Lenovo ThinkPad X270 Review

travelLenovo’s bread and butter is the enterprise market and they have a new competitor in the small business ultrabook lineup. The ThinkPad X270 is a 12.5-inch laptop that should survive any cross country trek to a board meeting. How does it stack up to the specs and the near $1,000 receipt? Let’s take a look and find out!

Specs and Design

If you’ve ever owned a traditional ThinkPad in the past, then the X720 won’t disappoint. You’ll find the same black, soft touch outer shell in a clamshell design. You also shouldn’t mistake this guy as your run of the mill flimsy laptop. The Lenovo X720 has military grade durability testing and over 200 quality checks.

Inside this small tank is the latest Intel has to offer with their 7th generation Core i7-7600U processor. Our review unit has that powerhouse processor paired with a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM. Round this off with the Intel Dual-band AC 8265 wireless adapter and you’ve got a great mobile workstation for the professional on the go.

Display

The base model of the X720 can be had with a 1366×768 TN 12.5” screen. Our specced out model comes with an IPS 1920×1080 upgrade. For those that like a “just right” balance of and IPS display set to 1366×768 can happily find a medium offering as well. Overall the IPS has crisp colors and decent viewing angles. I had zero issues using the X270 for multiple hours.



Keyboard

Man. To put it bluntly…Lenovo rocks the keyboard. I always forget just how good their keyboards are until I get a chance to use one again. The keys have great feedback and really good travel. There’s also a slight feeling of them being ever so rounded that I love. In the middle, just below the home row, is the iconic “red eraser” TrackPoint for the ThinkPad purists out there.

Trackpad

The Lenovo X720 trackpad offers easy travel and smooth surface to emulate mouse functions. The trackpad is the buttonless variety with multi-button input, pinch to zoom, and gesture support. In addition to normal trackpad options, you do have the traditional left, middle, and right mouse buttons in a small section between the trackpad and keyboard.

Fingerprint Scanner

Another additional option is a fingerprint scanner. While it’s not as fast as those found on smartphones, the sensor is an accurate and effective way to log into the laptop without the need of typing a password or PIN. It’s nice to see this alternative way to secure the laptop on the ThinkPad line.

Ports

There is no lack of ports and power options on the X270. Around the left side of the machine, you’ll find Lenovo’s proprietary power input, USB-C for power and data, full-size HDMI, and USB 3.0 port. On the opposite side, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, another USB 3.0 port, SD card slot, SIM card slot, RJ45 Ethernet, and Kensington lock. You’ll even have extendability when you turn the laptop over and find the docking station port.

Speakers

I was surprised by the sound quality of the X270. My expectations were pretty low for an enterprise laptop. However, these speakers have a nice punch and can easily be heard in a large conference room. You may not be holding any concerts with this guy, but you won’t need to exclusively use headphones either.

Software Experience

I honestly won’t spend a lot of time here. The Windows 10 experience has been covered numerous times by multiple outlets. This installation is the Signature Series Pro Edition. These builds offer a “clean” version of Windows 10 with no bloatware pre-installed. Another noteworthy mention is that I did run into some lag that I can only contribute to software. Chrome, to be specific, saw more stutters while scrolling and changing tabs than I see on other laptops.

Battery Life

Batteries aren’t just a spec for the Lenovo X270, they are an accessory. Lenovo offers a two-stage battery configuration for much of the ThinkPad line called PowerBridge and it can be found here as well. You essentially have a hybrid of modern enclosed laptops and the swappable battery models of old. Inside the X270 you have an internal 3 cell battery. You then pair that with another external 3 cell unit or the more power hungry can opt for an external 6 cell battery.

During my testing, I found the battery life to be just OK with the 3 cell battery and really good with the 6 cell external. With casual usage of web and video browsing I saw an estimated 6 and half hours with the smaller battery. But if you add the large model 6 cell model, and I could easily break the 15 hour mark with similar tasks. The larger edition offers a little more bulk but packs a much bigger punch.

Conclusion

The ThinkPad X270 is a really solid, small laptop for the business professional. It offers military grade industrial construction in a sleek and slim package. I love the 12.5” laptop form factor. Many 13” models are a little on the large side for me and 11” models often feel cramped. With an awesome keyboard, small form factor, and expandable battery options, the Thinkpad X270 makes for a superb ultrabook. The price tag may be a little high with a starting price of $999, but you will come away with a premium laptop and specs.

ThinkPad X270
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