Why Thinkpad X220 is the best laptop ever made

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I’m rather certain that you will come to the same conclusion, esteemed reader, as I did, namely that the Thinkpad X220 is the best laptop ever made, in consideration of the following points.

1 - It cost me 250 Euros

You will have to accept that that’s quite a bargain, considering that a new laptop costs upwards of at least twice as much, and if you want something with a decent brand and maybe even a metal chassis, at least four times as much. Yes, I bought it used, but it has worked flawlessly since more than a year, it has what feels like a new keyboard, and with the addition of a 128 GB SSD that cost 20 bucks (how that is possible, I don’t know), it actually freaking does stuff like run Emacs and a browser without melting down.

2 - It has the best keyboard in the world

Have you ever typed on a X220 keyboard? If not, you should. This thing is heaven on earth. I stopped typing on my ergonomic mechanical clickity-clack keyboard just because of this thing. It has the je ne sais quoi of an old Thinkpad keyboard: robust, light, and I will have to admit, not clickity-clacky, but at least tippity-tap, in a rather pleasing way. It has a hardware volume up-down and mute button at the top, coupled with a blue, weird-looking ThinkVantage button that I mapped to Emacs. I’m pretty sure the designers intended it that way. If that is not enough, there is a big-ass escape key at the top left. This key is, like, the biggest escape I have ever seen, without exaggeration. Seriously. It’s that big.

3 - You can’t watch videos on it

Twitter videos don’t work at all, and any other video is way too taxing for the hardware. This is a feature. It’s good. You won’t get distracted.

4. You can listen to MP3s on it

Now is the time to ditch Spotify, that hog of memory and CPU, and go back to the late 90s vibe of MP3s. You can actually play music from the disc, and not have your computer heat up to the sun’s surface temperature, would you believe that? Just throw in some winampy goodness with audacious and copy over a couple of gigabytes of pirated music from your college years (which should fall under the statute of limitations, right?), and you’re good to go. The loudspeakers are crap, and there is no bluetooth (again, a feature!), but that’s what the expensive headphones you bought two years before the Airpods came out are for.

5. There is a tiny flashlight on the lid

It comes with its own tiny cute flashlight to (I think) illuminate the keyboard, although it more illuminates the screen. You can turn it on and off with one keyboard shortcut, and it’s the sweetest thing ever. When I’m bored, instead of watching videos, I turn the flashlight on and off. Much more entertaining.

6. It has differently shaped ports

These days, if you get a new laptop, on the one side there are 2 of a certain port, and on the other side there are 3 of the same. Not on this bad mofo. It actually has 8 ports that all look different. USB, HDMI, audio, VGA, you name it. I can’t make any promises in terms of your adapter requirements, but damn it feels good to have a laptop with an actual CAT5 port (I hope that’s what those creepy internet-from-telephone sockets are called). And what is that switch under the big-ass emptiness that looks like a 1980s disk drive? An actual physical flight-mode switch? Sweet!


Seriously though, this computer is the perfect compromise between a work device and distraction monster. The keyboard is great, and the form factor is optimal for sticking it under your arm and setting off. Emacs and all kinds of compilers and runtimes work perfectly well on it, but various other distracting things like web video and news sites don’t. If you want one, hit me up, I know a very good dealer.