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Lenovo ThinkPad X100e

  • Category: Notebook Computers
Last Updated
April 15, 2010

Editor's Rating
3.5 Out of 5

Pros
  • High-resolution display
  • Large hard drive
  • Faster than most netbooks

Cons
  • Short battery life
  • Slightly heavy
  • Poor video performance

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Review

One of the first things that you'll notice from Lenovo's ThinkPad X100e is the color: race car red! Though - you could of course order it in black - the question you should be asking yourself is "Is it a netbook or an ultra portable?" All in all, the answer seems to be a little of both. The ThinkPad is faster than most netbooks, has a large, high-resolution screen, a spacious keyboard and a bigger hard drive than you'll usually find in laptops. However, it's a bit on the heavy side and also prices higher than most netbooks (machines start at $499, most likely will cost at least $599).

If you associate the color of the ThinkPad (this is of course if you keep purchase the red) with speed, then you won't be surprised with the X100e. It has the Athlon Neo MV-40 processor and 2GB of RAM, which is pretty good for a netbook/ultra portable. There isn't any drag in opening or switching applications, fiddling with Windows controls or browsing the Web. The laptop is useful for getting work done, as well. The 11.6-inch display has a native resolution of 1366-by-768, which is significantly more than the typical 10.1 inch, 1024-by-600 resolution netbook screen. The display is also pretty easy to read from on angles or from distances. The on-screen colors are just a little washed out, though.

The X100e has an HD screen with relatively good readability, but don't expect good video performance. It's turned full-screen video into something more like a slide show, with videos stuttering and jerking even at 480p.

The keyboard is full-size with large Shift and Tab keys and the keys give solid feedback. There are two pointing device options: traditional users can use Lenovo's signature eraser head pointing stick, which has its own mouse and scroll buttons, or, use the touch pad for all of those who aren't accustomed to the eraser head. The problem with the touch pad is the size: it's small and the buttons are tiny. They're about a quarter-inch deep and right at the edge of the laptop. If you miss these buttons, your finger pretty much slips off the entire laptop. The trackpad does feature multi-touch, but the response is inconsistent.

For a small machine, the X100e's sound is impressive. Lenovo decided to nestle the speakers on the underside of the wrist rest, which slopes up off the surface of the table the laptop's resting on. With this design, there is a lot more sound escape, giving the ThinkPad decent volume. For being small speakers, the sound was pretty clear and precise, but of course lighter on bass. The X100e comes nicely equipped, too, and you can add more features. It comes standard with gigabit ethernet and 802.11n wireless networking. A built-in #G wireless broadband card is available at an extra cost. The features are pretty standard: two USB ports on the left, one on the right, plus a multi card reader on the right and a VGA port in the back.

At $600, the ThinkPad X100e isn't the kind of computer you'd expect for the price. It has a stronger hard-drive, larger HD screen and heftier feel than most, but it isn't the kind of disposable computer than many netbooks amount to. You'll find speedy performance and a comfortable keyboard with this, but with a battery that just barely lasts more than 5 hours, this netbook is a bit inconsistent with its marks.