ThinkPad X230s or X231s explained (Brief Review)

ThinkPad X230s Photos

Some time ago i wrote article about Lenovo’s new ThinkPads that they will release in year 2013, more specifically i mentioned about the new ThinkPad X231s, X240 and X241s. Thanks to the effort of IBMThink whom have been providing the ThinkPad enthusiasts with oddles of useful information on a series of new ThinkPads that are about to be released. Recently, IBMThink released some information about the new ThinkPad X230s, which purportedly is a China only model.

For some reasons Lenovo have changed the name of the X231s to X230s (or maybe X231s is the name for the X230s sold to the global market?), but whatever the name is, the new X230s will polarise the opinions of the Lenovo Customers, some people will love it and praise Lenovo’s avantgarde styling, while others probably will say Lenovo has forgetten the ThinkPad roots and sold the ThinkPad soul for the price of an Apple pie. Personally, i think there are definite areas of that i like about the new X230s, and other parts of the new X230s that i really hate.

The part i love about the new X230s:

  • ULV CPU option
  • Larger TrackPad Surface Area
  • Screen bezel design
  • Removable HDD and option for 9 mm thick 2.5 inch hdd
  • Slightly lighter and thinner than a ThinkPad X230


The part i dislike about the new X230s:

  • No mention of removable RAM in the USER manual
  • Integrated battery
  • 1366×768 resolution
  • No dedicated Dock connectors
  • No ThinkLight
  • Only 2 USB ports
  • No ExpressCard Slot

ThinkPad X230s indicators light

ThinkPad X230s Key


The ThinkPad X230s keyboard follows those of the ThinkPad T431s, where Volume Control, Mic Mute, Speakers Mute and ThinkVantage Buttons are integrated into the Fn keys. Also, the ThinkPad X230s will have a buttonless trackpoint system like those of ThinkPad T431s and ThinkPad Helix (and the new ThinkPad Edge series). I hated this sort of key integration in my ThinkPad T430u, so i guess i won’t like it in the ThinkPad X230s either.

T431s buttonless trackpoint

The integrated battery system and new hinge style of the ThinkPad X230s have severely restricted the internal spaces available for the provision of USB ports, which meant that the new ThinkPad X230s have only two USB 3.0 ports, and the SIM card slot is also moved to the right side of the ThinkPad X230s chassis.

ThinkPad X230s right side port

Luckily, the ThinkPad X230s do have a dedicated Ethernet Gigabit port, while the VGA port is also provisioned on the ThinkPad X230s (in addition to the mini Displayport). I personally would have preferred that Lenovo removed the VGA port and put an extra USB port in its place.

ThinkPad X230s ports left side


The ThinkPad X230s will also have the new X1 Carbon’s type of power port, which seems to be the new standard power port design on the future ThinkPad, as the new thicker Edge ThinkPad also have it, which means that the new design will not be used only in ThinkPad with thickness restriction (i.e. X1 Carbon, X1 Helix, etc).

ThinkPad X1 Carbon power adapter versus MagSafe connector


It is somewhat dissappointing to see that the new ThinkPad X230s won’t have a dedicated dock connector to take advantage of the Series 3 dock, but rather it will have to rely on the USB 3.0 docking solutions. Also, i am not sure why Lenovo does not have a higher resolution LCD option on the new ThinkPads X230s, which other previous X2x0s series have.

ThinkPad X230s main features

ThinkPad x230s sim card removal and installation part 1


ThinkPad X230s main features



Also, the new ThinkPad X230s will have 2 removable harddrive options, one is the M2 (mSATA v2.0) and a 7/9 mm 2.5 inch hdd options, which is good news for people whom want to install their own hdd in their X230s. 


Jin Li (lead_org)

I'm the Chief Editor of, working from Melbourne Australia. I am currently a Microsoft MVP and a Lenovo Brand Evangelist/Advocate. My main interests are in technology, bioscience, marketing and obviously Lenovo products.

If you have any questions, comments or just want a chat about any topics related to technology, feel free to tweet me (@lead_org), email me or leave a comment in the post.

Latest posts by Jin Li (lead_org) (see all)



  • VGA FTW!

    I went to about 15 different conference rooms last year to give presentations. Every one supplied just VGA for the presenter (me!). VGA is still a business necessity for some of us.

  • Another thing I like about both T431s and X230s is the fact that they use this rubber lip, like the X1 Carbon, which protects the screen better against dirt and dust.

    “ThinkPad X230s, which purportedly is a China only model.”
    Where did you get this info? I would be surprised if the X230s is a China-only model. All ThinkPads in the T/W/X/L series should be available worldwide, according to Lenovo, since they are the main series installments for business in the lineup.

  • It looks like the display is larger than 12.5 inches — can you confirm this? Check out how much space there is between the keyboard and the edges on both sides. I am guessing it’s a 13 inch device now?

    • Hi Viktor,

      The X230s is confirmed to have a 12.5 inch LCD like the X230 laptop.


      Jin Li

    • It is an optical illusion. The screen is 12.5″.

      The keyboard is actually not a full-size one, that explains why there is so much room between the keyboard and the edges of the notebook.

    • Lukasz Kalinowski

      There is no point in building a smaller keyboard than the one in the X230, the allready smallest Thinkpad. The difference would be just some mm, although it would fit anyway into the chassis.

      I guess it might be a 13-incher, just like the X1 Carbon turned out to have a 14-inch display and not 13.3.

    • Oh well… I can see now you are probably right.
      The keys to the right of spacebar are noticeably narrower than in the current x230 model. I hoped the screen to fit better into the frame of the computer like it is in the X1 Carbon.

  • what is up with these low res screens. i think the biggest drawback of lenvoos is their sucky screens. even if the screens are 1600×900, they are still of really poor quality, viewing angles and color reproduction. hate my t420s screen.

    • On my X230T, I have a delightful IPS panel, about the 1366 resolution, yes I feel that is a problem, but I don’t feel it is that much of a problem until your computer starts going to 14 or 15 inches. The IPS option is also available on the regular X230 as a $50 option.

  • Joschua Schmidt

    Hi Jin-Li
    Im 16 years old and next year i will go to the USA for a
    Year where i wanted to buy a New notebook.
    May you tell me when you would expect the t440 to be release??
    And which kind oft notebook is ideal for
    An average gamer and programmer???

    • hi Joschua,

      T440 from what i know will be released September this year. If you play games, then Thinkpad is not something you should consider, since the only ThinkPad with half decent GPU is a W530, which is extremely expensive as a gaming machine. Maybe you should consider something like the Y400 or Y500 IdeaPad or the Edge E531 or E431 if you really need a ThinkPad.


      Jin Li

    • Joschua Schmidt

      Hi Jin Li
      Thank you so much for your reply,
      i really do not look for an ideal gaming laptop, an average mobile gpu would be enough for me. Therefor I wanted to ask you again, if you expect the t440 to be equipped with the new hasswell processors of intel. Furthermore I want to ask if you think that there will be a larger touchpad for the t440, like the one of the x1 carbon???

      Sincerely and thankful:


  • No surprise, another Apple-like “thinkpad”. As a 10 years thinkpad user, I really hate the keyboard layout and currently design. Nearly all the IBM-thinkpad style has been abandoned, trackpoint is the only thing left, maybe gone someday as well…

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