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Lenovo ThinkPad X250

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Where to Buy

What's Hot: Small and light yet durable and plenty of ports. Superb keyboard, good trackpad. Bridge batteries for long runtimes.

What's Not: Higher end display options could have wider color gamut.


Reviewed June 5, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Lenovo ThinkPad X250

The Lenovo ThinkPad X250 is unsurprisingly the successor to the ThinkPad X240. This is a business Ultrabook with a 12.5" display and it runs on Intel Broadwell 5th generation ULV CPUs with Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics. Unlike many consumer Ultrabooks, it's built to handle the bumps of travel and it is relatively serviceable and upgradeable.

The ThinkPad X line has always been the ultraportable among Lenovo laptops, but the boundary has blurred thanks to the also compact and slim Lenovo T series "s" models like the ThinkPad T450s we recently reviewed, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (the ultra-slim 14" Lenovo ThinkPad) and even the Lenovo Yoga series, both consumer and ThinkPad families. Though the X250 may share nearly its entire DNA with the T450s, it remains the one of the smallest footprint ThinkPads you can buy (an honor it shares with the ThinkPad Yoga 12.5").

Lenovo ThinkPad X250

The machine is sturdy, built to withstand MIL-SPEC tests for moisture, vibration and dust and it has an easy to clean matte black carbon fiber casing with a metal roll cage. Yes, it has Lenovo's signature ThinkPad look: it's an understated black rectangle that's kinda cool in its no-nonsense minimalism. At 0.80" thick, it's not terribly skinny, but it's not chunky either. That thickness allows for a deeper keyboard with more travel--a more than welcome tradeoff for those who write often and at length. In fact, the X250 is up there with the best keyboards available on a ThinkPad, and that puts it in good company since ThinkPad deeper travel keyboards are the best. That lack of extreme thinness also allows room for more ports, and that's what sets the ThinkPad X250 apart from most Ultrabooks- it has a wide selection of ports including the rare RJ45 gigabit Ethernet port. It has a traditional ThinkPad docking station connector on the bottom, and businesses that have a collection of ThinkPad docking stations will appreciate the cost savings.

Standard features include a backlit keyboard, fingerprint scanner, dual band Intel 7265 WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. A 4G LTE module (it fits in the available M.2 slot) with SIM card slot is available for $149.

Lenovo ThinkPad X250


Since this is an Ultrabook with ULV 15 watt Intel Broadwell 5th generation CPUs and the usual Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics, it generally is quiet and doesn't get hot. Once again that thickness helps since the CPU and hotter components need not be right against the casing. Carbon fiber doesn't conduct heat as uncomfortably as chic aluminum either. The X250 is an all-rounder in terms of market; you can get the base model for $800 with a Core i3, 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig HDD. Or you can go for a higher end model like ours with a Core i5, 8 gigs of RAM and a 180 gig Intel SSD plus the top 1080p with touch display for $1500. An Intel Core i7 is also available, as are higher capacity SSDs.

Performance is typical of Intel Haswell and Broadwell ULV Ultrabooks in terms of benchmarks and experiential performance (Haswell and Broadwell perform similarly, Broadwell improves battery life and slightly speeds up integrated graphics). This is a good all purpose laptop that has enough power to be a main machine, and it can tackle software development, productivity, photo editing and moderate video editing.

Lenovo ThinkPad X250

If you remove the Phillips head screws that affix the bottom cover, you gain access to the internal battery, single RAM slot, SATA SSD/HDD bay (it has a 2.5" slim drive), the WiFi/Bluetooth card and open M.2 slot that Lenovo intends for the optional Sierra Wireless LTE module. Since RAM modules generally max out at 8 gigs, that's the max the laptop can hold. Intelligent Memory does make 16 gig modules, but so far they're the only company doing so. Given the CPU and integrated GPU, 8 gigs is a fairly good match for the capabilities of this laptop. If you're running multiple VMs, editing long 1080p videos professionally or doing advanced CAD and 3D rendering work, you'd be better served with a 15" quad core laptop designed for heavy lifting.


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo ThinkPad X250 Video Review



PCMark 7: 4855
PCMark 8 Home: 2691
Geekbench 3: 2651, multi-core 5301
wPrime: 19.7 sec.

PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table

Lenovo ThinkPad X250 (Core i5, SSD) 4855
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s (Core i5, SSD) 5283
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3rd Gen (core i5-5300U) 5157
Dell XPS 13 - 2015, 2.2 GHz Core i5-5200U 4952
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Core i5 5111
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 (HDD, factory spec/ SSD) 3733/ 4603
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga (Core i5-4200U, 12.5") 4769
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro 4673
Lenovo ThinkPad X240 4278
Samusng ATIV Book 9 Plus 5050
Acer Aspire S7 (Core i7-4500U) 5075
Asus Zenbook UX303LA, Core i5 4879


Lenovo offers 4 display options--that's quite a lot. The base 1366 x 768 display uses a TN panel and has only 200 nits brightness. Clearly that option is there for IT departments who need to buy the machines as cheaply as possible. We strongly recommend moving up at least to the 1366 x 768, 300 nit IPS display for $80. It has much better brightness, much wider viewing angles and stronger contrast. The next step is the 1920 x 1080 IPS display with 400 nits brightness, which is extremely bright. It's sweet for $130 above base price. Lastly there's the model we have with the 1920 x 1080 touch screen and 360 nits brightness that's a pricey $330 above base price. All models have Lenovo's anti-glare coating.

Our touch screen full HD display actually exceeded Lenovo's claims and measured 391 nits according to our Spyder 4 Pro colorimeter. Color gamut was less impressive at 70% of sRGB and 52% of Adobe RGB. Ultrabooks in the $850 and higher price range often reach 99% of sRGB and 75% of Adobe RGB. The ThinkPad X250 touch display is by no means bland looking and it's rather pleasant for watching movies and is clear for reading text. It's simply not the right choice for graphics and video professionals who need complete sRGB coverage. The factory calibration wasn't particularly good, but it was well corrected by our Spyder 4 Pro.


The X250 like the T450s, uses Lenovo's Power Bridge battery system that we love. There's a 3 cell, 23 Whr internal battery that drains last and allows for hot-swapping the removable battery at the rear. There are two removable batteries available, a 3 cell/23 Whr and a 6 cell/72 Whr. The 6 cell adds just $5 to the system cost at time of purchase direct from Lenovo. Lenovo claims up to 20 hour runtimes with the internal 3 cell + 6 cell external battery. That's optimistic unless you're doing very little with the machine and have the brightness nearly turned off. In our tests we set brightness to 40%, have WiFi on and do a mix of MS Office, email, social networking, edit 15 RAW images in Photoshop and play a 1 hour episode of Netflix. The ThinkPad X250 averaged 15 hours with the 6 cell removable battery and 7.6 hours with the 3 cell removable battery. Obviously, the Power Bridge battery system is a selling point for those who need long battery life and the ability to swap in spare batteries on the road. Lenovo's own 12.5" ThinkPad Yoga can't do that. Of course the Yoga can convert into a tablet and it's available with a digital pen--different strokes for different folks.


I've been a fan of the Lenovo ThinkPad X series for many years. This year's refresh with the latest Intel processors and the revised trackpad with hardware buttons keep the X250 fresh and appealing for those who need a durable yet highly portable laptop with a fantastic keyboard, good trackpad and long battery life with the 6 cell battery. If you want a traditional laptop rather than a convertible and need a hearty selection of ports in an ultraportable, this could be your next laptop.


Price: starting at $800, $1,500 as tested

Related Reviews:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) Review

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 Review

Dell XPS 13 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad E450 Review

13" Retina MacBook Pro (2015) Review



Lenovo ThinkPad X250



Lenovo ThinkPad X250



Lenovo ThinkPad X250



Lenovo ThinkPad X250


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Display: 12.5", 1366 x 768 LED display (touch and non-touch available, IPS available) and 1920 x 1080 IPS with and without touch available. Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics. mini DisplayPort and VGA port.

Battery: 3 cell, 23 Whr Lithium Ion rechargeable in front location (internal). Optional 3 and 6 cell batteries available for rear removable battery bay.

Performance: Intel Broadwell 5th generation Core i3, i5 and i7 U series ULV Ultrabook CPUs. 4 or 8 gigs RAM (1 RAM slot). 2.5" SATA drive bay with HDD or SSD.

Size: 12.03 x 8.21 x .80 inches. Weight: 2.88 pounds (internal battery).

Camera: 1.3MP webcam with built-in dual array mics and enhancements for VoIP.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Dual band Intel 7265AC WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac. Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit wired RJ-45 Ethernet. Sierra Wireless 4G LTE is optional.

Software: Windows 8.1 64 bit or Windows 7.

Expansion and Ports: Two USB 3.0 ports, VGA, Ethernet, 3.5mm combo audio, mini DisplayPort, SD card slot and SIM card slot on 3G/4G models.



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