With the new ThinkPad X100e, Lenovo looks to create a new niche in between the netbook and the 13-inch ultraportable notebook categories. The X100e also promises a substantial amount of power for a laptop its size, thanks to AMD hardware. Has Lenovo created a new model worthy of the ThinkPad name, or does the X100e get lost amid the crowd of similarly small notebooks?
At first glance, the most impressive thing about the ThinkPad X100e is how much muscle it manages to pack into its very small frame (11 inches and a starting weight of less than three pounds, similar to a netbook). With a 1.6GHz AMD Athlon Neo processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard drive, the X100e is noticeably more powerful than the average netbook. The AMD processor seems to handle most ordinary tasks a bit more quickly than 1.6GHz Intel Atom processors, as well.
Perhaps the best thing about the X100e, though, is its overall design. Not only is it light and compact, but every inch of the space it does have available is put to good use. This is especially noticeable when you use the keyboard. The X100e’s chiclet-style keyboard, with ever so slightly raised, curved keys, feels much more spacious than those of most other laptops in its weight class. If you’re in the market for a small laptop for business or study purposes, the X100e’s keyboard can’t be dismissed, as over the long term, smaller keyboards can be a pain to use – literally.
The X100e does suffer from a couple of minor issues that may be of concern to some users. Most noticeably, its battery life is poor compared to that of most netbooks. This is the price you pay for the punchier AMD hardware. AMD-powered laptops are also known to generate a bit more heat than most Intel-based ones.
The Bottom Line
The Lenovo ThinkPad X100e should appeal to users who need something a little bit more powerful than a netbook and a bit smaller than a 13-inch ultraportable. If you can get over the relatively short battery life, the X100e is highly recommended for its solid performance and great design.