It's nearly August, which means one thing: CNET Labs is drowning in back-to-school laptops. But, thanks to the launch of Intel's new Centrino 2 platform earlier this month, there are also a few new laptops for grown-ups to enjoy. One that we've had our hands on this week is Lenovo's new ultraportable, the ThinkPad X200. We took some time this afternoon to compare it with both its predecessor and the ThinkPad X300 introduced earlier this year.
We've completed performance and battery testing (battery life was especially impressive) and will post the full review of the ThinkPad X200 as soon as we can get final pricing for our configuration. Meanwhile, check out side-by-side pictures and comparisons of the ThinkPads X61s, X200, and X300 after the break.
The ThinkPad X300 (seen here on the left) seemed like it would be Lenovo's only ultraportable ThinkPad for the rest of the year. After all, who wouldn't want a 13.3-inch display, solid-state drive, and built-in DVD burner for less than 3.5 pounds? But the ThinkPad X200 nicely rounds out Lenovo's ultraportable offerings: while it lacks a built-in optical drive, its smaller footprint, slightly lighter weight, and lower price will appeal to frequent business travelers and the budget-conscious.
The ThinkPad X61s (on the left) was quite square, because of its standard-aspect display. (Not to mention the external WWAN antenna on the right side of the lid.) With the ThinkPad X200, Lenovo stretched to a 12.1-inch wide-aspect screen, which is better for multitasking and Web browsing.
We liked the ThinkPad X61s's keyboard--when it was released it was by far the most comfortable ultraportable keyboard around--but this close-up shows how the laptop's square shape impacted the typing experience. Note the half-size Ctrl and Alt keys, as well as the small Enter key.
An added benefit of the wider screen: a wider case that can accommodate a full-size keyboard. The ThinkPad X200's full-size keyboard looks less cramped, and it feels downright roomy--in fact, it's the same board found on Lenovo's 14- and 15-inch ThinkPads. The keyboard remains one of my favorite ThinkPad features.
Stay tuned for the full ThinkPad X200 review, which should post within the week.