Notebookcheck

Review Lenovo Thinkpad X200s Notebook

Netbooks? No thanks!

Mini-notebooks, as before, define the image of the current retail charts. Therefore it can't be excluded that even die-hard business users won't come into temptation in view of the partly very low acquisition price. With high requirements on, for instance, input devices or ports, most mini-notebooks do not look particularly good, though. Lenovo wants to fish exactly in this target group with the ThinkPad X200s for customers.

Lenovo Thinkpad X200s

Lenovo places its Ideapads, like the S10e as currently a particularly successful model, in the market segment of the up to 10 inch mini-notebooks. Lenovo's primary target group of professional business clients and private users with high claims usually attach special importance to the well-known high quality Thinkpad input devices, which can hardly be implemented on the small-sized mini-notebooks. As a rule you can count with an almost unrestricted keyboard starting at around a 12" form factor.

Lenovo offers a whole range of models in this order of magnitude, as well. For instance the Thinkpad X61s or the X200 series. Both model lines, X200 and X200s, differ in the existence of an optical drive. The X200s at hand presents itself as particularly slim and can save a bit of weight with that. According to Lenovo even the case should turn out to be even more stable in the X200s variant. 
The Thinkpad X300 Serie (tested here from notebookcheck.com), presents itself somewhat bigger - the 13.3 inch display bids a considerable plus on viewport.

Case

Despite the usual subnotebook measurements of approx. 300x200 millimeters, the Thinkpad X200s seems to be very compact and almost minute at first sight. The reason for this is found quickly. On the one hand the keyboard takes in almost the whole case breath, this barely having an edge trim and on the other Lenovo does without a touchpad.
How does that work, you ask? Well, trackpoint deniers won't really be thrilled with this measure, it having a red point placed in the midst of the keyboard as the only mobile mouse substitute.

Besides that, Lenovo refers to an enhanced case frame in the X200s which is supposed to make the device even more resistant against possible forces. Solely high-tech materials, such as a magnesium frame in the base unit or surface components made of carbon fibers and fiberglass, are used. You'll notice this effectively especially in the display and also experience it in practical handling.

The almost indestructable case of the Thinkpad X200s
The almost indestructable case of the Thinkpad X200s

The special construction of the display lid makes it possible, for instance, to pick up the 1350 grams heavy Thinkpad X200s on its outmost display edge. An exercise not to be recommended for imitation with other compact notebooks. Therefore, it's barely surprising that the display is almost completely insensitive to applied pressure.

The base unit presents itself with an equally good stability as the display. The case-tray made of magnesium has a particularly large part in this, barely allowing for any deformations. This could only be observed in the area of the plastic wrist rests and that minimally.
The display hinges don't make a big impression but they are made of the usual massive Thinkpad quality, reamed out of one piece of metal. The display shuts absolutely clean with the base unit in a closed state, whereas the "Clam-Shell" design provides for the interlocking of display and base unit. In the manner described, the interior, meaning the keyboard and the display, is protected from smudge and dust on one side and on the other, the case receives additional stability in case of a fall in a closed state.

Maybe a few words about the design of the notebook. There is barely any place for design gizmos in the area of the base unit because the keyboard takes up almost the whole area. The wrist rests are shaped functionally and ergonomically and correlate with their tapering edge to the current Lenovo design. Generally the X200s shows itself unmistakably as an impeccable Thinkpad, without unnecessary design-falderal or even colorful accents. This is left up to the red trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard, anyway.

Connectivity

If it weren't for the offered docking port on the bottom side, the positioning of the single connection options on the front side edges would be a major point of critique. Plugs and cables connected at the side edges can at least be disposed of with the according equipment. In the test without the docking station, the frontal USB ports especially nerved when connecting an external mouse or LAN connection which is found on the left side fairly far in the front, also.

Probably also because of the fairly tight space conditions, Lenovo offers only the necessary connection options on the device. 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA-out, a LAN and modem port count to this. Further connection alternatives are found on the according docking solution, for instance a digital video-out (DVI, display port) for connecting an external monitor.

Front side: 5in1 Media Card Reader
Front side: 5in1 Media Card Reader
Left side: Power socket, USB, VGA, LAN, USB, ExpressCard
Left side: Power socket, USB, VGA, LAN, USB, ExpressCard
Back side: no connections
Back side: no connections
Right side: USB 2.0, Audio, Modem, Kensington Lock
Right side: USB 2.0, Audio, Modem, Kensington Lock

The integrated communication modules are strongly dependent on the chosen configuration which is defined through the post positioned number/digit combination in the label of the model. Therefore our model 7466-3SG at hand is equipped with an integrated gigabit ethernet adapter from Intel. The WLAN module is also provided from the top of the class manufacturer Intel. The WiFi Link 5300 AGN module makes a maximum transfer rate of 450 Mbps possible.

