Lenovo ThinkPad X270 review: A compact, powerful business laptop

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
ThinkPad X270

You want a small, powerful laptop. The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 could be what you are looking for.

TA-ratings-89When it comes to hauling your business laptop back and forth to work, smaller is always better. And even though you would like a small laptop, you also need it to perform like a powerhouse. Can the Lenovo ThinkPad X270 laptop live up to these expectations? Keep reading for the full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X270.

Specifications

The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 sent to us for review has the following specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7600 CPU @ 2.80GHz
  • GPU: Intel HD 620 integrated graphics
  • Display: 12.5″ 1920 x 1280 IPS, anti-glare, non-touch
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • SSD: 500GB PCle SSD OPAL2.0
  • Connectivity: WLAN: Intel dual-band wireless-AC (2×2) 8265 + Bluetooth 4.1
  • Camera: 720p
  • Audio: Dolby Advanced Audio
  • Security: dTPM 2.0, touch fingerprint scanner
  • Inputs: 1 USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, RJ45, headphone & mic combo jack, WWAN SIM
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs
  • Up to 21-hour battery life
  • Built-in microphone

What’s In The Box

  • ThinkPad X270
  • Power adapter

Design

The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 laptop is just what you would expect from a business oriented laptop. Nothing fancy, just a plain black plastic laptop with a screen and a keyboard. The plastic on the outside of the X270 is matte black with a non-slip finish. Although made of plastic, the body of the X270 still has a sturdy feel to it. And at just 2.9 lbs, it would be ideal for users who are on the go or just need to haul a laptop back and forth every day.

Inside you will find a keyboard that is very comfortable to use. There is a TrackPad and a fingerprint scanner used for logging into your X270. Lenovo touts that should you forget your login password; you can log into your X270 using the fingerprint scanner. That’s a feature that I’m sure we would have all liked to have had at one point in our lives. The X270 has 1 USB-C,  2 USB 3.0, an HDMI, an RJ45, a headphone/microphone combo jack, and you can also get a smart card reader as an option. The design is utilitarian but functional which keeps in line with what the ThinkPad series is all about.

Display

Screen resolution of the ThinkPad X270 is 1920×1080 with a screen size of 12.5 inches. The screen is crisp, text is very clear, and brightness is adjustable from dark gray to very bright. The screen is anti-glare, which I put to the test by sitting in front of a window on a sunny day. Below you’ll see a photo that I took of the screen in direct sunlight. Even under those circumstances, the screen remained visible. I was able to continue using the X270 without any problems seeing the screen. Viewing angles are also very good on the X270; I was still able to read text on the screen at about a 70-degree angle. Considering this is a business oriented machine, there probably won’t be a lot of video watching going on. However should the opportunity arise, the screen does a good job handling entertainment-style video like Netflix and YouTube.

ThinkPad X270

X270 screen in full sunlight.

Software/Ecosystem

The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 we received came with Windows 10 Pro. If you are just a typical home user doing some web surfing, using MS Office, and playing an occasional game of solitaire, you probably don’t need Windows 10 Pro. The Pro version has more security features such as Windows Information Protection, Bitlocker, as well as Windows Store for Business and Windows Update for Business. Lenovo makes many other consumer level machines that may suit a home user a bit better.The X270 does come with a bit of bloatware installed, such as Sling, Skype, and a variety of games. It would be nice to have just what you needed to run the computer pre-installed and maybe allow the user to choose what they want to include. This isn’t a practice unique to Lenovo as most PC makers tend to include software partners who help keep costs down.

Performance

The X270 we reviewed came equipped with an Intel Core i7, great for having multiple applications open at the same time. The Intel HD 620 integrated graphics will limit any game playing to games that don’t put much demand on the GPU. In other words, you’re probably not going to be playing Crysis on this thing. There is no touch screen available on the X270, but you can maneuver the cursor around the screen with the TrackPad and the TrackPoint. The TrackPad allows you to move the cursor as well as single and double click. I had problems using the TrackPad as it was very sensitive and I repeatedly found myself opening apps that I did not intend to. My kids, on the other hand, had no problems using the TrackPad, I guess it must just be my big, clumsy fingers that were causing me issues.

ThinkPad X270

Lenovo ThinkPad X270 trackpad

Camera

The Camera on the Lenovo ThinkPad X270 is nothing that will replace the camera on either an iPhone or an Android device. At 720p the picture is a bit grainy and could even be blurry when holding the X270 up to take a picture. I think the camera would be most useful when using Skype or Google Hangouts or other conference type software. Still, the picture isn’t the greatest but not many webcams are.

Speakers/Sound

The speakers on the X270 leave a lot to be desired. The sound they produce is typical of small speakers on small laptops, not very good. Headphones are recommended for any sort of entertainment type media you may be consuming.

Battery Life

The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 has an advertised battery lifespan of an incredible 21 hours. I did not test the X270 for 21 hours straight, but after 10 hours of mixed usage which included mostly web surfing, some game time, a few videos, and a bit of listening to music, the battery life is still at 49%. I did have the brightness down to about 75% for this entire time. Battery life will vary depending on your individual usage.

Price/Value

The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 has a starting price of $881.10+ USD. You can configure an X270 any way you want, of course, the price rises right along with the specs.

Wrap Up

The Lenovo ThinkPad X270 is billed as a business laptop, but of course, can be utilized in the home as well. The CPU on our unit is more than powerful enough for anything you throw at it, just don’t ask the GPU to do any serious gaming. The screen is bright and glare free, the touchpad is very responsive, and the battery life is exemplary. All in all, I would say the X270 is a great option if you need a powerhouse laptop that is light and portable.

*We were sent a review unit of the Lenovo ThinkPad X270 for the purposes of this review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X270

Lenovo ThinkPad X270
8.9

Design

10/10

    Display

    10/10

      Software/Ecosystem

      9/10

        Performance

        10/10

          Camera

          8/10

            Speakers/Sound

            5/10

              Battery Life

              10/10

                Price/Value

                9/10

                  Nailed it

                  • Great Display
                  • Battery Life
                  • Finger Print Scanner
                  • Perfect for business users

                  Needs work

                  • Speakers
                  • Camera
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