Lenovo recently announced the Thinkpad X100e and Thinkpad Edge at CES. I was invited to the Singapore launch last week.
The Thinkpad X100e is a professional-grade ultraportable laptop. It has a 11.6 inch HD LED blacklight screen (1366×768). It runs on a AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 chip. This is the first Thinkpad that is running on a AMD chip. 4GB RAM, 160GB/250GB/320GB Harddisk, Wireless N, Ethernet port, 3 USB port, VGA port and SD card reader. 2 hours battery life with 3 cell battery and up to 5 hr with 6 cell battery.
Weighs 1.36 kg with 3 cell battery and 1.5kg with 6 cell. Users can have a choice of Windows XP or Windows 7. Price starts at SGD$1019 and will be hitting the Singapore shelf within this few weeks.
The Thinkpad Edge is a laptop designed specifically for the Small to Medium Sized Business (SMB). It has a 13.3 inch HD LED backlight widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio, 1366×768). There is a choice of either AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-core, AMD Athlon Neo X2 Dual Core or Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor. 4GB RAM, 250GB/320GB/500GB Harddisk, Wireless N, Ethernet port, 3 USB port, VGA port, HDMI and SD/MS card reader.
For AMD processor, you get 3.7hr with 4 cell battery and 5.9hr with 6 cell battery. For Intel processor, you get 5.9hr on 4 cell battery and 8.9hr on 6 cell battery. Comes in Windows 7. Price starts at SGD$1189 and will be hitting the Singapore stores within this few weeks. 14 inch and 15 inch models will be available from 2nd quarter of 2010.
I’ll do a full review when I get my hands on the review units.
Both model comes a chiclet/island-style keyboard. This is different from the traditional Thinkpad keyboard that is well known for it’s quality. Initially, I was a little skeptical about the chiclet keyboard. But I was relief when I tried the keyboard myself at the launch event. In my opinion, the new chiclet keyboard is just as good as the traditional Thinkpad keyboard. Both model also come with the iconic Red Trackpoint that is found on all Thinkpad. Those who don’t like the Trackpoint (or can’t figure out how to use it) can still use the Trackpad.
I must say that the Thinkpad X100e and Thinkpad Edge is slightly different from the classic Thinkpad. In the past, when someone mention the sub-brand Thinkpad, you know that it is a professional laptop with high performance processor. But this time round, Lenovo decides to give the Thinkpad X100e and Thinkpad Edge a slightly not so high performance processor to reduce the cost. I can understand that Lenovo needs to address the crowd that complaint that Thinkpad is too expensive, although I always tell people that the Thinkpad is worth every cent. I bought my T43 almost 4 1/2 years ago at $3.5k and it is still working perfectly now. Which is why I’m a little concerned when I saw the specs of the Thinkpad X100e and Thinkpad Edge. It is just not the kind of thing you would expect from a Thinkpad. But Lenovo is quick to point out that the Thinkpad X100e and Thinkpad Edge is a new category targeted at SMB. It is different from the classic Thinkpad series. Lenovo will still be making the classic Thinkpad.
And perhaps from a marketing point of view, this might be a good move. The biggest show stopper for someone to buy a Thinkpad is the cost. If Lenovo release a cheaper Thinkpad, they would be able to get more users onboard the Thinkpad club. And after trying out the Thinkpad X100e or Thinkpad Edge, they might fall in love with the Thinkpad and go for the classic Thinkpad on their next laptop purchase. But it is important for Lenovo to make sure that these lower end Thinkpads will not tarnish the reputation of the classic Thinkpad.
Another thing about this 2 model that is unlike the classic Thinkpad is the colours. The Thinkpad X100e comes in Black, Red and White (matt) while Thinkpad Edge comes in Black (Matt or glossy)and Red (glossy). Yes, you heard me correctly. Non-black coloured Thinkpad. Now, this is something of personal preference. To most hardcore Thinkpad fans, a Thinkpad is supposed to be black as it is professional looking. But because of this, the 2nd biggest complaint about Thinkpad I usually hear is that the Thinkpad comes in either dull black or boring black colour. I can see that Lenovo is trying to capture a bigger market by releasing Non-black coloured Thinkpad. This is a very very risky move. They will need to do it carefully so as not to piss off the hardcore Thinkpad fans. For me, I’ll just need some time to get used to seeing a non-black coloured Thinkpad.
And the debate about the Thinkpad colour goes on. I guess we will never come to a conclusion to this debate. The hardcore Thinkpad fans wants the Thinkpad to be professional black colour while the rest wants it to be more than dull and boring black colour. But let all of us be glad and thankful that Lenovo didn’t release a pink colour Thinkpad (YET).
Lenovo: If you are reading this, PLEASE don’t ever release a pink colour Thinkpad. Red and white are fine. In fact, if you want to do blue, yellow, orange, green, purple, brown or grey also can. Anything but pink. OK?
Disclaimer: I’m a huge Thinkpad fan. I fell in love with the Thinkpad since 1997 when I was working as a part time technician at a company distributing IBM Thinkpad to schools and government agencies.