Lenovo X230T Tablet PC Review with Windows 8 RP

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IMG_5168 (1024x683)The ThinkPad branding is one that has a strong reputation with respect to reliability and durability. The Lenovo x230t comes from this family in a convertible form factor. This is nothing new as convertible tablet PC’s have been around for quite a while. Unfortunately, they haven’t gained much sales traction outside of niche markets like certain small medical, business and education  fields or self-proclaimed geeks, like me!

The reputation for reliability and form factor are two of the many reasons I chose to purchase this laptop as my last two laptops failed prematurely with little use. Since I’m also headed back to college, I thought it might be nice to use the tablet functionality for taking notes in MS OneNote. And lets not forget, the final version of Windows 8 will be released this October, so having a touchscreen to use with the metro interface is also a nice bonus.

34 responses to “Lenovo X230T Tablet PC Review with Windows 8 RP

  1. Blog much? 🙂

    Nice review. Very detailed. You should take Sean Hollister’s place. They need someone that is detail oriented.

  2. Agreed, that is a very nicely detailed review. Maybe you could try the new Office preview version (just released yesterday) of OneNote and/or OneNote MX (or whatever it is called) that is the Metro version. Supposedly it can be found in the Productivity section of the Windows marketplace.

    Since you got the 6-cell, have you noticed if it makes the (front-right?) rubber foot come off the desk?

    • Thanks, I actually did try the office preview already, it works just as well as office 2010. I haven’t had too much time to fool with it, so I don’t know what new features would benefit from the touchscreen. To me it seems more like they are trying to add the new touchscreen features to the OneNote mx version. For example regular OneNote 2013 doesn’t have the radial popup menu while mx does. Regardless, mx doesn’t work well at all, probably due to the beta Intel graphics driver. Ill see if I can revert to the Microsoft driver and get better results.

      Mine sits flat on the desk. The only build quality issue I am experiencing so far is the slightly loose battery I mentioned in the review.

      EDIT: Here is the video showing the problem with OneNote MX

      • Thanks for the response and video. Other than the video artifacts, how was the MX experience? I’m wasn’t planning on using Win8 but OneNote MX might push me over if offers enough improvement.

      • Well, with the artifacting it was pretty much useless with tablet features. I find it interesting that all the ratings int he store are good so far. Maybe my machine is an isolated case, or no one is using it with a tablet. With that said, regular typing worked well. I really like the way they have the Notebook, section, page layout in MX. Currently I don’t see any way to create drawings without tablet functionality and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to import or export anything with it. If tablet functionality worked for me, I would probably enjoy using it for basic quick notes and go to the full version for classes or anything of that sort.

  3. The missing two devices is part of the intel active management technology (AMT). I have those two devices just like yours on my W7 clean installed x230t. I don’t use it, so I didn’t really want to install it. Read here in wikipedia if interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Active_Management_Technology

    Oh, and here’s my mini review, inside a X230(t) Owner’s Thread 🙂

    I have the three-feet-standing problem, and the loose-left-side-rubber-hinge problem. Oh, and also some light bleed from bottom edge several spots, and a little from lower right corner. Not too bad though.

    I think the pen’s accuracy is not that good, but still better than the X220T.

    I didn’t get the fingerprint reader on mine, and Lenovo put a dummy in that spot instead of using a different bezel. It looks cheap. I put 2x4GB samsung ddr3L (was $40 couple months ago) in mine. Didn’t know the micron 4GB was also a ddr3L. Good to know.

    Thanks for the detailed graphs and nice review!

    I just got mine yesterday, so I need to decide if I’m going to keep this or not so that I can order a Crucial M4 128GB msata from crucial.com.

