Lenovo had been developing its new tiny but powerful ThinkPad, the X300, for a year and a half when Steve Jobs announced that its MacBook air could fit into an inter-office envelope. What a letdown!
Though Lenovo's ultra-portable with full-sized screen and keyboard is a little thicker, a little heavier, and was announced a little later than the MacBook Air, it's been getting the stellar reviews that the Air hoped for but failed to receive. Why? Every complaint that reviewers had about the Air— its non-removable battery, its one awkwardly hidden USB port, its lack of an Ethernet jack and optical drive— is resolved in the ThinkPad. Every complaint but those about operating system and pricing, that is. Windows-haters preferred the Mac but grudgingly gave the X300 its due, while pretty much everyone griped that $2800 is a high price to pay for any laptop. Click continue to read critics' takes on Lenovo's ThinkPad X300.
Ports, Ethernet, optical drive: we missed you
"The ThinkPad X300 is an all-around, more sensible solution for business travelers. It weighs about the same as the MacBook Air, depending on how you configure it, and the removable battery, a built-in optical drive, integrated WWAN, and multiple USB ports make this little ultraportable much more desirable from a business standpoint." , PC Magazine
Pretty damn hot, for a PC, that is
"If you’re happy with Windows, can afford the price tag, and value the many ports and connectivity options Lenovo has packed in, the thin and rugged X300 is a great choice. It’s a notable engineering accomplishment." , The Wall Street Journal
The Air and X300 are going after different audiences
"This is really like comparing a 2 seat exotic sports car to a 4 seat exotic sports sedan. The buyers needs will be the biggest thing driving the difference and both of these products target their intended audiences very well. This is with one exception and that is the MacBook Air’s battery limitation. I just don’t think 2 to 3 hours of use is enough for a laptop in this class." , Digital Trends
Cool (literally) and quiet
"The 64 GB Solid State Drive makes it quieter than a whisper, barely budging our decibal meter even at startup. You actually notice how quiet it is. [Plus,] It's cool. Not stylistically, but thermodynamically." , CRN
Not just for road warriors
"Suit or no suit, with the type of technology and cool engineering crammed into the X300 everyone's going to be a little bit curious about this notebook, and envious of anybody that has one."
, Notebook Review
Nothing like a sexist, antiquated metaphor for backhanded praise
"If laptops were romantic partners, Apple's MacBook Air would be a hot date. The new ThinkPad X300 from Lenovo (LNVGY) would be the one you'd marry. The X300 is not as thin or as glamorous as the MacBook, but I think most mobile professionals will agree that it is better designed for the long haul." , Business Week
It's all about the operating system
"They are both cool. Who cares which one is better? The Mac peeps are going to buy the MacBook Air. The PC peeps are going to get the Lenovo X300. This is news?" , Gizmodo
It's not stylish but we like it anyway
"The large bezel is a minor black mark against the X300 too. It not only gives the unit a retro feel, it also makes us wonder whether the screen could have been even larger … But, unlike the MacBook Air, it doesn't sacrifice usability to hit a certain weight. In fact, unlike the MacBook Air, it's clearly been designed with usability rather than marketing in mind." , PC Pro
"Given the amount of typing the typical executive does through the course of the work day, a keyboard can make or break an ultraportable. The ThinkPad X300 actually uses the same keyboard found on Lenovo's 14- and 15-inch models — which is to say, not the condensed keyboard found on previous X series models and many ultraportable laptops from other manufacturers. After conducting an entire morning's work — and writing this review — on the ThinkPad X300, we still don't feel like we've been typing on a laptop. We love it." , CNET
What do you think? Would you rather be inter-officed an Air or an X200?