Lenovo ThinkPad X120e Review: AMD Fusion Infused

Introduction and Specifications

It's good to see that AMD's Fusion technology is finally shipping. The convergence of the CPU and GPU has been looming for some time now, and while there have already been a few CPU / GPU hybrids available form the likes of Intel, the thought of having another low-power, economical to produce, cutting edge CPU / GPU combo on a mobile platform is particularly exciting. 

Over the course of the past 2-3 years, we've critiqued most of the major ultraportables and netbooks to hit the market. The vast majority of them relied on Intel's Atom, which has always been somewhat underpowered in most of its incarnations. The two areaa that Intel did trump AMD on the netbook front, however, were battery life and heat. AMD's prior netbook platform, Neo, was perhaps more powerful than anything that an Atom (and an integrated GPU) could muster, but it drew more power to make that happen.

Fusion bakes the CPU and GPU into one single piece of silicon, and while we have already reviewed the E-350 APU by its lonesome, we've been patiently waiting for a system maker to integrate the chip into a retail-ready notebook. Lenovo has become one of the first to do it, offering two major builds of the ThinkPad X120e: a $399 build with the E-240 APU, and a $579 build with the E-350 APU, 4GB of RAM and a roomy 320GB (7200RPM) hard drive. Both use an 11.6" display and ship with Windows 7. Here's a look at our review rig, which was the higher-end of the two:

Lenovo 11.6" ThinkPad X120e Ultraportable
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • AMD E-350 Zacate @ 1.6GHz, dual-core Fusion
  • 4GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 11.6" LCD (1366x768); LED backlight, matte
  • AMD Radeon HD 6310M graphics
  • 320GB (7200RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 Hard Drive
  • 802.11a/b/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 Jacks
  • SD / MMC / SDHC Multimedia Card Reader
  • VGA and HDMI Output
  • Stereo Speakers
  • 3.3 Pounds (with 6-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 6-Cell Li-ion Battery
  • 11.22" x 8.26" x 0.61-1.16" (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Professional (64-bit)
  • Price (as tested): $579.99
  • Price (starting): $399.99
  • 1-Year Warranty

At $579, this is definitely not a bargain machine that you'll buy on impulse. But for an 11.6" ultraportable with Lenovo's well-known build quality, impressive (and cutting-edge) internals and Lenovo's under-stated style, it's not outrageous by any means. There's a lot of competition in the $350-$600 space, so the X120e definitely has its work cut out for it. Fusion's promise was to provide notebook-level performance in netbook-sized machines, but without the excessive heat and power drain associated with AMD's prior Neo chips. How'd it do on delivering? Find out in the pages to come.

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