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 1366×768 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.

Comments closed
    • Spurenleser
    • 10 years ago

    The spec sheet is public now: [url<]http://shop.lenovo.com/us/products/professional-grade/thinkpad/x-series/x220/index.html[/url<]

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    does it come with something better than just 1366×768?
    please… please …please.

      • Wirko
      • 10 years ago

      You’ll be able to get a 4K2K display. Price: only $0.0049 per pixel.

    • mako
    • 10 years ago

    I already have an X200s and can’t afford an upgrade anytime soon, but a man can dream, right?

    • xii
    • 10 years ago

    I totally agree with both the perfect and the scared sentiment. Choosing laptops is a crap-shoot and while several manufacturers have released nice-looking ultra-portables, there’s always that sub-par screen with 1366×768 resolution. And a crappy keyboard or touchpad. An affordable (not cheap, mind you) Thinkpad with a better screen option would really interest me, but I fear for that “affordable” part…

    I prefer not to get a Mac (I don’t like some parts of the restrictive OSX interface, or Jobs’ walled garden for that matter) but they really did get their laptops right. With all that copying going on, why can’t any other manufacturer get it right?!

      • KoolAidMan
      • 10 years ago

      Just curious, but where does the “walled-garden” argument come into Macbook Pros and OS X? You can install whatever applications you wish.

      • mentaldrano
      • 10 years ago

      This does sound pretty sweet. A laptop IPS screen! I haven’t had one since my Thinkpad T60. I’ve always liked the Thinkpad line, and this looks to continue that. Here’s hoping the build quality is as good as my X100e, although it will probably be twice the price.

      Again, this looks really good, but so do a lot of things at $1400. If they come in at a good price, I’ll be very tempted.

    • KoolAidMan
    • 10 years ago

    Sexy. I wonder what the display upgrade is going to cost, if it is around the $550 that HP charges for their EliteBook IPS upgrades. A dedicated GPU would have been nice, but the Sandy Bridge IGP is surprisingly good and it should be fine given the resolution of that display.

    • Spotpuff
    • 10 years ago

    FINALLY IPS. ARG.

    • bimmerlovere39
    • 10 years ago

    Hm… very interesting.

    But… why does the X220 get an IPS panel and the T420/T520 not? Seems a bit odd to me.

    Thanks to the mini-SATA SSD, though, I may actually be able to get storage I’m looking for in this size now.

      • Skrying
      • 10 years ago

      My guess would be a supply issue. There’s currently no other laptop available, that I know of, with an IPS panel option. It’s hard to say if Lenovo is the only one having a 12.5″ IPS screen manufactured or if we can expect to see a few other models pop up sometime soon.

    • Bauxite
    • 10 years ago

    IPS option (I’ve heard its still 1366×768 though, sorry) msata ssd (cellphone = wwan covered) and express card at around 3lbs in a 12.5″?

    drooooooooooooooooooool

    I’m almost sad I just got a x120e but it will be used for another purpose.

    • mieses
    • 10 years ago

    The Lenistwo Thinkpad X220 is certified for “Unbuntu”, according to footnote 2.

    • steddy
    • 10 years ago

    This looks like a perfect ultraportable. Unfortunately, it’s probably too good to be true. I can’t stand the idea of using a laptop with a battery that sticks out the back and bottom.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    Sandy Bridge Probooks are going on sale now. There are several 13.3,” 14,” and 15.6″ available so far.

    EDIT: Even the $579 models have USB 3.0

    [url<]http://h71016.www7.hp.com/dstore/SubFamMatrix.asp?oi=E9CED&BEID=19701&SBLID=&ProductLineId=539&FamilyId=3025&LowBaseId=33523&LowPrice=$549.00&jumpid=re_r295_psg_nbgw_probook_category_2/psgpromo&psn=notebooks_tablet_pcs/notebook_pcs#[/url<] Finally...options!

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      Sum of a beach – no configurable models yet! Oh well, they’re supposed to have every model available within a few more days.

      *crosses fingers that you can still throw out the DVD drive and Windows for like $200 off*

        • sweatshopking
        • 10 years ago

        what os you planning on using? Linux? good luck, unless they’ve fixed the linux drivers, you’re fubared.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          One of the 40 bazillion Windows discs I already have?

