In my post yesterday on upcoming Sandy Bridge laptops, I included a link to what looked like the specifications for a revamped Lenovo ThinkPad X series ultraportable. Now Lenovo has made it official, announcing both the X220 and X220 convertible tablet, though neither will be available until April.
Though it retains the ThinkPad look and feel, the X220 has a new design based around a 12.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels. The X220 is thinner, lighter and more durable than the current X201, according to Lenovo. Despite this, it will use standard-voltage second-generation Intel Core processors. Lenovo claims that the X220 with a standard 2.5GHz Core i5-2520M dual-core will run 75 percent faster than a competing ultraportable with a low-voltage processor such as the Dell Latitude 13 or Samsung Series 9.
Lenovo is promising big battery numbers using different battery options, but there's an asterisk. The ThinkPad X220 is rated at 15 hours with a 9-cell battery, and an external battery can push it to 24 hours. In a footnote the press release states this is with an ultra low-voltage processor--not the higher performance standard-voltage chips--as well as an SSD. As far as I can tell from the datasheet (links below), the X220 will not be available with an ultra low-voltage chip. The tablet, which comes with a 4-cell battery, has shorter battery life. But an optional 6-cell battery and the external battery can extend it to 16 hours, Lenovo claims.
The new X series has several other enhancements. Though Lenovo did not specifically mention it in the press release, it appears that the X200 will also be available with an "extra-bright" IPS (in-plane switching) display, which has a wider viewing angle. The tablet has a 300-nit IPS display with optional scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. The touchpad is much larger and no longer has separate buttons, leaving more room for multi-touch gestures (the red trackpoint is still there as well, of course). Some configurations include USB 3.0. And the X220 has a 720p Webcam and several features designed to improve the quality of voice and video conference calls.
The ThinkPad X220 and X220 Tablet will start at $899 and $1,199, respectively. Lenovo has not announced specific configurations, but datasheets posted on the company's site show more details. The processor choices will range from the 2.1GHz Core i3-2310M to the 2.7GHz Core i7-2620M (the X220 has a few more choices than the tablet). In addition to hard drives up to 320GB, both models can be configured with 80-, 128- or 160GB SSDs. The X series relies on Intel HD 3000 graphics, which is a big improvement over Intel's previous integrated graphics, but still no match for discrete GPUs from AMD or Nvidia. The larger T Series and W Series will offer Nvidia GPUs and the Optimus switching technology.
A couple of sites have already posted full reviews of the ThinkPad X220 including LaptopMag and PCMag. ZDNet's James Kendrick has also posted his thoughts on the new X Series (ThinkPad X220 review: awesome keyboard and 20 hour battery).