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Thoughts on the x240?

X230 through X280, plus X390 series specific matters only
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Scottfish
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Thoughts on the x240?

#1 Post by Scottfish » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:07 am

Over the years, I have slowly moved up the X series evolutionary scale.

Currently, my x200 is my "toss in the bag and bang on the keyboard at Starbucks machine". I run various flavors of Linux on it depending on mood since I save nothing of significance on the SSD.

There is a local surplus guy that always has Thinkpads, and he currently has an X240 with an i5 4300U that I catch myself looking at.

A step toward more modern hardware is never a bad thing, but I am wondering if there are any drawbacks to the x240? I presume I am losing some of the keyboard goodness I have grown fond of. Anyhting else?
T440P - 250GB SSD (2.5") - 240GB SSD (M.2) - Backlit Keyboard Mod - 3 Button Trackpad Mod - 128GB (2.5")SSD in Optical Drive Bay -Running Debian

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:34 am

The X240 is hell wrapped in a gray shell. DO NOT BUY IT UNLESS YOU GET ONE HELL OF A DEAL.

Prices I would pay:

Base unit i5: 40$
+IPS 768p: 20$
+IPS 1080P: 40$
+small SSD: 10$
+medium SSD: 20$
+big SSD: 30$

If you pay more than 150 for the whole thing, may as well hit yourself over the head with a hammer.

I used one for 2 years, and it was a nightmare of a machine.

Get an X230. That is a STELLAR Thinkpad. If you pay upwards of 150, you will still be quite happy!
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#3 Post by Scottfish » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:47 am

Thank you for this. Asking price is way too high then.

I may go for a T430 or T440. The tiny footprint is not a necessity any longer.
T440P - 250GB SSD (2.5") - 240GB SSD (M.2) - Backlit Keyboard Mod - 3 Button Trackpad Mod - 128GB (2.5")SSD in Optical Drive Bay -Running Debian

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:59 am

Avoid the xx40 series at all costs. They provide no benefits for weight or thickness. Haswell CPUs stink because they are provide terrible performance. You have to replace the touchpads which is a royal pain, especially the X240 which is a 3 hour job.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:51 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:34 am
I used an X240 for 2 years, and it was a nightmare of a machine.
Get an X230. That is a STELLAR Thinkpad.
And it took you "only" 2 years to figure out you didn't like it?

Avoiding the X240 because YOU don't like it, is quite exaggerated!
Admitted, the X240 'only' has one RAM-slot for 8GB.
And the X240-touchpad can/should be replaced with an X250-one, which -if you know what you are doing- shouldn't take more than ca. 30 minutes.
The X240 also can take an external 6-cell battery which, combined with the inside battery, can give you up to 12 hours!
Try that with an X230! No way!
And the X240 comes standard with a very fast 7260-AC wifi card.
Try one of those in an X230... Impossible!
Another favorable option: the X240 is standard also available with FHD IPS screen (1920x1080).
On the X230 you need a special FHD-mod (from nitrocaster), buy a new LCD, plus do a lot of work to get that all up and running...
Also, the X240 is very easy to work on, loosen 8 screws, remove the bottom and everything is accessible (except to replace the keyboard)!
Overall a lot easier than the X230!

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#6 Post by Hurstbridge » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:24 pm

I hope that I am not sticking my hand into a can of worms here ;-) but I see the x240 as very much an incremental upgrade to the x230.

Obviously it does depend on your need, but from my perspective with an x230, it doesn't really offer that much extra. Small conveniences, yes. But then again, OP had an x200 to upgrade, not an x230.

The design is more modern, yes.
Easier to replace things - I wouldn't mind. But then again, I've only changed the cooling paste on the CPU once, and don't plan on splitting it into multiple pieces in its lifetime again.
As a heavy application user with average mobility needs I value the 16gb ram my x230 has. Ok, it is less relevant now with a Samsung 850 SSD, than it was when I had a spinning harddrive.
When do I need 12 hours of battery time without power access? Never. I got some cheap Chinese battery off E-bay recently. I gives me 4-5 hours. I am satisfied.
Wifi? I get up to 70Mbps on my home network, with my Intel 6205. It is enough.
CPU? Same architecture. My 3520M is plenty powerful for my needs.

But then again, if I was upgrading from an x200, I would consider the x240, if it wasn't considerably more expensive. Also, OP may have other preferences than I :-)

If I will be sticking to the x-series once I retire my x230, I will probably go for an x270, as I don't see the x250 and x260 offer that much more value to me either.
________________________________________________________________________________
Former thinkpads: 380XD, x32, X61t.
Current:
X201, 6gb ram, 180gb Intel 525, Win 10.
X230, 16gb ram, 256GB Samsung 850 Pro, Win 10.

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#7 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:29 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:51 pm
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:34 am
I used an X240 for 2 years, and it was a nightmare of a machine.
Get an X230. That is a STELLAR Thinkpad.
And it took you "only" 2 years to figure out you didn't like it?

