Lenovo ThinkPad X200 (NR23SUK) review

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The Lenovo X200 is no stranger to the PC Pro office, having walked away with a Recommended award in our first encounter thanks to its NR35TUK incarnation.

But with that particular model now discontinued, we asked Lenovo to send in the NR23SUK to see if it could follow in its sibling’s diminutive footsteps.

Physically, they’re identical. Some might declare this a terrible thing, as the X200 has a design that only maternal black boxes could love, but never forget this is a business laptop before all else.

If you want your employees to make a serious, down-to-earth impression, and you want a laptop built to last, nothing does it quite like a ThinkPad.

It’s no bulky beast, either, weighing in at 1.55kg and measuring just 35mm at its thickest point. Admittedly that’s 8mm thicker and 360g heavier than Dell’s Latitude E4200 , which is also much sexier, but we know which we’d prefer to use every day.

The main reason for our preference is the screen. Both the E4200 and the X200 include a 12.1in TFT with a 1,280 x 800 resolution, but whereas the E4200’s lacks colour accuracy and suffers from poor viewing angles, the X200’s is among the best you’ll find on a laptop.

Add an excellent keyboard, and the X200 becomes a real joy to travel with. Though some people might prefer the E4200’s trackpad to Lenovo’s choice of a trackpoint, we found the latter very easy to use in part due to the screen’s limited dimensions.

Another big advantage of the X200 is its speed. The NR23SUK includes a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and, together with the 2GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM, it chomped through our benchmarks to score 1.14.

That’s 14% faster than our baseline desktop system, a 3.2GHz Pentium D desktop, and a fraction faster than the original X200 we tested despite the latter’s superior specifications.

More importantly, that amount of power means the X200 can effortless perform all the duties of a main PC (the Dell, with its ultra-low voltage processor, will struggle with more demanding tasks), and to aid things still further this particular configuration includes the X200 UltraBase docking station complete with a DVD writer.

When you do want to use the X200 away from base, you should be similarly pleased with its battery life. It kept going for 5hrs 17mins in our light-use test, and providing you’re not pushing the processor to the max you should get around four-and-a-half hours in real-world use too. A word of warning though: under intense use, with the CPU at 100% load, it lasted for less than two hours.

One feature we’re less enamoured with is that the integrated HSDPA modem only works with Vodafone SIMs; you get a 30-day trial of the service, but it’s still an unnecessary limitation. The rest of its wireless capabilities are unblemished: 802.11 draft-n WLAN and Bluetooth 2.1 are both as good as you can get.

It adds up to another excellent business laptop. Although we’d advise anyone who can afford an extra £200 or so to take a look at our current ultraportable A List resident – the Sony VAIO VGN-Z21MN/B – before splashing out, the X200 is a great alternative due to the all-round package you’re getting for the price.

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