I was looking for a mobile work laptop last week. After weighing all my options, I ordered a Lenovo Thinkpad X270 and I’ve been testing it for 48 hours at the time of this writing! In this article, I’ll go through why I chose X270 as my next mobile workstation and my experience on using it so far.
While choosing my next mobile workstation, I had a few specs and scenarios in mind.
For the spec, I’d like my next workstation to be equal or better than my past workstations. This means it must have at least 16 GB ram, 4 threads, and SSD drive. In addition, since I’m in front a machine 90% of my existence, I’d like the screen to be at least 1080p and keyboard be nice to the touch. Since I’m not made of money, I’d like it to be durable. Finally, I’d like it to be Ubuntu 17.10 compatible.
For the scenarios, I imagine using this next workstation in both my home and place of work. Through some sort of docking, may it be Lenovo docking or even USB-C, I can attach at least two 1080p screens. And when I’m on the move, I undock it and go on with my day somewhere else. It must be light so I would barely notice it in my straps. Finally, the battery must be good so I won’t be seeking a power outlet.
X270 met all of these. Although many other brands can meet this requirement, the combination of quality of construction and good hardware for a reasonable price can only be afforded by X270. Again, I’m not made of money. 😒
Experience So Far…
My first impressions when I first held the X270 is the good construction. Compared to my last L540, where flexing is everywhere, X270 is too rigid. You can definitely feel the construction quality.
Ubuntu 17.10 Experience
I have been using X270 for a while now. The moment it arrived, I immediately installed Ubuntu 17.10.
During the installation, everything worked. The very opposite of my last Thinkpad L540, where the TrackPoint, Bluetooth, and wifi did not work. Hats off to Canonical and the various contributors to the project.👌
With the specification, I selected, the performance is all there.
X270 checked and exceeded all the mobility requirements I have. None can argue against a weight of just over a kg. I doubt I’ll develop those shoulder pains by lugging this thing around.
After charging the two battery, the internal 3-cell and the external 6-cell to full charge, I used the laptop for a total of 12 hours, excluding suspend time. And I still had more than 60% of battery to spare. Didn’t even resort to the internal battery. And those are some heavy use too with TensorFlow.
With some money to spare, I went and bought some officially refurbished Pro Docking Station for 100 CAD. About a third of the original price!
Again, hats off to the Canonical and the various contributors. The thing worked without needing any drivers.
Lenovo is known for its keyboard and TrackPoint experience. Due to the small size of X270, I can afford to have used it as my keyboard and mouse (TrackPoint), something not possible with a bigger Laptop like L540. This is because I can raise the monitor behind it, just enough that I won’t strain my neck looking up. The TrackPoint as a mouse is working wonders, even with a triple monitor.
I chose the 1920×1080 resolution screen, which gives me a pleasant viewing experience, despite being a 12-inch screen.
Overall I’m happy with my purchase. I simply can’t believe everything worked out of the box. I expected to spend the past 2 days installing or setting up drivers, at least in the utilization of the docking station, but nope. Definitely recommended to others with a similar use case!