It got plenty of reviews, and a few editor's choices, from tech blogs online (here, here, here, here, here) but not a lot from a real user so here's my experience
Full brightness is crazy bright. Any kind of indoor situation and it's much nicer on your eyes for it to be at half or a little higher than high brightness. Very little glare. Outside at full brightness screen is wonderful.
Watched Bones on Hulu at HD (720p) and wow. Fell in love with the screen. It's a $30 upgrade (at least when I got it) to an IPS screen and it's well worth it. Ppl complained a lot about 1366x788 (16:9 ratio, not 16:10 which most people prefer), but tbh not a big deal. I feel like I have a lot of real estate.
Wow. This thing is a real joy to use. I've owned a few laptops over the years and used several other people's laptops, but I've never used a keyboard that made me want to write something (partly why I'm writing this). Full size keyboard, the tactile feel is amazing, wish the Fn and Ctrl keys were swapped (and wish the pgup pgdn were with the directional keys), but no biggie. I can change them in the settings. Keyboard is making me not want to another brand again
very light. almost as light as my netbook. i believe under 4 lb. another really nice aspect is that the ac adaptor is quite small and light and not annoying at all to carry around battery life on this thing is amazing. i've been using it since 5 or so (it's now almost 1). I've watched a few hulu videos on it, web browsing, downloaded a few programs, a windows 7 pro ISO, and I'm still at half battery life. Screen was at 70, 80% brightness. It's rated for 13, 14 hours for light web browsing at half brightness. With the slice battery it's rated for 23 hours. wish i bought the slice battery. it's currently retailing for 220 something. with discounts if i had bought it with the laptop i could've gotten it at 130 something. still dont think i really need it, but no doubt it would be nice.
Sata III interface is nice, but the fact is the HD bay is only 7mm tall and very few drives support this (micron m4 for SSDs, Hitachi's travelstar for HDDs). SATA III is the new generation hard drive interface where the theoretical potential for transfer speeds can be up to 6gbps, twice that of the previous generation. HDDs come nowhere near this, but for SSDs this is a bottleneck. the better feature imo is the availability of mSATA drives (mini SSDs) that fit in the WWAN/expresscard slot. current generation mSATA drives dont have SATA III and are only as fast as previous generation SSDs, but still blazing fast and the fact that you can combine an mSATA SSD and a HDD in one computer is just awesome. However Intel 310 (only major company mSATSA available, read: not chinese OEM) are all sold out. at 180 for 80gb a must buy. I've yet to install it, but I've seen real life videos at the lenovo booth with a x220 using an ssd with uefi instead of bios and the computer boots up in 10 seconds. i get like 40s to a minute with a 7200rpm HDD. also thinkpad indestructibility is pretty famous. magnesium roll cage, spill proof keyboard, US milspec testing, all that good stuff. price is also extremely good. got it for 950 or so (i5-2540, 2gb ram, intel 6205, 320gb 7200rpm hdd, 9 cell battery, IPS screen). spent 80 to upgrade it to 8gb ram. Considering previous generations went for around 2k, this is an excellent price.
Laptopmag rates Lenovo's service and warranty as second best next to apple. My camera had some frostiness inside of the clear plastic lens cover and I called customer service. Got on the phone right away and got an honest to god amurrikan. Got a one day shipping box for UPS the next morning. Shipped it out. A week later got my laptop back. I also told them about about CPU overheating and now it doesnt overheat at all. Temperature without intel turbo boost stays below 54 degrees at all times. With turbo it can get up to an uncomfortable 90 degrees, which is low enough and achieved without my zalman cooler.
Wireless was super slow when first opened. Apparently has outdated drivers. Easy fix through the Lenovo Device Experience which leads you almost right to driver updates.
trackpad kinda is a bummer. almost the size of my netbook trackpad (ie small). the integrated buttons sounds nice in idea, but the experience hasnt been smooth. the right click sometimes doesnt work properly (maybe i click too far to the left). the multi touch scrolling just plain sucks especially compared to apple. vertical scrolling just does not work smoothly. one finger horizontal scrolling works better. one finger vertical is non existent. i just use the pgup pgdn keys. the trackpad itself is ribbed (for your pleasure, har har har), but i think i actually prefer smooth. I cant help but feeling that if they moved the three keys for the navpoint button to beneath the trackpad, and gave us a non clickable trackpad, the experience would be much improved. blasphemy i know, but i dont see the point of having 5 buttons, 3 for the navpoint, 2 for the trackpad. i actually find myself using the trackpad keys as the navpoint keys. i would not mind just the navpoint either.
It was behaving a little oddly until i installed tpfancontrol. still not sure how to work this thing, but fan's quieter now and cpu is always under 70
bought a case advertised on the site to be for specifically 12 in laptops. it doesnt fit. there's like an extra two inches of space on top even with the 9 cell battery that sticks out. going to see if i can return it.
overall, really like the laptop. keyboard, screen, portability really makes up for everything else which i feel like were pretty minor and overcomeable critiques. i think it's perfect for traveling professionals and students. if i've convinced you to buy one the one tip i would give is that there are frequent discounts (10 to 15%) on top of the shareholder purchase program you can sign up for and use for free. there's also a student site, a government employee site (i think), employee friends and family site, and a visa member site that all offer a 5 to 10% discount from the official retail price and all of which except for the EFF site require nothing but an email address to sign up and use but buy ram, HDD, and SDD from 3rd parties as lenovo has a huge markup.
edit: added a section on service and edited so that the text wasnt a block anymore (from the forum upgrade). still loving my computer after a few months. would still highly recommend it
Edited by indesertum - 7/24/11 at 5:19pm