My X220 Finally Has a Successor

This article is a transcript of a video that you can watch by clicking the thumbnail below. Hence, certain statements may not make sense in this text form, and watching the video instead is recommended.


It's been over a year since I've had the X220 in my fleet. We've been to a lot of places together, and the one thing that hasn't changed for me since my first week with this machine is how impressive I find it even when placed among my other brilliant machines. However, the ThinkPad-hopping isn't over yet, and I did manage to find a successor to this masterpiece as well.

The X220

Using the X220 has been nothing short of a delight, however, gratefulness and content are two different things, so even though I kept coming back to it after my short-lived infatuations with other machines, I figured it was time for me to address the handful of shortcomings I was dealing with in the X220. For me personally, the only two are the TN screen (which I've failed to upgrade to an IPS panel once), and the USB 2.0 ports, which is due to this unit being equipped with a Core i5 processor.

The X230

This is where the X230 comes. Though a normie would find these two identical (maybe except for the keyboard), this leap of one year brings several changes to the table, most of which are clear improvements.

Let's quickly talk about the ones I'm aware of right now:

  1. Obviously, the keyboard has been redesigned, but there's no reason to be sad here. As I've mentioned it in one of my previous videos, this keyboard is highly underrated.
  2. The CPU jumps one generation forward and brings a significant boost in performance. Maybe this wouldn't be noticeable to me, but it's good to have regardless.
  3. The GPU also received a slight upgrade, though I wouldn't pay attention to it, as I do not use subnotebooks for graphics-intensive tasks anyway.
  4. The two USB ports on the left are USB 3.0 as a standard, so even though this is a Core i5 model again, it's been taken care of.

And then there are a few downgrades:

  1. The DisplayPort has now been replaced with a mini-DisplayPort, so there's going to be an adapter involved. You have no idea how much streaming on external screens I've done with the X220, and that includes a 4K television screen as well. This one would definitely need some figuring out.
  2. The X220 never ran very cool, and this machine is known to create even more heat. We'll see how that goes.

There's also a change in this particular unit that I received, and it comes with an IPS screen right out of the box. I know these aren't the best IPS panels out there, especially in 2024, but given how lacking the TN on the X220 was, this would be a reasonable upgrade.


The restoration for this unit took me a little longer than usual. It had several things missing, but thankfully nothing major that I didn't work on before.

  1. I added a 512GBs SATA III SSD, because I wouldn't have put a 256GBs storage drive on this machine.
  2. I also had to arrange for a storage caddy and rubber rails. I realized I had a set lying around, so I used it.
  3. Getting original drive-bay covers can be difficult, but I made sure to get one that wasn't an aftermarket replacement.
  4. For the RAM, I used the 4GB module that came with it to upgrade another system. For this one though, I added two 8GB modules making it 16GBs as it should be for an X230.
  5. With my bad experiences with batteries, I purposely bought a used 6-cell battery. It's running at 85% capacity, but at least it's a genuine one so it wouldn't fail on me as the aftermarket ones do.
  6. The cover hinges on this machine were too tight. Had I not used my X220, I would've believed these were supposed to be this way, but thankfully I knew it wasn't supposed to be all that hard to open and close the lid. The seller was generous enough to offer me a partial refund that covered the replacement pair of hinges. These hinges were not as stiff but made a squeaking noise, and after some lubrication, they were just perfect!
  7. The TrackPoint cap is super filthy. I tried cleaning it, but it just wouldn't return back to its red color, so I replaced it with an aftermarket piece and now it's pretty much new.
  8. Then, the keyboard on this machine, even though is supposed to be exactly the same as the one I installed on my W530, was different in feel. These keys felt a little smooth, and not only certain keys in very particular areas but the entire surface on all keys, while the ones on the W530 had a slightly rough texture to it. Maybe this is a mental thing, but I ended up swapping the keyboards between the X230 and W530 and I don't why, but I like it this way! The slightly shiny keyboard doesn't look half as bad on the W530, and now I love the way the X230 looks.
  9. There was one missing screw on the bottom, but I had a bunch of left-over screws from a set I purchased for a T420s, and that worked here.
  10. I have several Lenovo barrel chargers already, so I was covered with that as well.
  11. I haven't done a thermal repaste yet, given how much work it involves in the X220 and X230, but I'll do that someday soon.
  12. The lid keeps bothering me, so I might end up replacing the entire screen housing.

A Couple of New Learning

There are a couple of things I found surprisingly different on this machine.

  • The color temperature of the IPS panel is noticeably warmer than the TN on the X220
  • The TrackPoint needed configuration to make it sensitive enough to be usable. The X220 didn't need it.

I've Done This Before

This kind of upgrade is familiar to me. I did this earlier when I replaced my X1 Extreme Gen 3 with a T15g Gen 2 and the X1 Nano. This time, I split the X220 into two machines, which are an X61s and the X230.


My X220 is still the cleanest-looking example I've seen on the internet. The X230 though, it's a little rough around the edges and especially on the corners. But I might be willing to pass on the X220 in favor of a few quality-of-life improvements, but with a few trade-offs:

  1. I'm willing to live with the modern chicklet keyboard as I love it, even though it isn't the X220 classic keyboard. But hey, I still have one spare classic keyboard and an X220 palm rest lying around, so I might as well try the classic keyboard mod in the future. I do not see the need right now, but who knows?
  2. I've thankfully not faced any noticeable heating issues yet, and hopefully, it should be all fine.

So yes, I had fun using my X220, and it was literally a computing experience I'd remember. Now, I'd like to give the next owner the opportunity to create such memories with this masterpiece.


That's all that I have for this video. Thanks for watching it till the end, may the maker watch over you, see you in the next video! And yes, "Free Palestine!".