By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-06-19 Print this article Print

For users pining after Lenovos ThinkPad X60s ultraportable, but who dont want to or cant tolerate the ThinkPad price, the Lenovo 3000 v100 is an affordable ultraportable that can hold its own. The Lenovo 3000 v100 is not a ThinkPad, but it does offer many ThinkPad-like features. The unit also comes with something most ultraportables lack—a built-in optical drive. For a starting price of $1,099 (and a starting weight of 4.4 pounds), the v100 configuration includes a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2300e processor, a 12.1-inch widescreen display, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, an Intel PRO/Wireless LAN module, an integrated fingerprint reader and a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo.
Click here to read more laptop reviews from eWEEK Labs. The 3000 v100 that eWEEK Labs tested—which costs $1,599—featured the 2GHz Intel Core Duo Processor T2500, 1 GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive. While the Hewlett-Packard HP Compaq nc2400 ultraportable we recently tested comes with an Intel ULV (ultra-low voltage) Core Solo or single-core Pentium M processor, the v100s performance benefits from Intels dual-core Core Duo processor. In SysMark benchmark tests, the 3000 v100 easily bested the HP Compaq nc2400 and showed performance comparable to that of its ThinkPad X60s sibling. Our unit was equipped with Intels integrated GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 950, which supports Windows Vista but not Vistas Aero Glass capabilities. The systems connectivity options include Intels 802.11 a/b/g wireless LAN module and Bluetooth. We found the 3000 v100s widescreen to be bright and glossy—similar to what youd find on a Sony Vaio laptop. The full-sized keyboard was what youd expect from a Lenovo system—with nice and responsive keys—but was especially appreciated on an ultraportable. The 3000 v100 we tested also came equipped with a Web cam—a nice touch, especially with VOIP becoming increasingly popular. The real gem of the system, though, is its built-in DVD+R dual layer DVD burner, something you wont find in many ultraportables, including the ThinkPad X60s. And the inclusion of the built-in optical drive means road warriors wont have to carry an external one with them when theyre traveling. (Users should note, however, that the HP Compaq nc2400 also has a built-in optical drive and weighs less than the v100.) We liked that the v100 comes equipped with three USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader and a hardware switch that allows users to turn off the Wi-Fi. We also appreciated that the v100 came with LenovoCare, a stripped-down version of the ThinkVantage tools that ship with ThinkPads. The tools include one-button save recovery and simple network connectivity and management, but lacking are the hard-drive parking technologies weve grown to rely on. The 3000 v100 also lacks a TPM (Trusted Platform Module). To test battery performance, we used BAPCOs (Business Applications Performance Corp.s) MobileMark 2005. MobileMark 2005 tests notebook battery life and performance with a core office productivity test that models a mobile professionals workload. The 3000 v100 scored a 250 in MobileMark 2005 tests, or 4 hours and 10 minutes of battery life with a six-cell battery. (The v100 also can be configured with a three-cell battery.) We were disappointed with these results, as the Lenovo systems battery life didnt come close to that of the HP Compaq n2400 and is soundly blown away by the ThinkPad X60s, which delivered 7-plus hours of battery life in our tests. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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