A quick preface to this thread: I made the jump to the x220t late last year, when the warranty on the x200t came close to expiring. Tsunade then acquired my x200t*, subsequently convincing him to upgrade to the x220t. This was the first time that the two of us had had the same laptop at the same time, so we decided to write this joint/dual review. Not a formal job by any means, but hopefully representative of similar/dissimilar experiences with the machine. The First Review by Derek Lim (Commander Wolf) Background I've been a tablet PC user for a good number of years now. In early 2008, following the conventional ultraportable + desktop replacement model, I bought a used HP Compaq TC4200 convertible tablet to compliment the relatively immobile Latitude D830 I ran at the time. Initially I had only intended to use the tablet functionality for digital drawing, but I've come to consider it more of a general-purpose, paper-saving (in theory) scratchpad. After running it into the ground for several years, I eventually replaced the TC4200 with a x61t. Shortly after, I replaced the x61t with a x200t. But this review is about the x220 Tablet. Having had a relatively pleasant experience with both of my ThinkPad tablets (and not such a good experience with the Latitude XT or HP 2730p), I decided early this year that my next convertible would be the x220t; this is actually the first up-to-date laptop I've bought since the now relatively old Latitude E6400. The price on Lenovo's website for a similar setup is still around $1200, but I managed to get a brand new unit for $850 shipped after camping eBay for a few weeks. Quite frankly even $1000 is a very good price for a top-of-the-line convertible; just a few years ago, Dell was selling the Latitude XT starting at almost $2000! My configuration, as purchased, was as follows. - Intel Core i3 2310M - 12 inch IPS 1366 x 768 - 4.0GB, DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 1 DIMM - Intel HD graphics - 7mm 320GB, 7200RPM Hitachi z7k - 65W AC Adapter - ThinkPad WIFI - 6-Cell, 62-WHr Primary Battery - Windows 7 Home Premium - Integrated Webcam - 1 year standard warranty The first thing I did when I received the x220t was burn the recovery disks (you should do it even if you never use them; I'm sure it increases resale value). Then I installed an SSD (classic x25-m g2) and did a clean install of Windows. I do not believe the Lenovo image (at least for ThinkPads) is particularly bloated, but I don't need the recovery partition taking up space on an 80GB primary drive, and I just happen to like knowing exactly what's on my Windows image. Once I had that image exactly the way I wanted, I ran some tests. Quantitative Testing Since mobile processors and graphics have been more than sufficient for anything I need to do since Yonah/Merom and the 945/965 chipsets, my primary concern with new laptops has been power consumption and noise levels. I bought the Latitude XT and sold it due to its excessive idle wattage. I bought the HP 2370p and sold it due to what I considered an obnoxious fan profile. I still use an E6400 fanless/ULV as a file server. In fact, the existence of TPFanControl is a big part of the reason I'm on the ThinkPad ship, as i8kfangui does not work properly on Dell laptops after Merom/965. The following table summarizes the approximate power and noise profile of my x220t configuration. All of these tests were done with the screen brightness at 1. The light browsing test was done with FireFox 9 with AdBlock**, though it is unfortunately somewhat subjective, since it is based on my personal browsing habit. The 480p playback test was done with the latest CCCP and a typical 480p anime sample. The full CPU load test was done with Prime95; GPU load in this case should still close to idle. On the 62WHr battery, the approximate idle runtime is thus more than 10 hours, and the approximate light browsing runtime is an equally impressive 8 hours. For comparison, my x200t idled at about 6W and browsed at about 8W under similar circumstances, though the full load power and overall average temperature were considerably lower. I also had the chance to use Tsunade's x201 vanilla*, which I found to have somewhat higher idle power and temperature, but more or less equivalent full load power and temperature. Finally, idle power and temperature between the 2310M in my the x220 tablet and the 2410M in my x220 standard are essentially identical if turbo is disabled. If enabled, the 2410M will pick up a few watts and degrees only at full load***. With TPFanControl (my table is shown above; I am using the same one in both of my x220s), I can run the x220t passively almost all the time. Even with light browsing, I rarely get up to the 55C needed to trigger fan speed 1. On the flip side, fan speed 1 is inaudible during just about all video playback. Cooling the x220t passively under light loads requires slightly higher trigger temps compared to cooling the x200t passively under the same conditions. As such the overall thermal experience on the x220t is somewhat warmer, but the beauty of TPFC is that you can balance noise and temperature to your preference. I'm not going to get into performance benchmarks as figures for 2310M and HD 3000 systems are widely available, but in general they are about 20% and 100% faster than the P8700 and HD3470 I had in my switchable T400. The HD 3000 is certainly sufficient to run TF2 and SC2 at low settings, which is really all I'd expect (and need) from integrated graphics. I was initially concerned about lackluster performance from the ThinkPad wifi card, but having used it for a while, I don't think it's all that bad. I get full signal strength and about 3MB/s out of my WRT160N even with a wall directly between the laptop and the