Lenovo ThinkPad X100e Ultraportable Review

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Lenovo made more noise at the Consumer Electronics Show in January than any other notebook maker, and while we have since been able to test out a few of the company's newest machines, the curious X100e had thus far eluded us. We just reviewed our sample of the smallest ThinkPad ever (that actually looks like a ThinkPad), and with Lenovo claiming that this is the company's "first professional-grade ultraportable laptop starting below $500," we knew the stakes were high.



ThinkPad loyalists may be some of the most picky in all of the notebook world, and many don't take kindly to tweaks and overhauls of their favorite portable PCs. Lenovo was really going out on a limb with the X100e, as the 11.6" display and sub-$500 start point was obviously out of character for a ThinkPad. We know the ThinkPad Edge family has already branched out, but those machines were still of their own blood. There's no mistaking that the X100e is yet another member of the "classic" ThinkPad line; from the blocked edges to the red trackpoint nub to the matte black finish, it really looks like a shrunken ThinkPad at first glance.



It's not often that you see a ThinkPad notebook powered by AMD; it's even more rare to find one powered by an AMD platform that has thus far been reserved for netbooks and select ultraportables. The unique inclusion of AMD's Athlon Neo (MV-40) made us even more eager to try this machine out. Would the AMD CPU do the ThinkPad name justice? Could a netbook-centric processor handle traditional ThinkPad-like duties? Would the X100e have a negative impact on the positive ThinkPad brand? Join us in the pages to come as we evaluate Lenovo's ThinkPad X100e and find out the answers to those questions and more.

Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (11.6") Notebook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • AMD Athlon Neo MV-40  @ 1.6GHz, 800MHz FSB; 512KB L2 Cache
  • 2GB of DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
  • 11.6" LCD (1366x768); LED backlight, Anti-Glare 
  • AMD M780G (Radeon HD 3200) integrated graphics
  • 250GB (5400RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B Hard Drive
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • No Optical Drive
  • 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • VGA output
  • USB 2.0 x 3
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jack
  • SD / MMC / SDHC Multimedia Card Reader
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Gesture-Enabled Multi-Touch Trackpad
  • 3.3 Pounds (with 6-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 6-Cell Li-ion Battery
  • 11" x 7.5" x 0.60 - 1.10" (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Professional (32-bit)
  • Price (starting): $449.99
  • Price (as tested): $569.99
  • 1-Year Warranty

 





A real-deal ThinkPad starting at $449.99? It's almost unheard of, but it's for real, and it just might be the most compelling ultraportable we've seen yet. This machine also puts a tremendous amount of pressure on netbook makers who are competing in the "premium netbook" sector ($400 and up), as now consumers can get an actual ThinkPad instead of a netbook for just $450 (or less, if you catch a good sale).
 

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Wow, that thing really looks like aThinkpad in the traditional sense:)
 
Funny that it took them this long to go to a netbook size.  The way it was getting, we really could give them away. Much less rebuild them thanks to all the proprietary system integrated into them.
 
I just wonder why they didn't go with an outer shell more inclined to the Toughbook. So businesses and military could use this?
 
A 4.8 for graphics is a pretty good score. Although I am sure the companies will be tracking how much WOW you play :)

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The Toughbook series was really nice, but I don't think it was that lucrative that Lenovo would introduce a small notebook as a Toughbook right at the outset. Also, this is supposed to be an ultraportable and usually weight and size is a pretty big factor.

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The Toughbook has many good uses and many loyal followers. Because it does exactly what its namesake means, Its tough :)

In a business setting, which is their primary market fro these things. Ruggedness is just as important as employer security. Many people who work out in the field use the Toughbook and almost all the military use them in deployment zones.

What I was implying is the time for these things, where people just sit behind desks is a vague memory. Hence the need for a Netbook size Thinkpad. If they would have used this size and added the Toughbook Shell so it can withstand a beating, Moisture and temperature. They would have a more viable market to exploit. I am sure many users out there would like the TB in a smaller size for easier portability. Also many Thinkpad owners would like a more durable case.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X100e is a creditable attempt.

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