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Mossberg review pits X300 vs. MacBook Air

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.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    can we please

    now put to rest the tired trope that Macs cost more than PCs?

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    0

    Windows Fan Boy Says

    WAAAA! WAAAA! Yeah, but by the time you Mac people pay for MS Office and all that other software you need and I just rip off copies from my friends, my total cost is lower than yours. WAAAAAA!

    =====

    Actually, I've still got plenty of cash left over after buying the Air, it's external SuperDrive, the Ethernet dongle, and a few other goodies (sleeve, case, screen protector and Office) to go have a few very nice dinners. Or to even travel someplace decent and still have a nice dinner.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    0

    The Envelope Test

    Oooo! Don't forget how spastic the Lenovo guy went when he saw Jobs pull the air out of an inter-office envelope ... he screamed at his secretary to go get him one and purportedly breathed a sigh of relief when he discovered his yet-to-be released darling did in fact fit in it.

    Of course, what he still fails to get is that "Look! Ours fits in an envelope too!" isn't going to cut it against the Air. The Air in an envelope is like getting a very short report; the envelope hardly looks like there's anything in it. OTOH, getting the StinkPad in an envelope would be like receiving an old Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog.

  1. gitcypher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    @ climacs

    Of course not. That's like basing the 'standard' pc pricing on Sony's Vaios. This Lenova is just an insanely explensive laptop. More than on average, Macs are more expensive than PCs for equal components. This is especially true when off the shelf PCs are generally more expensive than building your own. No hard feelings, just speaking the truth.

  1. mytdave

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000

    0

    bad comparison

    The new Lenovo X300 doesn't really compare to the Air at all. It compares much more to the MacBook in every way - features, dimensions, etc., except the MacBook would be slightly heavier and significantly more powerful.

  1. Deal

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Apr 2001

    0

    Argue to differ on price

    By the time you build a PC with the same components as a Mac, the PC is generally not cheaper.

    When the PC is cheaper is when corners have been cut.

    Then you have esthetics and physiology. Show me a PC with the aluminum cases and brilliant cooling, you've got an expensive PC. Anybody can make a block of plastic. Some can make laptops with aluminum (of course, you'll get shocked by the price and the laptop).

    The answer to the price difference is how long the user will keep the same computer. Mac users keep their systems for 4-5 years and longer. PC users get a good year, then rebuild it to get some speed back and use it for another year, after 2 years they contemplate a new one and it's gone by the end of three.

    What happens after your Mac or PC is used? Well, a Mac goes to a family member or friend and gets used another two years. Either that or it gets sold on Ebay for over half of what a new Mac costs. A used PC is landfill. It's best value is to recycle it into another shaped piece of plastic.

    Do the math. There are no "cheap" Macs, but they are all equal or better in price than a comparable PC (I say that loosely). As an investment Macs are way cheaper than PCs.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Argue to differ on

    By the time you build a PC with the same components as a Mac, the PC is generally not cheaper.

    That assumes you want a PC with the same components as a Mac. Then again, as I've said a zillion times before and will continue, no one bothers to add the features the PC has to the Mac. For example, co-worker's Dell has not only an Express Card slot, but a PC card slot and a SecureCard slot.

    When the PC is cheaper is when corners have been cut.

    Or when optional equipment that will never be used (like a video camera) has been left off.

    Then you have esthetics and physiology.

    Ooooh. Looks. Is that all you people care about? Some actually are more concerned about how much something costs, and what it can do. I've never looked at my Mac and said to myself "Damn, that looks good. I'm so glad it's not plasticy and black!"

    Oh, and maybe Apple could spend less time worrying about making the insides and outsides looking so pristine and pretty, and making them more, I don't know, FUNCTIONAL! A swappable hard drive would be SO nice in my MBP. But, no, I get 'pretty' and a drive that can be replaced only under fear of breaking my warranty.

