Notes on my new X201

image I was just about ready to prove my susceptibility to advertising and get a MacBook Pro, but our CIO refused to fund it (gotta standardize, you know) and offered me an X201 Tablet from Lenovo (for free) instead. I promptly demanded more RAM and a 125G SSD, and the matter was settled.

So – what is there to like? For a start:

  • It is about one cm shorter than my previous X61, which is important because it will fit into a standard A4 binder-style leather case
  • The screen is much brighter than the X61, including the wide-screen form factor which somehow seems more natural
  • The SSD really makes a difference. Word and other memory hogs start almost instantly, and the incessant restarts that for some reason still are necessary when configuring a new computer are a lot less patience-trying than before
  • Windows 7 is relatively stable (though my Matrox DualHead2Go has hung it a couple of times), is faster and has a more attractive interface than XP (BI has, rather smartly, avoided Vista), but it is a capable product, not the wonder some of my friends in Microsoft gab about. I do dislike the "switching between tasks" function on the alt-tab key – it will show the underlying applications on screen, but blanks out everything except the current task whiel you are still holding the keys down. The Windows-tab key combination gives you an animated lineup of active windows, but that literally makes me seasick if I used it fast.
  • The keyboard is about 2 cm wider than the X61, which makes it feel like a regular keyboard. Ihas a very nice feel for a laptop, though some of the keys are more noisy than others (an issue I also had with the X61, which could annoy people at conferences with two or three clicky keys.)

On the negative side: I am not impressed by the battery life, and there appears to be all kinds of issues with the suspend/standby/hibernate/whatever shut-down and startup routines, such as the wireless network shutting down at inopportune times. Hopefully this if fixable by fiddling with various settings.

All in all, the X201 looks to become a solid, rather boring but very capable "main working laptop" for me. I sometimes feel like I am the last person in the world actually using the tablet functionality – not, as was envisioned when it was introduced, for note-taking and text editing, but for teaching, especially for large audiences.

But, of course, if I had sprung for the MacBook Pro out of my research budget, I would have been able to get a BookBook. Oh well..

Bonus! I just discovered I can use my fingers to scroll and zoom, iPad-style, right off the screen. W00t! Coolness in a corporate package.

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