Published October 23, 2008 at 10:45:13 AM, by Travis Simon
Design & Features
Today were putting the Lenovo x200 through its course. The x200 is the smaller brother to the now infamous x300, and an upgrade to the x61 series of earlier years (best in class for ultraportable as far as were concerned). Although being smaller, and lacking an optical drive, the x200 doesnt seem too tiny nor as thin as the x300, and developing most of its hardships with the battery bay and standard tracking devices. Of course, this is a very near end pre-consumer level model were reviewing, so Im sure things have gotten ironed out as soon as this review hits the shelf as far as fit and finish is concerned (more at the end of the review on that)
The x200 is a 12.1 widescreen ultraportable, in which it features the new Montevina platform, (not to be confused with actual Centrino 2 certification as it makes no claim to being certifiedyet) and runs the Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 at 2.4 GHz. It Features a 1066 MHz FSB with a 3mb cache limit and a nice low 25 TDP. Big measurements (although technical) would be the newer FSB and low TDP otherwise, marking a smaller die for the CPU and no increase in cache limit. We cant always win, but its a step in the right direction. Our pre-consumer unit came pretty loaded consulting the ordering screen from Lenovo. It did skimp us on the operating system, only touting Vista basic and WWAN feature, but did allow us an extra gigabyte of RAM, fingerprint reader, 160 GB HDD and Integrated Bluetooth, making the running total around $1,600.
Case look and feel
The case is standard Lenovo x series styling there is little to no color variations, sticking with its stark black rubber like finish, branding stamped across the base of the LCD lid, which is held to the strong chassis by the now loved/hated steel hinges. There is also suitably efficient LED readouts at the top telling some simple status changes of your unit.
The x200 features the tapered front end, housing the media card reader and LCD release latch. If you seen one x series Lenovo, youve pretty much seen them all as far as styling is concerned. Although Im not flattered by it, it does hold its own for material and minimalists. It is made of the strong magnesium allowing very little flex, and this time around, features two run off points underneath the laptop for spilled liquid.
Although I didnt feel like testing this feature, its nice to note and Im sure will save some busy coffee / cola drinker one morning.
Size & Weight
The size is very nice, featuring a decently slim profile, very thin LCD housing, and weighs just under 2.95 lb with the 4 cell battery. However, our unit came packaged with the extended 9 cell battery, which extrudes out the rear pretty awfully.
Yes, you do gain that tremendous battery life, but it makes this ultraportable larger than it should, and weighs just about as heavy as a 14.1 counterpart nearing almost 3.7 pounds. Looks will deceive you if you arent prepared for this change.
The keyboard again is strict Lenovo X series styling and specifications, holding cues to previous models before it, featuring alphanumeric typing keys that are spaced 18.5 mm vertically and 18.2 mm horizontally, which is defined as full-sized by ISO/IEC 15412. The stroke travel is a full 2.5 mm, which is always a pleasure to type on.
But, unlike the SL series that was also released, this still features the track-point nub in the center. Although keen for space saving design, and a following crowd of aficionados, I would have much rather seen an implemented track pad, and even make it multi-touch based like the Asus series that we just reviewed, to help aid in all those cramped Fn buttons. Am I nitpicking? Of course, but lets lay that out there.
The display is a 1280x800 widescreen 16:10 aspect ratio display. There are 15 levels of brightness offered with a max output nearing 200 nits, a 50 nit increase of the former x61, and a welcomed addition. I noticed it didnt have very great side to side viewing angles on some PDF documents, but mostly, color representation was very decent, with adequate indoor backlighting. Outdoors seemed a bit washy or mixed results, which might harbor others to look into a more transflexive notebook option if they are constantly outdoors.
Connectivity is pretty standard, albeit changed from its predecessor, and a bit different from its thinner, lighter, much more expensive brother the x300. First and foremost, there is no optical drive. It doesnt list as an option of ordering one, so picking up a slim USB 2.0 self powered drive (a la the one the U110 we reviewed earlier came with) would be a handy option if you plan on using this machine to view, read, burn, or transfer optical media with. This might be a deal breaker for a lot of people but foreseeing the available prices and capacities for flash drives, SD media, and wireless data banks it might not to others.
The left side houses the power jack, exhaust, 2 USB ports, monitor-out, Gigabit Ethernet, ExpressCard 54mm slot, and the wireless LAN on-off switch. This is to note that it turns off all wireless options, Bluetooth and WLAN. Im not sure about WWAN as my unit did not come configured to use this.
The front, as mentioned earlier, can contain either a 5-1 media reader, or an SD card slot. Ours totes the SD card reader slot.
The right, with our configured unit, came with another USB port, headphone out, microphone, modem port, and lock slot.
The rear houses nothing other than the obtrusive battery (in being fair, it was just a bit too big for my taste.)
Even though WWAN wasnt configured in our pre-consumer level test system, the antenna that is needed to utilize these features is installed by default, so its simply a matter of inserting the WWAN card into the bay inside the x200, call up new service, and away you go. Since I dont utilize a company or hardware to test that feature, I can only say that it is possible to upgrade to using it.
Memory can be configured a few ways, which can handle up to 3 GB of internal memory. Which, is all Windows Vista Basic would utilize anyways, so if you feel cramped, you can do a little memory management there.
Hard drive capacity is another relative upgrade, with Lenovos website listing solid state 64gb as an option, and all the way up to a 320gb 5400 rpm drive. As a note, were sure it could handle the newer 7200rpm drives that are 320 GB but were not 100% positive.