Lenovo x250 vs. HP 820

Reason for comparison

So the reason I’m even able to compare these two ‘Business Class’ ultrabooks is because we have a couple extras at work and I will use one of them until they want it back. I won’t be able to use both of them so I do have to give one up eventually. In this comparison I’ll be going over some of the hardware basics (they’re pretty much the same), and looking at sort of a ‘pros & cons’ list to help me pick. Hopefully if you are looking for a Business Class ultrabook this might help make your decision a little easier.

Quick Specs

For the most part they are both very similar. I’m not gonna get into exact specs but here’s the meat and potatoes. They both have a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD, 12” (roughly) screen.

Size & Feel

The HP is a bit smaller overall but that is fairly negligible. Although the HP is smaller it does actually feel a bit heavier. I like the design of the HP better, the corners and edges are rounded which makes it look smaller than it actually is. The Lenovo is more boxy looking, while this makes it look bigger than the HP it makes it easier to pick up. I sometimes feel like the HP is gonna slip outta my hand when I pick it up or pull it out of my backpack. They both feel fairly solid, the Lenovo has a matte ‘rubber’ feel to it on the top and bottom. The HP has that same basic feel on the lid, the bottom is textured plastic. I really like the looks of the HP better than the Lenovo, it just looks more sleek. Which is why is surprised me when I say…

WINNER: Lenovo x250

It’s just more functional and funnily enough feels better in the hand than the HP.

Keyboard

I wasn’t even going to make a section for the keyboard, but as I started writing I noticed I had a lot more to say than I thought I did. The keyboard on the Lenovo is a bit more raised and a little more ‘clicky’ than the HP which has more ‘chiclet’ style keys, and both keyboards have a backlit keyboard with 2 brightness settings. One thing that bugs me about the Lenovo is the Fn and Ctrl keys are flipped, getting used to that took some time. I’m writing this review on the HP and even with the backwards damn keys I actually enjoy typing better on the Lenovo. They say they have award winning keyboards and I believe them. The travel on the keys is nicer and it’s just more comfortable to type on.

WINNER: Lenovo x250

Mouse/Trackpad

I hate trackpads…with a passion. If I don’t have to use a trackpad I won’t, which is why I use the little ‘nub’ that is generally in the middle of the G, H, and B keys. They are both comfortable to use and work well. Every now and then I get what I call a ‘ghost cursor’ where I’ll let up on it and the cursor will keep moving a little bit. Not a big deal just worth noting. One thing I miss from the Lenovo is the fact that it has a middle mouse button. That really helps when scrolling through web pages, or clicking a link to open another tab in Chrome. If it wasn’t for that this would be even but…

WINNER: Lenovo x250

Sound

This is the most important/un-important feature for me. Most of the time I will use my small laptop for simple things YouTube, web surfing, Spotify, and here lately writing reviews. Half the time I will use headphones when watching the random YouTube video or listening to my Spotify library. When I do listen to the built in speakers I don’t necessarily need them loud but I do want them to be fairly clear. The speakers on the HP are amazing for such a small computer and that’s because they faced them up, the speaker grille is right above the keyboard, whereas the two speakers on the Lenovo are placed at the bottom of the laptop. Generally this wouldn’t be a horrible thing if your laptop is on a hard surface, but I generally tend to use mine, well, in my lap so having the speakers on top is very welcome. This one is easy…

WINNER: HP 820

Upgradability

The HP has a switch on the bottom, toward the top of the laptop, slide it over and pull down on the plastic cover and you have access to most of the interals. There are 2 slots for RAM (I believe max is 16GB, don’t quote me), then there’s the HDD and battery. Everything is very easy to get to, you could replace the RAM (it’s low voltage) and hard drive within about 5 minutes. The Lenovo is a different story, there are 8 screws (yes 8!) that you must loosen before you can start to pry the back cover off. When you’ve done it as much as I have it becomes fairly easy, but the first couple times it’s a real pain in the ass. Believe it or not there are 2 batteries on this thing, an external one that you can remove fairly easily, and another one hidden under the bottom cover. This internal battery is technically replaceable. Once you have the cover off everything is pretty simple, although I believe there is only 1 RAM slot. I could be wrong, I’ll pop the back cover off to be certain. This one also is a no brainer (for me anyway)

WINNER: HP 820

Battery Life

This is purely non-scientific, I haven’t run any tests outside of just using the freakin things, and even with the 2 batteries the Lenovo has I would say the HP actually edges it out. Now this is all based on actual usage, but the HP has the slight edge.

WINNER: HP 820

Screen

Screen size is roughly the same, I haven’t measured but neither can me much bigger than the other. The viewing angles and overall clarity is better on the Lenovo. Although watching a hi def video on either one is nothing to write home about. The winner on this one is fairly cut and dry.

WINNER: Lenovo x250

Final Thoughts

Well I gotta be honest I really thought the HP was gonna win in a landslide really it just looks like the more ‘ultra’ ultrabook. But as is the case with most things you can’t judge a book by its cover. The Lenovo isn’t perfect if I could steal some things from the HP it would be the speakers and the more easily removable bottom cover. The battle was a close one and if you had either one of these laptops I don’t think you would be disappointed, but comparing them side by side….

THE WINNER AND CHAMP: LENOVO X250

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