Lenovo ThinkPad X1 review

A tough and powerful ultraportable but with disappointing battery life

Lenovo X1
The Lenovo X1 is powerful and tough, but has some flaws

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Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 business laptop may look familiar, but it's impressively slimmed down from previous models and also reassuringly rugged. But can this ultra-portable hold its own in an increasingly competitive market?

We liked

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1's rubberised body is solid as well as slender, and can take a few knocks or drops and come back fighting. We were particularly impressed by how well it coped with water spillage, powering down quickly and returning to normal as if nothing had happened.

The latest Sandy Bridge Core i5 technology provides stunning performance, coping with any software we threw its way. Features are plentiful, from the built-in 3G roaming support to the integrated fingerprint scanner.

We loved the Lenovo ThinkPad X1's vibrant 13.3-inch display, with its rich colours and excellent viewing angles, while sound quality is surprisingly strong from the built-in speakers. And all this comes in a slim and light package that can be carried around everywhere you go.

Lenovo thinkpad x1

We disliked

The lack of dedicated graphics on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is a shame, but you can still watch HD films and run media editing suites. More of a sin is the battery, which dies in less than two hours when watching films on the move.

Although the backlit keyboard is well-sized and comfortable to use, the indented Left Ctrl key made using Windows shortcuts a real pain. We also found the Lenovo ThinkPad X1's touchpad awkward to use at times. It's not as responsive as we'd have liked, and the integrated mouse buttons are a downer.

Finally, if you want an ultra-portable laptop for working outside, bear in mind the reflective glossy screen coating.


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 presents a tantalising combination of impressive power and ruggedness that should appeal to anyone seeking a regular travel companion. Just don't expect it to last long without a power socket.