Lenovo ThinkPad X100e review

Portable laptop for the business user and netbook rival?

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For

  • Excellent keyboard
  • Decent performance
  • Solid build

Against

  • Battery performance
  • Price

Lenovo’s ThinkPad range has been around for years, even back during the company’s IBM heritage. Aimed primarily at business users, the X100 series is the first to include AMD processors, and the X100e offers a more affordable - netbook rivalling - price point.

But does opting for a smaller notebook mean you have to compromise on performance? Or is the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e just an overpriced netbook?

The ThinkPad has a grey industrial design interspersed with the odd red trim. it isn’t what we’d call eye catching or sleek (and certainly a long way from the MacBook Air), but exactly what you’d expect from a laptop designed for the business user. Slim (15.6mm) and light (1.48kg), this laptop is perfect for the commute and easy to slip into a bag or flight case or a business trip. Build quality is excellent too, it really feels like a laptop that will last a decent amount of time.

The isolated-style keyboard has ample space between the keys, while ample travel makes typing a breeze - in fact this is one of the best keyboards we’ve seen in a compact laptop. The trackpad is slightly recessed and a decent size and responds well. It has dual left/right mouse controls at the bottom and top. Alternatively use the tiny TrackPoint joystick control, which is more precise, but takes a bit of time to become familiar with.

Lenovo ThinkPad X100e: Processor

Running an AMD Turion NeoX2 Dual Core processor, with 3GB RAM, our well-specc'd review sample offers, better performer than most netbooks. As well as switching between multiple browsers, work documents and email, withouth sluggishness, it can even handle some HD video streaming from BBC iPlayer, thanks in part to the ATI Radeon 3200 graphics chip, although this isn't really a gaming device.

Our review sample ran Windows 7 Professional edition (32bit), this costs an extra £50, or else the ThinkPad X100e comes with Window 7 Home Premium as standard. Storage starts at 120GB, but upping it to 320GB only costs an extra £13. Connections include 3x USB, a 4-in-1 card reader, two audio ports and a monitor, all alongside WiFi (b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1

Lenovo ThinkPad x100e: Battery and screen

One of the main functions of a portable notebook is battery performance. However topping out at just over three hours DVD playback, with WiFi on, and the brightness at 50%, the battery capability is disappointing. Although Vantage Power Manager can extend this to a quoted five hours.

Bright and sharp, the 11.6inch 1366x768 res screen folds almost 90-degrees back, so you can easily adjust it to get the best viewing angle. The extra screen real estate makes it easier to read spreadsheets than more compact netbooks.

At £550 the notebook may be pricier than rivals, but you can save money if you're prepared to settle slightly more basic specs. Second tier battery performance aside, if you want a very usable notebook, with above average performance, the Lenovo ThinkPad x100e is worth serious consideration. If battery is your priority go for the MSI Wind U160 instead.

Available now, find out more from Lenovo