I just picked up a Lenovo ThinkPad x120e for around $500 last week and have been using it as my only computer for the last 7 days.
It features the new AMD Fusion E350 dual-core processor with integrated Radeon HD graphics and Windows 7 Pro x64. This ultraportable has 4 GB of RAM, an 11.6″ screen, a 7200 RPM hard drive, built-in webcam, 3 USB 2.0 ports, and a full-sized HDMI port.
While it may appear to be competing with high-end Netbooks, there’s actually no comparison. The AMD Fusion processor blows the latest Intel Atoms out of the water. The snappy performance leads you to believe you’ve got a Core i3 under the hood, but the 5+ hours of battery life reminds you that this is something different. This laptop has the fit and finish that you would expect from a $3,000 ThinkPad. It’s super-sturdy and comes with an unparalleled scalloped / chiclet keyboard that feels like you’re typing on a Selectric typewriter. This thing is absolutely tiny and only weighs around 3 lbs with the 6 cell battery, so I don’t feel it in my backpack when I running through airports.
I’ve been using Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, IE9 (with 8 tabs open), Tweetdeck, Visio, Live Writer, Chrome, and Lync without issue. In fact, they were all very responsive. HD videos were great. Since I also write software, I installed Visual Studio 2010, plus the Windows Phone 7 tools and emulator. This is where things ran out of gas. I totally get that Visual Studio is a giant piece of software, but the x120 just wasn’t up to the task when it came to fast compiles and having a responsive IDE. Running Windows Phone 7 apps in the emulator was also a very sluggish experience. Yes, all the tools worked as expected, but you might lose patience.
To be fair, this tiny laptop was not designed to be a developer workstation but I thought I’d see how far I could push it. Actually, it might be possible to make the x120e fast enough for giant tools like Visual Studio and Eclipse by bumping up the DDR3 RAM to 8 GB and swapping out the spinning hard disk with a fast SSD. I’ll probably give it a try.
To sum up, the ThinkPad x120e is a pocket rocket of a business productivity and I highly recommend it.
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