After months of rumors, Lenovo has finally lifted the curtain on its first 11.6-inch ThinkPad, the ThinkPad X100E. Starting at $449, the sub-3 pound ultraportable comes with a 1366 x 768 screen, a choice of 3 or 6-cell batteries, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 320GB of hard drive, and a choice of AMD Neo processors (AMD Athlon Neo MV-40, AMD Athlon Neo X2 L335, or AMD Turion Neo X2 L625).
Like other ThinkPads, the X100E has both a touchpad and the famous ThinkPad red TrackPoint. Its spill-resistant keyboard has the same tactile feel as other ThinkPads, but the keys are shaped differently and laid out in an island style. The brand new ThinkPad Edge series shares this new keyboard. Like the Edge series, the X100E is available with either a traditional black or “Heatwave” red lid.
So far we’ve only had the chance to look at a design sample of the X100E, and were impressed with its keyboard. We look forward to doing a full hands-on when we see one in person at CES, and getting one to review in the near future. We’re particularly curious about how the AMD processor will perform, what kind of battery life it will offer, and how warm the notebook will get as previous AMD Neo notebooks we’ve tested have gotten quite warm and had short battery lives.
If the ThinkPad X100E can stay cool, provide solid performance, and offer reasonable battery life with its 6-cell battery, it could take the low-cost ultraportable world by storm. Netbook enthusiasts have long wished for a small ThinkPad that they could carry everywhere. While the X100E is by no means a netbook, its low price point and small size put it in competition both with small business netbooks like the HP Mini 5101, low-cost small business ultraportables, and popular consumer ultraportables like the Acer 1410. Its incredible keyboard and legendary ThinkPad build quality could put it over the top.