Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Tablet - Launched And On The Way! (+buying tips)

Gear: Lenovo ThinkPad X230T, X230T Accessories.

Behold! The X230T is now up for order at Lenovo's website.


I have used the windows based Lenovo tablets since the X201T era, went through some X220T, and now the X230T. I ordered a Core i7 version today, which should ship in June 15.

When you order your X230T there are a few things that you may want to be aware of. My first attempt at ordering the X230T was a fail, because I though the HD cam was built-in, which is not in certain configurations. So after giving them my credit card and ordering, I noticed the camera was not present, and therefore I cancelled the order, reconfigured the machine and ordered again. If Lenovo double charges me... I'm screwed.

Use my mistakes and learn from them. Here are some notes:
  • CPU - Intel Core (all have 2 core/4 threads)
  • Multi-touch + Digitizer OR Digitizer + Outdoor Screen.
    • I like the multi-touch, so that's what I chose.  However, some people want the outdoor screen, which only allows digitizer input (NO multi-touch).
    • You can only have one option.
  • Choose HD Cam OR 3x3 Antenna (for better wifi).
    • If you choose the 3x3 antenna you can get better wifi signal, however this removes the 720p HD webcam.
    • If you go for the 3x3 antenna get the Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN (it's super fast).
    • You can only have one, so choose based on your priorities.
  • Only get 4 GB RAM.
  • Hard drive
    • I got the 320GB HDD @ 7200rpm, which should be fast enough for most people.
    • If you want to upgrade to a SSD it will be cheaper to order somewhere else and install it yourself. The X230T uses 2.5 inch 7mm thick SATA III.
  • Docking Station
    • You can add the ThinkPad Ultrabase Series 3 at Lenovo's site for $200 or $220 (on the Accessories page), or if you want to be smart get it at Amazon for $155.
  • System Expansions
    • If you need a Smart Card Reader then get it, but most consumers do not need this.
  • Get the Backlit keyboard.
    • Adds $40 to the price, but it will be worth it.
  • Get the Fingerprint Reader.
    • I hate typing passwords, and the fingerprint reader should make life easier.
    • Get the 6-cell battery (X67+).
      • There is nothing worst than having short battery life, and the 3-cell X67 may not be enough.
      • The 6-cell also doubles as a carrying handle, which is awesome.
    • Get Bluetooth
      • The X230T gives you the option of BT 4.0, and if you have BT speakers or headphones then this is a must.
    • Regarding Wifi
    • Mobile broadband
      • If you want it, then add it.
      • If you are undecided then you can add it yourself later on.
    • Use coupons to lower your total.
      • Use the coupon code USPRETHINK
        • Which saved me $158.90 on my order.
      • Ask a rep for current coupons for your configuration.

    If you are going to use the digitizer a lot then I recommend a screen protector (X220T versions fit the X230T).  Hope that helps!


    Total spent: $1,526.63
    The price is very good, and once I receive it I'll upgrade a few things like the RAM and drive.


    (152m)

    Published: Jun 5, 2012

    33 comments:

    1. It is hard to find pictures of the x230t with the 6-cell battery. But from what I have seen, it looks like it may lie relatively flat (like the x201 did) when in portrait mode. Is that right, or does it have the unpleasant angle that the x220 had (as a result of the battery bump)? What about with the slice battery? If anyone knows, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. The angle of the X220T was both a good and a bad thing. I did like the X201T's flatness in portrait mode. Gavin from Lenovo has a X230T in hand, and he will release an unbox video (hopefully soon), and the battery should be shown to give us a better idea.
        http://www.jessebandersen.com/2012/05/lenovo-thinkpad-x230-tablet-unbox-video.html

        The X230T's slice battery is most likely the same as the previous generation. I base my statement because of the X230T's compatibility with the ThinkPad Ultrabase Series 3, which the X220T used.

        Hopefully my head does not explode of impatience on waiting for the system to arrive at my place. ;)

        Delete
      2. Apologies for the mistaken comment. I have a X201T, which I use about 50% of the time in portrait mode, marking up very long legal documents (multi-hour inking exercises). The X220T's angle worried me enough that I avoided buying it, and referred many colleagues to the 2760p (which they've all liked). I made a wedge to estimate the X220's angle, and found it very frustrating on my X201. Since I think you have an X220, how difficult did you find the angle when inking in portrait mode, if you don't mind my asking? Obviously a personal judgment, but curious what yours was.

