CNET First Look
Lenovo ThinkPad X100eThe ThinkPad x100e is essentially the ThinkPad Netbook users have been dreaming of, with one of the best keyboards we've ever tested: unfortunately, its performance, while better than Atom Netbooks, comes at the price of shorter battery life.
>>Scott Stein: Hi, I'm Scott Stein, Senior Associate Editor at CNET.com and this is a ThinkPad X100e from Lenovo. And you may notice that it's a ThinkPad in red. Now, it also comes in black and this shiny red finish is only one of several nice prizes about this very Netbook like portable ThinkPad that's made to address kind of a travel business user who's looking for a very Netbook like device that they can take with them and still have a ThinkPad like experience. Now we heard this back at CES and we're excited about some of its design changes, particularly a raised chiclet style keypad, that's part of a new design that's also in the ThinkPad Edge and sort of a new enhanced small business user aimed ThinkPad line and we also like some of the really clean lines with it and had high expectations. The keyboard is fantastic, really nice, wonderfully spaced out, great key response. I mean, we're kind of sticklers for that and the palm rest area is really nice and comfortable. All you can say is if you like writing, this is one of the best Netbooks that we've ever seen for writing. Although, Lenovo doesn't like to call it a Netbook, we really feel with a single core AMD Neo processor inside, it performs close enough to an atom processor that it's very Netbook equivalent. Although, this does have low level ATI graphics attached to it, it doesn't really offer any sort of tremendously great experience with graphics, provides a little bit of enhanced, if you really want to play games on it, video, especially HD, streaming can still be a little bit stuttery in our experience. But, what's really nice is the 11.6 inch screen which is mat, not very commonly seen, has a 1366 by 768 resolution, looks really nice in bright and a little bit funky, the track pad also has one of these very commonly seen ThinkPad control levers called the track point stuck right in the middle between the G,H and B keys with additional buttons above and below the track pad. Now, some of you who really like track points will be thrilled by that. We really didn't like it because it reduces the amount of space available on the multi-touch track pad. Track pad was great and responsive but there's really not enough room if you want to try to pinch to zoom, we kept running out of space. There aren't really many ports to speak of on this, there's three USB, one is powered, VGA out and that's pretty much it and the price is higher than you'll see on a lot of Netbooks. $449 is a starting point, ours went up to about $550 -- $570 if you add, you know, more than 160 gigs hard drive and 1 gig of RAM, kind of the Netbook standards. There is a little bit of Lenovo enhanced experience which provides a little bit of improved start up times and it does use Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional as opposed to Windows 7 Starter. That might be good for some of you and also has a thing Advantage Suite software which ThinkPad users might quite like. So, hey, if you're corporate account is picking it up, this is a fantastic travel device. If you're shopping for a Netbook, you may want to consider for the keyboard but it is higher than we've seen compared to other equivalent types of computing devices. One very important note, however, not to sound too dramatic about it, but when you use super portable computers, you do expect a pretty nice battery level life, especially when dealing with atoms. The six cell battery bulges at the back which you may not have seen. The issue though is it only got under four hours of battery life in our tests which is considerably lower than newer Pine Trail type N450 Atom processors that are available on all Netbooks now. So, unfortunately, that really marred our opinion to some extent on how excited we were about the ThinkPad X100e. It's like you have to consider if you're looking for something that goes all day without a charge. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e.