Lenovo entered the netbook segment with a bang releasing a slew of netbooks across its IdeaPad and its ThinkPad series. Also at CES this January Lenovo was the one company which made a lot of noise. In line with this trend the company has come out with its ‘first professional grade ultraportable laptop starting below $500’ as the company puts it, the X100e.

One quick glance at the laptop and you will notice the distinctive features of the ThinkPad series. From the matte black finish to red trackpoint stub, the whole laptop seems like a shrunk ThinkPad. One of the big surprises was the processor. This laptop is powered by AMD’s Athlon Neo MV-40. Here is a summary of the specs of this laptop:

• AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 @ 1.6GHz, 800MHz FSB; 512KB L2 Cache
• 2GB of DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
• 11.6″ LCD (1366×768); LED backlight
• AMD M780G (Radeon HD 3200) integrated graphics
• 250GB (5400RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B Hard Drive
• 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi

It also features other common extras such 1.3Mp webcam, Bluetooth, a 3 in 1 card reader etc. The laptop has a rugged build quality with a black finish all around. It is probably the most rigidly built ultraportables out there. The 6 cell Li ion battery gives a stick out a little bit giving a bulge at the rear end. We figured that the bulge would not be much of a problem considering it would give the laptop more juice rather than wilt away in a couple of hours. The keyboard is designed perfectly in the ‘chicklet’ style. The keys offer just the right amount of feedback and the key clicks are smooth. The trackpad steals the show here though. The X100e supports multi touch and gesture recognition. It is also larger than any of the postage stamp sized ones other netbooks sport.

The 11.6” LCD screen has a native resolution of 1366×768 providing ample space. The anti glare coating on the screen does an excellent job. Most of the netbooks including Lenovo’s fancy IdeaPad S10-3t sport glossy screens which tend to wash out in bright surroundings. The screen on this one though is just the thing for outdoor work.

The laptop ships with Windows 7 Professional 32 bit which we felt was a bit of a letdown. They really should have provided the 64 bit version. There is no point in upgrading to a 4GB RAM. The performance of this machine is amazing. The Athlon Neo does a very good job. Everything from booting to applications is pretty fast and there are not many hassles, though under a high workload the laptop did heat up a lot. We would really have loved to see a dedicated GPU but then the Athlon makes up for the deficiency.

All in all this is a very professional ultraportable. The design is just too good with no extra frills. It does leave a few things to be desired namely a FireWire port, eSATA and an extra USB port. It makes up for those deficiencies in other departments. Rarely do you see a Multi touch support on such a small laptop and also the anti glare is a very useful addition. The battery life is much to boast about. However with a price of $450 this laptop is a steal considering the traditional ThinkPad feature built on to it. So in case you are in the market we would very much recommend this ultraportable for you.