Lenovo Brings Perfection to Ultraportable MarketBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2008-04-01 Email Print
Lenovo’s latest X series notebook, the X300, combines performance, features, light travel weight and long battery life into an attractive package for those with deep pockets.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X300 is a work of art and has a price to match. At a list price of $2,935, one has to wonder if the unit is made of gold. Well, it’s not gold that drives the price so high, it’s silicon—in the form of a solid state drive.
The X300 eschews traditional hard drive-based storage and goes the route of solid state electronics in the form of a 64GB SSD. That SSD is what gives the X300 its notable performance, long battery life and big buck price tag. While other manufacturers offer SSD storage as an option (Toshiba and Apple, for example), Lenovo is unique in the fact that the X300 only comes with an SSD and no traditional hard drive is available.
That may make the X300 a hard sell for those looking to keep costs down. After all, many users may be happy with a traditional hard drive if it saves them a $1,000 or so and still has the features they need.
SSD aside, the X300 does offer a lot of features that may make the price tag worth it. For example, the unit has a 13.3-inch display with high resolution and impressive brightness. It also offers a plethora of wireless connectivity options, such as Intel UWB, GPS, Verizon WWAN (EV-DO) and Bluetooth, along with the requisite Wi-Fi connectivity. Other features abound, as the full spec includes the following:
- Processor: 1.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L7100 (800MHz FSB, 4MB cache)
- Graphics: Intel X3100
- Screen: 13.3-inch WXGA+ (1440 x 900, 300 nit) LED backlit display
- Memory: 2GB (up to 4GB configurable)
- Storage: 64GB SSD
- Integrated Web camera
- Ultra-thin DVD burner
- Wireless and communications: Intel 4965AGN (802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi), Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, Intel UWB, GPS, Verizon WWAN (EV-DO)
- Battery: Six-cell Li-Ion extended life battery
- Ports: Three USB 2.0 ports, monitor out port, AC adapter, headphone/line-out, microphone/line-in, Gigabit Ethernet
- Weight: 3.32 pounds with six-cell battery and DVD burner installed
- Dimensions: 12.4" x 9.1" x 0.73" - 0.92"
- Full-size keyboard, track point navigation, touch-pad, fingerprint reader
- Operating system: Windows XP or Windows Vista (in various flavors)
- Warranty: 1 year
The feature set gives the X300 a big advantage over the two current market leaders in the ultralight notebook segment—Apple with the MacBook Air and Toshiba with the Portege R500. Most notably, the MacBook Air does not offer an integrated optical drive, while the Toshiba R500 is hampered by a 12.1-inch display.
Performancewise, the X300 offered some decent scores, considering the inclusion of a low-power processor and X3100 graphics. In our Passmark Performance Test 6.1, the system received an overall rating of 351; a previous test of the Toshiba R500 (with a standard hard drive) managed a Passmark rating of 297.
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The X300's performance could see a boost if Lenovo included discrete graphics as an option, but that may impact battery life. Speaking of battery life, the unit can be configured to offer as many as 10 hours of usable life using a dual battery configuration. The standard battery offers about 4.5 hours of practical use for performing office tasks.
Interestingly, the display dims when on battery power, and we could find no way to bring the unit up to maximum backlight brightness when running on battery using the included power management software or function keys. Even with the brightness set to 100 percent via the keyboard controls, the backlight was much dimmer than when plugged into an AC power source. Further investigation found a setting in the BIOS that allowed the display brightness to be set to "high," which overrode the automatic dimming of the display when switching to battery power.
Otherwise, the system is easy to use, well-built and very portable. High price aside, the X300 could very well be the best ultraportable on the market for business users. VARs looking to sell the X300 will want to target "on the go" executives and professionals with deep pockets.
To read eWEEK's walk-through review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X300, click here.