ThinkPad X200 Review

The ThinkPad X200 is the first laptop I bought for personal use. I originally purchased it for school purposes and have been using it for almost a year now. With my many experiences I want to give you a quick review.

Cheap

This laptop is cheap. Dirt cheap. I purchased mine for 150 Euros on ebay, but I’m sure you can find even lower prices. In terms of price-quality the X200 has impressed me quite a bit. They are usually sold refurbished, but still share good quality, as they were mostly used in business.

Great Linux/BSD support

One of the great things about the X200 is its great support for Linux and BSD, which is why you see many hackers with a ThinkPad, usually covered in stickers. Everything functions out of the box and driver problems are scant to non-existant. I remember when I tried out OpenBSD (something I should repeat) that everything worked flawless to the point where I believed I had done something wrong and didn’t get enough errors.

Keyboard and TrackPoint

Typing on the keyboard feels great. The keys are just perfect, for non-mechanical switches. It lacks nothing and the positioning is splendid. In combination with the trackpoint, the red dot in the middle of the keyboard, the input feels super straight-on and simple. You have to decide for yourself if your fingers can handle using a trackpoint. Even instead you could use an external mouse as well.

Dock

The X200 also has a standard-dock, which gives you the missing USB slots and CD-drive you might be missing. It also has a DisplayPort for external monitors, as VGA is not doing it anymore these days. The security features are great, you can lock the dock with a key, and if someone forcefully removed your laptop from the dock, the laptop will sound a warning noise when opened. But actually I often times activate this feature by accident, when removing the laptop too quickly from the dock, not so funny when it happens in class.

Oh boy, here come the cons!

Snail speed

It’s worth noting that this laptop came out in 2008. Just eight years later I find myself using this thing, and it’s slow. You wouldn’t believe how much I love multitasking between web browser with like 100 tabs, editor, terminal and compiler. The laptop won’t satisfy your need for speed.

Battery

Battery is a problem. When not doing anything graphical-intensive the battery lasts me a good school-day, about 4-5 hours. But when binging YouTube videos or Netflix expect to not be entertained more than two hours or less. For anything light-intensive the battery ought to do fine though.

Screen

My main concern, the screen. It’s just not satisfying me. The 1366×768 resolution will do you no good if you do lots of graphics-related work. Coding is fine but web-developers might cringe at the low screen-quality. Beware that you often have to turn your brightness way down in order to maximize battery performance.

To come to a conclusion, my point of view is that this laptop is best suited for programmers, hackers – those who are able to sacrifice fancy-graphics or fast compile times for stable *NIX support on a mobile device. The X200 is rock-solid and will not disappoint you. For better performance I recommend though to check out other models of the ThinkPad series. An SSD upgrade will do the laptop good as well.