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.
250GB (5400RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B Hard Drive
No Optical Drive
1.3 megapixel webcam
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
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
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).