As netbooks approach adolescence, they're outgrowing the original bargain basement specs and compromises acceptable to a beach girl, and heading towards £500. But around this price they're meeting ever-cheaper thin and light notebooks, or "ultraportables". The result is an overcrowded and confusing market place. Lenovo ThinkPad …
not bad, but not great
Just built one of these for one of our account managers. Nice little machine, but it did feel slow. Maybe I was expecting it to perform like a normal laptop given it had win7 on it.
I removed most of the thinkpad software, but did keep the connections app as that seemed quite useful. Having said that it refused to pick up a DHCP address on my n wireless network and was only happy with a fixed IP address. Possibly a windows issue, but I do already have 2 win7 laptops on this network which seem OK with DHCP.
Keyboard was nice to use, but I am still incredibly irritated by not having the ctrl button in the bottom left hand corner. Battery life seemed good, but I did not drain it. The default powersave mode also seemed very agressive.
Default settings and updates
Did you get all the updates from the Lenovo site? There is a BIOS update and graphics driver updates that gave mine a serious boost. Also the default power settings seem to underclock the processor. If you open the management app you should be able to tweak them a little faster.
what's a netbook?
The fundamentals haven't changed since the girl on the beach first got her netbook. The whole point was that a netbook was small, simple and cheap - you used it in odd places for a bit of email and a bit of surfing, and perhaps writing the great 21st century novel, but the important thing was CHEAP. Ideally sub £200, which means that it's the sort of thing you don't mind taking to the beach and possibly losing it or getting sand in the works, or even using while in the bath. And it isn't a laptop replacement - it's as well as, not instead of. Once it gets bigger than a 10" screen, has a vast HDD with moving parts rather than a small SSHDD, and costs over £250 it becomes an underpowered laptop, not a netbook.
This bit of kit may be quite nice, but at that price it's not a netbook.
Better than the mark suggests
The mark seems a bit mean when compared to the scores 'me-too' netbooks are getting.
The X100e runs Office 2007 with zero problems and has no trouble playing 720p MKV video (I haven't tried it with an external display, so I don't know about 1080 output).
And that keyboard - oh it's a joy to work with.
The only thing I haven't found, is there a quick way of disabling WiFi?
I should hope so...
"has no trouble playing 720p MKV video (I haven't tried it with an external display, so I don't know about 1080 output)."
My Samsung NC10 can do BOTH 720p MKV (and MP4, FLV etc) AND 1080p MP4 (only format I've tested at 1080p) via the VGA port WITH Dual-View active! Admittedly it doesn't do it "out of the box", it does take a bit of fiddling with codecs/splitters, but it DOES do it.
Incidentally, I have found I CAN use my NC10 as a "main" computer replacement. It does everything I need it to, which is more a LOT more than just web/email. Yes, when it comes to raw number crunching it is slower than a full desktop/laptop but I knew that when I got it, so I don't really mind. For me its about the size, it goes literally everywhere with me.
My NC10 also does duty as a home media server - runs WIn7 HP with the media center, I leave it plugged in to the 42" Plasma in the living room and play all my ripped DVDs off it. It's a great little machine.
Like AC above, 720p is no problem in practically any format, but 1080p is only possible in MP4 and then it's a bit stuttery. Depends on the level of detail on the screen; lots of waving tree branches and it chokes back to about 5fps so I tend not to use that mode.
But we're talking about a 1.6GHz Atom with no discrete GPU - so pretty good going in my book.
Is this the best Lenovo can do, 4 years on?
So... It's heavier and a lot thicker than my X41 -- and has terrible battery life, to boot. Even the CPU benchmarks don't seem to be any better than the X41's 1.6GHz Pentium M. The additional 342 pixels of horizontal resolution hardly seem worth the cost of the other compromises.
It is mean´t to be a cheap modern X40/41
This little thing is a very nice thinkpad, sure is not as nice as the £800+ pounds, but that is also the point.
I have one, it is by far the best netbook I ever had (I had a few asus an an acer) the chassis is solid, it feels like a real laptop, the keyboard and the trackpad are 100% thinkpad, in few words:"what it should be". It feels as solid as my beloved X40.
The video performance is fantastic too, the ATI card is much, much, much better than those crappy intel chipsets.
The CPU is ok, not great, but ok. As someone pointed out the performance improves a lot if the latest bios is used. Do not ask me why. Same with the VGA and battery life which improves a little too.
The hard drive is fast and feels fast.
I do not like: lack of proper screen lock, lack of metal casing, and lack of keyboard light, but hey, this is meant to be a cheap thinkpad. As the article says, it is not meant to be your primary machine. I would say the score should be 80% or 85%.
X41 was high end - this is not.
The X41 cost well in excess of a grand. This is only 460 quid.
If you're lucky, you'll find a second hand X60/X61 on ebay for 400 quid, but that's still second hand.
The X41 is actually five years old. The X60 is now four years old.
The Lenovo X41 cost about 2400 EUR new... I don't think the X100 is so bad in comparison....
agree with Nigel
what's the point of this? Surely for most people it is too poor a spec for a first machine, too expensive for a second / third? I thought these things were defined by price? Id either want to pay up to 200 and not be that bothered about performance cos, hey, it's cheap. When you start going up to 500, I'd have thought most people would rather just pay an extra couple of hundred and get something decent.
Obviously I am wrong here otherwise they wouldn't be selling them but it amazes me. Maybe they're all bought by large businesses which are more relaxed about cost.
Curb your enthusiasm (or we'll do it for you)
Andrew: "The keyboard is undoubtedly the machine's strongest point"
Sub: "The keyboard is arguably this ThinkPad's best feature"
Cheap is king
When I build a desktop I try and buy as many features I can. When a name brand company decides to build something, someone in management is telling the engineers to cut out as much as possible to lower the cost.
2nd hand buyers do a bit more research and won't touch crippled systems, how about something that is a bit more future proof?
Normal battery life?
I'd really like to know how the battery performs under normal usage, i.e. not video. How long does it go with the screen brightness full up, but just doing writing coding or (non-flash) browsing.
From the looks of the performance tables I suspect it's too slow for my needs anyway; which is a shame as I'd really love to have a decent TrackPoint based netbook. For whatever reasons the standard netbook touchpads (well any touch technologies really) tend to go crazy when I use them...
Lack of features, lack of performance, definitely a Lenovo
No DVI/HDMI? A standard feature on every other notebook for the last 4-5 years? This is why I can't stand Lenovo, even their docks don't have a DVI on the X-series up until this year's model. And the T-series only got it with the T60. I have one VP constantly complaining about the wiggly screen, but I can't even buy a better dock to give him DVI.
The only saving grace for the x100 would be if it was as rugged as the larger models. Why no test for that?
Oustanding keyboard??? The arses STILL stick the damn Fn (function) key in place of where the damn Ctrl key is on every other damn keyboard. You get used to it, but it causes a lot of keyboard usage mistakes when switching to normal systems.
I bought the X100e to replace the Ideapad S9e that i'd had for just over a year.
I love that fact that i can take it away on business trips and not feel like a tw@ when i have it on the desk in front of me.
Everyone would go "ooh, that's nice" and then 10seconds later be laughing as i strugled to type anything on the S9e's microscopic keyboard.
The X100e has Win7 Pro, can use 3GB of RAM and has 'Lenovo ThinkPad' on the case.
It's small, fairly light and most importantly no one rips the piss out of it in meetings!
What more do you want for £400?