updated 05:00 pm EST, Thu February 21, 2008
Mossberg X300 Review
The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 does well but falls short of Apple's MacBook Air in key areas, says a new review by Walt Mossberg. Due for release on February 26th, the X300 is found by the journalist to offer more features, though it was significantly bigger, heavier, and more expensive than the Apple notebook. Prices start at $2,476 for a bare-bones model or $2,799 for a ready-to-run version with a half-size battery; while appropriate for the cost of the 64GB solid-state drive, the system has no option for a traditional hard disk to lower the system to Apple's starting $1,799 price tag, Mossberg notes. The likely most popular X300, which comes with a DVD drive and a full-size battery, will retail for close to $3,000.
The X300's chief advantage is an empty bay drive that can be filled with a DVD burner, ExpressCard slot or second battery; it also offers three USB ports versus the Air's one port. However, this comes at the expense of thickness, as the system's thinnest point is thicker than that of the bulkiest point on the Air. Battery life is also paradoxically worse despite a slower (1.2GHz versus 1.6GHz) processor: Apple's system outlasts the X300's high-capacity by 24 minutes with a full workload, with the differences on the half-size battery being even greater, Mossberg surmises.
Operating system choices for next week's release will include Windows Vista or XP, though Mossberg personally finds either inferior to the Mac alternative. The reviewer also gave the Mac more objective credit for its relative resistance to most viruses and spyware, which lets most owners skip additional security software. While the X300 is a "notable engineering accomplishment" in creating a full system in a smaller shape than usual, it requires a personal preference for Windows as well as the willingness to justify the price before it can be considered as an alternative to the MacBook, the writer says.