router. Qualitative Thoughts Moving along, the overall build quality of the x220t is comparable, if not slightly better than that of the x200t, though this is completely and utterly subjective. I'm very happy with the size and feedback of the currently standard ThinkPad keyboard, though; the keyboard on my x200t was somewhat loose and rattled a bit (Tsunade can attest to this), and I really didn't like it much, though I admit that it may have simply been a dud or made by a "lesser" ODM. They've added a "clickpad" as a standard feature (optional on x201 series), too, but I don't find the tracking to be very good and the small size doesn't help; luckily the TrackPoint is of standard ThinkPad quality. The pad is a nice gesture nonetheless. The x220t comes standard with a lovely IPS screen. I believe it is the same panel as that found in the x220 vanilla. Getting an IPS display or a display of similar technological merit is another reason I've continued to buy convertible tablets despite their relative rarity and cost. The LED screen is thinner and brighter (NotebookCheck rated the screen at about 250 nits, despite the official 300 nit spec) than the CCFL display I had in my "E2E" x200t, but I have found the color reproduction to be a little bit worse; I do not have the tools or expertise to give a quantitative assessment, though. Just to beat a possibly dead horse, here is yet another IPS and TN comparison: x220 LED IPS (right) vs E6400 LED TN (left) Between the x200t and the x220t, Lenovo actually did a good job slimming down the chassis of the latter, but someone or some team decided to throw all of that hard work out the window when he/she/they designed the awful, awful 6-Cell battery, which increases the net thickness of the laptop by almost a centimeter. It's even more ridiculous given that the battery is larger physically but smaller in energy capacity - it feels like it's primarily air. Furthermore, while the body is indeed thinner, Lenovo moved the speakers into the display, increasing the width of the lower bezel to an egregious 1.5 inches, so the overall footprint of the x220t is a bit larger with respect to overall area. Furthermore, they also decided to scrap the bi-directional hinge, a minor, but unexpected downgrade. x220t (right) versus x200t (left) x220t (left) vs x200t (right) right thickness, no batteries x220t 6-Cell (fore) vs x200t 8-Cell (back) thickness Also, there is still no ThinkLight. Even the 2730p had one. Between the x220 tablet and the x220 vanilla, the x220 vanilla is much, much smaller. The front of the two chassis are remarkably similar, and the port selection is basically identical. The rear of the x220t needs to accommodate the pivoting hinge and subsequently extends out backward - a lot. Even with the 9-Cell battery, the x220 vanilla is probably between 1 to 1.5 inches shallower; with the 6-Cell the difference is definitely more than 2 inches. As with the battery, a lot of that space seems to be wasted; there is about a cubic inch of simply empty space between the rear of the x220t and the back of the CPU heatsink! x220 tablet (right) vs x220 vanilla (left), note the enormous x220 tablet bezel x220 tablet (bottom) vs x220 vanilla (top) Actual weights, as measured with my digital kitchen scale: x220 vanilla with 6-Cell and SSD: 3lb, 4oz. x220 tablet with 6-Cell and SSD: 4lb, 2oz. And finally, a battery size comparison, just to drive the point home: Left to right: x220t (6-Cell, 62WHr), E6x20/E5x20 (6-Cell, 60WHr), E6x00 (9-Cell, 90WHr), T6x (6-Cell) Overall Impression I would say that if you are a happy x200t or x201t user, there isn't any huge reason to upgrade to the x220t unless you need a specific feature or the extra CPU/GPU performance. The standard voltage Sandy Bridge series in the x220t is miles head of the SL9x00 series in the x200t and is still significantly faster than the Arrandale LM series in the x201t with regard to CPU/GPU performance. If you have dubious need for tablet functionality and are debating between an x220 tablet and x220 vanilla, I would honestly suggest the standard x220. In the end, there are some nice incremental upgrades including, but not limited to the updated internals and the IPS, E2E, and MT screen (x200t had either E2E or MT), but the facepalms between the battery and the screen bezel really make me cringe. It really just feels somewhat rough and unpolished, and given their track record, I doubt Lenovo will make significant changes to the chassis of the coming x230t. This is quite unfortunate because I think the standard x220 is indeedthe best 12 inch ultraportable on the market at the moment; it is literally better than the x201 vanilla in every way, and I can't see the regular x230 being any worse. The x220t is much more a case of two steps forward, one step back. Footnotes *As the last link in a series of somewhat convoluted transactions, I traded my x200t for Tsunade's x201 for the express purpose of testing an Arrandale system. I had had the chance to play with a T410 over the summer, but the larger size of the notebook and the non-Optimus Nvidia GPU didn't really let me get a feel for the power/thermal/noise envelope. **Tested with FireFox 9, but I've since found that Google Chrome actually saves me about half a watt. Obviously, your mileage may vary. ***One thing to note is that the power consumption of the entire x220t with 2310M is 35W at full CPU load. With turbo enabled, the x220 with 2410M will hit about 40W under the same conditions. Given that Intel says both chips have a 35W TDP and assuming a constant load marginal TDP for the HD 3000 in both processors, I am inclined to believe that either the 2310M is overrated or the 2410M is underrated with regard to nominal TDP, which may or may not be interesting or unexpected.