This morning when the much-anticipated, 0.7-inch thin Lenovo ThinkPad X300 arrived in our offices, we gathered around the sleek, black piece of high-tech goodness as though it were The Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. While bossman Mark Spoonauer got face time with the X300, I had the benefit of diving into the system to share my initial impressions. Booting the 3.4-pound X3oo took just shy of a minute, which is commonplace with Vista machines, but a bit disappointing for a system that packs a 64GB solid-state drive; I hoped for a far more blazing start up time. Microsoft Word and other apps loaded about as fast as you’d see with a standard HDD. Shutting off the machine, however, was a completely different experience, as the X300 powered down in just 10 seconds.Between our startup and shutdown times, I actually got to explore the machine a bit and was quite impressed with the build. Keyboard and Pointing Devices The full-sized keyboard is one of the best in the biz, with responsive, raised keys that are quite conducive to touch typing. The touchpad is a bit on the small side, but ThinkPad users will most likely prefer the two pointing options that are available. While I’m no pointing stick maestro, I found it easy to navigate the screen and click on icons and links. Video and Audio Stereo speakers are built into the base of the X300 that provide a decent level of volume. While they aren’t the loudest, the speakers’ close-to-user positioning has an immersive quality.The 13.3-inch widescreen display isn’t as glitzy as the MacBook Air’s, but we figure business users won’t mind. Windows Vista Business with Service Pack 1 runs under the hood, but the X300 can be outfitted with XP. Performance The Lenovo X300 notched a score of 1,470 in our 3DMark03 test. It’s not breathtaking graphics muscle, but should be good enough for most folks’ day-to-day use. More test results to come. Battery Life Levono rates the X300’s battery life at 4 hours and 13 minutes when running Vista, and 4 hours and 48 minutes with XP. We’ll share our numbers as soon as the X300 finishes MobileMark 2007 in our lab. GPS, Ports, Mobile Broadband Lenovo offers GPS capability when you purchase mobile broadband, which should work with Google Maps and other map programs. Keep in mind that you’ll need line of sight for this to work; it’s unassisted GPS.Our configuration came three USB 2.0 ports, Verizon mobile broadband, and a 7mm DVD burner. You also get a full Ethernet port and VGA port–no adapters required. There’s no need to be selective with what you plug into a lone USB port, and no need to share optical drives with others. The only thing we don’t like is that the Wi-Fi switch is on the back of the system. Outlook The X300 looks to be everything that the MacBook Air strived to be and much more. For $2,936 you get a really thin, 3.4-pound system that offers a removable battery, an optical drive, built-in EV-DO, plus two more USB ports. Apple’s ultraportable is more striking and sports a faster 1.6-GHz CPU, but it costs about $160 more when equipped with an SSD and doesn’t have nearly as many features. Stay tuned for more updates on this hot notebook as we put it through the paces.