Notebooks Guide

Lenovo ThinkPad X300 review

An Encounter with the Lenovo ThinkPad X300

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Lenovo Thinkpad X300 - The Svelte Notebook

Lenovo ThinkPad X300 - The Svelte Notebook

Almost two weeks ago, we found ourselves reading an article from Business Week , citing Lenovo's Senior Vice-President Peter Hortensius fitting the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 into an interoffice mail envelope in response to the unveiling of the MacBook Air at Macworld 2008. Today, at the Lenovo X300 launch event, we got a chance to admire the X300 in all its slim glory earlier on, sans the envelope test (though we really should have tried that).

Envelope test aside, all we had to do was pick up the X300, or known internally by its initial code name "Kodachi", to find ourselves loving the whole form factor. However slim and lightweight the X300 may be though, it is by no means flimsy as Lenovo has been able to retain the ruggedness and solid build quality that are hallmarks of the ThinkPad series. The X300 even features Lenovo's next generation roll cage design for added durability.

Specification-wise, the X300 sports quite an impressive set of technologies. It is one of the first few notebooks to feature Intel's new Core 2 Duo SL7100 low voltage processor, which was designed to fit into this new breed of ultra-thin notebooks. This is similar to the processor Intel shrunk specifically for the MacBook Air, but not the same model. The SL7100 on the Lenovo X300 operates at 1.2GHz, while the MacBook Air features 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz processors.

The rest of the standard configuration include 1GB of DDR2 RAM (upgradable to 4GB), Intel GMA X3100 graphics, a sinfully thin 13.3-inch LED backlit TFT screen and it even manages to squeeze in an internal DVD burner. The X300 comes preloaded with either Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Ultimate or the rollback choice of Windows XP Pro.

In the local context, connectivity options for the X300 will include Bluetooth 2.0 and Intel's Wireless WiFi Link 4965AG wireless adapter. The X300 will also feature an Ethernet port as well as three USB 2.0 ports. It even boasts WiMax and HSDPA support as well, but these features are only to be found in X300's sold in the United States for now. They will not be included in models coming into the Singapore market, which we attribute to the absence of a WiMax infrastructure here.

Depending on configuration, the X300 starts off as a 1.33kg ultra-lightweight with a somewhat limited 3-cell Li-Polymer battery, and reaches 1.59kg if one were to opt for the standard-sized 6-cell Li-Ion battery. A stronger battery lifespan is heavily featured on the X300, which works in tandem with a 64GB solid state drive (SSD) delivering greater power efficiency and shock resistance.

Sadly though, options for a higher capacity hard disk drive are currently not in the works. From what we understand, Lenovo will only be retaining support for SSD drive options on the X300 for now.

Lenovo Thinkpad X300 Specifications
ThinkPad X300 13-inch widescreen with integrated graphics and DVDRW
  • System processor: Intel Core 2 Duo SL7100 (1.2GHz, 4MB L2, 800MHz FSB)
  • Display type: 13.3-inch WXGA+ TFT (LED backlight) with 3x3 UltraConnect II
  • System graphics: Intel Graphics Media Adapter X3100
  • Total memory: 1GB DDR2-667 SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
  • Hard Drive: 64GB Solid State Drive
  • Fixed Bay Device: Ultrathin DVD Burner
  • Wireless Card: Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AG (supporting Centrino Pro)
  • Battery: ThinkPad X300 Series 3-Cell LiPolymer Battery

From what we've seen, the Lenovo X300 is set to be a premium device under Lenovo's branding, and the initial pricing starts off at S$4,412. Today, the X300 is only available via Lenovo's business partners, with an expected full retail release in the month of March.

MacBook Air comparisons cannot be avoided for a product that has been hyped up to be the "MacBook Air killer" of the PC world, and while at first glance there are plenty of features on the X300 that are superior, there are compromises. After seeing the final specifications for the X300 today, we do have some reservations, especially the lack of any standard HDD options. It will be very interesting to see how the X300 truly stacks up when we are able to get our hands on an actual unit for some hands-on action.