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Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876) review

Ardjuna Seghers



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Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e (2876)
  • ThinkPad X100e


Our Score:


If you've read our 2010 Awards or, more recently, the Christmas Netbook Buyers' Guide, you might remember that one of our winning choices was Dell's M101z (thanks in large part to its AMD Athlon Neo processor, which makes for a great, and usually more powerful, alternative to Intel's Atom). Thus we're quite excited to be looking at Lenovo's 11.6in ThinkPad X100e, which uses the same platform but costs far less - despite including a copy of Windows 7 Professional! Combined with the ThinkPad line's generally legendary build quality, premium finish and attention to detail (check out the ThinkPad X200t review for an example of what we mean), is this the ultimate budget ultraportable?

Going by build, the answer is a resounding yes. The X100e certainly doesn't put the ThinkPad reputation to shame in this regard: finished in smooth semi-matt black plastic (aside from the screen's bezel, which is slightly textured) that doesn't mark or scratch easily, it's brick-like in its solidity. There is simply not a hint of flex or creak anywhere in its chassis, and it's been a very long time since we dealt with an affordable ultraportable (or indeed any laptop) we could say that of. About the only sub £400 competitor that springs to mind in this regard is Dell's rugged Latitude 2100, which is vastly inferior in every other regard. Another welcome ThinkPad feature is that the screen will fold so far back as to be almost flat.

Visually, the X100e's semi-matte black design (it's also available in "heatwave red" when buying direct from Lenovo) is almost identical to its siblings and predecessors, so if you're a fan you won't need convincing. Newcomers might find the red track-stick in the middle of the keyboard and rather prominent logo on the palm-rest slightly off-putting, but overall this Lenovo exudes understated class. It's a machine that means business and isn't afraid to show it.

Specifications-wise our 2876 configuration of the X100e is also excellent for the price (you can get other models with better specifications, but naturally these cost more). Starting off on the CPU front, we have a single-core Neo running at 1.6GHz. It's backed by 2GB of DDR2 RAM, keeping the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional running fairly smoothly.

Not only is this double the memory of most netbooks, but the OS is also a significant improvement over the Starter edition you'll find on the majority of rivals. Professional will handle up to 4GB of RAM (should you upgrade in the future) as well as allowing you to change the desktop background, and with an added 'XP mode' over Home Premium it maintains better backward compatibility. The hard drive is a fairly standard 250GB, 5,400rpm model.

When it comes to graphics, the X100e relies on the same integrated Radeon 3200 found in most Neo machines. While not exactly a powerful solution, it's a sight better than Intel's alternatives, and intense Full HD video playback is certainly no problem for this ThinkPad – a good thing considering it 1,366 x 768 screen gives you more detail than you get from most netbooks. However, 3D gaming won't be on the cards, with frame rates for our standard TrackMania Nations Forever test in the single digits.


January 7, 2011, 12:49 am

Hi Ardjuna

(Just posting this comment here as well in case it gets missed)

I can wait if you think it would be worth it! How long roughly do you think I should be waiting?

To be honest, I'm not really fussed about HD screens/HDMI ports etc. The main things I want are a fairly fast processor CPU and good amount of RAM etc, a matte screen and an excellent 6 cell battery performance. This is why I wondered if the Asus 1005 might better, as it is £60 cheaper than the 1015 - is dual core really that much better than single core?

I don't really want to spend £300 if I can help it - I'd prefer £250 max as upgrading to 2GB RAM will cost a bit extra - but £300 seems to be the cheapest price that the ASUS 1015 (which meets my above requirements) is selling for?

Does this netbook you're reviewing meet those requirements as well as the Asus? And who is the manufacturer, so I can keep an eye out for your article?



Mike Rose

January 7, 2011, 1:58 am

It's a shame Lenovo still continue to put Fn outside. It's just so annoying.

I've owned 3 Thinkpads now and I can't understand why they keep tdoing this. Every time I need Ctrl I hit the wrong key..........every time!


January 7, 2011, 12:40 pm

I got one of these in red for the wife last Autumn, it only had 1gb ram (which I have now upgraded) but I got it for ~£240.

Nice little machine.


January 7, 2011, 1:38 pm

agreed about the Fn.. i hate it on my t400. You listening Lenovo!


January 7, 2011, 5:22 pm

As a Thinkpad purist I certainly wouldn't consider this for myself - the flat display frame being one reason amongst others. However I could certainly recommend this to family and friends if I could get them to appreciate the whole Thinkpad design philosophy.


January 7, 2011, 11:38 pm

This model is being superceded by the x120e in February which uses the new AMD Fusion APU , has an HDMI port, has extended battery life and does not have a problem with heat generation. Perhaps you should have mentioned this new model in your review and maybe review this in February?


January 10, 2011, 8:46 pm


The poor battery life means this Lenovo is not an option for you, I guess. As to dual core, it will help with multitasking and flash/HD video. If your workload is light and doesn't include these, single core should do you. However, with ever more programs becoming multi-threaded, it's not an option I would recommend.

As to how long you should wait, next month should already start seeing machines based on the new platforms emerging, such as the X120e @Lgray mentions.

@Mike Rose:

Yes, it is a shame. They keep doing it to keep traditional ThinkPad owners happy, but it's time to leave that behind Lenovo - risk alienating a few set-in-their-ways die-hards for the sake of many more potential new users.


It is, rather. Were it not for the battery life, Fn key issue and lack of HDMI, this would have received a Recommended Award.


I didn't mention it because it's likely to come out at a different price point and UK availability is not set in stone, but we will definitely be getting one in to review as soon as possible :)


June 17, 2011, 7:36 pm

Got myself one x100e one month ago, following the advice of the reviews I saw on the internet, among them, this site. I must have had 14-15 laptops (several thinkpads) and a few netbooks. I still have my eee pc 701 surf, and an NC10.

Well, this thinkpad has been a disappointment in nearly every single area. Yes, it's capable of running things smoothly, perhaps more than the others. But there are big buts. One, up until I updated it with everything (took a couple of days) it freezed for no reason, got constant crashes and the screen would go black. These are things pretty common to every x100e user out there, just google them. Then, it heats up to scary temperatures. I installed a fan app and the temperature never goes below 70ºC while doing light internet surfing. Another thing is it lacks indicator lights. No HD light, no wi-fi light, no nothing. Sometimes, you move it and it freezes for a little bit. When you close the lid, it freezes too (I usually listen to internet radio with the lid closed to fall asleep). Sometimes I'm listening to the radio at night and it freezes, I have to open the lid and then close it again. Also, I hate the function keys. The wifi function keys only brings up a button to switch off the wifi, bluetooth and 3G, which you have to click with the mouse. I want to switch off the wifi with a button, not a combination.

Not to mention the battery. It can last 2½ hours if you're lucky. Not even 2 hours of video time, and that's with a fair brightness setting and wifi, bluetooth, etc... switched off.

Overall, a very big disappointment and a very poor product from Lenovo; it's a huge stain on the fame of the (once) mighty Thinkpads. Not to be bought under any circumstance.


June 17, 2011, 7:41 pm

Ctrl and Fn keys can be swaped in the BIOS with a firmware update.

That was nice. The only thing.

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