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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.