Lenovo ThinkPad X240 Ultrabook Review: A Philosophical Shift
Battery Life, Software and Warranty
This will probably be the most controversial aspect of the X240’s design—apart from perhaps the aforementioned touchpad mishaps. It isn’t that the battery life is poor; in fact, quite the opposite: it’s excellent. But whether it’s even practical to pursue such results at the expense of performance is the heart of the matter.
We received not one, but two different external batteries to evaluate with our X240 review: a 3-cell 23.5 Wh and a 6-cell 72 Wh battery. Plus, the unit also includes an internal battery of 23.5 Wh capacity. Since the system includes an internal battery, the external batteries can be easily swapped without having to shut the system down first. The terminology Lenovo uses to describe this process is Power Bridge, and we found that it worked mostly seamlessly and was quite convenient.
Let’s start with our results for the 3-cell external battery runtimes (along with the internal 3-cell battery):
Reader’s Test (3-cell external):
Classic Test (3-cell external):
Web Surfing (3-cell external):
Reader’s Test (6-cell external):
Classic Test (6-cell external):
Web Surfing (6-cell external):
Those are some fantastic numbers. Now let’s see how it compares to the competition:
Obviously, both of the new ThinkPads are leagues ahead of the field in terms of longevity. That’s due to the Haswell chipset, the switch to low voltage, the conservative thermal management, and the dual-battery design. It’s a quadfecta of battery-boosting goodness that pays off big time.
Maybe we’re crazy, but we aren’t so sure it’s worth it, however. It isn’t that we think choosing battery life over processing power is a silly decision—but rather, simply that there comes a point where additional battery life reaches seriously diminishing returns. For instance, we question how often most users really find greater than 7 hours battery life (average brightness, wireless on, constant web surfing) absolutely necessary and more valuable than optionally greater processing power—or, when equipped with the 6-cell external battery, 15 hours under the same circumstances. We feel that even cutting these numbers by 30—40% by including standard-voltage parts (to roughly 10 hours with a 6-cell 4.5 hours with a 3-cell) might have been a better way to please the X-series buyers, even if it doesn’t look quite as impressive on the spec sheets; after all, it’s always possible to dial down the brightness or choose a power-saving power plan if you’re really on the hunt for more runtime. That way, you get the best of both worlds—and the choice is yours.
The list of software that comes bundled with the X240 is somewhat less extensive than the T440s (not that that’s a bad thing), but for the most part, it’s just standard-fare new system stuff. It’s easily removed if you don’t appreciate having it, and around half of the inclusions are mere Windows 8 apps, and they’re small and unobtrusive anyway. Here’s the list:
- Norton™ Internet Security
- Lenovo® Companion
- Lenovo® Support
- Lenovo® Cloud Storage by SugarSync
- Lenovo® Settings
- Intel® AppUp
- Amazon Kindle
- Lenovo® Solutions Center
Like other preconfigured retail options, our X240 review system features a 3-year depot warranty. CTO units can be acquired from Lenovo directly for a lower price and a 1-year warranty instead. As always, it’s also possible to extend the warranty.