I’m an everyday Linux (Ubuntu) user moving from X201s to X280. This is my review after installing Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic) on X280.
Issues with workaround available
- Keyboard event F1~F12 must be triggered while holding down the Fn key. This behaviour could be changed by changing the BIOS configuration under
Config -> Keyboard/Mouse -> F1-F12 as Primary Function = Enabled
- By using Fn+F5 and Fn+F6 to adjust the brightness, the lowest level of brightness is too dark for me, and the second lowest level is too bright. Workaround available by writing to
/sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightnessdirectly. Refer to Precision brightness control on X280 running Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic) for details.
- X280 may wake up for no reason while connected to Lenovo USB-C Dock, even there is nothing connected to the dock except the 20V 90W power adaptor. Workaround available, by echoing
XHCwakeup. The downside of this workaround is that it became impossible to wake up by external (USB) keyboard. This workaround does not affect the wake-up button on the dock – it will still work. Refer to Prevent unwanted wake up for ThinkPad X280 running Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic) for details.
- Bug 1813763 on Launchpad – if you use an external display on USB-C dock. Reproducible on kernel 4.15.0-44-generic. The issue has been fixed in 4.15.0-45-generic so it’s not an issue anymore. (update 2019-02-01)
Issues that I didn’t find a workaround.
- The brightness of the built-in display may become unstable occasionally, usually once or twice a day and the brightness fluctuates for ±10% for less than one minute. More likely to happen on a light grey background or low level of brightness.
Update 2018-08-03: The detail of the issue has been posted on Lenovo forum.
- The fingerprint reader is not working.
- 4G modem Fibocom L850-GL does not show up as a USB device under Linux.
- By slowly plug-in a USB 3.0 flash drive, it will run at USB 2.0 speed. More likely to happen on the left-side USB type A socket as it’s more ‘tight’ than the one on the right.
- X280 is thin in thickness and slippery in terms of surface coating. I always feel it may fall out of my hand, and it did happen once. It’s a 30 cm fall, the left side of the machine (the side with USB-C and HDMI port) hit the carpet with concrete underneath. I have been using the machine several months after the drop and I did not notice any damage – internally or externally. If I can choose, I’d rather Lenovo use the material or coating with more friction, like the one used on X201s. I have been thinking about putting anti-slip tape on the machine. (added on 2019-01-26)
- This machine does not come with DIMM socket. The RAM is soldered on the motherboard so I recommend the model with maximum RAM. My machine comes with 16GB RAM. (added on 2019-01-26)
- The TrackPoint is not that easy to control, compared to X201s. I noticed that I use touchpad more often. (added on 2019-01-26)
- The TrackPoint cap (red rubber) of on X201s is not compatible with X280. I cannot take the cap from X201s and put it on X280. (added on 2019-01-26)
- TrackPoint left & right buttons are much harder to click compared to X201s. They miss the click occasionally, thus I need to hit them harder. And these buttons are noisier than X201s.
- The hinge is completely different with X201s, and more similar with MacBook. While opening the lid or adjusting the screen angle on a desk with a wired mouse or other cables, the cables may get damaged. Furthermore, the bottom edge of the lid will contact the desk if the screen is opened for 150°. I prefer the hinge design on X201s.
- There are four rubber foot on the bottom of the machine, but it still ‘slippery’. The rubber foot on X201s battery from Better Batt is much better.
- RJ45 has been replaced with a proprietary connector. Furthermore, it does not come with an RJ45 dongle.
- It requires a SIM card eject pin to remove SIM/microSD tray, rendering the card reader hard to access. The only use case of microSD card slot is probably
Install the bootloader, allow LVM using all the space on NVMe storage device. Put a Live USB image there, for recovery purpose, without the need of external USB flash drive.
- Update 2018-08-03: Internal microSD card reader cannot be used as a boot device.
- If your machine comes with Windows, I recommend boot it with Ubuntu LiveUSB and dump the disk image with
ddbefore you erase it. This may make troubleshooting on hardware issue easier if that is required in the future. I use command
dd if=/dev/nvme0n1 bs=1M | xz -9 > image-file.raw.xzto dump and compress the disk image. (added on 2019-02-04)
- My machine is equipped with a Samsung
MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7NVMe storage device. I have no problem install and running Ubuntu on Btrfs. I choose Btrfs to detect silent data corruption. (added on 2019-02-04)
Tested on the following firmware configuration
BIOS 1.16 (N20ET31W) EC 1.05 (N20HT18W) ME 184.108.40.20660 (N20RG10W) ThinkPad USB-C Dock firmware 3.7 BillBoard(BB) FW: 0.1.0.23 USB Hub(HX3) FW: 220.127.116.11 PD(CCG4 DK) FW: 1.3.40 DP Hub FW: 3.12.005
DMI table (SMBIOS) as below
$ sudo dmidecode --type 0 # dmidecode 3.1 Getting SMBIOS data from sysfs. SMBIOS 3.0.0 present. Handle 0x000B, DMI type 0, 24 bytes BIOS Information Vendor: LENOVO Version: N20ET31W (1.16 ) Release Date: 05/30/2018 Address: 0xE0000 Runtime Size: 128 kB ROM Size: 16 MB Characteristics: PCI is supported PNP is supported BIOS is upgradeable BIOS shadowing is allowed Boot from CD is supported Selectable boot is supported EDD is supported 3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h) Print screen service is supported (int 5h) 8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h) Serial services are supported (int 14h) Printer services are supported (int 17h) CGA/mono video services are supported (int 10h) ACPI is supported USB legacy is supported BIOS boot specification is supported Targeted content distribution is supported UEFI is supported BIOS Revision: 1.16 Firmware Revision: 1.5 $ sudo dmidecode --type 1 # dmidecode 3.1 Getting SMBIOS data from sysfs. SMBIOS 3.0.0 present. Handle 0x000C, DMI type 1, 27 bytes System Information Manufacturer: LENOVO Product Name: 20KFS05Q00 Version: ThinkPad X280 Serial Number: ******** UUID: ********-****-****-****-************ Wake-up Type: Power Switch SKU Number: LENOVO_MT_20KF_BU_Think_FM_ThinkPad X280 Family: ThinkPad X280