Lenovo arguably went overboard last year in tweaking the design of its premium ThinkPad X1 Carbon business laptop.
After the inevitable backlash from ThinkPad users, it has rolled back some of the more radical changes.
The X240, the other X series laptop, did not receive as many changes last year. As a result, this year's X250 model looks almost unchanged.
It is still very much a portable 12.5-inch laptop, despite being chunkier than the typical ultrabook. Do not be misled by its 20.3mm-thick chassis (Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro ultrabook is just 13mm thick) - the X250 weighs just 1.43kg.
The stocky appearance reflects the sturdiness of the laptop. Its chassis is reinforced with carbon fibre and is tested to military standards for its resistance to vibration, humidity and temperature changes.
Its lid does flex under pressure, but this flexibility could actually help prevent the screen from cracking. The hinges feel really strong and you can open the lid up to 180 degrees.
Besides two USB 3.0 ports, the X250 has VGA and mini-DisplayPort connectors. It has an Ethernet port, fingerprint reader and an SD card reader, along with a SIM card slot for optional 3G or LTE connectivity.
The overall impression: This is a no-nonsense computer that is all about getting things done, or doing exactly what its users want.
Lenovo has brought back the physical buttons at the top of the touchpad. These buttons are used by those who prefer the track point (the red nub in the middle of the keyboard) over the touchpad.
Like previous versions, the keyboard is excellent. It does not feel cramped and key travel is good. It is spill-resistant, too.
For those new to ThinkPad laptops, you probably just need to get used to having the Fn key as the leftmost key, unlike a standard keyboard which has the Ctrl key there instead. I am usually picky about the display, but I will give the X250 a pass despite its middling 1,366 x 768-pixel screen resolution. Although the screen itself is just 12.5 inches, it compensates by being bright with good viewing angles. You can upgrade to a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen. Touch is optional.
My review unit came with Windows 7 Professional, but you can choose between Windows 7 and 8.1. Either will give you a free upgrade to Windows 10 at the end of next month.
Its hard drive is reasonably quick, but not as fast as a solid-state drive (an upgrade option). The removable battery on my unit was fairly slim, but the laptop surprised me by lasting 6hr 10min in our battery test.
A functional business laptop that gets things done with minimal fuss.
Processor: Intel Core i5-5200U (2.2GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500
Screen: 12.5 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels
Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, VGA, mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jack
Battery: 24 watt-hour
Value for money 3/5
Battery life 4/5
This article was first published on June 24, 2015.
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