Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the super-light business ultrabook to beat, but it also costs more than $1,500. Lenovo's new ThinkPad X280 provides a more affordable option, starting at $999 and weighing in at the same 2.5 pounds as the Carbon.
With a thickness of 0.7-inches, the 12.5-inch ThinkPad X280 is not only the lightest X200 series laptop ever, but also the thinnest. Its predecessor, the ThinkPad X270, had a starting weight of 2.98 pounds and was 0.8 inches thick. When we lifted up the X280 at Lenovo's CES demo suite, we were impressed with just how light it felt.
Despite the slim profile, the X280 finds room for dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB Type-A ports and an HDMI out. It also uses Lenovo's new side docking standard, which lets the two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a tiny, proprietary Ethernet connector attach to one of the company's new docks. The keyboard, which felt good during our brief hands-on, has a deep 1.8mm of key travel.
In slimming down the laptop, Lenovo didn't sacrifice any ports, but it did dump the removable Power Bridge battery from the ThinkPad X270. The X280 is the first X200 series to feature a sealed-in battery and, while that may be necessary to achieve this weight, its absence may be a cause for concern.
With its optional, 6-cell battery on board, the X270 lasted a fantastic 13 hours and 51 minutes on the Laptop Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi. However, with its default, 3-cell unit, the time dropped to a below-average mark of 6 hours and 44 minutes. Without Power Bridge, there's no option to add an extended battery.
On the inside, the ThinkPad X280 sports an Intel 8th Gen Core Series CPU, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB storage on an SSD. Unlike the ThinkPad X270, this model is not available with a mechanical hard drive.
The 12.5-inch display is available in 1080p, 1080p touch and 1366 x 768 resolutions. The touch panel uses in-cell touch technology, which eliminates the need for a reflective cover glass layer, and saves power. If you opt for the 1366 x 768 display (and please don't), the lid is a little bit thicker and the laptop weighs a tiny bit more.
Like all the other 2018 ThinkPads, the X280 has a physical cover that slides into place over its webcam. If you are worried about a hacker breaking into your computer and using the camera to spy on you, this feature can help you feel secure.
The ThinkPad X280 should be available later this month. We look forward to testing it and seeing how long it lasts on a charge.
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