Lenovo's ThinkPad X230T Tablet PC, Tested And Reviewed

Battery Life

Battery Options

When you configure the X230T, you're able to choose between three- and six-cell batteries. The three-cell option installs flush with the chassis, while the six-cell battery protrudes from the rear. This configuration is less attractive-looking, but it nearly doubles battery life and also provides a nice edge to grip when you use the X230T in tablet mode. Paying an extra $10 for the larger battery seems like a no-brainer to us.

Battery Life: Real-World Use

It's been a while since we last used our in-house RLUMark benchmark, but it remains an excellent tool for highlighting real-world battery life. RLUMark is a “Real Life Use” benchmark that models real-world usage to measure battery life. In this case, the battery life metric is programmed to simulate a user typing at ~45 WPM and reading at ~200 WPM.

As IE8 is a multi-threaded application (one thread for each tab), this multi-threaded RLUMark benchmark includes website navigation and scrolling calculated to a reading speed of ~200 WPM. On Amazon.com, we shop for GPS units and school biology textbooks.

This session consists of the following, run sequentially in the order listed:

  • 24 minutes of Wikipedia reading (four entries): one tab per entry
  • 4 minutes of Amazon.com: two tabs
  • 3 minutes of CNN.com: two tabs
  • 2 minutes of Google Finance: one tab
  • 2 minutes of Accuweather: one tab
  • 25 minutes of Flash 10.1 video (YouTube 360p, H.264, hardware acceleration enabled): one tab


The X230T's dimensions suggest that it competes directly against Ultrabooks. However, flexibility in battery and processor options set it apart. Many Ultrabooks achieve their thin and light profiles using smaller batteries. It's common to see three-cell batteries built into those diminutive machines (part of the reason why 17 W CPUs are the most you'll find in them). However, Lenovo equips its tablet PC with a more potent 35 W Ivy Bridge-based chip, necessitating a larger battery as well. That's why it makes sense to upgrade to the six-cell power source.

Armed with a six-cell battery, the X230T almost matches the battery life of an Ultrabook with a three-cell battery. Run time scales linearly with our results, so expect about ~1:15 of battery life if you choose the three-cell option instead.

Charging a battery quickly is more convenient, but it's harder on the power source itself, cutting into its service life. Vendors generally slow the charge rate in the 80% to 95% capacity range to slow this effect. That's why charging from 0% to 10% is faster than 90% to 100%.

Incidentally, it takes about as long to recharge the X230T's six-cell battery as it does to discharge it. You can expect to be constantly looking for a wall wart when you're traveling with the X230T. True road warriors might even want to look into an external battery.

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28 comments
    Your comment
  • serhat359
    Ctrl+Alt+Del as a hotkey!? Good thinking.
    9
  • greghome
    The problem I see with the X-T series Convertible tablets though, is that for the same price I can purchase a X230 and a Thinkpad Tablet and still have money left.

    I can imagine a market for it, but once the Thinkpad Tablet 2 launches with Windows 8, I'd say there market would grow even smaller. just my 2 cents :)
    2
  • ojas
    Hmmm interesting to see the A5 just about manage to keep up with the two year old Atom N450.

    Anyway, Tom's: X1 Carbon review please! :D

    Read that its trackpad is best-in-class for a Windows laptop.
    0
  • Zetto
    These machines should come with the leather sleeve included, it really comes into it's own in the sleeve.
    I've carried an older model around all day for years, the battery lasts 8 hrs easy with a good power profile setup and intermittent use.
    OneNote is gold on it.
    My users often borrow it just for it's presentation benefits as well.
    This new model will shine with Win 8.
    2
  • jaquith
    As a past owner of the IBM/Lenovo Convertible I very rarely used it as a 'Tablet.' However, with Windows 8, and I don't like Windows 8, you'd probably use the 'Tablet' mode a lot more.

    I use an HP EliteBook Mobile Workstation and have little desire to go back to the Tablets.

    Originally I wanted folks to be able to 'sign contracts' out in the field, but in practice Paper wins.
    0
  • cknobman
    Lets see:
    Big, thick, heavy
    Ugly
    Crappy battery life

    When you think about it I could:
    Buy an Asus Zenbook 1080p for $999
    Google Nexus tablet for $199
    Both combined would be as thin and light (or thinner/lighter) than this lenovo contraption while offering superior battery life and screen quality (at least on the ultrabook).

    This product just seems like a fail.
    -7
  • Anonymous
    cknobman - you're really not the target market for this thing. They're fantastic for health care, home health, etc.
    4
  • greghome
    cknobmanLets see:Big, thick, heavyUglyCrappy battery lifeWhen you think about it I could:Buy an Asus Zenbook 1080p for $999Google Nexus tablet for $199Both combined would be as thin and light (or thinner/lighter) than this lenovo contraption while offering superior battery life and screen quality (at least on the ultrabook).This product just seems like a fail.



