Back in June we reviewed IBM’s X40 and loved it. Eleven months later (has it really been that long?) and we are getting equally excited about its follow up, announced today, the X41.
Now the name change may be modest (I had been guessing X50, though Samsung put paid to that, here), yet the X41 looks to have the potential to keep it at the very top of the ultra portable league.
For a start it picks up the trend the T42 began by introducing a built in biometric fingerprint scanner as standard. The horsepower has been upgraded via the new Intel 915GM chipset and a Pentium M 1.5GHz processor complete with 2MB of Level 2 cache. Hard drives are also now available up to 60GB. Understandably, given its size, graphics are still of the integrated variety, but the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 should offer a little more grunt than the Extreme Graphics 2 in its predecessor.
Despite this boost to performance, the X41 has managed to slim done ever so slightly from the X40. A new weight of 1.2Kg lops 0.04Kg off its forebear, though its dimensions remain the same. Battery life is said to be 3.5 hours with the standard four cell-er provided, while an extended eight cell option brags of a massive 7.5 hours. Of course, we’ll have to verify this in our labs because taking it as solid fact is a little too exciting to contemplate.
Slightly disappointing is that the 12.1in display still comes with a native 1024 x 768 resolution, but that size seems to appeal to the corporate market so we’ll just have to make do. Supreme screen quality, as with all IBM machines, I expect to be taken as read. Connectivity options remain mostly the same as before, though wireless has had a much needed increase to 802.11g.
Looking at the software side of things, one bit that does stand out from the usual bundle is IBM’s latest ThinkPad Software Installer. This clever stuff automatically performs a complete system hardware check and updates the latest drivers, Bios and options to ensure peak performance. In one fell swoop this eliminates the traditionally laborious task of periodically trawling the web for updates (which most of us tend to let slip anyhow).
If the X41 gets you hot under the collar you’ll be glad to know you won’t have to wait long to get your eager mitts on one. A 12 April release date has been put forward, but you'll have to have deep pockets: prices start at £1,410 including VAT.