    • Hi, thanks. I was trying all of the different drivers on Lenovos site the other night and figured it out about the two devices. 🙂 I saw your mini review too. My screen also has a bit of light bleed on the bottom edge. Its not too bad though and the screen is rarely all black for it to be noticeable. I also became annoyed with the pg up and down keys. Its too easy to hit them when you want to hit the arrow keys. Also, there is a battery indicator light on the top side of the laptop. (or backside of the screen however you want to look at it.) Mine is charged right now, but I’m pretty sure that light is on when it charges.

  4. As to your question about the outdoor screen – the outdoor screen does not have finger touch – it only works with the pen. About those two unrecognized devices, those might be from the ExpressCard slot

    • Thanks Jesse, I noticed the link when views started going back up instead of down. 🙂 thanks! I’m not getting many total views anyways, but I added a link to you in case someone hasn’t seen all the great info you posted already. It was a big help for me in determining if I should choose this system.

  5. Update on my x230t:

    The “three feet standing” problem was an eye sore, I compared to a X220T which my advisor has, her’s does not have that problem. It sits perfectly stable on all 4 feet with the 6 cell battery.

    So I contacted Lenovo support before my 21 days return window is over, nothing to lose right? I got a case number from the technician to setup a refund/replacement, now I need to contact “Post Sales” people tomorrow. I’m going to ask for a brand new replacement, and see if that one also has the same problem. Then I’ll probably compare the two side by side and send one back.

    I don’t want to get a refund because it’s hard to find this kind of powerful/expandable combination for $1100 including 3 year warranty.

    I currently have a intel x25-m 80GB in the main slot to play with. My Crucial M4 128GB msata is coming this Wednesday, then I’m gonna put back the 500GB 5400rpm hdd. I think everything will work out well. Maybe I’ll put up a video of this problem, I don’t know haha..

  6. Very nice review. I’ve been shopping around and although I’ve seen a lot of complaints, the new price point for this device seems too good. I’ve seen a couple good reviews for it and im thinking that some people may have just gotten a lemon.
    After reading this review I’m probably going to do tradezies with the ssd on my other comply and steal 4 of its 12gb of ram… heading back to school for my last 2 years of engineering and need something to keepme organized.


  7. Thanks for this very helpful review. I just ordered my x230t, and I can’t wait to get it and install Windows 8.

    You mentioned that after installing Windows 8, the fingerprint reader lost some of its previous functionality. I noticed on Lenovo’s website that they have Windows 8 Beta drivers for the fingerprint reader. They are at:

    I’m curious if you tried using those drivers and whether that restored full function to the fingerprint reader.


    • Hi, I don’t know how much of the previous functionality was lost since I didn’t even turn on the laptop with the original HDD. I do know from reading other articles that the fingerprint reader is supposed to allow the system to turn on and log in with only a swipe of an authorized finger.

      I didn’t use those drivers in particular, but I have been using a newer version available on authentec’s website. The drivers themselves seem to work fine, the loss of functionality (I believe) comes from the proprietary Lenovo software which keeps crashing on my system. As of right now, the only thing I have been able to do with the fingerprint reader is log into windows. I imagine the Lenovo software would allow login of other things like websites and etc. but I don’t know for sure.

      Also, Apple Inc. recently purchased Authentec I don’t know what there intentions are, but if Apple is having any say in what is going on there, I’m not getting my hopes up for great Windows 8 functionality.

  8. Thanks for this great review. They don’t bring many thinkpads to my country so a friend will bring one over. I would like to know a little about the single finger touch use. Does it respond well?
    When in tablet mode and in the internet, can i touch the address bar and then type the address via an on-screen keyboard? Or do I need to go laptop mode?
    Compared to other tablets, is the touch lacking in any of the abilities?
    Finally, do you think Windows 8 will fully function with it when it is released? As I understand you had a few driver issues.
    Thank you!

    • Touch works well for me out of the box. The screen protector I put on reduced sensitivity and it can be annoying at times.

      Tablet mode does not really change functionality of the machine. You can still use the touch screen and write on the screen when its in laptop mode.