    From your post, I'd say you've never really used a IBM Thinkpad before.
    The Thinkpad lines were never meant for normal consumers like you. If you've compared to built quality as well, the Thinkpads, especially the T and W series are wonders.

    and unlike the ZenBooks or Macbooks......you can step on them and the hinge will be able to stand it.
    5
  • cknobman
    greghomeFrom your post, I'd say you've never really used a IBM Thinkpad before.The Thinkpad lines were never meant for normal consumers like you. If you've compared to built quality as well, the Thinkpads, especially the T and W series are wonders.and unlike the ZenBooks or Macbooks......you can step on them and the hinge will be able to stand it.


    Actually I've used ThinkPads a lot as I am a software developer. Two of my last 4 jobs issued them to the developers as their primary workstations. ThinkPad build quality, usability, design are all top notch for business users.

    My comment was in response to the way this article was phrased. This article was not necessarily written in the context of a business user and actually was slanted more towards personal use and its ability to replace a tablet and laptop combo while traveling.

    In that context I do see this product as a fail.
    -3
  • Wisecracker
    I thought it was common knowledge that Acer and Compal have Trinity Win* Tab-hybrids coming out next month -- may even be articles on Toms about it.

    I can't really recall but pricing was something "less than $900" with Brazos II models substantially less.
    0
  • Zetto
    cknobmanLets see:Big, thick, heavyUglyCrappy battery lifeWhen you think about it I could:Buy an Asus Zenbook 1080p for $999Google Nexus tablet for $199Both combined would be as thin and light (or thinner/lighter) than this lenovo contraption while offering superior battery life and screen quality (at least on the ultrabook).This product just seems like a fail.


    Being as they've been selling them for 7+ years, "fail" seems to be a strange word to use.
    I guess the Surface Pro may be a contender in this product space, but neither of your alternatives have the functionality of this "contraption"
    "ugly?" Really?
    You see that as being a pass / fail for usability / productivity?
    Or have you been sucked in by the (cool) apple "us / them" marketing BS like so many others?
    3
  • daglesj
    Wow, take away the standard Lenovo styling and its almost a dead ringer for my old Toshiba Tecra M7 from 2006.

    We have moved on a long way......

    With these you tend to buy them for the tablet side of things but then find after a couple of days you just don't bother and wish you had bought a proper laptop in the first place.
    1
  • DRosencraft
    Have long loved ThinkPads. My first laptop was a ThinkPad. They will literally take almost any beating and keep going. Lovely machines. Unfortunately, in terms of price and spec I have ended up gravitating away from them.
    0
  • Zetto
    daglesjWith these you tend to buy them for the tablet side of things but then find after a couple of days you just don't bother and wish you had bought a proper laptop in the first place.


    Only if you never really needed a tablet, with it on my fore arm and a bar code scanner I can do an inventory audit in a few minutes, with a laptop it's a nightmare, dropping it is a distinct possibility.
    Taking notes on the fly around the office isn't happening on a notebook.
    Doing detailed infrastructure sketches isn't happening either even with most "modern" tablets.
    You can carry this with both hands free when necessary.
    Heavy? that's just not my experience with it.
    0
  • bigdragon
    I am looking to replace my LE1700 tablet PC, but this Lenovo is not the one. That screen resolution is a huge downgrade from the 1440x1050 I have now. The battery life is better, but 2 hours is still too short. The stylus is a critical feature and it's good to see it represented well here. Sorry, try again Lenovo. Maybe next time.
    0
  • Anonymous
    i'd like to see a Windows 8 run on such devices to let Readers know if the device will work correctly in case of an upgrade..
    0
  • belardo
    Having used such convertibles before... the problems shown on this latest model is the same as it always and kept them a niche product.

    - Too expensive ($1100 is nothing - they use to sell for $2000+), 3~4lbs, limited battery life 1-2hrs, WIndows XP, etc. When it came time to upgrade at a company I replaced all convertibles with normal Thinkpads. They were rarely ever used in tablet mode... so less was spent for more reliable and bigger screen notebooks.

    Hence, the $500 iPads from 3 years ago did what MS could not.... sell a tablet system that people WOULD BUY.

    BTW: All the guys who have Thinkpads at work (I own two ThinkPads) - we all have iPads.

    This 2002 era design was never good at either job. A $1000 slate from Samsung or Asus would be better.
    0
  • Shinobi_III
    serhat359Ctrl+Alt+Del as a hotkey!? Good thinking.

    Domain servers generally require the PC to be set up to use C+A+D to login ;)
    1
  • Anonymous
    I use this in class for taking notes in onenote and is perfect for me!
    Paperless society means I get all my handouts electronically and submit assignments online now. Great tool for learning.
    0
  • daveg_22
    I was waiting for the anti-iPad comment and wasn't disappointed. I use and enjoy Lenovo laptops but to suggest this is a good tablet is a bit far fetched. Creating content, website design and even light programming is both possible and preferable on an iPad without a stylus or keyboard. Dictation is getting better. The use of MS Word is less important because most of what create is destined for the web.
    Windows is in trouble. MS office is in trouble. Period.
    -2