        Delete
      3. There were two problems with the X220T in portrait mode. The first one was the angle, which was not comfortable to work with. The 2nd issue was the resolution, because in portrait mode we only had 768 pixels width and that would cut off many documents.

        I did spend a lot of time in portrait mode with the X201T, but almost always in landscape mode with the X220T and with the Samsung Series 7 Slate.

        Delete
      4. As to the resolution, was it not possible to zoom out a little? And, considering it's a multitouch screen, that shouldn't be especially hard to do. I can view most documents on my 480x800 screen in portrait mode (the sides might be cut off a bit, but that problem should be fixed by the 768 pixel-wide display), except that inking with your finger on a 4 inch screen is a little bit of something else...

        Delete
    2. Jesse- Thanks for the coupon tip! I always turn to your posts when I look for a tablet. Keep up the good work!

      I hope the X230T doesn't have the wacom issue on the edge of the screen as the 220t did.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I dug around for coupons... and although that coupon was not made specifically for the X230T... it worked! :)

        There is a "dark side" method of getting it for less, but to me it seemed ethically wrong and therefore will not share that. (yes I know, what a tease!)

        I hope Lenovo and Wacom worked on the edge accuracy, because that was a huge complaint from many users of the X220T. Rumors go that there was a bios update that drastically improved it, but by the time of the update I had already returned the X220T to Lenovo (it was a review unit).

        Delete
    3. Jesse, could you also examine the SSD spacing in the X230T? Is it still 7mm or 9mm? You know, 7mm SSD are hard to find.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. The dimensions of the X220T and the X230T are the same, therefore we can assume that the thickness of the SSD would also be the same. We can assume that the X230T uses 7mm 2.5" drives.

        Dimensions of X220T and X230T: 305x228.7x 27 – 31.3 (mm)

        Sources:
        http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/laptop/thinkpad/xtablet-series/x220-tablet/X220T_datasheet.pdf
        http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/laptop/thinkpad/xtablet-series/x230t/x230t-datasheet.pdf

        Delete
    4. The unboxing video of the X23ot is up on Youtube:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLNlSONqX_0&feature=plcp

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I have waiting for it! Thanks for the update.
        http://www.jessebandersen.com/2012/05/lenovo-thinkpad-x230-tablet-unbox-video.html

        Delete
    5. Looking forward to your reviews on the X230T! I enjoyed your x220T reviews. :)
      I'm still undecided about getting the X220T or X230T. Which do you think is faster, X220T's 2nd gen core i5 with solid state drive or X230T's 3rd gen core i5 with normal hard drive?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. There are many little things to consider when comparing these tablets. I think SSDs are a good investment because they improve several aspects of the system, and as a result the user will get a better experience. When I get the X230T I will upgrade the drive to an SSD.

        http://www.jessebandersen.com/2011/11/samsung-series-7-slate-ssd-vs-7200rpm.html

        Now which system to get? It may all depend on what you want the system to do. For general computing I think the Core i5 systems are good enough. If you were to do intensive tasks like playing 3D games or editing and rendering 1080p videos then I would go up to Core i7. In the short term the Core i5 will be fine for some of the intensive tasks, but in the long run the Core i7 will reduce the "waiting time" for some tasks to be completed. If you do enough of these intensive tasks then "waiting time" will add up, and I'm not getting any younger so I'll invest in tools to reduce wait time. ;)

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    6. Thanks for the info on the x230t....do you know what the max resolution is for an external monitor for the x230t? I think for the x220t the max resolution is 1920x1200, and am curious if it is higher with the new/improved intel integrated graphics.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I am not informed in the max resolution limits. Bandwidth may be the biggest limitation, and bandwidth is affected by many things including: CPU/GPU, VGA or DisplayPort, and even the materials of components. I would like to test the X230T with a monitor that has at least 2560x1600 resolution, but after X230T purchase my balance is on thin ice... that test will have to wait until there is enough money.

        Delete
      2. Found this in Lenovo x230T specs: (you are right on bandwidth)

        Intel HD Graphics 4000 in processor,
        supports external analog monitor via VGA DB-15 and digital monitor via DisplayPort;
        supports dual independent display;
        Maximum external resolution: 2560x1600 (DisplayPort)@60Hz;
        2048x1536 (VGA)@75Hz; 1920x1200@60Hz (single-link DVI-D via cable 45J7915

        Delete
    7. That's great to see, I loved your reviews on the x220 tablet, and I am planning on getting the x230t, except there are no reviews out yet on the x230t... It would also be great if you could make walk-through tutorials when you upgrade the memory and the drive - I am a bit confused by all of the different instructions out there.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I have a box full of X230T accessories at my place, all of them waiting for the system to get here. If I'm not too busy I'll do a few videos/posts.

