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.


Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 282 x 189 x 30mm (WDH)
Weight 1.470kg
Travelling weight 1.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor AMD Athlon Neo MV-40
Motherboard chipset AMD 780G
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 1
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD3200
Graphics card RAM 384MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0


Capacity 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 233GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Hitachi HTS545025B9A300
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0


Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad, trackpoint
Audio chipset Comexant SmartAudio HD
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 6hr 34min
Battery life, heavy use 2hr 17min
Overall application benchmark score 0.43
Office application benchmark score 0.34
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.53
Encoding application benchmark score 0.53
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.32

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software supplied Lenovo ThinkVantage suite

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