Lenovo ThinkPad X280 Review: Powerful, Business-Class Ultraportable

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Lenovo ThinkPad X280: Summary And Final Assessment

The Lenovo ThinkPad X280 didn't run away from the pack in any particular benchmark, but it remained competitive with similarly equipped systems throughout our battery of tests. It's not always about killer benchmarks scores, however. With machines in this class, that perform similarly, there's much more to consider -- like the user experience and design functionality, for example.

Using this notebook was a delight, except for out pet peeve about the misplaced function key. Battery life wasn't standout either, but the machine offered solid up-time in real-world applications including web surfing, email, communications, light photo editing and using Office apps, and it landed squarely in the middle of the pack in our custom test.  Another plus is the speedy login process, made possible by an accurate and reliable fingerprint scanner. More importantly, when you click on something either by tapping the screen, using the touchpad, or with an actual mouse button, you won't sit and wait -- the ThinkPad X280 was quick and responsive for everyday tasks.

Gaming is obviously not a strong point for a machine of this type, but that can be said for all ultrabooks that utilize Intel's integrated graphics and in that regard it performed as expected. As for the aesthetics and design language of the X280, it's the typical understated, all-business affair that ThinkPads are known for. If you like the no-nonsense approach, the ThinkPad X280 is as clean and well-built as they come. It isn't a head-turner though, and lacks any real flare, over and above a couple of strategically placed logos.

If you are intrigued by the ThinkPad X280, we'd recommend going with some more memory and the 1920x1080 screen, which is the highest resolution offered. That option gives you a touchscreen whether you want it or not, though you may not use it much with the excellent keyboard, touchpad, and TrackPoint on this system. Those options will push the price a bit higher than the $1179 of our 8GB review system, but they're worth the investment in our opinion. Regardless, if the ThinkPad X280's design, features, and diminutive form factor are attractive to you, it's definitely a machine we can recommend -- it is well build, performs well, and is competitively priced.

  • Understated, Good Looks
  • Competitive Performance
  • Quick And Responsive
  • Multiple Input Devices
  • Reliable, Fast Fingerprint Sensor
  • CTRL Key Placement
  • Mid-Range Battery Life

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