You Say You Want a Resolution?

By Tiffany Maleshefski  |  Posted 2008-03-24 Print this article Print

The wider chassis makes way for a 13.3-inch, LED-backlit display that pairs with an Intel X3100 graphics adapter to boast a maximum resolution of 1,440x900 pixels. This resolution is higher than that of the similarly LED-backlit Portege R500, which tops out at a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels.

During general use of the X300, or while watching a DVD on the notebook, I didn't find the picture quality significantly sharper or brighter than on the Portege I tested or on a conventional CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent tube) backit display.

The primary advantage of the LED-backlit displays that the X300 and the R500 feature is reduced power consumption, as these displays use up to 33 percent less power than CCFL backlit components. What's more, according to Lenovo, LED-backlit displays have a higher threshold for withstanding impact and vibration.

I found that the system's built-in speakers, which are embedded in both the display and the bottom panel of the notebook, offered unusually good volume and sound quality.

The assortment of expansion ports that stud the X300 include microphone input and headphone output ports, a VGA external display port. The X300 I tested also sported a digital fingerprint reader, an integrated digital microphone and a camera built into the top of the display.

I found the X300's full-size keyboard incredibly comfortable to work with, due in large part to its generous wrist space and responsive keys. I also appreciated the fact that the ThinkPad X300 features both a trackpoint input device, and a touchpad below the keyboard.

In addition to Intel Wireless Wi-Fi Link 4965AGN and Bluetooth radios, the ThinkPad X300 boasts a trio of USB ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet adapter. These latter two items major advantages over the similarly leading-edge MacBook Air, which sports a single USB port and no built-in Ethernet adapter. The X300 also sports an ultrathin DVD burner-which is another amenity that Apple's Air does not offer.

What's more, Lenovo offers a broad assortment of optional network connectivity add-ons for the X300, including a Verizon Wireless WAN adapter and a personal area network Ultra-wideband radio. For lack of other UWB devices with which to test, I wasn't able to try out this option, nor was I able to test the WiMax radio that Lenovo will make available later this year. However, the (eventual) availability of these connectivity options will be a definite plus for the X300.

Lenovo offers an assortment of battery options for the X300, beginning with three- and six-cell lithium ion batteries which, according to Lenovo, deliver 4.3 and 6.5 hours of life between charges, respectively.

Lenovo also offers a three-cell Lithium Polymer battery that slots into the X300's option bay slot (in lieu of an optical drive), and is supposed to extend battery life by about three hours more.

The unit I tested shipped with the three-cell battery. While I couldn't manage to get the MobileMark benchmark to install properly on the X300, Lenovo's claim of 4.3 hours from the three-cell battery seemed about right, based on my experience using the unit sans power brick.

The ThinkPad X300 unit I tested came preinstalled with Windows XP Professional, and Lenovo offers the machine in Windows Vista configurations, as well. According to Lenovo's Web site, the firm's X60 and X61s ultralights are listed as compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, but Lenovo offers no such compatibility assurance for Linux on the X300.

eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Tiffany Maleshefski can be reached at, or through her blog here.


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