Depending on the configuration, and also integrated in our test model, is a Bluetooth 2.0 module. A 56k V90 modem is found in all models, though. Also almost a matter of course in compact business models is the UMTS option with which the notebook can be fitted.

As it is usual for all high quality Thinkpad models, Lenovo offers a 3 year warranty for the X200s. This applies also to the lower priced configuration variety starting at about 1300.00 Euros VAT included.

Input Devices

As already hinted at the start, Lenovo doesn't make any experiments in regards to the input devices in the Thinkpads. This applies also for the smallest representative of the series, as well as for the Thinkpad X200s at hand. From the 294 millimeters case breadth, exactly 288 millimeters are accessible for the keyboard. The available space can't be used more rationally.

With this the user also comes to enjoy a keyboard in a regular Thinkpad size which distinguishes itself particularly through its clear layout as well as the pleasant size of all keys.
The typing feel of the keyboard turns out just as Thinkpad typical. The single keys bid in comparison to other notebooks keyboards an almost generous stroke length with a well dosed pressure resistance and a palpable pressure point. Especially heavy writers should have their pleasure with the keyboard if they can accommodate to the subjective certainly different to assess typing feel.

The offered mouse substitute is probably also a matter of taste. For an absolutely full-fledged keyboard Lenovo does without integrating a touchpad and sets on the trackpoint represented in all Thinkpad models instead. This needs considerably less space and lets itself be used comfortably with only one hand, too.

You can forget the touchpad with a bit of practice. For instance, an unintentional tapping of the area or a tedious setting back during navigation with the trackpoint is not possible or rather not necessary. Together with the three very pleasant to use Trackpoint keys, you can leave your external mouse at home when on tour.

Trackpoint
Thinkpad X200s Trackpoint
Keyboard
Thinkpad X200s Keyboard

Display

Lenovo determines two different display alternatives for use in the X200s in regards to resolution. On the one hand there is a WXGA screen with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels and at an increased requirement of overview, the WXGA+ screen with a resolution of 1440x900 pixels. The WXGA+ display with LED illumination is probably the equipment highlight.

Our test sample presented the 1280x800 standard screen. It delivered very good results in the brightness test. The maximum measured brightness in the central display area was a good 196 cd/m2. The decrease of the brightness on the lateral edges of down to 160.9 cd/m2 causes an illumination of the screen of a mediocre 78.5%.

184.8
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
188.4
cd/m²
160.9
cd/m²
196
cd/m²
165.2
cd/m²
166.9
cd/m²
184.8
cd/m²
180.7
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 205 cd/m²
Average: 181.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 78 %
Black: 1.33 cd/m²
Contrast: 147:1

The maximum possible contrast of the WXGA display built into the S200s is not one of its strengths. With a black value of a comparatively high 1.33 cd/m2, the X200s merely reached  a ratio of 154:1 in this exercise.

Lenovo Thinkpad X200s Outdoor
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s Outdoor

A possible outdoor usage isn't a problem for the Lenovo Thinkpad X200s. For one thing the matt display surface prevents disturbing reflections and for another, the offered brightness of the display is adequate enough to provide for a very readable image in even very bright surroundings.

Outside of the adequate working area it has to be counted with a fast change of the presented image in the vertical visibility field. The stable viewing angles turn out considerably more generous in the horizontal area. Due to the matt display surface more slanted viewing angles are very thinkable, too.

Viewing angle Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Viewing angle Lenovo Thinkpad X200s

Performance

You don't have all too many choices for the Lenovo Thinkpad X200s in consideration of the built in hardware. Merely two CPU alternatives are offered for the device. There is a SL9300 CPU with 1.6 GHz and a somewhat more efficient SL9400 CPU with 1.86 GHz to choose from. The SL CPUs are based on the current Penryn architecture in a 45 nanometer fabrication. While these don't rank behind their colleagues of the P and T series in regards of the FSB (1066 MHz) and L2-cache, there is one important difference – the TDP value (Thermal Design Power).

This averages merely 17 Watts in the SL9400 and SL9300 chips. The already as energy saving positioned P models have a TDP value of 25W and the bent on performance T models come to a total of 35W.
An advantage of a low TDP value is not only a power requirement, but above all also a considerably lower cooling load which, on the one hand, makes a slim design possible as well as also a reduction of emissions.

