I don’t spend much time using Groupon these days. If I have to be completely honest, both physical products, (a solar phone case, and Kindle light) were unusable within a day and returned. All the coupons have worked without any issues, so I was VERY wary about ordering this laptop from Groupon. My justification to myself was multi-level;
- Price – The model with the updated storage (64GB) was still less than $200, coming from a world of Apple devices, I think the only thing for less than $100 is a watch band or phone case.
- Size – My main personal laptop is a 15.4″ Acer Aspire, it’s a wonderful machine, but it’s big and heavy. Great for home use or if I plan on being in a cafe working for a long period of time, but for moving around the city from cafe to cafe, it’s less than ideal.
- Support/Warranty – I have a 2 week return period from Groupon, during this time I’ll make sure I put this machine through its paces, to ensure everything is a-ok, at least to the point expected on a $200 laptop. After that, I have a year of support from Lenovo, so I’ll take my chances.
I’d been anxiously waiting for this to arrive in the mail, because I’m a nerd and I love new toys. Groupon/FedEx tracking were telling me that the expected delivery date was October 5th, slightly disappointing as I’ll be out of town for work. It was a welcome surprise to check tracking Saturday morning and find out my Thinkpad was already out for delivery!
NOTE – From this point on, this review will be written entirely from the N22 Thinkpad.
First impressions on packaging were exactly what I expected. I’ve unboxed the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga, and that is the only packaging that has beaten Apple’s packaging, technology or otherwise. First was one of those thick plastic “bags” over a nondescript Lenovo box, definitely not meant for display.
A note on the background of all my photos in this review – my comforter is pink leopard print, it was a choice of the fiancee, and I like it!
Inside the box was the power adapter, coiled up in a plastic cover, and the laptop suspended in two pieces of foam. Nothing special, I wouldn’t trust the packaging through a super rough transit, but it would probably hold up to a decent amount of abuse.
Once removed from the packaging, the laptop was in a plastic sleeve, with the required piece of thick felt paper to keep the screen protected. My thoughts on the overall look of this machine is an 8/10. The outside is sleek, rounded edges, I dislike serial number/brand stickers on the bottom, but only Apple seems to have found a method to beat this. I was pleased to see that the screw layout on the bottom of the machine was laid out in a geometric pattern, 4 x 3. This is in contrast to some other machines meant for consumers, like some Dells I have come in contact with, and my Acer. This is a useless nicety, as the machine has eMMC and the RAM isn’t upgradeable, I foresee no need to ever open this machine.
The screen has a decent size bezel, but for a <$200 laptop, I wouldn’t expect edge to edge LCD. The keyboard letters look like they’ll hold up, only the power button is outside the keyboard area (and of course the left and right mouse/trackpad buttons). The trackpad is a part of the wrist-rest, one less seam, although the left and right buttons are separate (again, not a solid piece like a MacBook). They are recessed with the trackpad, so they don’t take much away from the unified look of the machine.
One last note on the keyboard, I appreciate that Lenovo is keeping with current trends with island (chiclet) keys, it’s so much easier to type on a machine without keys touching, but I don’t think any OEM isn’t using island keys.
Quick aside about the webcam: it is 180 degree rotatable, not something that I can ever recall needing, BUT its an interesting design feature, and not something I ever recall seeing, it’s probably been done before, I just haven’t encountered it.
The port layout on this machine is standard for a machine this size, nothing crazy. Left side of the machine has the port for the power adapter, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and 2 in 1 card reader. The right side has 2 USB 2 ports, a 3.5MM jack for headphones, and tucked up in the corner is a Kensington lock attachment (I forgot these existed, perhaps that’s not a good thing, physical security is still important).
The laptop ships with Windows 10 installed, which I plan on using for some time, to make sure everything works on the machine, additionally, my experience with Windows 10 is limited to some quick interactions in the office, it wouldn’t be too bad to be more familiar with it. That being said, I will eventually clone the disk and install Debian or Fedora on this machine, and try that out, of course, depending on driver support.