      You finger acts as a mouse so yes you can touch the address bar and use he on screen keyboard to type stuff in. I could probably get a mini article out of this question, but Ill try and keep it short here:
      There is essentially one way to use touch in windows 7 and two ways to use it in windows 8.
      The first way that’s available in both is not ideal, but it does work. Its just the regular desktop version that your used to. To use the internet as you asked you would touch the address bar which is easy enough and then you would have to manually open the on screen keyboard from a little icon on the taskbar. Type in what you want and then manually close the keyboard. It becomes a pain in the butt to keep opening and closing the keyboard if you plan to do a lot of searches or passwords or whatever.

      The second way is only in Windows 8 and its from the Metro interface. That has the touch modified internet explorer which is separate from the desktop version. It knows when you want to type something and automatically opens and closes the on screen keyboard as needed. It also knows if your using the keyboard or not. It works very well in my opinion.

      I haven’t used many other tablets, but I don’t see how the touch could be lacking in abilities. It has multitouch, and pen input. After that it depends on the software to make use of those features.

      Lenovo will most likely still be selling this laptop until next June or July when they release the yearly update. So most likely they will be selling the laptop with Windows 8 eventually and I think that it will fully be supported. As of right now almost everything works anyways.

      • Thank you for your thoughts. I am thinking of purchasing the x230t with 8gb ram and the 128gb SSD. However, I’m also thinking whether I should just wait for the Surface to come out…
        I was wondering, how does the touch compare with the ipad?
        Also regarding the finger input, can I use it practically in any software where I need to type? Basically, all I have to do is hit the little icon on the taskbar? I am asking cause I have some trading software where I need to enter the ticker and the amount in boxes.
        Also, regarding the mobile broadband. I’m a little confused. Currently, my laptop doesn’t have this and so I have a 3G sim card which is in a USB which I attach to my laptop. How would I install the sim card into the x230t. Is there a slot for the GSM card or do need to purchase the Gobi 3000? If so, does the GSM card fit into the Gobi 3000? Does the Gobi 3000 work with any carrier? (I am in Europe with a local carrier).

      • I cant comment on the touch comparison of the iPAD since I don’t use one very often and its been a while since I have used it. All I can say is that in my opinion the touch works well, less so if you plan to add a screen protector.

        The keyboard can be pulled up in any application where you still have access to the task bar, but as I said, its not usually an ideal situation. There are many reasons Tablet PC’s have been around for years and never caught on but the iPad did. The clunky desktop touch capabilities are one of those reasons. If it helps any, I frequently find myself using the pen and touchscreen when in laptop mode to navigate and then the keyboard to type. It just works faster for me than the touchpad.

        As for mobile broadband, you NEED something like the Gobi 3000 if you want it built in (I didn’t purchase this). Or you can use it as you have been with USB or Express card devices. From what I understand the Gobi3000 works with both CDMA and GSM networks, so you should be OK, but check the spec sheet and see if it matches your carriers signal. If you do use the Gobi 3000, the GSM card fits in a slot beneath the battery. So you would need to remove the battery if you plan to switch out the card.

        I’m uploading some videos now, check the bottom of the review shortly for some links. One of them is for your question showing the keyboard on the desktop and in metro.

      • Sorry forgot to ask 2 more things:
        Is there some type of quick start on the machine? Sometimes I just want to click it on and check something really quick on the internet and hate having to wait for full windows load.

        Also from your review I understood that when you put Window 8, you needed to use drivers from Windows 7. Were those on some CD or you had to download? Do you suspect that when the full Windows 8 comes out, these will be corrected?

        I am a little worried that Windows 8 may have some cool features which Lenovo didn’t know about and so won’t work on the x230t because of how the hardware is setup. Is that possible?

        I guess that’s a little more than 2 things 🙂

        Thanks for your thoughts. Hope college goes well. Would love to be back. Best time of my life.

