Lenovo X300 review

17 Sep 2008

Light, packed with features and with superb battery life: the ideal business notebook.

Price when reviewed: 
1,756(£1,794 inc VAT)
5

The svelte Lenovo X300 isn't much thicker than the impossibly slim MacBook Air, but its tiny dimensions hide a much more capable laptop that's ideal for business use.

The chassis, despite its slightly staid, retro style, is crammed with useful ports, features and touches: a fingerprint reader, TPM and bundled port replicator will prove useful for business users, and an embedded HSDPA modem is a useful addition alongside the now-ubiquitous 802.11 draft-n.

It's surprisingly tough for such a slim package, too. The thin screen showed a distinct lack of flex compared with the flimsy panels of the Asus U6 and Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook P8010. And the rest of the machine is just as sturdy.

Inside the chassis is a selection of decent components. The SL7100 processor runs at only 1.2GHz, but it's a low-power part that contributes to superb battery life and portability. And performance is still good enough to cope with business tasks.

Battery life, more importantly, is excellent, with the Lenovo providing the best results in the Labs. In our light-use test, the X300 lasted a fantastic 6hrs 21mins, and 1hr 56mins under heavy use.

Keen business travellers will also be pleased to find that Lenovo's keyboard and mouse arrangement is superb. Keys have plenty of positive, comfortable travel, and there's a choice between trackpad and trackpoint for mousing.

Multitaskers will appreciate the X300's screen. While other similarly-sized notebooks - such as the 13.3in-screened Dell XPS M1330 - have native resolutions of 1,280 x 800, the Lenovo has a more spacious 1,440 x 900.

The X300 also includes the only solid-state hard disk on test. Far more secure than traditional hard disks - there are no moving parts to go wrong - the 64GB of storage space can also be accessed more quickly than platter-based drives. The downside is that it adds cost to the laptop and storage is limited.

But the X300 is worth the extra cost. Fantastic battery life and superb ergonomics all combine to produce the best business laptop money can buy.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,527
Price inc VAT £1,756
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 311 x 231 x 27mm (WDH)
Weight 1.530kg
Travelling weight 1.8kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo SL7100
Motherboard chipset Intel GS965
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR2
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 X3100
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

Drives

Capacity 64GB
Hard disk usable capacity 59GB
Spindle speed N/A
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung MCCOE64G8MPP
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive Matshita UJ-844
Battery capacity 4,000mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT £101
Replacement battery price inc VAT £116

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
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 no
Modem no
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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 Legend HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 6hr 21min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 56min
Overall application benchmark score 0.75
3D performance (crysis) low settings Fail
3D performance setting Fail

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Business
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disc
Software supplied ThinkVantage software suite