13.3 in 1,440×900 display, 1.5kg, 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400, 2.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows Vista Business
At just 28mm thick, the ThinkPad X301 is the thinnest laptop here, and yet Lenovo has managed to include DVD writer.
It’s the only laptop here to lack an ExpressCard slot, but as 3G and 802.11 Draft-N WiFi are already built-in, you’re less likely to need it. The plain black case isn’t as stylish as the other designs here, but it feels robust. Like other ThinkPads, it has a touchstick as well as a touchpad.
We’ve been impressed with the keyboards on other ThinkPads, and the X301 is no exception. The large keys have plenty of travel and give just enough feedback when pressed, making it exceptionally comfortable to type on. There are shortcut keys for your web browser’s Back and Forward buttons and a light for working in low light. The non-standard layout may annoy touch-typists, though.
The 13.3in screen has a resolution of 1,440×900 pixels, which is equivalent in resolution to most 19in widescreen desktop displays. Of the ultra-portables, only the Sony Vaio VGN-Z31VN/X’s screen has a higher resolution. We liked the matt, anti-glare finish but were disappointed with how gloomy it looks – it’s nowhere near as bright as the screen on Samsung’s X360. It also looks grainy if you examine it quite closely.
The X301 has only 2GB of RAM fitted, which is the least in any ultra-portable here, but it’s enough for Windows and all but the most memory-intensive applications. Like two of the other ultra-portables, it has an ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo processor – the 1.4GHz SU9400 – which sacrifices speed for low power consumption. Despite this and its SSD, which should be more power efficient than a hard disk, its battery life of five hours and 32 minutes is the second shortest of the ultra-portable laptops here. It’s still a long time compared with all the other categories of laptop, though.
We liked the ThinkPad’s sturdy build, comfortable keyboard and high-resolution, if rather dim, screen. Its battery life is shorter than those of other, cheaper ultra-portables, though, so we can’t recommend it.
|Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400
|Processor clock speed
|Memory slots free
|Conexant HD SmartAudio 221
|touchpad and touch stick
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption idle
|Power consumption active
|Intel GMA 4500M HD
|Total storage capacity
|Optical drive model
|Optical drive type
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PC Card slots
|Supported memory cards
|Windows Vista Business
|Operating system restore option
|InterVideo WinDVD 5, PC-Doctor 5 for Windows, Roxio Creator Business Edition 10.1.177
|three years onsite warranty £70
|three years customer carry-in