      • continuum
      • 10 years ago

      Options are good! But man, IPS panel on the Thinkpad X220, even with the retarded 16:9, is still tempting!

    • stdRaichu
    • 10 years ago

    If ever there’s a machine to tempt me away from my 1810TZ, it’s this. 8 hours should be a cert with a 6-cell battery, and fingers crossed the IPS panel will have a decent ~1440×900 resolution.

    Have to agree with Geoff; the possibility of running an SSD and a spinning platter drive in the same tiny laptop is awesomesauce but I don’t expect this to be leaving the factory for less than £900.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    There’s only one little thing about this that’s nagging at me:

    Does the IPS panel use more power?

    Desktop IPS monitors always seem to use a bit more than their TN counterparts, even at the very lowest end of the spectrum. I’m not a monitor builder on the internets, I just play one in real life, but I gather that E-IPS panels have only a very minimal difference. I’m sure it’s not as big of a deal as, say, the 24″ 1080p S-IPS monstrosities that suck down like 100w.

    Maybe it’s even more minimal at lower resolutions, as this is apparently stuck at? Again, I have no idea what that entails. It just made me stop and think for a second that it might not be the world’s most perfectly mindless upgrade. Call me crazy, but I can survive a standard Thinkpad screen and find something else to throw a few hundred dollars at.

      • DancingWind
      • 10 years ago

      Compared to TN, IPS panels are not as translucent -> need powerfull back-light -> drains more power.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Price is probably “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” range, which is too bad, but it sure is purdy.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      This line starts at $900 and pretty much always has, as far as I know. It’s only $959 for the minimum configuration with the 9 cell battery.

      The other upgrades may drive the price way up, but the beauty of it is that you really just don’t need them.

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    I would personally expect a starting price and configuration close to the X201 currently available. Meaning somewhere around $1000~ starting with the slower i3-2310M, 2GB of RAM, 3-cell battery and most likely a 250GB 5400RPM HD.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 10 years ago

      Really? Idk, I’m expecting something closer to $1500 for this bad boy. Let’s hope I’m wrong, eh?

        • Skrying
        • 10 years ago

        Keep in mind that Lenovo offers a very wide range of configurations on their Thinkpad laptops. I wouldn’t expect the IPS panel to be included in the base configuration or features like Bluetooth, the webcam, etc. The ideal configurations probably do start around $1500 and likely will reach $2000 easily.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      With the 9 cell battery and IPS panel, it will undoubtedly run almost $1,500, but at least you should be able to cheap out on the CPU if that’s not something you care about.

      Hopefully those options aren’t like the USB 3.0, where it’s probably listed as a separate model that only has the i7. *HULK SMASH*

    • Duck
    • 10 years ago

    Really should come with nvidia optimus 450M sort of range as a minimum. Bet it already is super expensive without it though…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      I think that would be tough from a space and a thermal perspective.

      • crabjokeman
      • 10 years ago

      Optimus isn’t supported on Linux, so.. screw it.

        • mentaldrano
        • 10 years ago

        How does the Sandy Bridge GPU work with Linux? I’m sure you could use the VGA driver, but, really. Is there an open driver, or a binary blob?

          • stmok
          • 10 years ago

          Sandy Bridge’s IGP does work as Intel has a few people contributing to the Intel open driver…See Phoronix.com articles as follows.

          Back in Feb…
          [b<]When It Works, Intel Core i5 2500K Graphics On Linux Are Fast![/b<] => [url<]http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_sandy_speed&num=1[/url<] This month... [b<]A 13 Line Patch That Boosts Intel Sandy Bridge Performance[/b<] => [url<]http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_snb_13lines&num=1[/url<] [b<]Intel Sandy Bridge VA-API Video Acceleration Performance[/b<] => [url<]http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_snb_video&num=1[/url<] If you don't want deal with compiling a driver, you'll have to wait until Ubuntu 11.04 or 11.10 (or other future distro releases) to have out-of-the-box support.

    • nunifigasebefamilia
    • 10 years ago

    Wow, me want (we have to see price for this beauty, though). Unfortunately, my HP dm4 does everything I want it to do (except having TN-film screen of course, color calibration helps with colors a little, but viewing angles cannot be helped…). So I’m not in the market for a laptop for at least a year or more. Otherwise seems like this would be my choice!