Avoiding the X240 because YOU don't like it, is quite exaggerated!
Admitted, the X240 'only' has one RAM-slot for 8GB.
And the X240-touchpad can/should be replaced with an X250-one, which -if you know what you are doing- shouldn't take more than ca. 30 minutes.
The X240 also can take an external 6-cell battery which, combined with the inside battery, can give you up to 12 hours!
Try that with an X230! No way!
And the X240 comes standard with a very fast 7260-AC wifi card.
Try one of those in an X230... Impossible!
Another favorable option: the X240 is standard also available with FHD IPS screen (1920x1080).
On the X230 you need a special FHD-mod (from nitrocaster), buy a new LCD, plus do a lot of work to get that all up and running...
Also, the X240 is very easy to work on, loosen 8 screws, remove the bottom and everything is accessible (except to replace the keyboard)!
Overall a lot easier than the X230!
Yes, those points are quite valid, and I do agree with some of them. It took me about 2 hours to figure out it sucked, just dealt with it for 2 years. I will tell you after those 2 years, the motherboard died and the case is falling apart. Not something that has happened on my X230. Easier to work on? Hahaha! It took me 45 minutes to figiure how to remove the back without breaking the plastic, and 3.5 hours to get the new trackpad with buttons in. In 3 hours, I can get a mobo swap on the screw filled W700, twice. I did the FHD on my X240 and got both the LCD RMAed, cable replaced twice and reseatted countless times. The machine still kept producing purple lines on the display. A 6 cell+3 cell over a dual 9 cell and a slice battery, the slice is so much better.

Just my 0.02$. (I also hate Intel-Haswell CPUs with a passion)

Also, if the OP is coming from a X200, the option to have REAL trackpoint button STOCK will be nice and the option for the classic keyboard
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

neversurrender
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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#8 Post by neversurrender » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:14 am

X240? thanks but no thanks.

i only need few days with X240 just to find out that my old X220 is much better in any aspect but the graphics, well, and battery of course.
but hey, we use x series only for handle some office needs and stuff, not for any heavy task such editing videos or others.

im using the old X220 as my main daily mobile gear with specs :

16GB RAM DDR3L 12800
500GB SSD
9 cell battery still holds 8-10 Hours in single charge
and beautiful IPS display
Windows 7 pro SP1 64bit
use this X220 for the last 3 years, with the docking ultrabase for extended display and extra storage and ill go anywhere i want and handle all my task at the same time easily.

with the X240?

8GB RAM single DDR3L PC12800
180GB intel SSD
3+6 cell battery
TN Hd display
Windows 8.1 PRO

8GB RAM max? yeah right, for a light usage it wont matter, but if you start using multiple excel documents, a lot of PDF,opening chrome more than 20 tabs, skype, and running an online travel agency apps and writing doc at the same time, 8GB wont be enough.
SSD? its standart anyway, it fast, but at the same time, i find out that my X220 is more snappy than this one, a lot more, well probably because the ram also.
Battery?
i have 3 cell internal battery + 6 cell eksternal battery in my x240, that i can use for around 10-12hours with normal usage in a single charge.

Im a trackpoint user, and to be honest, using trackpoint in X240 is a total nightmare. and i dont want to spent 50$ more to change the trackpad into a X250 trackpad.
i used to use my trackpoint to do all my task while im mobile, and its a pleasure with the X220, in X240? good luck with that crappy touchpad mate.

well, i think i will keep my X220 for next few years and say bye bye to X240.




PS : X240 actually is a perfect mobile machine, as long as you change the trackpad to X250's trackpad. Everything in X240 is perfect if you want to maxed out the specs, AS LONG AS YOU REPLACE THE TRACKPAD.

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#9 Post by gofishus » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:49 pm

Looks like a lot of people hate the X240 and Haswell CPUs for some reason; Haswell is the first mobile CPU to significantly increase the battery life. Ivy Bridge and previous CPUs - you were lucky if you got 6 hours of battery life on a laptop. Post- Haswell the battery life runs north of double digits now. We all have Haswell to thank for that.

Ok I've owned an X240 for 3 years. It was my first Thinkpad. As others have mentioned, the trackpad sucks - but I like everything else about it the trackpad being the exception.
With the dual battery I've gotten 20+ hours of battery life when I first got it. It was my first computer with WWAN as well. Also the very last X series computer with a good old VGA port. It was significantly slimmer than the X230 but lost the ThinkLight because of it. I've spilled it, dropped it etc Its been 3.5 years and its still chugging along.

The X230 has the ThinkLight and a better trackpad yes. But you care about weight + battery life I have to say the X240 is better.
2017 TP25 | 2016 X1 Yoga | 2014 X240 | 2007 X61

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#10 Post by jdrou » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:12 am

gofishus wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:49 pm
Haswell is the first mobile CPU to significantly increase the battery life. Ivy Bridge and previous CPUs - you were lucky if you got 6 hours of battery life on a laptop. Post- Haswell the battery life runs north of double digits now. We all have Haswell to thank for that.
If you're referring to the X-series specifically that's probably not because of Haswell it's because Lenovo switched from 35W CPUs to 15W CPUs which is the major reason I don't like X240 and later. They got that power saving by making it slower than the X230 (aside from graphics performance).
Current Thinkpads:
X31, X40, X61T, X61, X201, X220 (i7 IPS), W520 (FHD), T440p (FHD),
T480 (QHD)
Dells: Latitude C840, Precision M70, Precision M4400, M6400 (WUXGA), M6600, M6700, 7730, XPS 13
Daily driver: MS Surface Pro 7 (i7)

