ThinkPad spec sheet teases IPS display, USB 3.0, dual-drive storage

A spec sheet for Lenovo's next-gen ThinkPad X220 notebook has popped up online, and the new system looks very sweet indeed. Let's start with the biggest surprise: a 12.5" display with a 1366x768 resolution and the option to upgrade to a "Premium HD" IPS panel. TN panels are almost impossible to avoid in the notebook world, making the X220 a ray of hope for those who prefer true 8-bit color and wide viewing angles.

The display is driven by the Intel HD Graphics processor integrated into dual-core Sandy Bridge CPUs. Users can choose from five different processor configurations between the 2.7GHz Core i7-2620M and the 2.1GHz i3-2310M. The top i7-2620M config is the only one available with an optional USB 3.0 port, though. There's no reason for SuperSpeed USB connectivity to be tied to a specific processor model, making this particular restriction a little annoying.

Fortunately, the rest of the ThinkPad's options seem to be available with any CPU. That's good news on the storage front, because the ThinkPad is capable of running one of Intel's 310 Series mini-SATA solid-state drives alongside a 2.5" SSD or mechanical hard drive. The mini SSD can't be run in conjunction with the system's optional WWAN card, but there is an ExpressCard/54 slot if you want to add wireless broadband connectivity on your own.

Fans of the old-school TrackPoint nubbin will be pleased to note that it makes an appearance on the X220 alongside a redesigned touchpad with 45% more tracking area than previous designs. The touchpad's buttons have been removed completely, suggesting that it's a press-to-click affair. Those buttons you see in the picture above are for the TrackPoint.

The X220 is said to be capable of running for 15 hours with its 9-cell battery. Lenovo hasn't forgotten about the other little touches that should go into a modern laptop, either. The new ThinkPad has an SD card slot, multiple USB 2.0 ports, a 720p webcam, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The whole thing is supposed to weigh less than three pounds.

On paper PDF, the X220 looks almost exactly like my perfect notebook. We don't yet know how much Lenovo is going to charge for the thing, though. I'm a little scared to find out given that the top config with USB 3.0, the mini SSD, and the IPS panel is the one that really catches my eye. Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

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