Len­ovo ThinkPad X250

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - An­drew Har­ri­son

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.

Ver­dict

For busi­ness users that de­mand a track­point in­ter­face, smart card slot or TPM mod­ule, the ThinkPad X250 has all the right busi­ness cre­den­tials.

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