Lenovo ThinkPad X100e Ultraportable Review

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Lenovo's ThinkPad X100e is probably our favorite ultraportable to date, and for a variety of reasons. Using the machine is a pleasure. From the moment you take it out of the box, you know you're dealing with quality. It's honestly just like a smaller ThinkPad, and it screams "professional" inside and out. Weighing just 3.3lbs. with the battery installed, you'll hardly feel it in your bookbag, but with a robust 1366x768 resolution on the 11.6" panel, you'll have plenty of room to handle your business while cramped up in a coach airline seat.


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Boot-up was quick, and app launching was equally hasty. We had to check the system profile to make sure there wasn't a faster CPU in here, and while this is one of the first experiences we've had with AMD's Athlon Neo (MV-40) processor in a shipping machine, we look forward to testing more of them. The Athlon Neo is the real deal.

    
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Aside from being surprised by the speed, we quickly fell in love with the keyboard and trackpad. The chicklet-styled keyboard was great to type on, and it honestly felt like a full-size layout. We loved the key travel, the lack of keyboard flex and our ability to start typing away with little to no adjustment from our standard 15" notebook. We don't like the placement of the Fn key (it's where the left Ctrl key usually sits), but we could get used to it if forced to do so. The trackpad had a nice feel to it, and the right/left click buttons had a fantastic amount of solid travel. Having multi-touch gesture support was an added bonus, and something we feel that should be included on every netbook and ultraportable.



We did find ourselves wishing for a few more ports around the edges, and the LCD bezel did strike us as a bit large. That said, the anti-glare coating on the screen more than made up for those letdowns, and while the viewing angles were less than perfect, the ability to lay the LCD all the way back allowed us to always find a great angle regardless of our position. A note about heat: the X100e can get really warm under intense use. While gaming and watching multi-media files, the fans spun up and we felt our lap getting toasty. This is kind of unusual for a machine this small, but all of that speed we mentioned earlier obviously creates a fair bit of waste heat. Just something to keep in mind if you want a dead silent and cool machine.


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Portability was excellent, and we found this machine to be exceptionally rugged and sturdy. We also loved that there were only a pair of palm rest stickers, while everything else remained clean and classy. Our main usability gripes were as follows: we wanted a 64-bit OS, a 7200RPM hard drive (or a cheap SSD), an ExpressCard slot would've been nice and a cheaper discrete GPU option would really be excellent.


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