The ThinkPad X240 from Lenovo is a powerful laptop with Haswell inside that uses an internal battery in conjunction with a second battery to keep the road warrior working for hours. There are two external battery options that can keep the X240 running for up to 17 hours.
The X240 is not the thinnest nor the lightest notebook you'll find, but the weight is just over three pounds so it's very portable. It's a ThinkPad so Lenovo has packed mil-spec ruggedization in a small form.
Hardware specifications as reviewed:
Processor: Intel Core i5 2.6 GHz (Haswell)
Memory: 8 GB
Display: 12.5-inch IPS, 1366x768, touch option
OS: Windows 8.0 (reviewer upgraded to 8.1 for review)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, mobile broadband
Battery: 3-cell internal (23.2 Wh), 3-cell external (23.2 Wh), optional 6-cell external (72 Wh); up to 17 hours
Dimensions: 12.02" x 8.19" x 0.79"
Weight: 3.2 lb
The 12.5-inch IPS display on the ThinkPad X240 is not the brightest on the market but it is a decent screen. It's surprising the resolution is so low in this day and age of high-res screens. There is a touch option (currently $280) for the display to allow taking full advantage of Windows 8.
I have gotten so accustomed to using Windows 8 laptops with touch that I found myself tapping on the screen for a good 10 minutes before I realized this unit did indeed have the touch option. The touch screen is very well calibrated and touch control is very precise, something lacking on other laptops.
The X240 hardware is typical of the ThinkPad line, very solid and well constructed. The lid can be opened a full 180 degrees and the hinges are very durable.
ThinkPads are famous for good keyboards, and this one is one of the best. The chiclet keys are very tall, and the key travel feels like keyboards of old. Touch typing is as fast as can be and it is a joy to use.
The smooth trackpad works well and has a 5-point button integrated into the pad. I do find that I keep inadvertenly activating Windows 8 edge gestures so I need to deactivate those if possible. There is a red trackstick in the middle of the backlit keyboard and there are three mouse buttons for use with the stick that are at the top of the trackpad and clearly marked.
The Haswell Core i5 processor in the review unit keeps the X240 running fast. This is the best performing ThinkPad I've used, and I've used a lot of them. Even with lots of apps running, things happen instantly, and scrolling in apps is smooth.
The ThinkPad X240 is one of several laptops with Lenovo's Power Bridge technology. The notebook has a 3-cell internal battery and a battery bay on the bottom that accepts either another 3-cell battery or an extended 6-cell battery. Whichever battery is plugged into the bay, the two batteries work in conjunction. I'm seeing almost 8 hours of battery life with a 3-cell plugged in, and over 15 hours with the 6-cell battery.
The 3-cell battery fits flush with the bottom of the X240, and the larger 6-cell extends out the bottom of the laptop and creates a slight lift at the back. This creates an excellent ergonomic typing angle for the notebook.
The ThinkPad X240 is one of the finest notebooks of the product line. It is a solid work laptop that is designed to keep the mobile professional working for hours. That work will benefit from the great keyboard designed for productivity.
The X240 starts less than $900 but when you bump up the configuration it can get expensive. The review unit as configured is $1,555, making it a top dollar laptop. That's a lot of money but it's clear the ThinkPad X240 is a lot of laptop.