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Until recently, Lenovo was a little known brand. Upon the acquisition of IBM’s PC Division, the name has certainly echoed around the office. Not too long ago Riyad looked at the first Lenovo branded ThinkPad and was a little disappointed that it had moved away from the traditional IBM approach. This is the first time we’ve taken a look at a non-ThinkPad Lenovo brand notebook, so it’ll be interesting to see what the company can come up without relying on the IBM branding.
With the lid closed, the C100 looks like a fairly normal laptop with a silver lid and rounded edges. It’s a little on the large side and is no thin and light waif at 2.8kg.
Open things up and you really get a feel for how dated this notebook appears. If it wasn’t for the rounded corners, I’d have trouble telling the difference between this and a six year old machine. The 4:3 ratio, 1,024 x 768 screen is the first indication of this. The quality isn’t bad, but it actually feels like a panel from an old notebook, possibly due to the slightly poor contrast ratio. Perhaps panel manufacturers are only concentrating on the widescreen panels now and haven’t updated 1,024 panels in the past few years. 1,024 x 768 is fine if this is only a secondary machine, but if I was using this all day everyday, I would want a little more desktop real estate to play with - that said, many notebook manufacturers maintain that a large portion of the customer base still wants this resolution in a large physical screen; each to their own I guess.
The plastic used for the rest of the chassis is a finely pitted dark grey, much like you’d see on the inside of a budget mid-80’s car or on a canteen chair. Despite this apparent roughness, it’s actually fairly smooth to the touch. The optical drive is decorated to match. This is a contrast to the lid which has a smooth silver finish.
One of the benefits of this notebook being slightly deeper than widescreen notebooks, is that there is a larger area for resting your wrists. I’ve seen far too many laptops with hard edges that really dig in to your wrists.
The left hand side of the chassis has a single USB 2.0 port, headphone output and microphone input. On the right hand side is a single PC Card slot and a three in one card reader. On the back there are another three USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port for the 10/100Mbit network adapter and a FireWire port. There is a D-SUB output should you want to plug in an external monitor, as well as S-Video output for connecting to TVs. There's no DVI in sight I’m afraid, but that's not particularly unusua.
The optical drive is at the front of the casing and is only a 24x CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo, so anyone wanting to burn DVDs will be disappointed. This machine is pitched more at being a secondary machine anyway, for those who have a DVD burner at home already - either that or most of the backup duties will be done over the company network.