Lenovo Thinkpad X120E (and Linux)

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2012-04-04

I've been on the lookout for a Lenovo Thinkpad X120E ever since I read Engadget's glowing review in early 2011. It was not available in Nehru Place for several months, and I'd almost forgotten about it when I happened to find it on Flipkart some weeks ago. I ordered one, and have been reasonably happy with it. Here are a few observations.

The first thing I noticed was the weight. I've become so used to holding my 1.2kg Ideapad that the extra 300g of the X120E startled me. But I got used to it quickly. The six-cell battery and slightly higher resolution screen (1366x768 vs 1024x600) are both pleasant upgrades, as are the much faster processor and the extra 1Gb of RAM.

The chiclet keyboard is nice, but the spacebar refused to cooperate until I trained my thumbs to press down very deliberately. The trackpoint/touchpad combination does its best to make everyone happy, but it takes up space and the touchpad buttons on the outer edge of the chassis are very easy to press inadvertently if you use the machine on, say, a lap. Another annoyance is the lack of an LED to indicate that the machine is charging (there's only a power-on LED and a suspend LED).

The machine is listed on Flipkart as having FreeDOS installed. In fact, it ships with an empty hard disk. Ubuntu 11.10 installed easily, and all the hardware worked fine with no fuss (wireless card, audio, Bluetooth, etc.). I was prepared for some pain, but there wasn't any.

On the whole, this is a nice little machine, and I'm glad I got one.