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Lenovo ThinkPad X300
For me, the ThinkPad has a timeless design. I've said it before and I'll say it again, black will always be the new black, no matter how many silver, titanium, red or pink pretenders make their way onto the market. While others have accused the ThinkPad of being staid and dated, I see it as sleek and stylish, in the same way that a 1973 Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS is always going to look stunning, even when placed next to something modern like an Audi R8. Put simply, great design stands the test of time and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! And when it comes to design, Lenovo's latest extension of the ThinkPad brand manages to look even more sleek and stylish than any ThinkPad before it.
I have always been a fan of the ThinkPad X series notebooks, which have traditionally combined ultra-portable form factor and weight with the bullet proof, robust design that's synonymous with the brand. However, when Sony launched the VAIO VGN-TX1XP, the ThinkPad X series machines started to look less attractive. What Sony had done was create an ultra-portable machine that was thinner and lighter than pretty much anything else available, but had somehow still managed to squeeze in an optical drive, while empowering it with over seven hours of battery life. Sony continued to develop the TX series, eventually evolving it into the VAIO VGN-TZ11MN which won the Notebook of the Year award here at TrustedReviews. Meanwhile Apple decided to get into the ultra-portable game with its woefully under-featured MacBook Air, meaning that Lenovo really had to pull something special out of the hat to compete. Luckily, that's exactly what it did.
It may only be April, but the ThinkPad X300 is already looking like a strong contender for Notebook of the Year 2008, and I don't say that lightly. It's somewhat coincidental that the review of the ThinkPad X300 comes so soon after the Sony VAIO VGN-TZ31MN, which many see as its main competitor, although in higher spec TZ31VN form. I'm not completely convinced that the X300 really plays in the same ballpark as Sony's TZ series though, and in reality this latest Lenovo has a lot more in common with Sony's larger, but no less stylish SZ series of notebooks, like the VAIO VGN-SZ61VN.
Before I get too caught up with comparisons though, lets look at the basics that make up the X300. Unlike previous X series ThinkPads, the X300 doesn't sport a 12.1in 4:3 aspect ratio screen. Instead the X300 comes equipped with a 13.3in widescreen display, and I have to say that it's far better for it. I know that while IBM was still carrying the ThinkPad brand, it was very wary of moving away from the 4:3 aspect screens, mainly because corporate users tend to be set in their ways, and are often scared of change. Lenovo on the other hand, saw the writing on the wall a couple of years back and moved the ThinkPad into the widescreen age, initially with the Z series, but eventually rolling it out across the model ranges.