Lenovo set to take on Apple's MacBook Air

ThinkPad X300 laptop set to challenge Apple's ultra-thin MacBook Air

Watch out, Apple. The MacBook Air now has some serious company.

Lenovo Group Tuesday unveiled its ThinkPad X300 laptop, an ultra-thin machine that weighs in at 2.9 pounds and measures three-fourths of an inch at its thinnest point.

Apple Inc. announced the MacBook Air in January when CEO Steve Jobs pulled the Hollywood-thin notebook out of an interoffice memo envelope before a foot stomping crowd of Apple devotees at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco. The Apple machine is thinner than the X300, measuring in at 0.16 inches at its thinnest point.

Nonetheless, analysts expect the new ThinkPad to give the MacBook Air a run for its money.

"I think this is pretty exciting. It's Lenovo carrying on with the innovation legacy it inherited when it acquired the ThinkPad business from IBM," said Richard Shim, a research manager at IDC. "Together, the two machines are helping to reshape the ultra-portable category. From a market share perspective, this category has been stuck. Part of the reason is when you buy an ultra-portable, you're paying a premium but sacrificing performance. If you pay more, you should get more. These two machines challenge that obstacle."

Shim noted that both the ThinkPad X300 and the MacBook Air have 13-inch displays, compared to most ultra-portables that have 12-inch displays and weigh in at a slightly heftier 3 to 4 pounds.

However, while the MacBook Air is consumer machine, the ThinkPad, as always, is built to be a business tool.

The new ThinkPad has replaceable batteries and a replaceable optical drive. It also has three USB ports, compared to one on the MacBook Air, along with a VGA port to hook it up to a monitor.

The ThinkPad, though, also comes with an executive-level price tag. Available immediately, pricing for the Lenovo machine starts at US$2,799.

This is a product for a top executive who's always on the go, according to analyst Rob Enderle, president of Enderle Group. "In all seriousness, anybody buying the MacBook Air is doing it because it's sleek and cool. Anyone buying the Thinkpad is doing it because they really want to do some work with it... This is the product you give your very top people. It's not going to be for everybody because of its price."

Enderly, though, noted that even as a business machine, the ThinkPad X300 is a sexy machine.

"It's the first ThinkPad since the mid-'90s that I actually think is sexy," he added. "Thinkpads are known as solid products, but not really for being sexy. It's just very thin, very light. It's kind of a technology showcase. This thing has all the bells and whistles that you could possibly aspire to in a notebook."

Shim noted that Lenovo's new thin design for the ThinkPad should work well with Apple's sleek MacBook Air to move the ultraportable laptop market forward. "It will help to redefine the ultra-portable market and help to spur some growth," he added. "They push the bar on thinness, allowing some of this innovation to trickle down in the market over time."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?