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Lenovo ThinkPad X300 - Lenovo ThinkPad X300
Lenovo has taken a unique stance with the storage options - or lack of them - in the X300. Whereas most manufacturers will offer various hard disk capacities, along with a solid state disk version at the very top of the range, Lenovo has chosen to offer the X300 with a 64GB SSD as the only option. This means that there's no "budget" version of the X300, but I imagine that's the whole point - this is Lenovo's flagship model, and it carries a specification and price that emphasises that fact.
I can't help but wonder whether Lenovo's decision to only offer solid state storage in the X300 has allowed the engineers to tailor the machine to the fast access times that the SSD offers. I say this because I've reviewed many notebooks with SSDs in them, and in fact use an SSD equipped Samsung Q40 as my travelling companion, but I've never used a machine that feels as swift and responsive as the X300. Whether it's boot up, application load times or even just general Windows usage, the X300 feels lightning fast. In fact, this subjective opinion is borne out by the ludicrously high HDD score in PCMark Vantage.
When it comes to connectivity, the X300 is simply overflowing with options. There's an Intel 82566MM Gigabit Ethernet controller for an optimum connection to your suitably equipped home or office network, while wireless options are even more impressive. First up is an Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN, which offers 802.11a and b, as well as Draft-N support. There's also Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, which means that wireless headsets can be easily connected - ideal for making use of the integrated webcam that's mounted above the screen.
Underneath the battery you'll find a SIM card slot, which gives the game away on the final wireless connection. Lenovo has also squeezed in a Sierra Wireless MC8775 HSDPA modem, which means that the X300 really can get connected pretty much anywhere. According to Lenovo's documentation, the HSDPA modem only supports a maximum of 3.6mbps, but in reality it should be compatible with 7.2mbps networks - most 3.6mbps hardware is 7.2mbps compatible, although a firmware flash may be needed.
Unfortunately Lenovo doesn't install a proper HSDPA application to drive the modem. There's a basic utility that runs at startup which will discover the device and the SIM card, then offers to connect you. This works fine and you can browse and send email from the X300 once connected, but there's no SMS functionality, or any way of monitoring data usage.
Interestingly, all the X300 literature mentions WiMAX support, although there's no actual WiMAX hardware in the review sample I have. To be fair, the documentation does state that the X300 will support WiMAX when it becomes available later in 2008. But with the extensive cell based data coverage in Europe, the need for WiMAX isn't as strong as it is in the US.
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