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Lenovo X220 for college laptop

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 3, 2011 5:37:06 AM

Hi everyone so I will be off to college in a couple of months and now is the time for me to get a laptop. I was looking into the Lenovo X220 as an option as well as the Macbook Pro 13in both are around the same price range and differ in specs a little. What do you think about the Lenovo X220 with this configuration:

Processor: Intel Core i7-2620M Processor (2.7GHz, 4MB L3, 1333MHz FSB) USB 3.0
Operating system: Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
Operating system language: Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64 English
Windows XP Mode: Microsoft Windows 7 XP Mode - English Edit
Display type: 12.5" Premium HD (1366x768) LED Backlit Display, Mobile Broadband Ready, 2x2 Antenna
Total memory: 4 GB DDR3 - 1333MHz (1 DIMM)
Keyboard: Keyboard US English
Fingerprint reader: Fingerprint Reader
Camera: 720p HD Camera
Hard drive: 320 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Micro Hard Drive: No Micro Solid State Drive
Battery: ThinkPad Battery 29++ (9 cell)
Power cord: Country Pack North America with Line cord & 65W AC adapter
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0 Edit
Integrated WiFi wireless LAN adapters: Intel Centrino Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250
Integrated mobile broadband: Integrated Mobile Broadband (Sierra Wireless MC8355 – Gobi 3000 (TM))
Selectable SIM: SIM Card: USA Edit
Language pack: Language Pack US English

The price turns out to be $1300 which is reasonable I guess compared to the entry level Macbook Pro.

Every comment helps. Thanks So much.
a c 244 D Laptop
July 3, 2011 6:23:12 AM

Hello and welcome to the forums
Compared to MBP 13",you get a faster CPU and a slightly faster HDD but a worse display and no backlit keyboard(if that's important for you) So it all comes down to the OS preference.If you want windows go with X220;otherwise,go with MBP 13
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July 5, 2011 3:58:26 AM

The Premium HD display is actually an IPS display so it is better than the macbook pro's TN panel.

The 1 DIMM is probably not a good idea because the memory will not run in dual channel mode. You should probably either choose a 2 DIMM configuration or plan to buy an extra DIMM and put it in yourself.

Also be warned that the hard drive is not a standard size, it a slightly thinner than a regular drive so you won't be able to replace it with a bigger one.

Finally, did you price this through lenovo's educational site? If not you'll get a decent discount.

Ultimately, I can't really choose between the Thinkpad and the MBP. The thinkpad doesn't look as nice but is ultimately a more "rugged" computer. The touchpad on the MBP is really good. If weight and size are important then the Thinkpad is lighter (2.85lbs to 4.5lbs) and thinner (.75" to .95"). However, the MBP does have a CD drive which might explain some of the size and weight difference.
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July 5, 2011 5:10:31 AM

I plan on putting in an extra DIMM I opted not to spend more through Lenovo when I could do it myself for cheaper...

No I did not price this through the educational website. I'm not sure how to access the website for students.

For me I would prefer a computer that doesn't weigh a ton and is easy to carry around. I feel like the MBP is way to flashy and tends to not have as many options as the Lenovo. As per the CD drive I believe I have a spare usb drive at home so that wouldn't be so bad.
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a c 244 D Laptop
July 5, 2011 6:47:05 AM

Although X220 has an ISP display but MBP uses one of the best TN panels.
Anyway,like I said,it comes down to OS preference since the specs are pretty much the same
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July 5, 2011 4:19:33 PM

the hard drive is probably a 1.8" drive, which is upgradable, but it will cost more than a standard laptop hard drive. but on the mac, you will have the same issue because you will need to purchase the hard drive from apple which will cost an arm and a leg (and your soul).
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July 19, 2011 3:11:59 PM

Maziar said:
Although X220 has an ISP display but MBP uses one of the best TN panels.
Anyway,like I said,it comes down to OS preference since the specs are pretty much the same


I have an x220 and must say the display is one of the best I've seen in a laptop: great viewing angles, bright and above all matte. I really hate glossy displays, matte ones are so much easier to read for long periods of time. The one I've got on the x220 looks like paper (think e-reader) and I really love it.

I also had to decide between a MBP and the x220. The MBP does have a far better trackpad (nothing comes close to it) but overall I guess the x220 is better in almost every aspect: processor, display, weight, price. And I do like Windows more than I do MacOS (you can flame me it you feel like it), and I love my tools in black :-D
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a c 439 D Laptop
July 19, 2011 5:13:00 PM

Seems like a good laptop. The only think I'll say is that you can cut down the cost if you opt for less than "premium" options like:

1. Windows 7 Home instead of Windows 7 Pro.
2. Using the standard integrate mobile broadband instead of Sierra Wireless.
3. ThinkPad b/g/n instead of Centrino Advanced N + WiMax

If you have a specific need or want for those thing then that fine. It's just something I wanted to point out.
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July 19, 2011 5:20:41 PM

Is it possible to install an aftermarket mobile broadband such as the Sierra Wireless if I opt to not have it. I have the same question Centrino Advanced N + WiMax.
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a c 439 D Laptop
July 19, 2011 6:26:03 PM

Regarding Sierra Wireless, I don't know. You'll have to call them and ask if that is some type of integrated package.

Centrino Advanced N + WiMax would be integrated into the laptop so that cannot upgraded after you buy the laptop.

The question is do you really need those options? How much will your wireless experience improve by having those options?
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July 19, 2011 6:55:59 PM

shrikitiki2011 said:
Is it possible to install an aftermarket mobile broadband such as the Sierra Wireless if I opt to not have it. I have the same question Centrino Advanced N + WiMax.


I'm no expert but what I can tell you is that none of the screws on my x220 has a warranty seal. It looks like they let you upgrade anything without voiding your warranty.
To see how easy they make it for you just download the maintenance manual from their site:
http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_...

If you need WiMax you might not even have to upgrade it, buying an ExpressCard WiMax module might be easier and cheaper.
http://www.engadget.com/2008/10/02/samsungs-swc-e100-xo...
http://www.sierrawireless.com/productsandservices/AirCa...


jaguarskx said:

The question is do you really need those options? How much will your wireless experience improve by having those options?

It's hard to decide what you need. It's one thing what you need now, totally different story in 6 months. So making sure you have options to upgrade it in the future is important.
I understand shrikitiki2011, I've only had mine for a week and already looking to upgrade it (already ordered 4 more GB of RAM, shopping around for a SSD etc.). Thing is that it's a great machine, I love using it and if it's as reliable as you would expect from a ThinkPad I might keep it for a long time, so upgrades are a must to keep up.
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a c 439 D Laptop
July 21, 2011 1:41:11 AM

I would at least research the more premium technologies to determine if the potential extra bandwidth is worth the price.
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July 22, 2011 5:47:31 AM

What would you say about the new Macbook Airs compared to this Lenovo X220
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a c 244 D Laptop
July 22, 2011 6:50:11 AM

Which MBA ? 11" or 13" ?
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a c 244 D Laptop
July 23, 2011 7:27:58 AM

Well,MBA is lighter,thinner,has backit keyboard and SSD(which X220 stock models don't have).On the other hand,X220 can be customized with an IPS display and has better build quality
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