An integrated graphic chip in form of an Intel GMA 4500M HD takes care of the graphic. It is apt primarily for modestly entailing office applications, supports DirectX 10 as well, though. The chip can also decode HD videos and unload the CPU through this, due to the integrated video decoding ability.

Our test configuration reached an only average value of 4395 points in the PCMark 2005. This also applies to the results of the Cinebench R10 benchmark test. The deployable radius of the X200s can be restricted to simple office tasks like internet and mail, word processing and simple spreadsheets.

PC Mark 2005 benchmark test
PC Mark 2005 benchmark test

The X200s occupies a maximum of up to 4 gigabytes fast DDR3 memory in consideration of the RAM. Our test sample, though, was equipped with only 2048 MB. Lenovo offers numerous variations as a mass storage. Common hard disks with a capacity of up to 320 GB or even fast Solid State Drives (SSD) with a gross storage capacity of up to 128 GB. These don't only allow for a first class performance but also make a silent use possible. Above that they are also practically insensitive to jolts – and therefore perfect for subnotebooks in mobile use.

A common hard disk with a capacity of 250 gigabytes came to use in our test configuration. With a rotation speed of 5400 rpm, the data medium delivered average benchmark test results in the HDTune. In detail: average transmission rate of 51.7 MB/s and an access time of 15.7 milliseconds.

System info CPU
System info CPU
System info Chip set
System info Ram
System info Ram
System info GPU
System info GPU
 
 
 
 
 
 
System information Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE5667 points
3DMark 032303 points
Help
PC Mark
PCMark 054395 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Toshiba M9
 T7500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
4378
Toshiba Satellite P100-191
 T2400, GeForce Go 7900 GS
4381
Lenovo ThinkPad SL510
 T6670, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
4384
Lenovo ThinkPad X200s
 SL9400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
4395
Asus A8Jp
 T7200, Mobility Radeon X1700
4412
Lenovo Thinkpad SL500
 P8400, GeForce 9300M GS
4413
HP Compaq 6910p-GB962EA
 T9300, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
4423
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
Cinebench R10
 SettingsValue
 Rendering Single 32Bit2205 Points
 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit3850 Points
 Shading 32Bit836 Points
250 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 32.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 63.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 51.7 MB/s
Access Time: 15.7 ms
Burst Rate: 61.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 10.1 %

Emissions

System Noise

That a SSD would also have been a better choice in regards to the soundscape is also shown in our tests concerning the noise emissions of the Lenovo Thinkpad X200s. The running noise of the hard disk in idle use usually drowns the only minimally running fan and emits a volume of 33.3 dB(A). When listening exactly we could perceive a high-frequency whistling noise from the fan but only at the high-performance setting in the energy profile.
In the energy savings mode and deactivated hard disk the notebook stayed almost silent – 28.6 dB(A).

The fan increases its rotation and reaches at its climax a noise level of 37.1 dB(A) under constant load. In this condition the notebook is very well audible. At normal use of the device this should barely ever happen, though.

Noise Level

Idle 28.6 / 33.3 / 33.3 dB(A)
HDD 33.3 dB(A)
Load 35.2 / 37.1 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

While with a maximum heating of the surface of up to 36.0°C under load everything stays within a limit, the bottom side can get a bit "hotter" with up to 42.7°C. In daily office use the temperatures stayed considerably below these values, on the upper as well as the bottom side (<34°C). Therefore, mobile use on the thighs is possible without further ado.

Max. Load
 36.0 °C33.4 °C29.8 °C 
 35.9 °C34.4 °C31.1 °C 
 30.6 °C33.3 °C29.6 °C 
Maximum: 36.0 °C
Average: 32.7 °C
34.9 °C39.1 °C42.7 °C
35.0 °C35.1 °C40.6 °C
33.7 °C34.6 °C35.3 °C
Maximum: 42.7 °C
Average: 36.8 °C
Room Temperature 21.0 °C

Loudspeakers

The notebook has a single speaker in the front area on the bottom side. Apart from the somewhat restrained quality, we were pleasantly surprised from the offered sound. Of course, the speaker can't keep up with high-quality speakers in the single multimedia notebooks; the offered soundscape is quite alright for a very compact business device in any case.

