Lenovo Sends the Rugged ThinkPad X130e Laptop to School

Lenovo's new ThinkPad X130e features rubber bumpers to limit wear and tear for students and public-safety first responders.

Lenovo is rolling out its new ThinkPad X130e with rugged features to survive harsh use during a K-12 school day or bumpy ambulance ride.

Rugged features include a rubber bumper in the top cover to absorb impact and reinforced and recessed ports to limit abuse. In addition, a 33 percent stronger corner breaks the device's impact when dropped from an angle, Lenovo reports. More durable keyboard, hinges and bezel further boost the device's protection from rough handling.

Laptops often take a beating in schools, and CIOs have told Lenovo that ruggedness is important for PCs built for the educational market, Michael Schmedlen, Lenovo's worldwide director of education, told eWEEK. The X130e goes beyond the eight military-spec tests that Lenovo conducts for its ThinkPad notebooks, according to the company.

Unveiled Dec. 6, the X130e is the follow-up to the X120e, which Lenovo announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. The new model features an 11.6-inch screen, and users can choose among the Advanced Micro Devices Fusion E-300 and E-450 as well as the Intel second-generation Core i3-2367M ULV processors.

The X130e is 1.29 inches thick, and its 3.9-pound weight and 8.5 hours of battery life make the unit suitable for the full day of school plus afterschool work, according to Lenovo. In addition, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and VGA ports allow students to connect the unit to a projector or TV for presentations.

Meanwhile, asset tags allow schools to track inventory. "We'll randomize a number for our customers," Schmedlen said. "We can put them on a cover, wherever they fit-we'll do that service for customers at hundreds of schools around the world."

Although the unit was built for education, verticals such as health care are also showing interest in the X130, Schmedlen said. Public-safety first responders can use the notebook to maintain communication with other emergency personnel and doctors in the ER.

Providing rugged laptops for people in mission-critical jobs is the goal, according to Schmedlen. "As data increasingly drives these services, they really need a device on the front line to access the data and communicate and run these mission-critical apps," he said. "We're going to see these deployed in lots of public-sector-type implementations more so than we first realized."

First responders could use the X130e for triage, mapping and video communications between doctors in ER and first responders in the ambulance.

"Having that connectivity to the data center, to the dispatcher and to these other applications can help them do their job more effectively, get to places faster and understand how to diagnose situations more quickly," Schmedlen said.

In designing the X130e, Lenovo was looking for a combination of high performance and low price in a design that won't break when used by a student or first responder on the run. Students can remain connected from class to class using Lenovo's Instant Resume function, which allows them to keep their wireless connection for up to 99 minutes while the notebook is in sleep mode. When they move to another classroom, they won't have to reconnect. The unit also features RapidBoot technology, allowing it to boot in less than 20 seconds.

Lenovo will begin offering the X130e Dec. 20.