CNET First Look
The education-targeted Lenovo ThinkpadAn education-targeted 11-inch laptop? Yes, and no: Lenovo's impact-resistant ultraportable is really just last year's ThinkPad x120e in a new suit.
Hi. I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET and are you going back to school? Do you want a laptop? Well, buy a ThinkPad. That't the idea that Lenovo is trying to sell on the Lenovo ThinkPad X130e. Now, obviously we are a long way from back-to-school season but this educational targeted laptop is supposedly targeted at the K through 12 set. Now, of course it's also being sold to some extent as a portable ThinkPad. last year, the Lenovo ThinkPad X120e was one of my favorite little small laptops that I looked at that had an AMD Fusion E350 processor inside. So it's faster than a netbook but a little more sluggish than a full pledge laptop and that was the compromise we have to face with these 11-inch laptops. Now a year later, this an AMD E300 processor which performs about the same but this laptop cost 549. That still feels too high for what you're getting in here and it's very sturdily built and that's the big move here that's educationally targeted at least. This laptop's latest change, it's thicker but it also has curved rubberized bumpers that also protects the rest of the laptop and provides some dust resistance. There's also a sturdier hinge. So if you wanna throw it into a backpack and give it some stress testing, this does feel like a very thick, sturdy laptop but it also half a pound heavier than the X120E. 3.9 pounds. That's not far off from a regular full-pledge laptop weight and you can feel it. This thing is thick. It's over an inch thick. So if you are comparing it to an Ultrabook or a Mac Book Air, forget it. The other problem is that there are laptops that have equivalent processing specs you can get for less. The HP DM1Z, one of our favorite 11-0inch laptops has sold for around 399 as off last year and so you can get one of those types of deals for similar amount of money. Now, is it educationally-friendly? Well, I don't really know if this is education friendly because while it does have customized back lids for both purchases and it does have a nice sturdy feel, it's Windows 7 laptop. There are a lot of those and some of the design elements I don't really like when I think about a kid using them. For instance, there is a track point here. I mean that's a ThinkPad standard but would a 7th grader wanna use one of those? The problem is not that it sits in the hunky middle of the keyboard but the fact that it's discrete buttons take up a tremendous amount of the real stay that otherwise will be used for that multi-touch quick pad beneath. It's just an awkward touch that suggest that this laptop is kinda edging it's bet. Yes, I wanna be an educational laptop. I also wanna be for small businesses and that's the biggest problem I have for this laptop. It feels like an in-betweener and the price doesn't really feel right. Your should probably pipe in something around $400 for a laptop like this as opposed to $550 but it does have good battery life and you know, if you want something that feels somewhat indestructible for a student, maybe take a look at it but there's really nothing special going on in this laptop that you haven't seen before. I'm Scott Stein and this is a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X130e.