Battery Life

Readers Test
Maximum battery runtime (BatteryEater Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimum runtime (BatteryEater Classic Test)

One of the strengths of the Lenovo Thinkpad is its configurability in regards of power supply. Lenovo offers three different battery solutions for the Thinkpad X200.
The starter and at the same time lightest variation is a 4 cell Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 26.2 Wh which provides a reasonable battery life.

The X200s can also be fitted with a bigger 6 cell battery and a capacity of 56.2 Wh at an increased mobility requirements. This makes the bottom side of the device a bit more capacious and brings the notebook in a slanted stance. You still go a step further with the 9 cell battery block, which protrudes slightly at the back in order to take in all cells. This can almost quadruple the battery life of the 4 cell version with a capacity of 84.2 Wh.

In the test with the 4 cell basic version of the battery, our test sample achieved a maximum possible runtime of 283 minutes (maximum energy savings options, min. display brightness, WLAN + BT off) in the BatteryEater Reader's test. Under load in the BatteryEater Classic test, it came to an end short of 48 minutes.
In the practical WLAN surf mode with maximum display brightness and activated energy savings profile, the X200x with the 4 cell battery managed 132 minutes.

Power Consumption

Idle 5.6 / 12.7 / 15.2 Watt
Load 27.7 / 39.2 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 43min
WiFi Surfing
2h 12min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 48min

Verdict

Lenovo fulfills all necessities of the business user of a compact and mobile notebook with the Thinkpad X200s. The case bids a maximum protection for the integrated hardware as well as the display. The subnotebook should even survive a somewhat rougher handling in external work without further ado.

The Thinkpad sweeps the board especially because of the absolute full-fledged keyboard in the known Thinkpad quality. With this, even extensive writing tasks turn out to be a pleasure on the 12 inch notebook.
The omission of the touchpad might be the lesser evil for Thinkpad-fanciers but for freshmen it may require a cumbersome accommodation time.

In regards to displays, Lenovo delivers with a WXGA+ screen with LED illumination a particularly interesting feature. But even the standard WXGA display with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels bids a good brightness and is suitable for outdoor use, due to the matt display surface.

The built in hardware aims primarily on simple office tasks. These are processed sufficiently fast, not least because of the efficient but energy saving SL9400 CPU from Intel. Merely enthusiastic graphic tasks should be avoided with the X200s.

Those who tend toward zero-noise emissions should use a SSD for which has to be paid for accordingly but sinks the noise level of the notebook in simple office use considerably. An efficient Solid State Drive may also provide for the additional impulses, regarding office performance.

With the available battery solutions you can set up the battery life almost freely – for the corresponding price, it shall be understood. While the smallest available battery merely fulfills its duty, the 9 cell version can bridge a whole work day, depending on the requirements.

Thinkpad-fanciers also find the usual qualities in the X200s, while freshmen can be convinced just as well. Even the price of the device, starting at about 1300.00 Euros in the starting variation, should also be within the bounds of possibility. With according upgrades (display, SSD, battery,…) you move quickly above the 2000.00 Euros mark, though.

Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
In Review: Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
Lenovo Thinkpad X200s

Specifications

Lenovo ThinkPad X200s
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
, DDR3-8500, 1x2048MB, max. 4096MB
Display
12.1 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA TFT, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel GS45
Harddisk
250 GB - 5400 rpm, 250 GB 
5400 rpm ST9250827AS
Soundcard
HD Audio
Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 56k V90 Modem, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Card Reader: 5in1 Media Card Reader,
Networking
Intel(R) 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5300 (a b g n ), 2.0 Bluetooth
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 29 x 287 x 295 ( = 1.14 x 11.3 x 11.61 in)
Weight
1.35 kg ( = 47.62 oz) Power Supply: 340 g ( = 11.99 oz)
Battery
62.2 Wh Lithium-Ion, Li-Ion
Price
1400 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Business 32 Bit
Additional features
36 Months Warranty, 2GB Intel Turbo Memory, Webcam

 

