There has been a great deal of interest in ultraportable notebooks recently. Whether it's the budget Asus Eee PC or the design-led Apple MacBook Air, they keep grabbing the headlines. Now, we have Lenovo with its latest high-end business ultraportable.
The thing we liked immediately about the ThinkPad X300 was that no compromises have been made. You'll find an optical drive built-in and there are enough ports and features so you can use this as your sole machine instead of just when out and about.
Weighing 1.6kg, it's not the lightest machine out there but it's certainly light enough to carry around on a regular basis. This is what you will certainly do, as we managed to get a battery life of close to 5 hours from a single full-charge, which is great if you really need to work on the move.
Just like the MacBook Air, this notebook is based around a 13.3-inch screen. However, instead of playing the design game, this machine feels more a major overhaul of the ThinkPad model than a re-invention. It still sports the now familiar ThinkPad style of everything in black with emphasis on practicality instead of frills. For instance, there is a latch holding the lid in place so you can open the machine one-handed while standing.
The screen is a standard TFT panel, which is fine for business use but not so great if you want to watch a movie on the commute as images can look a little washed out. That said, this is intended as a business machine and as Lenovo has upped the resolution, it makes office documents look sharper.
If there is a problem with this notebook it's the constant focus on business users. For instance, you'll only find the standard array of legacy ports, such as VGA-out instead of DVI and no hint of an ExpressCard slot. You'll find three USB ports and Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are catered for but the overall connectivity is basic.
However, what ultimately makes this machine work is the quality of the device, especially the keyboard. The keys are a good size and have plenty of balance to them, so feel smooth as you type. We found this a great machine to use and you never feel as cramped or as though you wish you'd opted for a larger notebook.
Lenovo has made sure the finish is excellent. The body is made from magnesium-alloy with a rubber coating that feels slick and cool to the touch. Powered by an Intel 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo U7600 with 2GB of memory in support, this isn't the fastest machine on the market but we found it handled most tasks competently. As with the high-end MacBook Air you'll find a 64GB SSD drive fitted for storage.
If you have the money to afford it and are looking for an ultraportable that lacks nothing, this is a great machine, delivering on battery life, usability and performance.