Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Hands-On

Despite the fact that some specs have already been leaked, we got a chance to get hands-on with the latest Think product from Lenovo and thought it was only fair that you get the complete story, too. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 was officially announced today, and if you’ve seen the “Perfect Marriage of Form and Function” commercial, I can honestly tell you that it’s no exaggeration of the truth. This is Lenovo’s thinnest laptop to date, and possibly its most rugged.

In terms of specs, the 13-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 comes in two processor models: 2.5 GHz second-generation Intel Core i5-2520M and 2.1 GHz second-generation Intel Core i3-2310M, and according to Lenovo’s release, the i7 will become an option soon, too. The laptop will run Windows 7 OS, and offer a choice between the Home Premium and Professional versions with 32-bit and 64-bit options. The ThinkPad X1 measures in at 13.3 inches across, 9.1 inches in length, and from front to back, .65 inches to .84 inches thin, weighing just 3.76 pounds. Along the side, the laptop offers support for HDMI output, USB 3.0 and 2.0, a 3.5 mm headphone/mic jack, and a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC).

And those are just the basics. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 can basically stand up to anything you put it through, within reason of course. Built from magnesium alloy with an interior roll cage, the ThinkPad X1 employs Corning Gorilla Glass, which was tested at the product launch event thrown by Lenovo. Think Product Group VP Dilip Bhatia whipped out his key chain and dragged a key across the laptop’s display, with no harm caused.

The ThinkPad X1’s keyboard is also pretty impressive. Not only did Lenovo improve the overall look and feel of this keyboard with the addition of an LED back-light, but the company also equipped it with some much-needed ruggedness. The redesigned keyboard sports a water-shedding design that keeps spills from frying the guts of your new laptop. Lenovo also got rid of the SysRq button in favor of dedicated multimedia and voice calling controls.

Lenovo has worked hard to make the ThinkPad X1 a more universal model than previous enterprise-focused products, and has done so with the addition of Dolby Home Theater v4 and a superbright high-def display. Entertainment may not be an integral part of a businessman’s day, but as Mr. Bahtia pointed out at the event, a movie always comes in handy on those long business trips.

The battery life on this bad boy isn’t all that special, offering just under 5 1/2 hours without the battery slice accessory. After popping in the slice, battery life extends to about 10 hours. But even though battery life may not be everything you’ve dreamed of, Lenovo is one step ahead, as the ThinkPad X1 features RapidCharge technology. This means that after just 30 minutes of charging, the laptop battery is charged up to 80 percent, and the user can get back to business.

All in all, this rugged little laptop will start out at $1,399, and go on sale tomorrow through Lenovo business partners or on Lenovo’s website.