Lenovo ThinkPad X121e notebook review

Basic but quality business laptop - now at a bargain price!
Photo of Lenovo ThinkPad X121e notebook
From £386

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X121e is a basic laptop for mobile professionals. It isn’t an all-singing, all-dancing machine. But it is an affordable machine with some great design features.

Small, neat, portable
Weighing in at just 1.36kg, the Lenovo ThinkPad X121e is exceptionally light – and small, too, at 290x208x24mm. It’ll fit into tiny bags or rucksacks easily.

That obviously means there’s not room for a very large screen, and in fact, at 11.6in the display isn’t much larger than you’ll find on a netbook. Its 1366×768 pixels are sharp and clear, though, and viewing angles are great. The chassis build is solid, with a particularly tough lid – something that helps you carry this notebook around with confidence.

Lenovo ThinkPad X121e notebook

Trademark keyboard
The keyboard area of the ThinkPad X121e is  immediately recognisable as in Lenovo’s style. There’s a trackpoint – a sort of small rubber dome that functions as a joystick to move the mouse pointer – between the G, B and H keys, and a button under the space bar you can use with it for scrolling. There’s a touchpad too, and two mouse buttons above it, a further two are integrated into its bottom edge. The system is all very familiar, and very easy to use.

Lenovo makes superb keyboards, and the spill resistant, ‘isolation style’ keyboard here, with space between the keys, is very good indeed. It feels great under the fingers with solid keys that depress well, though because of the notebook’s physical size things are necessarily a bit cramped for people with the very largest hands.

Lenovo ThinkPad X121e notebook

Solid spec
Lenovo lists two Intel-based versions of this notebook at its web site – both apparently slashed to nearly half-price. One now retails for £386 inc. VAT, the other for £451. The key differences between the two are RAM (2GB vs 4GB), battery size (3 cell vs 6 cell) and version of Windows 7 (Home Premium or Professional).

Both laptops share a 1.3GHz Intel Core i3-2357M processor, Intel GMA HD Gfx 3000 integrated graphics, and a 320GB hard drive. You can customise these specifications a little to suit your own needs.

There’s no optical drive, but the chassis does offer VGA and HDMI connectors, Ethernet, a combined microphone and headset port and three USB ports – one of which provides power for host-powered devices – and an SD card slot. There’s a webcam too.

Company: Lenovo

Website: http://www.lenovo.co.uk/

Contact: Lenovo on 0870 608 4465

Positives
  • Solid build, good screen, great keyboard.
Negative
  • No optical drive, lacking in oomph for really demanding tasks.

Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad X121e is a lovely little laptop. It's great for general all round computing, and with a suggested battery life of up to 9.3 hours it looks to us like a winner.