Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X100e
January 29, 2010
In early January 2010, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X100e, an 11.6-inch netbook with a 16:9 widescreen. The ThinkPad X100e adds a netbook form factor to the ThinkPad line.
The ThinkPad X100e is a combination of the design of Lenovo's IdeaPad netbooks and the ThinkPad X200 series. It inherits some of the X200 design brief (thin and light but still relatively full featured) but removes cost in many of the same ways that an IdeaPad netbook does.
The X100e has a full-size keyboard, but it is not a traditional ThinkPad keyboard. Rather, it is a "chiclet" style keyboard, though a well executed one. The X100e does include the standard ThinkPad Trackpoint pointing stick and one of the better trackpads available in a netbook.
The only display choice for the X100e is a 1366 x 768 "HD" screen with an LED backlight. A 0.3 megapixel integrated web camera is standard on the X100e.
Many features are missing compared to the 12-inch ThinkPad X200 notebook (which weighs slightly less but costs almost twice as much). These features include significantly more powerful and efficient processors, important security features such as a transaction processing module (TPM), docking capability, some expansion choices, and many build-to-order choices like solid state drives, UltraWideBand (UWB), and WiMax.
The ThinkPad X100e weighs approximately 3.0 to 3.3 pounds (depending on battery) with a travel weight (including power adapter) of about 3.7 to 4.0 pounds.
Several considerations when ordering a ThinkPad X100e:
See ISC's Netbook Purchasing Guide for more configuration hints. As of January 2010, configuring a ThinkPad X100e to the Netbook specification can be done for approximately $550. The University's Computer Connection will have at least one X100e configuration available to order as soon as possible.
Windows 7 Performance
ISC tested a ThinkPad X100e with 1.6 GHz Athlon Neo, 667 MHz 3.0 GB RAM, integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics, and 250 GB/5400 RPM hard drive. It received a Windows Experience Index base score of 3.1, with individual scores of:
Processor performance is superior to most Atom-based netbooks, but the X100e's integrated graphics give up a substantial difference to NVIDIA ION-based netbooks. Battery life is also consistently shorter than with the equivalent Atom-based netbooks.
These scores suggest that Windows 7 performance will be acceptable for most users on a ThinkPad X100e configured in this manner, though high definition video may stutter.
ISC sees the ThinkPad X100e as an interesting extension of the general netbook form factor. Enhanced capability netbooks such as the X100e are getting closer to being viable value notebooks or lightweight notebooks, but they are not there yet.
When correctly configured to the specification in the Netbook Purchasing Guide, the ThinkPad X100e is approved for general use at the University as a complementary device to a more capable desktop or notebook.
ThinkPad X100e graphic courtesy of Lenovo
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (January 29, 2010)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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