The X220 Tablet’s design does not deviate from the last generation X200 Tablet or the rest of the ThinkPad lineup, stylish Edge series excluded. The X220 Tablet is dressed in all-business black, with a magnesium alloy and plastic build featuring slight texture. The base unit is boxy, but features a slight protrusion on top of the display that serves the X220 Tablet’s wireless antennas, and the six-cell battery that shipped with my review unit adds significant bulge to the back, which provides a nice gripping point when carrying the tablet from meeting to meeting while adding a bit of distinction to a very attractive and professional device.
It’s also a very tough device, and when held, feels like it was carved from a solid hunk of plastic. There is no noticeable flex or creek when held, and Lenovo claims the X220 Tablet passes many mil-spec tests for humidity, temperature, and other harmful elements. While it’s probably not as tough as some of the rugged convertibles we test at TabletPCReview, the X220 Tablet will handle everyday wear-and-tear with no problems.
The screen hinge is particularly tight and well constructed. Unfortunately, it only rotates 180 degrees in one direction, and I accidently attempted to rotate it in the wrong direction more than once. Thankfully, the X220 Tablet shrugged off the attempt and the hinge showed no sign of strain. The display also opens up a full 180 degrees.
Finally, IT departments and tinkerers will be happy to see Lenovo included easy access to the RAM slots and hard drive. The hard drive latch is only secured by one screw and the RAM slots are hidden directly under the main access panel. The review unit we received shipped with a 4GB chip in one slot while the other was vacant.
Screen and Speakers
The X220 Tablet features a 12.5-inch IPS display (1366 x 768) and ships with optional Gorilla glass for increased ruggedness. The display does a good job of shrugging off glare, but it also isn’t exceptionally bright. Office workers will find it perfectly acceptable for indoor use, but its relative dimness make it suitable for only the occasional outdoor excursion.
As with most other touch-enabled screens, there is a very fine but noticeable grain overlaying the display. I’ve heard some users refer to it as a slight haze, which is an apt description. Otherwise, viewing angles are superb and the colors never invert, with about a 10-degree sweet spot in front of the X220 Tablet where brightness and contrast are best. Outside of that zone, the screen appears to dim and contrast lessens.
The display supports up two touch inputs, meaning fingerprints can accumulate quickly. The anti-glare screen does a great job of also shrugging off smudges, but they eventually will build up and have a noticeable and negative effect on the screen. A microfiber cloth is recommended, and thankfully, Lenovo included one with the review unit.