Lenovo ThinkPad X250
The Lenovo ThinkPad X250 is a lightweight laptop weighing just over 1.4kg, and measuring 21mm thick, making it a good travel companion. It’s a traditional design in a matt charcoal finish across its plastic chassis, with square edges and corners rather any attempt at curves and streamlining.
Our sample came with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled, though it’s eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, should you want it.
Opening the lid reveals the much-lauded Lenovo keyboard comprising chunky shaped keys with deep travel. Another trademark feature is the rubbery red trackpoint in the centre of the keyboard, and accompanying three-button array just below the space bar to enable you to type, steer and click while keeping your fingers on the keyboard at all times. These buttons are true mechanical clickers, while the more familiar trackpad below these is one of the new buttonless designs, hinged at the back and able to receive left and right clicks from the respective front corners.
Our review sample was fitted a 1366x768 IPS panel, and while we may rail against this resolution on 15in laptops, here the smaller 12.5in screen size means a decent pixel density of 125ppi, so screen graphics look smooth.
Our test unit came with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-5300U processor, including Turbo to 2.9GHz and Hyper Threading Technology. Storage technology is limited to SATA Revision 3.0 only, and you can choose between a basic 500GB hard disk, up to 512GB SSD. For memory, the X250 has either 4- or 8GB and this is removable, though the limit seems to be 8GB even if you find your own 16GB SO-DIMM module.
The X250 has two USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort and VGA for external displays, SD card slot and a gigabit ethernet port.
There’s also a tray to accept a Micro-SIM card, enabling cellular data access over 4G LTE. And for professional applications that require a smart card for authorised access, there’s a slot on the left side.
On the underside lies a miniaturised docking port, for use with Lenovo’s proprietary desktop docking stations. The battery is removable after sliding two catches, a tiny 24Wh lithium-ion pack that’s less than half the capacity of a 13in MacBook Air, for example.
The line up of dual-core Broadwell processor, 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD makes a sprightly notebook quick enough for many business applications.
The PCMark 8 rated the X250 with 2511 points in the Home Conventional test, rising to 2973 with the benefit of OpenCL acceleration in the graphics processor. In the Work test, it scored 3142 points, which rose to 4336 points with graphics acceleration.
Geekbench 3 returned good scores in line with the chipset, 2771 points single-core and 5632 points multi-core. Cinebench 15 awarded the ThinkPad 269 points, or 115 points for a single processor core. The OpenGL graphics test here averaged 25fps with the benefit of the relatively capable Intel HD Graphics 5500.
We also ran a few gaming benchmarks to get an idea of its graphics prowess. It averaged 26fps playing Batman: Arkham City at native screen resolution and Medium detail, and then around 29fps when we dropped the resolution to 1280x720 pixels with Low detail.
We found the display to be of high quality, easily viewable from any angle thanks to the IPS technology, and since the screen lid can be folded right back this could prove even more beneficial when several people are clustered around to view the screen.
In our test, the panel had a good contrast ratio, if a little lower than usual for IPS, at around 550:1. Colour accuracy was satisfactory for this 6-bit panel, with an average Delta E of 1.94. Colour gamut was rather limited though at 70 percent coverage of sRGB and 52 percent Adobe RGB. The matt anti-glare finish makes viewing a relaxed experience, with little evidence of grain or sparkle that the coating can sometimes introduce.
Our sample had a Toshiba SATA SSD, which performed right on spec, showing sequential reads at around 505MB/s and reads at 456MB/s. The input/output operations per second result for 4kB random reads was in the premium range at 97,000 IOPS.
Despite the tiny battery the X250 with its new Broadwell processor proved reasonably long-lived, lasting for six hours 50 minutes in our standard video rundown test.
We did notice some glitches and long pauses in video playback though, which might be a symptom of the restrictive energy-saving cutbacks introduced by Lenovo’s custom Energy Saver power plan.
For business users that demand a trackpoint interface, smart card slot or TPM module, the ThinkPad X250 has all the right business credentials.