Lenovo ThinkPad X230T Convertible Notebook - HotHardware

Lenovo ThinkPad X230T Convertible Notebook

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It's a ThinkPad, and with that comes a certain set of expectations in terms of design and build quality. IBM at first, and now Lenovo, has gained a significant amount of loyalty due to the ruggedness and balanced utility of the ThinkPad line, and that name now carries a bit of weight. Despite being one of the smaller ThinkPads out there, and despite being only partly a notebook, we're happy to say that the near-legendary build quality is still here. Lenovo has ushered in a very slightly adjusted keyboard, but honestly, we didn't notice a difference in typing. It remains one of the most comfortable notebook keyboards on the market hands-down, and there's a new dampening feature that really does make each key press nearly silent.

When you first lay hands on the X230T, you know it's a ThinkPad first and foremost. It's far more boxy, plainly colored and thicker than other netvertibles, but it's to be expected. It comes with the ThinkPad territory. All of that rigidity means a machine that's somewhat heftier and perhaps less graceful than some of the more stunning, albeit fragile rivals. There's no flex in the lid nor the keyboard, but at over 1" thick, we wouldn't have expected any.
Upon opening the lid, you will immediately feel the real estate pinch with such a small machine. While the keyboard itself sure feels like a full-size arrangement, everything else is mini-sized. The trackpad is almost laughably small by comparison to competitive thin and lights on the market today. It possesses the typical "dimpled" texture, but it's so tiny that we found ourselves frustrated by its functionality even with the sensitivity level cranked. Moreover, the dedicated left / right click buttons are on top of the trackpack. This is obviously a move made so that they are below the heralded pointer nub in the middle of the keyboard, but those not used to such a layout will be flustered. The nub worked admirably, and it quickly became our input method of choice. Clicking down in the right or left corner of the trackpad initiates a left or right click, but the pad is so small that even this doesn't feel well-implemented. Along this same thought, the palm rest area practically doesn't exist; it feels really uncomfortable trying to contort your wrists to fit on the sliver of space provided when typing for long periods. Granted, this machine really doesn't cater to those who would do such a thing, but if you're a road warrior, you never know when you'll need to crank out 4,000 words.

Our test unit didn't ship with a backlit keyboard, but it's an option we'd strongly recommend springing for. Using a keyboard without a backlight feels almost wrong in 2012. Particularly when you're paying over $1,200 for a pro-grade machine. We honestly felt this machine was just too thick to ship sans an optical drive. In addition, 1.06" to 1.23" inches in depth, it's tough to believe how few ports are on here. You'll get just three USB ports (two are USB 3.0), a DisplayPort, a VGA port, a 4-in-1 media card reader, and an optional ExpressCard slot. That's a lot of connections for a tablet; but it's too few for a $1,200+ laptop.

The battery included in our test unit stuck out of the rear quite a bit; again, it's the ThinkPad function-over-form mantra. Outside of the nicely arranged keyboard and the understated matte black color, there's really nothing pretty about this thing. It's awkward, bulky, and juts out. But hey, there's a lot of battery power in there.

Now, onto the display. It's obviously a huge deal. Lenovo has equipped the X230T with a 12.5" multitouch IPS panel. It's clearly one of the most impressive screens to ever find its way onto a convertible notebook. In the past, we've lamented the fact that netvertibles were typically equipped with subpar displays that weren't even fit to be touched or interacted with. This display has above-average viewing angles, but the mediocre 1366x768 resolution keeps it from being one of our favorites.

As a notebook display, it functions fine. It's not exceptional, but colors are sharp enough that it doesn't garner any major gripes. However, once you flip the display around and turn it into a tablet, we see once again why this model is so badly broken. Even with a higher-quality display, the panel doesn't respond well to touch. It routinely registers touch points incorrectly. (We'll dive more into that on the next page.) The good news is that you don't have to mash overly hard to register a touch, but the bad news is that your fingerprints are going to end up all over this thing, making it really difficult to look at in notebook mode. Frustrating and practically unavoidable.  Windows 8 might improve the experience, however, but alas it's don't have that option just yet.

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I'm not raging or anything but this is not a good review.

You completely ignored the fact that this is one of the few devices in the world that has a built-in Wacom digitizer (adding considerably to the price). *That* is the tablet part of this device, not the piddling finger-touch functionality. Did you even pull out the pen? You get hundreds of levels of pressure sensitivity and rotation. You can make art. You can do hand-written notes during school lectures or office meetings. Try either of those with the iPad you compare it to. And no, simply adding a stylus does not compare.

Yes they should fix the finger-touch accuracy. But not having Windows 8 isn't a mark against this computer. The touch-centric Metro UI is for for Metro-designed apps, which, like most tablet apps, are designed for content consumption (videos, web) not creation. Read any power user's preview/review of Windows 8 and you will see that you have to stay in the normal desktop mode to make use of your normal day-to-day software. So Windows 7 will work just fine and, using that pen, accuracy will not be a problem.

It would be nice to know if they fixed the edge accuracy issue from previous models though. Maybe you could update your review of this tablet by actually testing the tablet?

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I completely agree with you, the reviewer is obviously ignorant of several things one must know when reviewing a thinkpad. 


