Lenovo's X220i is a cut above most other business laptops. It's good value for an ultraportable and sports a decent keyboard and screen. Reasonable battery life is also possible with Lenovo's Power Manager tool but corporate buyers might find the lack of vPro a problem.
Rugged construction, good battery life, decent keyboard and screen
Not vPro compatible, confusing array of configurations
£ 851 + VAT (as reviewed)
12.5in 1366 x 768 display, 2.1GHz Core i3-2310M dual-core processor, 4GB memory, 320Gb hard drive, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional 3G broadband, six-cell 63Whr battery pack (as reviewed)
Lenovo's ThinkPad X220i is the successor to the company's popular 12in X201 ultraportable from last year, and is likewise aimed at delivering a mix of portability and good battery life for professional users.
Announced in March and available now, the X220i features Intel's second-generation Core processors and a slightly larger display of 12.5in. Like the X201, it is also available in a tablet version with a convertible display, known as the X220t.
With a standard weight of 1.5kg and a footprint about the size of an A4 page, the X220i is the right size to be carried around by mobile workers, and Lenovo has paid a lot of attention to detail, especially in its ThinkVantage technologies designed to provide extra help for users.
One of these is Lenovo's Power Manager, providing more options than the standard Windows power management, which seemed to make a difference in our tests as the X220i managed a better than average battery life for a 12in system.
Although a little chunky when compared with some of the latest thin-and-light designs, ruggedness has been a feature associated with ThinkPad models, and the X220i certainly feels sturdy enough for a life on the road as a mobile workhorse.
Lenovo offers the X220 in a range of configurations covering Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, plus several battery options, allowing users to pick a larger battery as long as they don't mind the extra bulk.
Our review sample featured the 2.1GHz Core i3-2310M, a dual-core processor with hyper-threading to support four threads, but which does not feature the performance-enhancing Turbo Boost technology.
In our view, this is a good thing in an ultraportable. Turbo Boost racks up the clock speed above the chip's rated frequency whenever the operating system asks for maximum performance. The problem is, it does so even if the laptop is running on batteries.
In performance, the X220i punches above its weight with a Windows Experience Index of 4.6, which is tied to the score of the Intel HD graphics built into the processor. The CPU and hard disk scores rated the X220i well above average.
The rest of the specifications consist of 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 320GB Sata hard drive, with an optional 128GB SSD. On a relatively small system as this, there is no optical drive option, however.
For wireless connectivity, customers can choose from Lenovo's ThinkPad 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter, an Intel equivalent, or an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 with 802.11a/b/g/n support, which was fitted in our review sample.
The ThinkPad X220i can also be configured with a 3G cellular modem for connectivity virtually anywhere. This was not fitted on our review unit, but the SIM card slot is present inside the battery compartment.
Opened up, the X220i has the characteristic ThinkPad styling, with a Trackpoint controller embedded in the middle of the keyboard as well as a touchpad below it. We prefer the Trackpoint, as do many ThinkPad users, but either controller can be disabled from the Windows Control Panel, depending on preference.
The touchpad itself has now been enlarged by removing the separate left and right mouse buttons. Users now click the pad itself on the left or right side, which sounds like a recipe for disaster but seemed to work fine when we tried it.