Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Ultralight Laptop Review

Design and Build Quality

Here we have the X1's right-hand side. From the left, there's the wireless radio switch, stereo speaker output, and a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, and MMC are all supported). The manual states that the CPRM (Content Protection for Recordable Media) standard is not supported.

The system, from its left-hand side is pictured here. Starting at the left, there are the fan louvers (aka air intakes), a latched door that hides both a combo audio jack and a generic USB 2.0 port, and another built-in stereo speaker. The user-guide notes that a conventional microphone won't function in the combination jack.

Most of the system ports are mounted at the back. Ethernet is at the far left, followed by room for a SIM card (behind the sliding panel), a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI connector, mini Display Port, combination eSATA/USB port, the power jack, and the Kensington lock. The combination eSATA/USB port is designated as 'Always On,' the manual defines this as: "By default, even if your computer is in sleep mode, the Always On USB connector still enables you to charge some devices, such as [an] iPod, iPhone, and Blackberry." The system can also be configured to charge devices even when in hibernation mode or when completely powered off.


Here we'd like to take a moment and examine the keyboard, TouchPad, and Trackpoint. This is the only area where Lenovo, in it's zeal to appeal to everyone, may have overthought the solution a bit. The Trackpoint (occasionally known by other names) is a Thinkpad staple hearkening back to the brand's days at IBM. The X1 retains the Thinkpoint+classic mouse button design and includes the TouchPad for users who prefer it. The TouchPad, however, isn't just a trackpad—it handles both multi-touch gestures and left-or-right mouse clicks depending on which side of the pad is pushed. By default, all of these devices are on. Configuration information and various options can be fine-tuned within the 'UltraNav' tab embedded in the 'Mouse' section of Windows 7's Control Panel.  

There's nothing wrong with either control system per se, but users who aren't accustomed to a clickable trackpad  may find themselves reaching up and clicking a physical button at the same time they click the trackpad, thus launching inadvertent programs or flipping context menus on and off. The various control systems could easily be explained by short tutorials or a configuration wizard, but either way it's not a huge deal--just something to be aware of.

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