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As many of you who received a netbook for Chrimble will have no doubt noticed by now, netbooks aren't necessarily all they're cut out to be -- some of the keyboards are simply too small to use for a decent period of time.

Enter the Lenovo X100e, which is about half the price of the other high-end, ultra-portable X-series laptops Lenovo knock out, but doesn't have some of the constraints a normal netbook does. We got wind of this a few months ago, but it's been officially announced now in the UK.

There's a full-sized, 'spill-resistant' keyboard for a start, although a few of the little-used keys (such as system request) are missing. There's also an 11.6-inch LED display and the fast 802.11n wireless networking built-in.

Other differences between this and the legions of other netbooks include the addition of both a trackpoint (aka 'red nipple') and a multitouch-capable trackpad for moving the mouse around the screen.

Inside, Lenovo has opted for a single-core AMD Neo chip running at 1.6GHz, instead of the Intel Atom processor we're so familiar with, and there will be a dual-core option out in the next three months.

Unusually, there's a copy of Windows 7 Professional pre-loaded, which adds a Windows XP mode to the normal Windows 7 Home Premium feature list. This means that older, more obscure programs that don't work in Windows 7 will run fine, plus there's support for networking such as joining domains that will interest those working in a large-ish company. Add in a built-in webcam, 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive and we're done.

It will be available in red, white and black for £450 from the Lenovo Web site any moment now, with a WiMax-enabled version for £505.

We'll have a full review with you just as soon as we get hold of one to test. Click through for a shot of that glorious red nipple.

Here it is in black, pimping its resplendent nipple.


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