Walt Mossberg

Recent Columns by Walt Mossberg


Super-Slim ThinkPad Sneak Peek

ThinkPad X300

Only a month or so after Apple announced its MacBook Air laptop, which it calls the world’s thinnest laptop, Lenovo is about to spring its own super-skinny machine: the ThinkPad X300. Here’s a sneak peek. My full review will appear after I have fully tested this unusual new laptop, which I expect to be of great interest to road warriors.

Like the MacBook Air, this is a rare small laptop that is built around a full 13-inch-wide screen display and a full keyboard, rather than the little screens and cramped keyboards common in subnotebooks. And, like the Air, it offers a fast, rugged solid-state drive instead of a hard disk.

But, unlike the Apple, Lenovo’s new skinny ThinkPad comes with a hefty complement of ports and features, some of the very things critics complained Apple left out. It has a built-in DVD drive, removable battery, three USB ports, and a wired Ethernet networking jack. Inside, in addition to Wi-Fi, it can be ordered with a built-in cellphone modem and even GPS. It comes with either Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Sporting the traditional ThinkPad black slab design, the X300 isn’t as skinny or sexy as the Apple, but it’s still very slender and attractive, at under an inch thick. Also, unlike the Apple, most of the ThinkPad’s configurations are a bit heavier than the 3-pound weight that traditionally denotes a subnotebook. But it still feels very light to carry around, at 3.12 pounds with the standard battery and DVD drive.

The biggest downsides to the new ThinkPad X300 are price and limited storage capacity. Unlike the Apple, which can be ordered with a higher-capacity, lower-priced hard disk, the new ThinkPad will only be available with the expensive, limited capacity solid-state drive. So it will start at between $2,500 and $2,800–up to $1,000 more than the Apple’s base price–and will be limited to a paltry 64 gigabytes of storage.

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