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#11 Post by gofishus » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:37 pm

jdrou wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:12 am
gofishus wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:49 pm
Haswell is the first mobile CPU to significantly increase the battery life. Ivy Bridge and previous CPUs - you were lucky if you got 6 hours of battery life on a laptop. Post- Haswell the battery life runs north of double digits now. We all have Haswell to thank for that.
If you're referring to the X-series specifically that's probably not because of Haswell it's because Lenovo switched from 35W CPUs to 15W CPUs which is the major reason I don't like X240 and later. They got that power saving by making it slower than the X230 (aside from graphics performance).
I'm fine with that performance - battery life tradeoff. This is the X series which is known for portability not performance. Battery life should be top priority. If you are looking for performance then the P series or T series should be way to go (although im aware Lenovo put 15W CPUs in the T series as well).
2017 TP25 | 2016 X1 Yoga | 2014 X240 | 2007 X61

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Re: Thoughts on the x240?

#12 Post by rjwilmsi » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:56 pm

I recently picked up an X240, my first post-classic model, to be my travel laptop replacing an X220.

Reasons to get it for me were battery life (X220 getting realistic ~4 hours which isn't enough to last a full working morning, more on that below), a bit thinner if possible, lower weight if possible, FHD screen. Though read on for which of those were achieved.

I got one for £109, and after selling 4 GB RAM & HDD to get 8 GB RAM, and using existing SSD, I end up with i5 4300 / 8 GB / 250 GB SSD. I was lucky and the laptop I received has the IPS screen, though 1366x768 resolution.

These machines are so cheap once they're out of warranty and being sold of by the resellers, and particularly when you're happy to pick up one without HDD or without OS installed, that the net cost is hardly more than a brand new Lenovo battery for a machine you already have.

Screen: As I got an IPS screen, which is very nice, I decided I won't bother with the FHD upgrade, at least on this one (if I can get another one with TN really cheap I may do so).

Weight: my X240 is 1430 g with 3+3 battery, SSD. X220 is 1460 or something with 6 cell. So pretty much the same. X240 with 3+6 would be nearly 1.6 kg, about the same as X220 with 9 cell battery. Conclusion: I'm not paying the high cost of an X1 Carbon 5th gen, so it's the normal 1.4 or 1.6 with bigger battery, so no change, OK with that.

Thickness: X240 is a bit thinner than X220, which is good. I would NOT want a thinner laptop if that meant giving up ethernet & VGA & proper battery options, so X240 is probably at about the thinness limit (as X200s was).

Battery life: in theory the X220 already has really good battery life, and it does/did for a machine of that generation. However, when I looked at my actual battery life, I came to these conclusions
  • assume 80% battery capacity as battery will lose capacity over time
  • assume 95% to 5% discharge to avoid charging to 100% or machine powering off
  • screen brightness of 40% is fine indoors; WiFi needs to be on
X220: I measured 8 Watts idle (WiFi on) and 12 Watts playing ~720p video. Linux with powertop tunables all "good", 40% screen. On my 70% basis then gives 3.7 to 5.6 hours with 6 cell (would be 5.6 to 8.5 with 9 cell but I don't have that).

X240: I measured 4.5 W idle and 6.5 W playing ~720p video. Linux with powertop tunables all "good", 40% screen. On my 70% basis then gives 5.1 to 7.4 hours with 3+3 cell, or 10.5 to 15.2 hours with 3+6 cell (72 Wh; not worth considering the 48 Wh 6 cell as apparently the 72 Wh is only 30 grams more weight and of course same physical size). Now that is really another level of battery life, easily last a working day, so I will be getting myself a 6 cell 72 Wh battery.

Disadvantages of X240 compared to X220
  • trackpad isn't great due to missing buttons, I'll see about swapping in X250 trackpad (just getting X250 is currently much more expensive as they are not yet out of warranty so not widely available on the cheap). Though as I normally use a USB mouse for extended use, maybe doesn't matter.
  • keyboard: while it's good for general typing (I'd prefer X220 but a huge difference), the non-standard sizing/position of the other keys such as home/delete etc. is not great.
  • maintenance: removing base cover for RAM, HDD access is fine, not like I change those often. Having to take apart whole machine to replace keyboard is not great at all, but at least it can be done.
  • 8 GB RAM limit. 8 GB is sufficient for me but could be an issue for others.
  • CPU performance: my X240 gives slightly better 7zip benchmark than X220 i7 does, so it's fine for me, though when moving two generations it would be preferable to get a jump up.
  • Only 2 USB. Would prefer 3 but won't be that often that I really need 3.
Conclusions for me:
  • Big plus of much better battery life. A bit thinner which is nice. Negative of keyboard and trackpoint compromises, though still fundamentally a good keyboard for typing. Maintenance and RAM limit are not really issues for me.
  • For me the battery life win outweighs the keyboard and trackpoint compromises. For others may be different.

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