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ThinkPad X100e: A Netbook for professionals

Starting at less than $500, the ThinkPad X100e is aimed at professionals who want a Netbook-style experience, but it doesn't have an Atom.

Pick your color (as long as it's black or red). Lenovo

Lenovo's ThinkPad brand has been successful and durable, but also a bit staid. The company's recent announcements on the ThinkPad Edge brand and the compact X100e are attempts to shake up the landscape a little for professionals, and for those who desire Netbooks in the corporate world.

Starting at $449, the X100e doesn't feature an Intel Atom processor--rather, you have your choice of AMD Athlon Neo (single or dual-core) or Turion dual-core CPUs. Notably, this is the first ThinkPad to use an AMD processor.

A full-size raised keyboard, similar to the design in the new Edge line, features slightly concave keys for more comfortable typing. The build is sturdy, and the X100e comes with a standard suite of ThinkPad professional software.

Other features include ATI Radeon 3200 HD graphics, an 11.6-inch 1366x768 display, three USB ports, 802.11n, and optional Bluetooth/3G. Oh, yes: it also comes in black or racy red.

The X100e is currently advertised on Lenovo's Web site, and goes on sale starting Tuesday. Does a "professional grade" Netbook sound like your cup of tea? We'll provide a hands-on review when we return from CES and tell you if it's worth it, but we truly appreciate a full-size keyboard on a tiny notebook.