner. Finally, get rid of the useless 'menu' key all together and make the space bar or right-side Alt and Ctrl wider. I think I've used the stupid menu key once in my life, if that.
    Reply
  • Chloiber - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    It's easier to hit the last button in a row.
    I'm not the biggest person and don't have the biggest hands, but placing my pinky on the ctrl key is way too difficult - it's too close in my opinion.

    But I don't care because you can switch the FN and CTRL keys in the BIOS. So really a non-issue for me. But I agree: they could move the FN key somewhere else. I use it a lot for the useful function keys thinkpads offer, but I can move my hand for that (it's not important if it takes 1s to reach it or 0.5s).

    Sitting behind a T410 atm.

    I really like the IPS display option - they are going in the right direction. But 16:9 definitely is the wrong direction, especially if you don't upgrade the resolution. I mean - it's not that bad with the T420 because instead of 1440x900 you get 1600x900 - so you don't "lose" any vertical pixels. Not saying 16:10 wouldn't be better, but if 1440x900 was okay, 1600x900 is also okay.
    Reply
  • kepstin - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    In all recent Lenovo laptops (as far as I know), there's been a switch in the BIOS config that lets you swap the Fn and Ctrl keys whichever way you like.

    The "classic" reasoning for the Fn key position has to do with what happens when you hit the bottom left and top right keys on the keyboard - the keyboard light activation shortcut.
    Reply

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