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ThinkPad x100e: A little more than a Netbook, for a little more money

The ThinkPad x100e is essentially the ThinkPad Netbook users have been dreaming of, with one of the best keyboards we've ever tested, but is the extra cost worth the investment?

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Despite having an iPad on our desk, a colleague recently paid a visit to expressly check out the Lenovo ThinkPad x100e. That might seem hard to swallow, but believe us when we say that this compact, very Netbook-like ThinkPad-to-go is like a fantasy to business travelers and ThinkPad fans who have been dreaming of an ultraportable to call their own.

Yes, there has been the ThinkPad x200 series, which offers higher performance in a compact frame. The x100e uses a low-voltage processor, but it's not an Intel Atom; rather, it's a single-core AMD Athlon Neo, assisted with some low-level ATI graphics. This is the first AMD processor ThinkPad product we've seen.

An 11.6-inch screen, a full and very ThinkPad-like keyboard, and an overall look and feel that resembles the little brother of the ThinkPad Edge line adds up to a trim and clean portable that can basically be called a "business Netbook." At a jacked-up starting price of $449 (our config jumped up to $579), it's certainly more expensive than most Netbooks.

For its sturdy look and feel, it just might be worth it--but in terms of performance and battery life, it's not a significant step above the pack. In fact, battery-wise, it's a step behind. Nevertheless, the x100e earns a special spot in our heart for being one of the best Netbook-grade devices to write on that we've ever tried. Is that enough to pull the trigger and buy one? If your business is footing the bill, we say sure, but in some ways the x100e is already a little more dated than we'd prefer.

Read our review of the ThinkPad x100e.