Article: ThinkPad X Series

Lenovo ThinkPad X61Inside the Box, Lenovo’s blog about the design and background of their products, had a very interesting post yesterday, ThinkPad X Series, which was about, you guess it, the ThinkPad X Series. The article addresses some of the decisions they make (no roll cage, no dual-spindle, no optical drive, etc.), as well as what they see as some of the benefits of doing things the way they do.

Some excerpts from the posting:

It’s past time that I spent a few words on our ThinkPad X Series notebooks. The T Series may get the most press, but by far and away, the X Series has the coolest name. Over the years the series has evolved, but in such a way that changes from one generation are subtle rather than revolutionary.

The X currently comes in two flavors: the X61 and the X61s. There is only one fundamental difference — the processors. The X61s (think “s” for small) is the more diminutive of the two. It uses Intel Low Voltage (LV) and Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processors. In addition to requiring less power from the battery, ULV and LV processors generate less heat than normal voltage processors. Thus, the X61s is thinner and lighter because the cooling solution needs to be less robust.

The X61s is thinner and lighter, but most people cannot tell them apart, even when they are side by side. The X61s exists because in certain markets it is absolutely essential to be at or below the magic 1.2kg weight threshold. By choosing the X61s over the X61, you’ll also get approximately 20 -30 minutes of extra battery life per charge owing to the LV and ULV processors.

Most people will see the LV and ULV processors and their lower clock speeds and think that they are trading a significant amount of performance. We’ve found that this is not the case.

Our design point wasn’t to be the thinnest or the lightest (though we are always designing to be as thin and light as possible). Our design point was that we are designing business-grade machines that have to stand up to the abuse of being used on the road.

Also, the majority of our customers have been telling us that based on today’s available technology, durability, usability, battery life, and performance outweigh any need to have a built in optical drive.

This is something that is often mentioned when the topic of the X series comes up:

Usability – As far as I know, we have the industry’s only 7-row keyboard on an ultraportable machine. Everyone else has 6 row keyboards which put the same number of keys in a smaller space which saves cost and space. It also makes their keyboards less usable for touch typists.

It’s a great article and what I posted barely scratched the surface. It’d be great to see more such articles from other manufacturers (hint hint).

Full article at


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