Lenovo ThinkPad X1 review

A tough and powerful ultraportable but with disappointing battery life

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Our Verdict

An impressively rugged 13.3-inch laptop with a lot of grunt and great features but a weak battery

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • Powerful CPU
  • Slim and light
  • Rugged, waterproof build
  • Colourful screen
  • Good features


  • Battery life fails to impress
  • Hit-and-miss usability
  • No dedicated graphics
  • Reflective screen

Lenovo is well known for its ThinkPad range, a collection of rather serious-looking business laptops that often do their job in an efficient, if unexciting, manner.

When we first laid hands on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, we were definitely impressed. The conventional plain black design remains, but the firm body measures just 27mm at its thickest point and weighs a mere 1.8kg, making it effortlessly portable.

This is also one of the most rugged ultra-portables we've seen. Sure, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 lacks the immediate beauty of the Samsung 9 Series or Apple MacBook Air, but it's solidly built in all areas, from the impressively tough lid to the rubberised frame. We're a sucker for rubber, which helps with grip and means no pesky fingerprints.

Unlike the fragile-feeling Sony SB Series, we're confident that this 13.3-inch PC laptop can survive a drop from a desk.

Not only can the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 survive a few whacks on the move, it can also handle accidental spillage. We witnessed a glass of tap water being poured into the keyboard by a gleeful marketing bod, which made the laptop shut down to protect its vital components. After tilting and shaking it to get rid of the water, we left it a short while then tried the power button. To the marketing bod's further glee, it powered up without a whimper.

Lenovo thinkpad x1

When we got back to TechRadar HQ, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1's keyboard was thankfully dry again. We spent a couple of hours bashing out a lengthy exposition and were impressed by the comfort it offered. Each key is firmly set, poking through individual holes cut in the chassis, isolation-style. Even better, they're backlit for ease of use in the dark.

It's a great board for touch typing, although the arrow keys are a little cramped and we occasionally hit the PgUp/PgDn keys by accident. Our only other complaint is the corner position of the Fn key, which indents the left Ctrl key. We often hit Fn by mistake when using Windows shortcuts, which never failed to be bloody annoying.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1's touchpad is rather ropey, its bevelled surface proving unresponsive to our swipes and prods, while the mouse buttons are unfortunately integrated into the bottom corners. Lenovo has also built in its trademark 'nipple' pointing stick, which protrudes from the centre of the keyboard. We can't stand the thing, but others may disagree.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time5.20 Hour
Finger Print ReaderYes
Solid State Drive Capacity160 GB
Backlight TechnologyLED
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS, HSPA, GPRS, EDGE
Product FamilyThinkPad X1
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA, GSM
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli5-2520M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional
Brand NameLenovo
Processor Speed2.50 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.69 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Gold, ENERGY STAR, RoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelQM67 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots1
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height21.3 mm
Width337 mm
Depth231.1 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesX1
ManufacturerLenovo Group Limited
Product Model12942NG
Product NameThinkPad X1 12942NG Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad, Trackpoint
Product LineThinkPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNWK2NUK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lenovo.com/uk/en/
Marketing Information

Less weight to lug, less time to charge. A lot less to worry about when it comes to tough work on the road. The ThinkPad X1 is no-compromise and all business.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • ThinkPad X1 12942NG Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter