Lenovo New Commercial Grade NoteBook-ThinkPad X201i Complete Review

Dec 1, 2008
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Lenovo ThinkPad series is the most well known in their NoteBook product line.
Continue IBM prime design tradition, the X series NoteBook is still very popular for commercial users.
Especially the previous X201 with CULV version, the price drops a lot.
Even the budget concerned user also can have the good commercial grade quality product.
The parity ThinkPad is more competitive. Besides the product C/P is enhanced, it also attracts the users sight.

I still remember the year before, Intel NoteBook CPU almost are Core 2 Duo.
The main models are TX00 and PX00 series. Also CULV CPU is focus on low clock and power consumption.
After Q1 2010, you can see many brands use new Intel structure - Core i3/i5/i7 3 CPU series.
It’s with new chipset for higher performance.

Lenovo next generation 12 inch ThinkPad, model X201.
According to CPU level, there are X201i, X201, X201s, and X201t four series.
This review is X201i-A22, has 3 versions, with Intel Core i3-330M CPU.

First, let’s look the Lenovo ThinkPad X201i outlook, same as X200 series.

The chassis is magnesium alloy with special coating. The matt surface is more commercial quality.
It doesn’t like bright coating will paint-shed after long time usage.

Battery and body shell quality can be better if they are the same.

4Cell battery and the spec is NOM 2.0 AH 29WH

The adaptor is smaller version. The cable is quite crude.

A22 is the X201i version which is without Windows7. The accessories are simple.

Upper lid front has 3 Status LED.

Left side
From Left: Power in, thermal holes (X200 is copper), USB, D-SUB, RJ45 LAN, ExpressCard, USB(Always On USB), Wifi switch

Right Side
From Left: USB, earphone, Mic, MODEM phone line jack, HDD, anti-thief lock


Dec 1, 2008
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Front side
Lower right side is monitor lock and SD memory card slot

Keyboard layout, size and touch feeling are all very good. It’s also water proof.
The difference with X200 is X201 has touch pad, so the keyboard size is smaller.

12.1” matte monitor, the resolution is 1280X800. The open degree is 180.
Both side of LCD has antenna inside, they called UltraConnect. It can enhance the recipient ability.

Bottom side
Docking connector, dual speakers, the support cushion is also special designed.

The shaft between monitor and body is metal, should be very durable.
It’s said this design is their own patent, so other brands cannot copy.

2M pixels WebCAM, and next is ThinkLight illumination feature.

If you don’t get used to touch point, you can use touch pad.

Thermal solution looks good. It looks like copper material.

X201i uses 4Cell battery, the weight is 1425g.
The official spec is 1.39Kg which is very close to the real. It’s a good example.

Dec 1, 2008
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Lenovo ThinkPad X201i uses Intel latest Calpella structure.
CPU is Intel Core i3-330M. The clock is 133 X 16 => 2.13GHz, L3 3MB, dual core and supports HT technology.
The chipset is QM57. Comparing to GM45, I believe the performance will be much better.

Performance test
OS is Windows7 Ultimate 64Bit
Hardware info in Device Manager

Windows7 system performance

CPU performance test
Super PI 32M => 27m 15.148s
CPUMARK99 => 327

Nuclearus Multi Core => 8239
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 8.05/3862

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 97206

1 CPU => 2858 CB
x CPU => 6706 CB

PCMark Vantage => 4859

Even it’s the most entry i3 CPU, the benchmark score is very good.
It’s not only much higher than Core 2 Duo CULV CPU, but also higher than P8700 2.53GHz.
i3-330M is only 2.13GHz, but the performance is almost same as P8700.
During multi-tasking performance, as i3 has HT, the performance is higher than P8700.
The new generation Core i3~i7 CPU performance is much better than Core 2 Duo.

HDD SY9320423AS test
2.5” 320GB 7200rpm version.

As 7200rpm 2.5” HDD, the performance is quite well. The highest read/write speed is around 89~94MB/s.
The system running is very smooth. 2.5” SATA HDD is the key factor of whole system performance.

Using high performance MLC SSD-CORSAIR P128 to test
Dec 1, 2008
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CORSAIR P128 SSD official spec is 220/180 MB/s
Installing with X201i, QM57 chipset, can achieve 229/175 MB/s. It really unleashes the performance in NoteBook.
Some users always think CPU or individual VGA card grades are the only factors for NoteBook performance.
However, if you donft run video-encoding, CPU, or play 3D Game, VGA, in NoteBook, SSD is the most efficient way to improve the system performance which like internet, music and most applications.
You will feel the difference in boot and open software.

3D is the latest Intel technology that CPU built-in GPU

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1280 X 720 => 24.52FPS

StreetFighter IV Benchmark in GM45 is only 13 FPS. In this test, the score is over 24 FPS.
The new Intel chipset improve the 3D performance around 50~70% more than GM45.

DRAM performance
DDR3 1364 CL7 7-7-20 1T

Sandra Memory Bandwidth-8979MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read-7253MB/s

The both DRAM bandwidth benchmark are all 50~100% higher than GM45.
Built-in Memory Controller in CPU is really helpful for system perfroamance.

CPU Temperature
Standby - 36~41Ž

CPU full speed - 81~86Ž

32nm manufacturing CPU looks like no big advantage in temperature.
In actual usage, X201i emanates air is lower than the software.
There is only some heat air.
It might be the board temperature detecting software number is higher.
The temperature in the thermal holes is lower than some other brands NoteBook.

Power consumption test by Power Angle as reference
Entering OS desktop - 10W

CPU full speed - 30W

For the standby status, itfs really good. Itfs also same as CULV or Atom platform. In full speed, the consumption is similar with NoteBook.
But 32nm should lower the power.

Battery Duration
4Cell battery, Battery Eater Pro (turn off wifi and bluetooth)
Full Speed - 0:42:12
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Standby - 2:44:28

In Battery Eater Pro test, full speed CPU+3D, the power duration is the shortest.
If you only play video, X201i can stay 2hr10mins. Itfs acceptable range.
The latest structure really improves the system performance.
However, for the standby mode, itfs lower 10% comparing to X200s.

Lenovo ThinkPad X201i Overall
1. High end product shell and components. The commercial model design has very good keyboard and coating.
2. Latest Intel platform. The CPU, GPU and DDR3 performance are all improved.
3. 12h matte monitor which is normally only for high end 12~13.3h NoteBook
4. In normal usage, the body temperature is low. The thermal solution design is very good.
5. The most famous touch point is better than touch pad after you get used to.
6. The ThinkLight and keyboard are very suitable for business persons.

1. Fn key position is easily to press wrong as its position.
2. 4Cell battery duration is not as much as I expect.
3. The shell will easily to see the dust.
4. No HDMI or USB 3.0

Performance šššššššš™™
Components šššššššššš
Specification ššššššššš™
Outlook šššššššš™™
C/P Value ššššššššš™

For the audio, in the real situation, the hi-pitch is not high enough. Alto is very good. You can hear the fine and smooth sounds.
Bass is not low enough. I feel the sound field is too weak.
For my experience of light commercial NoteBook, X201i use dual speakers are quite good already.

Using 2M pixels WebCAM, I found the color and detail are quite good. Itfs almost same as the real theme.
If the luminance is not well, the noise will be higher.

ThinkPad X201 is a good components, features and performance NoteBook.
Especially lowest price one, X201i, is more attractive. The price is around 29000~38000NTD as different specs.
Itfs around 900~1185USD. Compare to the other NoteBook brands in the same price segment, you are hard to find the same product to compete.

I think in this price segment, ThinkPad X201i is in really good position to gain the market share.

Many people ask me what is the key factors to choose a good NoteBook? What brands or models are better quality and performance?
Then I will ask that are you carrying out very often? If yes, please choose below 1.5Kg~1.6Kg products. If not, just pick whatever you like.
If you need to carry out your NoteBook, I recommend the weight is your first priority to consider. Just for your reference.

Small dimension and light NoteBook is the mainstream product. Even in DeskTop, itfs getting smaller as well.
In the past, Micro ATX is the mainstream spec for small PC. Recently, Mini-ITX, the smaller form factor, is getting more and more popular.
In the near future, I will share one article about Inte Core i5-655K/GIGABYTE H55N-USB3/SEED Case high performance MIni-ITX PC.
I hope it can provide you some ideas of small PC.

Finally, I attach the Spyder2 color correction file for all X201i users.
Thanks for reading this Lenovo ThinkPad X201i review. :)

windwithme Lenovo ThinkPad X201i

This review also post in my blog WIND'S 3C
Welcome 3C lovers to visit and advise.


Member Extraordinaire
Dec 31, 2004
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Great review once again..

Old school notebook with new school innards and very powerful too!



sugar 'n spikes
Mar 5, 2002
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Nice review, o Windy One :)

Typical UK price is a little over a grand Example at Amazon

It's a lovely piece of kit but is there a market for a notebook costing that much?

When you think you can buy a perfectly reasonable Samsung notebook and external optical drive for a little under 300 quid from PC World, makes me wonder....

For those who are flush and only want the best I suppose.

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