"A Great All-Round Laptop"4.5 starson by juicydrink
Pros: Chassis design; infinity glass display; keyboard; TrackPoint; value for money; cool running temperature; lack of bloatware
Cons: A few design niggles; glossy display glares; battery is non-removable; clickpad attracts fingerprints
My parents had those old brick ThinkPads. This is not one of those. I got this laptop only a few weeks after it was released, choosing it over the more expensive X201 simply for aesthetics. Lenovo did not disappoint. The chassis itself is extremely thin and streamlined, with nice chrome accents. The color is actually a really deep green, called Moss Green, which I find quite attractive. Don't worry, it doesn't actually look like moss; it's almost black.
This laptop has an Infinity Glass display, which is beautiful, durable, and for a screen this glossy, positively repels fingerprints. Unfortunately, my friend actually borrowed my computer to do her makeup. The sunlight glare is the screen's only downfall. Resolution is nothing to write home about, but it's still very sharp.
This keyboard is amazing. The keys are well-spaced, with good travel and resistance. They are also concave, making them comfortable and easy on which to touch type. Interestingly, Lenovo has decided to assign the function keys with specific tasks (a la Mac), such as changing the volume, or controlling media playback. To access the Windows functions for F1, F2 etc., you have to concurrently depress the FN key. I like the added functionality, but I used to use Alt+F4 to close windows and it's no longer as intuitive as it used to be. Though the keyboard is not backlit, FN+Space turns on an LED located next to the webcam, which illuminates the entire keyboard. Unfortunately, the TrackPoint (which I'll cover later) overlaps the bottom left of the H key, so firm press on the upper left of the H key will pop up the plastic key.
Clickpad & TrackPoint
The TrackPoint is a Lenovo hallmark and they've refined it admirably. Personally, I like using it a lot. You don't have to move your hands far from the keyboard and scrolling and clicking are well integrated. Even if you don't like using the TrackPoint, unlike on the X120e, it doesn't vampirize space. The clickpad, however, is less refined. I'm using Apple's touch interface as a benchmark, since it is widely known and very good. Surface area is generous and the coefficient of friction is more pleasant here than on Apple's laptops, which are sometimes too slippery (IMO). Clicking is reasonably accurate, but a bit heavy. Surprisingly, pinch to zoom works nearly as well as Apple. However, scrolling is this pad's Achilles heel. There is no well-defined edge scrolling area and using it is inconsistent. As for two-finger scrolling, it's jerky and scrolling speed varies. Overall, Apple just offers a smoother experience. Also, the clickpad is made of a material which loves finger oil.
Performance and Battery Life
The E220s is equipped with Intel's latest generation Core series, specifically a low-voltage i5. CNET has done the benchmarking and you can read all that, but from my experience, this computer has been quick. In true business style, Lenovo doesn't cram this computer with bloatware. There are only a few pieces of ThinkVantage software, and usually they're quite useful. One instance is the power manager, which makes balancing performance and battery life very easy. As for battery life, it's not great, but it's not bad either. It all depends upon your settings. When I'm more conservative, I can get five hours out of the battery, which is plenty for me. The only real drawback about the battery is that it's non-removable.
Build Quality & Form Factor
Despite being part of the less hard-core ThinkPad Edge Series, the E220s is still tough. I accidentally banged it against the wall. It was undamaged. It also has a spill-resistant keyboard and overall, feels very nicely put together. I really like the 12.5-inch form factor. It's very portable due to its thin design and light weight, but doesn't sacrifice much screen real estate. I think Aesthetically, the only problem is that the chrome trim has a few rough seams and isn't of uniform thickness. This, however, is a tiny detail most won't notice.
Value & Summary
I was fortunate enough to buy this laptop while Lenovo was running a promotion. Regardless, I think the E220s is good value. You get a fantastic design, the latest Intel CPU, and ThinkPad quality, all for around $850 base MSRP. I think it compares favorably with more expensive laptops such as the 13-inch MacBook and the Samsung Series 9. If you're in the market for a portable computer, I definitely would suggest taking a look at the E220s. It offers something for everyone, and its good balance was definitely enough to win me over.