Lenovo ThinkPad X301 review

£1843
Price when reviewed

While Apple’s MacBook Air generated all the headlines in January 2008, the far more impressive ThinkPad X300 emerged a month later as the more accomplished ultraportable, with better features and ergonomics.

Lenovo ThinkPad X301 review

With the ThinkPad X301 little has changed: the chassis and specification are practically identical. Lenovo has used a newer Intel low-power CPU to extend battery life, and although it’s quicker, it isn’t a huge leap forward.

The 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400, when coupled with 2GB of RAM, managed a score of 0.78 in our 2D benchmarks, which is fine for office tasks and web browsing, but intensive applications will prove a struggle. It’s around half as quick as the Sony VAIO VGN-Z31VN/X, which scored 1.45.

Lenovo’s low-power components result in excellent battery life. The X301 achieved 6hrs 31mins in the light-use benchmark and just over two hours in the heavy-use test – and Lenovo offers an additional three-cell battery that fits in the optical drive bay and theoretically increases battery life by 50%.

Connectivity is handled by draft-n wireless, Bluetooth and an HSDPA modem, while an 128GB SSD offers reasonable space alongside fast access times and improved reliability compared with mechanical disks. The suite of ThinkPad software and a TPM module will please business users.

The X301 feels supremely sturdy for a 13.3in laptop and the 1,440 x 900 screen is well protected. The keyboard is comfortable enough for extended typing sessions, and the familiar trackpad and trackpoint combination is just as good. The X301 is also blessed with more ports than the MacBook Air, including three USB, Gigabit Ethernet and a DisplayPort out.

All of which make the ThinkPad X301 the ideal choice for business users: it’s well built, lightweight and battery life is good. The one fly in the ointment is that Sony’s VAIO VGN-Z31VN/X offers all of this with more power and in a more tempting package, which makes the X301 difficult to recommend.

Warranty

Warranty 3 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 317 x 236 x 22mm (WDH)
Travelling weight 1.5kg
Weight with extended battery 1.8kg

Processor and memory

Motherboard chipset Intel PM45 Express
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,440
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1440 x 900
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 4500
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 128GB
Hard disk usable capacity 119GB
Spindle speed N/A
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung MMCQE28G8MUP-0VA
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive Panasonic UJ-844
Battery capacity 4,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
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 2
SD card reader no
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 Conexant HD Audio
Speaker location Below keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 391
Battery life, heavy use 124
Overall application benchmark score 0.78
Office application benchmark score 0.83
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.82
Encoding application benchmark score 0.67
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.80
3D performance (crysis) low settings 4fps
3D performance setting Medium

Operating system and software

OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery partition
Software supplied Lenovo ThinkVantage Suite

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