      • I don’t see any special partition for a quick start option. If you plan to use an SSD with it and also windows 8 then in all honesty you shouldn’t need a quick start feature because that combination is extremely fast.
        You might consider just using standby if you are going to be turning it on and off constantly. Lenovo also has a feature that will keep the wireless on for a while after you put the computer to standby so it will be ready to use immediately. I don’t have a use for it since it connects fast enough anyways, but it might be useful if there is some long log in or authentication process associated with your network.

        Most everything worked without installing any extra drivers. There were a few things which I downloaded windows 7 drivers from Lenovo’s site.

  9. Hi, very interesting reading (the only one I found about win8 + x230t), I have a question regarding rotation of the tablet : does the Metro interface brings faster rotation, or is it the same as in win7 (which seems painfully slow) ?

    Txs !

    • Well, the x230t doesn’t have an accelerometer (that I know of). So, It rotates the screen based on the position of the hinge inside the base of the screen. Without the Lenovo drivers installed it will only rotate when the button is pressed. With the drivers installed it will rotate fast enough to feel seemless. I’ve been busy at work this week and also watching the Olympics this week so I haven’t had free time to do much, but ill see if I can make a quick video of this since that will show the speed most accurately.

      • HDD shock sensor is the accelerometer. You have to install the shock sensor software to get the sensor to work. I haven’t tried it in Windows 8 because automatic screen rotation sucks in Windows 7.

      • Thanks for the info, I replaced the HDD with an SSD. That’s probably why I didn’t notice anything about it. I guess that’s a good reason to keep the OEM HDD and buy a mSATA SSD instead of replacing it outright. I don’t know if I’ll have time, but ill see if I can put the OEM drive in and do some comparisons of Windows 7 and 8 using that feature.

      • You can still install the shock detection software and disable the hdd from pausing. That’s how I had it in my x61t with a ssd in it. But since screen rotation is slow in Win7 no matter what, I don’t install that software. Don’t know if you want to try it in Win8 or not.

        I have both msata ssd and hdd, but not going to install shock detection software. I think it causes more problems/bugs rather than protect my data. If the screen rotation in Win8 is seemless like iphone or ipad, then I would reconsider.

      • Here’s a video showing the speed of the auto rotation. To be honest, I like setting it to just go to secondary landscape in tablet mode and primary landscape in laptop mode and just foregoing the active rotate.

      • How do actually set up the software for auto rotate in windows 8? I’m having trouble figuring it out.

      • You have to install the HDD protection software which enables the accelerometer.
        64 bit version found here http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=DS014892

        Also, the Tablet Shortcut menu if you havent already. Found here: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=DS014959

        Once you have successfully installed those, open up the Tablet shortcut menu and pick settings. There should be a check box on the first screen that shows up.

    • Sorry for the delayed response.

      If you installed the software I linked to, then go to the start screen and type Lenovo. Then press down twice to go to settings. You should see something called Lenovo – Airbag protection. That’s the settings for the accelerometer. When in that screen pick up the laptop and move it around. You should see the little picture of the laptop move along with your movement of the actual laptop. If that’s not the case then make sure the enable box is checked or reinstall the software. While here, I suggest you set the sensitivity to low if you have a SSD.

      Once you have the accelerometer working, Go to the Tablet Shortcut Menu configuration and enable the active rotate option.

  10. I am
    planning to buy the x230t and your detailed review has helped me clear the doubts I had about the product. I am going ahead and buying it.

  11. Now that Windows 8 Pro RTM is readily available through MSDNaa, it would be great if you can update the review with which drivers should be installed. That is if you have time. Again, thanks for the awesome review!

    I just installed my Windows 8 Pro on my X230T, installed fingerprint reader software that just got released (for W8), AHCI intel rapid storage SATA driver (from W7), monitor (W7), tablet button driver (W7). I’m trying to keep the W7 drivers to a minimum because who knows what it’ll do.

    I am hesitating but have a strong urge to install power management driver, usb 3.0 driver, power manager software, media card reader driver, Wacom penabled driver, but all these are Windows 7 drivers.

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