Lenovo ThinkPad X100e review

Price when reviewed

Eschewing fashion and fads for straightforward practicality, it’s little surprise to find legions of ThinkPads barracked in businesses across the world. After all, the Lenovo brand is almost a byword for durability, but one thing they’ve never been is cheap. The ThinkPad SL500 skirted around the £450 exc VAT mark, but as a chunky 15.4in laptop, it’s out of the question for those on the move. The X100e, on the other hand, may just be the Holy Grail: a ThinkPad ultraportable for just £344.

Lenovo ThinkPad X100e

If you’re familiar with the ThinkPad styling – acres of black highlighted by a flash of red or a tease of yellow – then just imagine it shrunk in the wash and you’ll have the tiny X100e. Lenovo’s previous X-series ultraportables were approaching waiflike proportions, but the X100e takes the ThinkPad into new territory. At just 30mm thick, and weighing 1.47kg with a six-cell battery poking out of its rear, the X100e is by far the cutest ThinkPad to have graced the PC Pro Labs.

But while the design will be enough to send many weak at the knees, Lenovo hasn’t forgotten the more serious side of things. Build quality is impressive considering the price, if not quite up there with the robustness of the premium ThinkPads. The base feels solid and sturdy, and it wasn’t until we really started to press hard on the lid that there was any sign of the display casing fouling the TFT inside.

The 11.6in panel boasts a sensible 1,366 x 768 resolution – a good balance between desktop space and legibility – and while the matte finish keeps reflections to a minimum, the LED-backlighting makes for bright, punchy images. As you’d expect at the price, it doesn’t deliver the last word in image quality, but other than weak contrast and slightly greyish blacks, we were pleased with the vibrant colours and impressively neutral skintones.

Beneath the 11.6in display sits a Scrabble-tile keyboard, with only the glaring red of the trackpoint and a stripe along its accompanying buttons to break the mood. Unlike the 12.1in ThinkPad X200, though, there’s also a trackpad, which is remarkable given the limited space on offer. By positioning the trackpad’s buttons right along the laptop’s edge, Lenovo has made the most of every millimetre, and the ergonomics haven’t suffered: the keyboard feels spacious and comfortable, and the trackpoint and trackpad combination is excellent as ever.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions282 x 189 x 30mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.9kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorAMD Athlon Neo MV-40
Motherboard chipsetAMD 780G
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free1
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD3200
Graphics card RAM384MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545025B9A300
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad, trackpoint
Audio chipsetComexant SmartAudio HD
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 34min
Battery life, heavy use2hr 17min
Overall application benchmark score0.43
Office application benchmark score0.34
2D graphics application benchmark score0.53
Encoding application benchmark score0.53
Multitasking application benchmark score0.32

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedLenovo ThinkVantage suite

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