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    WTF?!!? The world’s best laptop screen combined with the worst GPU available….

      • Skrying
      • 10 years ago

      What exactly would a faster GPU accomplish for this laptop? I see this constantly but the Intel GPU does video acceleration fine. You’re not going to be playing games on this and even if it did have the slowest Nvidia or AMD GPU you’d be gaining next to nothing in gaming terms but losing battery life or potentially other features of the system due to space limitations.

      I think it’s the right choice personally. If you want a small laptop with a faster GPU then Sony makes a 13.3″ option with I believe an HD6630. No automatic graphics switching, lower battery life and no IPS panel. Discrete GPU’s take up space, power and generate heat. You can’t just create a spec sheet and have the laptop magically conjured, doesn’t work, I’ve tried.

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        It’s not an issue of [i<]'faster'[/i<] (damn gamers and your one-track minds!) - it's an issue of [i<]capability[/i<]. Example: I'm looking for a replacement for my Dell XPS 15 that is smaller and lighter. It will be a 'mobile' system in the sense that during the day, it will be used in my office with my 'array' of monitors (1x 30", 1x 24" in portrait mode, 1x 17" 'low-res' for old apps with non-scalable fonts, and the laptop's own panel, which I generally reserve for various live status displays - like TR, for instance). At the end of the day, I carry it home - hence the small-and-light part - and connect it to a different set of displays at home. Now, for example, the XPS 15 has a 'fast' GPU - an Nvidia 435M. But it isn't [i<]capable[/i<] of driving more than two displays at once. At all. Certainly not my four displays. My colleagues' Dell Vostro (the 'bargain' models) with their ATI chips all happily drive 3 simultaneous displays. But the Intel HD Graphics chip has a limitation of two displays too, just like the Nvidia. It's an ATI advanatage that I think is too often overlooked. It's true, with the advent of USB 3.0 graphics adaptors (or even of daisy-chained DisplayPort), this issue will gradually fade away. But until it does, it's a key factor in my shopping for a small, fast, powerful executive-level laptop.

          • Skrying
          • 10 years ago

          I’m confused. What you described to me sounds like what you want is a desktop replacement. Much like your current XPS 15. The X220 is an ultraportable, it’s not designed to be connected to multiple displays and in one location for hours, day after day. I think you’re looking at the wrong category of laptop entirely.

          There’s numerous better options out there for you than the X220. Go look at those.

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            Such as? But you’re right in that I’m looking for an ultraportable – I just no longer accept that that must also mean ‘gutless’ So, I’m looking for an ‘ultraportable desktop replacement’ 🙂

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            ….

            I don’t know, maybe something like the Sony laptop I mentioned earlier in a reply to you? Here, I retrieved the link just for you: [url<]http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/07/sony-vaio-s-heads-stateside-this-month-brings-along-a-new-sort/[/url<]

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            Thanks for the link – I’ll take a look at one. I’m not sure I feel comfortable buying anything from Sony these days, though – they’re starting to remind me far too much of Microsoft in the 1990s.

            • bimmerlovere39
            • 10 years ago

            Sooooo a T410s + Dock, then? That gives you two external + onboard if you spec the Nvidia chip. Ditto T410, T510, and W510 (I’d assume T420/T420s/T520/W520, too, with the appropriate dock.

            I hate to sound like a jerk here, but 3 externals + Onboard is asking a lot of a 12″ Laptop.

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            I think it’s more a case of shedding old, outdated notions of what the various ‘classes’ of notebook really represent. While I would certainly use this on a plane (and possibly for some compute- and graphics-intensive work), it’s primary usage would be as my main computer, and as such, no, I don’t think it’s too much to ask it to support 3 or 4 displays. Regardless of its physical size.

            But I understand everyone’s scepticism – them thar paradigms aren’t easily shifted….

            EDIT: Oh, yeah, forgot to mention: a dock is indeed an option, and I took that approach with my previous x2 Dells. Eventually I found myself wanting to pack the dock for trips just so I’d have the ports, and then realized how silly that was.