        Delete
    8. I was hoping lenovo updated the resolution to 1600 x 900. This really is a bummer!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I do have to wonder what the effects of a higher resolution would do to the pen and touch precision in Windows 7. In a way I would have loved to see new resolutions, sometimes 1366x768 feels like it's not enough. I think the X230T's resolution should be good enough when mobile, but when I'm at home I'll plug in an external display.

        Delete
    9. Waiting so long for the x230t to be done manufacturing and ship out, so impatient ghrrrrr

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I agree. I'm getting a few extra gray hairs just waiting for it. ;)

        Delete
      2. This is something that I'm really curious about. So you said that we can't have the HD camera and the intel wifi advance card together. When I ordered the x230t i didn't know about that at all so I put both in. In the unbox video (i think u put that youtube link on your page), they mention there is some slot in the bottom of the laptop...something like wifi but i couldn't hear clear it. Is that possible they put the wifi card down there so that we can have both HD camera and intel wifi together?

        Delete
      3. If you got the 3x3 antenna the Lenovo shop does not allow you to get the HD camera. To get the HD camera you need to select the 2x2 antenna. You better know what you ordered.

        The Lenovo guys in the unbox video talked about the SIM card slot on the bottom of the X230T, this is for Mobile Broadband (sometimes referred as WWAN). Basically it's the same system a cell phone uses for internet connection. To get mobile broadband working you need the PCI-E card and sometimes the SIM card.

        By the way, wifi is not the same as mobile broadband. Wifi has it's card, and mobile broadband has it's card. The 3x3 antenna is to allow the "Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300" which is a more powerful wifi card. You can use mobile broadband in a 2x2 or 3x3 antenna configuration.

        You can have the HD cam in a 2x2 antenna configuration, and this allows other wifi cards (although the options available are not as fast as the Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300).

        Now why would the 3x3 antenna remove the HD cam? I'm guessing the reasons may be power needs or physical limitations. If the reason is power limitations, then it is because the X230T cannot provide enough power for both the 3x3 and the HD cam at the same time. If the problem is physical limitations, then it's because the 3x3 antenna takes physical space where the HD cam is located.

        Hope that's clear as mud. ;)

        Delete
      4. I think 3x3 and no HDcam because there is no place/room for more wires/cables inside.

        Delete
      5. Oh my bad, I think i select the 2x2 with the wifi card is Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 AGN . Does it run faster than the basic thinkpad wifi card, I guess it does since i had to add 20$ more for it, how does it compared to the ultimate N6300.

        Delete
      6. There aren't that many details on the ThinkPad wifi card, so I'm not sure. We could say that the more expensive card will be faster (although that is not always the case). I typed the speeds and other details of the wifi cards above.

        Delete
    10. jesse, how to get a discount coupon from lenovo?

      i already sign-up for a lenovo member but i didnt receive the coupon

      many thanks

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I found one through Google, and I'm sure you could find a few. Another site that I recommend is Logic Buy - http://www.logicbuy.com/search/x230t

        Delete
    11. Hi, Jesse,
      Have you tested digitizer sensitivity for lenovo x230t?
      Thanks,
      Ano

      ReplyDelete
    12. I have not received the X230T yet, but it should be here today or tomorrow.

      ReplyDelete
    13. Hello Jesse,
      thanks for your thoughtful review on lenovo x230t.
      I have a concern and i think you can help me with.
      I bought the x230t, and i got a ONE DEAD PIXEL in the screen, and made a replacement one also had the same problem.

      have you ever notice such thing on this machine? also, what do you thing about the Fujitsu lifebook T902, which is pretty much similar to x230t

      thanks

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I do not have any dead pixels on my X230T. My HP DV6T QE does have a dead pixel, which is annoying.

        The T902 did not attract me because Fujitsu did not add discrete graphics (they had for the T901). The T902 is also slightly bigger than the X230T. I think overall it's a good machine, which has several other options that the X230T does not have. However, I think the docking of the X230T is a very attractive feature.
        http://www.jessebandersen.com/2012/08/lenovo-thinkpad-x230-tablet-thinkpad.html

        There are positives and negatives about each.

        Delete

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    Hi. My name is Jesse, and I'm a technology enthusiast. I play with technology and share what I find on this blog. If you have any questions then please use the contact form below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.


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