There had been a trickle of early reviews. Which weren't allowed to cover the CPU as Intel was embargoing stories about the Laptop CPU IVy Bridge Processors.
The embargo lifted today and of course full reviews of the Lenovo X230 one of the First laptops to use this new CPU hit the Web.
Engadget's Review here:
While I haven't big a huge fan of Engadget of late, this review is pretty good. Most notably is there test of the battery which they found to be slightly less performing than last year's X220. They do make a few mistakes like not having Video, and also claiming there was no USB 3.0 option for the X220.
Mobile Tech Review
This is probably the best review of the bunch. Video is here, Covering the Keyboard, the Back light, but even more impressively they game on the X230! Demoing Skyrim, Mass Effect 3 and Call of Duty. While I would have loved to see them play Diablo 3 or StarCraft 2, you really can't fault them because they actually showed off probably the biggest feature of the new Ivy Bridge line of CPUs the new Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics chipset embed in the Ivy Bridge CPU.
Great Text review, has a bunch of great pictures comparing the X230 to the X220. Also they tested taking the X220's Keyboard and putting it on an X230. While most keys worked, there were some weird mapping issues with Functions keys and the delete key.
They also did a first thoughts review here: http://www.laptopreviews.com/lenovo-thinkpad-x230-review-2012-05
This included some good videos.
Oh where to start. I just don't understand why they let Scott Stein review Thinkpad laptops, it's clear he hates them. First off, he claims the machine is bulky... And in the Video claims it "weighed him down in his backpack." Seriously? The machine only weighs around 3 lbs! (are you that weak?) What he really means is compared to an Ultrabook. Sure Scott, it's hefty compared to an Ultrabook, but considering that it has a removable Battery, a ton more ports then most Ultrabooks on the market, and a swappable HD bay. I'm not sure why he is even bothering to make the comparison. Also Lenovo isn't trying to put this machine in the Ultrabook category. They left that for the New X1 Carbon.
Also he is still critical of the Track Point mouse. Scott it wouldn't be a Thinkpad without the Track point, get over it!
It’s clear to me that CNET and Stein truly believe there reader/viewer ship to be strictly consumer masses and not Geeks. What ircks me is that CNET has another Laptop reviewer that is far more fair minded, Dan Ackerman. While Ackerman still reviews acknowledging that the Audience is less geek and more consumer. His reviews of Thinkpads are far less harsh than Stein.
Why am I being more critical of CNET for basing their review towards consumers? Well let's face facts; Most consumers will never go near a Thinkpad:
A) They are rarely sold in retail stores like Best Buy, Microcenter, or even Office supply stores like Staples; Office Max or Office Depot. You really can only get them via Lenovo's website or through calling them. A few different configurations will show up on New Egg and TigerDirect, but that's about the only other place you can get them.
B) CNet's Scott Stein will point this out alot but honestly unless you are a Thinkpad fan you probably only get a Thinkpad if issued one from the IT department. Fair enough, but why even bother with the review if you believe your Audience to be consumers and not geeks?
I don't have an X230 in my hands so I can't really give a full review but here's what I'll say:
1) It's a Thinkpad, the classic keyboard is gone, and that's a real concern for diehard fans. But from most of the reviews, it's not too bad and it's probably worth taking a look at (if you can find one to play with). It's a business professional class PC, it has more ports than any Ultrabook, you can swap the battery and the HD.
2) Lenovo charges far too much for this laptop. While the Ultrabook comparison may be unfair, it's something to consider when Laptops with SSDs are coming out at less than $1,000 and the HDD version of the X230 starts over a $1,000. Lenovo isn't Apple and should stop charging as much as them.
3) Why isn't there a higher Screen Resolution option? Sure the IPS panel option is a nice. But Lenovo has really shied away from offering better screen options on Notebooks with under 14" LCDs. My X61 tablet has a higher resolution screen and it uses an older 4:3 Aspect ratio. With Laptops like the Asus Zenbook UX31 and HP Envy Spectre touting 1600x900 panels. It really shouldn't be hard for Lenovo to offer a higher resolution option in this form factor.
4) Ivy Bridge is why you would buy this machine. The X220 is on clearance sale right now. And you can and will be be able to the get them cheaper (under $800) for the next few months. Sure you probably won't be getting USB 3.0 (unless you can find that option) or that fancy new keyboard, you will be getting a solid laptop. Ivy Bridge's real advantages lie in the graphics performance and for casual gaming the X230 will deliever far over the X220. Ivy Bridge also allows for a 16 GB Memory configuration on the X230.
I'm still on the fence about what Laptop I'll be upgrading to this year, the X230 will be in the running.