Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Ultralight Laptop Review
User Experience Pt 2: Included Software
We begin with Lenovo's power management software:
Lenovo's Power Manager 3 offers users a 'basic' view that's intuitively understandable. Users can control power consumption through pulling the slider up towards high performance or down towards high energy savings; the 'Power Used' bar reports the shift in near real-time. With the system set to High Energy Savings, it draws just 11W. It's wireless controller is enabled in this configuration, and a standard ethernet cable is plugged into the system. The two small meters at the bottom left show the CPU and GPU clockspeeds. Note that Intel TurboBoost is not enabled, although Lenovo's own 'Turbo Boost Plus' is available.
Here we see the same system, with the slider pulled to maximum performance. Power consumption is up to 29W, both Intel's and Lenovo's TurboBoost+ technology is enabled. The CPU is running at 128% of normal speed (3.2GHz); the GPU is still clocked at its stock speed.
We like the basic mode because it makes sense to users who know very little about computers. The adjustable performance/power consumption bar and the two speedometer-like gauges are much less imposing than a long column of options and checkboxes.
The 'Advanced' page is more complex than it should be. There's no explanation for some of the power settings—Power Source Optimized and Maximum Battery Life use identical primary settings when the system is on battery. It's not clear what "Timers Off/Presentation" is meant to do, either. Power settings can still be adjusted via Windows 7's CP, but the operating system's 'Balanced Performance' doesn't correspond to any of Lenovo's settings.
Lenovo's ThinkVantage Toolbox gathers information from multiple Windows subsystems and displays it in a single program. In our opinion, the Toolbox is much better for regular users than Microsoft's Administrative Tools. It doesn't offer as much data or control as Windows Administrative Tools, but it's much less intimidating.
The ThinkVantage Tools (not to be confused with the ThinkVantage Toolbox) presents a menu of mostly Lenovo-specific services. Users can configure updates, download additional software, or monitor the system's security and recent activity.
We like Lenovo's included software because it arguably improves and simplifies Windows default control systems. It genuinely adds value to the X1, as opposed to being dubiously classified as 'value added.'