Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lightning Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X200 [Lightning Review]


The Gadget: Lenovo's ThinkPad X200, the leeettlest member of their revamped X notebooks, with Intel's recently released Centrino 2 inside.

The Price: The X200 starts at $1434 at Lenovo's store, though they initially announced it at $1199. The model we tested was close to $1800.

The Verdict: On the whole, the X200 has more going for it than against it. We think 12 inches is the sweet spot for a compact but full-fledged notebook, and the X200 is just 0.8 inches at its thinnest point. It's actually smaller than it looks—Lenovo seems to employ reverse optical trickery to make it look bulkier than it is.

A few exceptional points: The keyboard really is fantastic to type on. Battery life is damned impressive too, delivering between five and six hours of standard use (browsing, video watching, music playing) with the brightness turned most of the way up. There's a lot of power and battery management tools too, for the power anal. And it's got the usual Lenovo build quality.

The potential dealbreakers: There's no trackpad—it's just you and the nipple. If you love the nip, ignore this point. Not ignorable, though, is that the screen is way to! o dim, e ven on max brightness. On a screen that small, brightness and clarity are paramount. So that's a big ol' suck. The mono speaker is fairly atrocious (and our headphone jack was bad on this unit, so it was a definite sore point). Oh, and it's not pretty. In sum, it's not a sight and sound machine.

It doesn't have a built-in optical drive, but honestly, that's a consideration more than a black-and-white downer. (They do include the external gratis.)

Here's what the X200 comes down to: If you want a solid but small notebook for reliably getting work done, this is it. If you want more than that, you probably want something else.

Dan Nosowitz contributed to this review.