[+] compare
The X200s from Lenovo is a typical representative from the Thinkpad Business Notebook series.
The X200s from Lenovoe is a typical representative from the Thinkpad Business Notebook series.
This bids the well-known qualities and is very suitable even for heavy writers.
This bids the well-known qualities and is very suitable even for heavy writers.
Also included is the Drainage-System, which conveys spilled fluids from the keyboard and protects the System from a major crash.
Also included is the Drainage-System, which conveys spilled fluids from the keyboard and protects the System from a major crash.
Hotkeys for regulating the volume and the ThinkVantage key also belong to the standard configuration.
Hotkeys for regulating the volume and the ThinkVantage key also belong to the standard configuration.
There are two variations with different resolutions to choose available for the display
There are two variations with different resolutions to choose available for the display
The tested screen shows a good brightness and is thanks to the matt display surface also suitable for outdoor use without further ado.
The tested screen shows a good brightness and is thanks to the matt display surface also suitable for outdoor use without further ado.
An SL9400 CPU from Intel provides for adequate performance, which has a maximum total of up to 4GB DDR3 RAM.
An SL9400 CPU from Intel provides for adequate performance, which has a maximum total of up to 4GB DDR3 RAM.
Basically, SSDs are to be preferred for a mobile used notebook because these are considerably more insensitive against jolts.
Basically, SSDs are to be preferred for a mobile used notebook because these are considerably more insensitive against jolts.
The fan of our test sample always stayed at a barely audible level, but the common hard disk built in provided for a permanent present soundscape.
The fan of our test sample always stayed at a barely audible level, but the common hard disk built in provided for a permanent present soundscape.
In regular use the heating up of the case always stayed within a limit.
In regular use the heating up of the case always stayed within a limit.
At the end, even the solitary built in speaker delivered a very acceptable sound.
At the end, even the solitary built in speaker delivered a very acceptable sound.
Almost the complete case breadth is used to accomodate a full-fledged keyboard in the 12 inch Thinkpad X200s.
Almost the complete case breadth is used to accomodate a full-fledged keyboard in the 12 inch Thinkpad X200s.
Lenovo doesn't go in for any compromises regarding the keyboard.
Lenovo doesn't go in for any compromises regarding the keyboard.
The design of the case turns out very plain and reserved, colorful highlights are searched for in vain.
The design of the case turns out very plain and reserved, colorful highlights are searched for in vain.
With one exeption: The well-known red trackpoint is situated in the center of the keyboard, as usual.
With one exeption: The well-known red trackpoint is situated in the center of the keyboard, as usual.
Lenovo puts special emphasize on the case construction which should protect the built in hardware even under extreme pressure.
Lenovo puts special emphasize on the case construction which should protect the built in hardware even under extreme pressure.
A case-tray made of magnesium as well as carbon fibers and fiberglas are used in the area of the display lid.
A case-tray made of magnesium as well as carbon fibers and fiberglas are used in the area of the display lid.
The well-proven Clam-Shell principle of the display is also encountered again in the Thinkpad X200s.
The well-proven Clam-Shell principle of the display is also encountered again in the Thinkpad X200s.
As well as the robust and Thinkpad typical metal hinges,...
As well as the robust and Thinkpad typical metal hinges,...
...that are fabricated from one massive piece of metal and promise a long durability with that.
...that are fabricated from one massive piece of metal and promise a long durability with that.
Only the basic ports are offered on the device itself but not always with an optimal arrangement.
Only the basic ports are offered on the device itself but not always with an optimal arrangement.
Fortunately, you can dispose of cumbersome plugs on the sides due to the docking port.
Fortunately, you can dispose of cumbersome plugs on the sides due to the docking port.
There is also an integrated broadband modem available optionally, which rounds off the mobility of the X200s.
There is also an integrated broadband modem available optionally, which rounds off the mobility of the X200s.

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Compare Prices

Lenovo ThinkPad X200s on Ciao

Pro

+Superb case stability
+Docking port
+Extensive communication possibilities
+3 year warranty ex-factory
+Biggest possible dimensioning of the keyboard
+Full-fledged and pleasant to use keyboard
+Bright, outdoor suitable display
+Low emissions with standard applications
+Battery upgrades available
 

Cons

-Connection positioned on the case
-No touchpad
-Present hard disk in the test device

Shortcut

What we liked

First class input devices at very compact case measurements.

What we missed

The also available WXGA+ LED display in our test sample. The better overview as well as the LED technology makes this to the more favorable alternative.

What surprised us

The risk of sending a notebook without a touchpad into the race - respect.

The competitors

Business notebooks of the classic 12" subnotebook category, especially devices from Dell and HP. Because of the striking price differences maybe also larger sized mini-notebooks.

Rating

Lenovo ThinkPad X200s
10/23/2008
J. Simon Leitner

Chassis
92%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
82%
Weight
96%
Battery
70%
Display
80%
Games Performance
58%
Application Performance
83%
Temperature
88%
Noise
88%
Add Points
90%
Average
84%
86%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review: Lenovo Thinkpad X200s Notebook
Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2009-02-28 (Update: 2012-05-26)