Over the past year I've had the opportunity to review nearly half a dozen Lenovo notebooks including models from the consumer-level IdeaPad line as well as the business-oriented ThinkPad series.

Living up to its reputation, I've generally been pleased with Lenovo's overall build quality and performance. The recently reviewed IdeaPad U260 was a real work of art and excelled in nearly every category except for one – it narrowly missed Intel's Sandy Bridge processor refresh which would have offered even better all-around CPU and GPU performance.

Today we'll be looking at our first notebook based on Intel's second generation Core processors, the ThinkPad X220.

The X220 was just introduced this month and represents Lenovo's latest ultraportable ThinkPad. Feature highlights include a 12.5" 1366x768 IPS display, a solidly built thin frame and starting weight of 3 pounds, all without sacrificing on performance courtesy of Intel's new mobile processors. The ThinkPad X series refresh is available in various configurations, from the Core i3-2310M all the way up to the high-end i7-2620M (the series fastest dual-core mobile processor). The ThinkPad X220 also includes a full-size keyboard and an all-new oversized touchpad with integrated mouse-click buttons.

Our review unit came equipped with a dual-core Core i5-2520M clocked at 2.5GHz (four thread capable with Hyper-Threading). This processor packs Intel's new HD 3000 graphics core and has max TDP of only 35W. Other specs include 4GB of PC3-10700 DDR3, a Hitachi 320GB 7200RPM hard drive, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 wireless, Bluetooth, a 6-cell Li-ion battery and as mentioned before a 12.5" IPS display.

The prospect of using a SSD for this type of system makes a lot of sense, however Lenovo has kept a standard hard drive likely to keep base price of the system accessible. According to the system's spec sheet they will let you fit a SSD out of the box, including Intel's popular solid state offerings.

Standard with the ThinkPad X220 is a 6-cell battery that connects at the back of the unit. In addition Lenovo sent us a slim 6-cell external battery that mounts onto the bottom of the notebook, they call it a battery slice. Road warriors looking to get a full day's use from their system will certainly be interested to see how well this unit performs.