            • bimmerlovere39
            • 10 years ago

            I can completely understand where you’re coming from. I’m looking at a similar situation, and the fact that I can now get a laptop with a boot SSD, a fairly fast 750GB HDD, and a CPU that will keep up with – and maybe beat? – my desktop’s Phenom II X3 720 BE and a battery that lasts for a full day of classes was really exciting. Now I find out that that system can also be a 12.5″ laptop and not a 14″ or 15.6″ system (screw the ODD) AND has an IPS screen? Well, maybe I don’t need to worry about having an IPS monitor and dock in my dorm room, after all.

            The only reason I say that it’s not reasonable is from a physical standpoint. There’s not much wasted space on an X201, and I wouldn’t want to lose any of the connectivity that is has in favor of more display outputs. (Ignoring whether the hardware can drive it or not for now). To me, USB, eSATA, etc take priority over extra display outputs. Maybe throw an HDMI or some form of DisplayPort for digital video out, but that’s minor to me.

            The other problem, relating to heat, is that there’s not much room for heatsinks in an enclosure of this size. Yes, Alienware has the M11x, but IIRC that thing gets loud and hot when run full tilt – and uses a CULV CPU. The 14-15″ form factors are far better suited to deal with the heat, and the 14″ ones really are not too bad for portability. They’re on the upper end of what I’d want to carry in school, but if you’re just carrying it home and back, there’s certainly no problem.

            On the note of docking stations: One thing I do thing should be doable and would be very cool would be to have a dedicated GPU built into the docking station. Actually add some horsepower when you hook up with the dock.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 10 years ago

      I might need a new lappy for residency and this might fit the bill if I can pay it.

      People rave about thinkpad build quality, but in pics they look so plasticky…is it just really good plastic?

        • Skrying
        • 10 years ago

        There’s a magnesium alloy “roll cage” under the plastic shell. That’s what the components are attached to, the shell then attaches to the roll cage. Also, the steel screen hinges are great. Most laptops tend to break at the hinges or suffer internal damage due to flex when dropped. Thinkpads are able to absorb a lot of beating in both of those regards. That’s why people rave about their build quality.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        They are plastic, but they’re not flimsy, or glossy, or inundated with stupid gimmicks designed to impress 15 year old girls. Nobody said they were designed for being thrown at brick walls, but they’ll survive being hauled around all over the place and look unscathed.

        The “build quality” lies in how they’re set up taking actual use scenarios into account, as you can see from the options here. It just makes sense, and that’s the end of it.

        • demani
        • 10 years ago

        Yeah- at least in the old days (and I’ve had models with original Pentiums), it was plastic, but the fit and finish were top notch. Assuming ThinkPads are still hitting that mark (haven’t looked in the last year) then yeah-I wouldn’t sweat the plastic at all.

        • Flatland_Spider
        • 10 years ago

        You just have to feel them to tell the difference. They are solid.

        Most ThinkPads have a “roll-cage” under all of the plastic, and that gives them their durability. It’s like a tube frame racecar. There is a plastic shell on top of a metal frame which provides rigidity and crash protection.

        The X2xx series sometimes does and sometimes does not have the rollcage, but taking serious abuse isn’t their forte, buy a T-series if you want to abuse something. The X-series is about being thin and light. They’re still durable, but they make compromises.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      Uh…where exactly were you planning on putting the graphics card and its cooler?

      • ImSpartacus
      • 10 years ago

      Sandy Bridge’s graphics should be fine. What exactly are you looking to do on a 12.5″ convertible?

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        Shoot fireballs at coworkers out of the vents?

      • CaptTomato
      • 10 years ago

      Good screens on laptops are very over-rated, as even my TN screen with 768p res is good for laptop use.
      To me the most important aspects of laptops are HDD speed and battery life…..much prefer huge improvements in those area’s rather than improve small screens.

        • bimmerlovere39
        • 10 years ago

        Well, 15 hours should be plenty of battery life. Add the slice, and you get 24. If you need more than that, carry some spares. Even if we say those numbers are 40% high, you have plenty.

        Hard drives are, on the high end, matching and besting the highest capacity 5400RPM 3.5″ drives. Well, thanks to the Intel 310 drives, we can now run SSD+HDD combos in laptops, too. So you’re giving up a terabyte or two, but you’re not giving up much performance in this oft-recommended combination to the desktop equivalent.

        Screen improvements are welcome. They’re one of the ways that we interact with the machines. Ergonomics are always deserving of attention.

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