First offense was calling the machine a NETvertible. I'm sorry, but does this thing look/function like some pathetic atom-based netbook? It is an i7-based intel laptop with a wacom digitizer, premium IPS multitouch panel. Of course, maybe you didn't realize that CONVERTIBLE TABLET = DIGITIZER. MULTITOUCH DOES NOT EQUAL TABLET. In order to review something, knowledge of what you are reviewing is necessary. You need to be able to identify that this computer is in a class of its own, not a NETBOOK with a useless oversized touchscreen. You obviously don't know thinkpads when you mistake the dedicated trackpoint buttons, a feature since day 1 of IBM thinkpads, for poorly placed touchpad buttons. COME ON! And YOU don't see the use in this machine, I don't think someone like YOU should be using this machine. <Sigh... >


I looked forward to reading the first proper review of this machine, but I'll have to keep looking. I suggest this reviewer be reassigned the job of opening the packaging for the real reviewers. Luckily you haven't cost Lenovo any sales because anyone interested in this machine can recognize every ignorant erroneous piece of information in your.. review.


To everyone else who unfortunately read the (cough) review, I am sorry for the rant. Please look elsewhere for a review of this great thinkpad.


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Although I appreciate the benchmarks and overall reactions to this system, like the other commenters, I must encourage HotHardware to do another review, one done by the intended audience to this platform. The pressure-sensitive stylus is the selling point. The rest (touch, CPU power, etc) is all there to make the stylus experience more useful.

If you doubt me, please consider the fact that Lenovo has an identically-formatted non-convertible non-tablet laptop (Thinkpad X-series http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/laptop/thinkpad/x-series/index.html) that would probably be more familiar and attractive to Ray Willington (this reviewer).

Please also consider that Lenovo has THREE tablet devices to compete with the iPad, that fall into the "Netvertible" space (whatever that's supposed to mean). http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/tablet/?menu-id=learn&ref-id=learn

The real competition for this particular tablet are Samsung Series 7, Asus EEE Slate 121, and the new Microsoft Surface for Windows Pro. And of course the previous generations of the X2xxT series. I'd love to see how this X230T stacks up against previous generations, as I have an X200t and am looking to upgrade.

If a human being reviews these comments, please consider my request. If you're looking for a reviewer that would fit the bill for this product, please contact me, as I have some experience in that regard.


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I got to agree with the 3 other posters here...

Actually I didn't read the conclusion to begin with, I already gave up when "Gaming" on a platform like this came up, here it was obvious to me that this reviewer had no idea of what market this machine belongs in... I would go so far to say that testing Gaming performance on ANY Thinkpads out there would be hitting far off ground...

Lets through in an analogy... Reviewer: "Say this Coffee is a real damn poor coffee"... Seller: "Well sir, that is because it is not coffee, its tea"... Reviewer: "That might damn well be the case mr, but I am going to review it as coffee anyways, and so I can't even give you a single star because it is just damn crappy coffee"...

This is a ridiculous review from someone who clearly have trouble seeing the usefulness in anything else than the "modern" day tablet that is purely for Media consumption and not for work or creativity.

I have been a Convertible-Tablet user since the Toshiba M200 Tablet, this was tablets before iPad's even existed, and while it was a "clunky" feel under Windows XP Tablet Edition, It has still been the single most greatest Laptop I have ever owned!...

Back then I could use it to take my Math notes in class with the digitizer while I could switch to normal laptop mode during programming classes... Both are things that I could NEVER dream of doing on say the so wonderful iPad... Today, about 8 years later... I STILL sometimes use it for taking notes during meetings, drawing UI Mock-ups and so forth... But obviously with it's age, it can no longer be used for much more than that.

And so I regret that I went with the Lenovo X201 instead of the Convertible-Tablet version of that same model a year back, and this is why I am looking into reviews of this machine at all...

This review just hardly touched any of my use cases...

Where you would otherwise have taken a pen and a piece of paper, this is where this fits in while still allowing you to use it for regular laptop tasks... Granted that a more lightweight device would be desired, but that is always the case... To me there us just no other devices that are capable of covering so many of my needs in a single box...

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Well I made an account just so I could voice my opinion. I will probably sound like I'm raging but maybe it's deserved.

This review is just terrible, the posters above me have explained why nicely, but I will reiterate. This website needs to find a reviewer who actually knows where the pen is located on this tablet and give it a try. I only read the introduction and conclusion but I failed to see any mention of wacom or pen input. This is what separates this machine from other tablet devices and is the primary reason for spending the extra money on a machine like this one (maybe this is why the reviewer didn't understand the product). Try taking calculus notes with an iPad, I can't say that I have personally tried it, but I don't think I want to. Also how this reviewer manages to compare an x230t with an iPad is beyond me, not even close to the same functionality, capabilities, or market. Stop focusing on the touch screen, I feel like it is only there because its possible, not because its intended to be used to navigate the operating system (this can actually work reasonably well when booted up into ubuntu with unity).

I don't understand how they managed to include a gaming section, not at all what lenovo or convertible tablets are about (or at least a couple years ago when I purchased my x201t)

If anyone from hothardware actually reads this, your review is one of the first listed after a google search, I wish that you could have written a reasonable review for the x230t.

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