    Oh, and my latest irritation, the layout of my PowerMac G5. I'm sure the mac faithful called it wonderfully uncluttered when you open it up (which it is, like that's important or anything), but swapping drives is a pain in the a** (with the stupid cables sticking out scratching up the bottom of the drive - the part they say not to touch).

    And I need to replace my SATA cable to one of my drives. There doesn't seem to be any way to do that without completely taking the computer apart. You can't even run a cable haphazardly if you wanted to, because Apple basically sealed off the drive section from the mobo section.

    But, hey, it sure does look pretty inside and out, doesn't it.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: svm: No

    ALL encryption on ALL hardware, platforms, and operating systems is vulnerable...not just "FileVault".

    Not necessarily. The point of secure VM is that it encrypts the memory data before writing it to disk. It all depends on how the encryption information used in an encryption system is stored in memory. If it is dealt with "correctly", it would be expunged from memory after it is used (or at shutdown), being overwritten and all that stuff. Only those who leave it in memory would be affected (which probably is everybody).

    There is one simple and easy fix if you are that concerned about this kind of attack: when your machine is not in use, shut it down instead of putting it in sleep/standby mode. The contents of RAM are (more likely to be) lost, and the encryption key is thus not recoverable.

    Based on what I've read, that's not true. (That's like saying wiping a drive with all zeroes makes the data unrecoverable).

  1. Deal

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Apr 2001

    0

    Tustudo...

    Testudo, you are so wrong. I mean, sometimes you have a flash of wisdom and sometimes you are wrong… but you are so wrong this time.

    You call the video camera an extra?! That is the most functional piece of hardware you could put in a laptop. In fact, by next year, I doubt you’ll be able to find a laptop without a camera. The big difference will be the quality of the camera and the software that comes with it. The camera on a Mac is very functional. Maybe you don’t have any friends to talk to on it, but once (if ever) you do, you’ll want it. People love Photobooth (especially kids). It's fun, cool and definitely not an expensive item to add, but definitely at item you want built in!

    Macs may not add a 21 in one media reader, but then again, they run about $12 and fit in a laptop pocket nicely. Give me a built in camera over that any day. If you really need the reader built in, get a express card reader. Do you need it built in? No. In fact, two years ago these readers were 8 in 1, then 12 in 1, 16 in 1 and now 21 in 1. Readers don't always read the media they are supposed to because there isn't a clear standard. I just bought a Sonnet and it wouldn't read my Palm Secure SD. It's supposed to but it doesn't. Guess what, my Verbatim does (but the Verbatim doesn't read everything the Sonnet does). Good thing they aren't built in! But then again, that takes intelligence and thought to come up with. It's a good thing Apple is doing the thinking for you :)

    Looks are important. Do you leave the house with your fly unzipped? Do you go to court with a Slayer T-shirt? Macs look great and form follows function. Nobody is ashamed to enter a conference with a Mac.

    Apple actually has a lot of people working on function (which is why they are so functional) and a lot of people working on design (which is why they look and work so well). This should cost a lot mroe money than a PC but it doesn't. Dell must rarely think of function and form. They build a tiny box that heats up and burns everything out and they say, "oops" and do it again. Apple on the other hand is design and function conscious. The new keyboard is beautiful. The new iMacs makes all in one PCs look like toys. If this weren’t the case, everybody wouldn’t be copying them.

    I will agree the G5s second hard drive is tight, but guess what? Apple improved it. Have you replaced a hard drive in a Dell or HP? What a stupid process. I hate the refrigerator door Dell, with all the cables draped from the door to the box—what a mess. That stupid green plastic thing covering the drive is total garbage. The small form factor that opens like a trunk is equally horrible and has serious heat issues. How about those laptops that will zap your arm—nice touch. I have to say the newest Macs with the pull out drives are the easiest drives to access in any desktop computer I’ve ever seen. Apple continues to improve through R&D. Dell makes plastic boxes that have

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