Review Price £349.90
The single-core, 1.6GHz Athlon Neo beating at the heart of the X100e does an adequate job as long as you keep the load light. While we would usually recommend two cores as a minimum to go by, for daily productivity without intensive multi-tasking this will still significantly outperform your average Atom-based netbook (though not the newer 1.8GHz dual core Atoms as found in the Asus EeePC 1215N).
In the chart above you can also see it compared to its dual-core sibling as found in the M101z. You can of course opt for this same dual-core variant in the X100e, but that model is not as easy to find as this 2876 version and demands a significant premium.
As already mentioned, gaming is not really much of an option on the Radeon 3200 graphics, and at best you can expect to run old or undemanding 3D titles. In general use the X100e stays relatively quiet, though it does become more audible and gets rather warm under load.
So far then, it's all very impressive, especially if you're not particularly bothered about the lack of digital video out. However, time away from a socket – or rather lack thereof – is this ThinkPad's biggest failing. Despite looking impressive and sticking out the back, the six-cell, 5,200mAh/57Wh battery will only last you around four hours, if you're lucky (it failed to complete a single MobileMark run and managed only two hours and 50 minutes in our netbook test, with screen brightness at 50 percent and wireless radios turned off).
So we guess the most pertinent question becomes whether it's worth paying the extra £52 over this Lenovo's £367 to get the base configuration of the Dell M101z? For most folks, the answer will be yes. The ThinkPad might have it beat in style, quality and ergonomics, but with the Dell you get better graphics with HDMI-out and significantly better battery life – with the option to expand this further using an optional nine-cell battery.
If you don't mind the lack of digital video out and if you don't require battery life longer than around four hours, Lenovo's ThinkPad X100e is an excellent choice, thanks to its advanced OS, superb build quality, decent specifications and class-leading usability – all while remaining easy on the wallet. However, even at under £330 that might just be one if too many, especially with some compelling alternatives available for only a little more.