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.
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).