The X220 ThinkPad is the Best Laptop in the World
The X220 ThinkPad is the greatest laptop ever made and you're wrong if you think otherwise. No laptop hardware has since surpassed the nearly perfect build of the X220. New devices continue to get thinner and more fragile. Useful ports are constantly discarded for the sake of "design". Functionality is no longer important to manufacturers. Repairability is purposefully removed to prevent users from truly "owing" their hardware.
It's a mess out there. But thank goodness I still have my older, second-hand X220.
Before I get into the details explaining why this laptop is the very best of its kind, let's first take a look at my machine's basic specifications:
- CPU: Intel i7-2640M (4) @ 3.500GHz
- GPU: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor
- Memory: 16GB DDR3
- OS: Arch Linux / OpenBSD
- Resolution: 1366x768
With that out of the way, I will break down my thoughts on the X220 into five major sections: Build quality, available ports, the keyboard, battery life, and repairability.
The X220 (like most of Lenovo's older X/T models) is built like a tank. Although the inner pieces are sourced from mostly plastic, the device is still better equipped to handle drops and mishandling compared to that of more fragile devices (such as the MacBook Air or Framework). This is made further impressive since the X220 is actually composed of many smaller interconnected pieces (more on this later).
A good litmus test I perform on most laptops is the "corner test". You grab the base corner of a laptop in its open state. The goal is to see if the device displays any noticeable give or flex. In the X220's case: it feels rock solid. The base remains stiff and bobbing the device causes no movement on the opened screen. I'm aware that holding a laptop in this position is certainly not a normal use case, but knowing it is built well enough to do so speaks volumes of its construction.
The X220 is also not a lightweight laptop. This might be viewed as a negative for most users, but I actually prefer it. I often become too cautious and end up "babying" thinner laptops out of fear of breakage. A minor drop from even the smallest height will severely damage these lighter devices. I have no such worries with my X220.
As for the laptop's screen and resolution: your mileage may vary. I have zero issues with the default display or the smaller aspect ratio. I wrote about how I stopped using an external monitor, so I might be a little biased.
Overall, this laptop is a device you can snatch up off your desk, whip into your travel bag and be on your way. The rugged design and bulkier weight help put my mind at ease - which is something I can't say for newer laptop builds.
I don't think I need to explain how valuable it is to have functional ports on a laptop. Needing to carrying around a bunch of dongles for ports that should already be on the device just seems silly.
The X220 comes equipped with:
- 3 USB ports (one of those being USB3 on the i7 model)
- SD Card Reader
- 3.5mm Jack
- Ultrabay (SATA)
- Wi-Fi hardware kill-switch
Incredibly versatile and ready for anything I throw at it!
The classic ThinkPad keyboards are simply that: classic. I don't think anyone could argue against these keyboards being the golden standard for laptops. It's commendable how Lenovo managed to package so much functionality into such a small amount of real estate. Most modern laptops lack helpful keys such as
They're also an absolute joy to type on. The fact that so many people go out of their way to mod X230 ThinkPad models with X220 keyboards should tell you something... Why Lenovo moved away from these keyboards will always baffle me. (I know why they did it - I just think it's stupid).
Did I mention these classic keyboards come with the extremely useful Trackpoint as well?
Author's Note: This section is very subjective. The age, quality, and size of the X220's battery can have a massive impact on benchmarks. I should also mention that I run very lightweight operating systems and use DWM as opposed to a heavier desktop environment. Just something to keep in mind.
The battery life on my own X220 is fantastic. I have a brand-new 9-cell that lasts for roughly 5-6 hours of daily work. Obviously these numbers don't come close to the incredible battery life of Apple's M1/M2 chip devices, but it's still quite competitive against other "newer" laptops on the market.
Although, even if the uptime was lower than 5-6 hours, you have the ability to carry extra batteries with you. The beauty of swapping out your laptop's battery without needing to open up the device itself is fantastic. Others might whine about the annoyance of carrying an extra battery in their travel bag, but doing so is completely optional. A core part of what makes the X220 so wonderful is user control and choice. The X220's battery is another great example of that.
The ability to completely disassemble and replace almost everything on the X220 has to be one of its biggest advantages over newer laptops. No glue to rip apart. No special proprietary tools required. Just some screws and plastic snaps. If someone as monkey-brained as me can completely strip down this laptop and put it back together again without issue, then the hardware designers have done something right!
Best of all, Lenovo provides a very detailed hardware maintenance manual to help guide you through the entire process.
Bonus Round: Price
I didn't list this in my initial section "breakdown" but it's something to consider. I purchased my X220 off eBay for $175 Canadian. While this machine came with a HDD instead of an SSD and only 8GB of total memory, that was still an incredible deal. I simply swapped out the hard-drive with an SSD I had on hand, along with upgrading the DDR3 memory to its max of 16.
Even if you needed to buy those components separately you would be hard-pressed to find such a good deal for a decent machine. Not to mention you would be helping to prevent more e-waste!
What More Can I Say?
Obviously the title and tone of this article is all in good fun. Try not to take things so seriously! But, I still personally believe the X220 is one of, if not the best laptop in the world.