Lenovo ThinkPad X260 Review: A Sleek, Tough, All-Business Ultrabook

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Introducing the Lenovo ThinkPad X260

Lenovo has done a remarkable job of classing up its business notebooks without sacrificing the features and build-quality that make the ThinkPad line so popular with road warriors. It recently updated its ThinkPad X1 Yoga with an excellent 2560x1440 OLED panel, for example, making it even more attractive to executives. But the company hasn’t forgotten users who dig more utilitarian builds, and don't need the latest bells and whistles. The ThinkPad X260 is all about functionality, portability, and quality. It is a no-nonsense road warrior.

At about $765, the ThinkPad X260 has the lowest starting price of any laptop in Lenovo’s ThinkPad X ultrabook series. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon starts at $1,142 and features a very sleek, carbon-fiber reinforced body, along with high-resolution display options and other mouth-watering tech. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga (starting at $1,394.10) packs high-end hardware into the multi-mode chassis that has made Lenovo’s Yoga notebooks famous. As the shared ‘X1’ in their names implies, these two notebooks are more similar to each other than to the somewhat-blocky, enterprise-friendly ThinkPad X260, but there’s no doubt that X260 belongs in Lenovo’s ultraportable, high-quality X series.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X260
Specifications & Features
Processor
Intel Core i5-6300U Dual-Core 2.4GHz (Max 3GHz)
OSWindows 10 Pro 64-bit
Display12.5-inch FHD IPS (1920x1080) 300 nits Non-Touch
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 520
Storage256GB SSD Opal 2
Memory8GB DDR4-2133
Audio
Dolby Advanced Audio v2
Camera720p HD Camera
NetworkingLAN, Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8260 (2x2), BT 4.1
Ports: Left
USB 3.0 x2, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI Port, Power Port
Ports: Right
Headphone/Mic jack, USB 3.0 Port, SIM Slot, SD Card Reader, Ethernet Port, Lock Slot
KeyboardIsland-Style, Backlight Option
Battery3-Cell 23.2Wh Li-Ion Battery, 6-Cell Li-Ion Rear Battery Upgrade, Mobile Broadband Support, Smart Card Reader Support
ExtrasFingerprint Reader, TrackPoint, 6-Cell Li-Ion Rear Battery Upgrade, Mobile Broadband Support, Smart Card Reader Support
Weight2.9 Pounds
Dimensions12.03 x 8.21 x 0.8 Inches
Warranty1-Year Depot Or Carry-In
Price$1,250.10 As Configured - Find Them At Amazon

The ThinkPad X260 has a 12.5-inch display, which is the smallest panel in the X series. (The ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad X1 Yoga have 14-inch displays.) The display on the base model is an uninspiring 1366x768, but you can bump that to a 1920x1080 IPS display when customizing your ultrabook before purchase. Touch screens aren’t available for the ThinkPad X260 line, however.

Available processors range from an Intel Core i3-6100U to a Core i7-6600U. Our system features the Core i5-6300U, which makes for a nice performance/price balance in this notebook. The CPU has a 2.4GHz base clock speed and can Turbo up to 3GHz.

The Intel HD Graphics 520 engine built-into Skylake is standard on the ThinkPad X260 series, but the line has multiple memory options, up to 18GB. Our test system arrived with 8GB of DDR4-2133 memory.

Lenovo is touting the ThinkPad X260 as enterprise-ready, so it’s no surprise that the notebook has a full complement of security features, including a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. Lenovo also opted for its ThinkPad 256GB OPAL2.0 SSD over more pedestrian storage options to provide OPAL 2.0 and IEEE 1667 support.

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You can add the optional security features when you configure your notebook online. The ThinkPad X260 equips a Smart Card reader for an additional $10 and can also include a fingerprint reader.

As for networking, the ThinkPad X260 is ready for anything. It features an Ethernet port, which is becoming an uncommon sight on ultra-portable notebooks these days, along with an Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC (2x2) 8260 WiFi controller. Wireless-AC is an important feature for road warriors, who move from one hotspot to the next. Bluetooth is also onboard for peripherals.

Of course, one of the most important considerations for business travelers is battery life, and Lenovo aims high here, stocking the ThinkPad X260 with two 3-cell, 23.2Wh batteries. One is in the front of the laptop and the other, removable battery sits at the back. As you’ll see in our performance analysis, we tested the ThinkPad X260 with both its standard battery set and the 72Wh optional rear battery. Because the notebook has two batteries, the rear battery is hot-swappable: You can pop it out and replace it with a backup battery without powering off the laptop. The notebooks’ support for massively extending its battery life is clearly going to be a chief selling point for many business users.

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But before we dig into how the notebook (and its batteries) perform, let’s take a look at its design. Great battery life won’t matter much if you don’t like the notebook…

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