Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Lenovo 3000 V100
- instantON technology, lightweight, great keyboard, excellent webcam, DVD multi recorder
- Trackpad, Only 512MB of RAM as standard
The Lenovo 3000 V100 is a good all round notebook that also happens to be fairly small.
Price$ 2,599.00 (AUD)
The Lenovo 3000 V100 is billed as the company's smallest widescreen notebook. Lenovo categorise it as an ultraportable, and while it is quite petite, it won't quite satisfy those who are after a truly tiny device. Nevertheless, weighing in at only two kilos, and containing a built-in optical drive within its small footprint, the 3000 V100 makes a great model for the frequent traveller.
At the core of the 3000 V100 sits a 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo T2400 processor and 512MB RAM (upgradeable to 2GB), though the onboard Intel graphics chip borrows some of this. 512MB is a bit on the short side for today's intensive applications, and it's worth upgrading to at least 1GB before you buy. The 40GB had drive is adequate, but it doesn't really compare to the 60GB and 80GB drives we are used to seeing on many notebooks. World Bench 5 rated the 3000 V100 at a respectable 84, which indicates it is more than up to day-to-day office tasks.
Graphics performance is adequate for business applications but the Lenovo 3000 V100 will struggle with graphically intensive programs and the latest games. The notebook scored of 5226 in 3DMark 2001. Equipped with a 12.1in widescreen display, the 3000 V100 is better suited to playing DVDs than games. The screen is of about average quality, with a great viewing angle, although it could be a little brighter.
Lenovo has included the popular gloss finish on this screen and although we find this helps with visibility, it does cause reflection problems under direct sunlight or fluorescent globes. The 1280x800 resolution is standard for a screen of this size. One thing we did note was the large amount of unused space around the edge of the screen; about 2cm on each side. The slimmest models keep this unused plastic trim to a minimum, and by removing this, Lenovo could have made the unit even smaller. Measuring 305mm x 246mm x 31.7mm and weighing 1.99kg, it is on the larger side for a model in the ultraportable category.
DVD playback is handled by the removable DVD multi recorder, and we managed to get 165 minutes of battery time out of the system when watching a movie. This is enough for most films, and is about average for a notebook. Mobile Mark 2005 scored the 3000 V100 at 186 minutes in its productivity tests, which is quite good though not outstanding. The Lenovo also performed well when it came to heat dissipation, remaining fairly cool underneath even when performing intensive tasks, with minimal fan noise.
The V100 shares several design elements with its sister units from Lenovo's ThinkPad range. Its simple silver outer cover combined with the plain black interior isn't too far removed from models such as the ThinkPad Z61m. Unlike these models however, the 3000 V100's external casing is primarily made of plastic, making it less sturdy than some of its siblings. The keyboard is one area that ThinkPads are renowned for and thankfully Lenovo has brought this design strength to the 3000 V100. Typing is made easy with this notebook: it's accurate, responsive and the keys feel sturdy.
The 3000 V100 abounds with connectivity options, including a five-in-one card reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS pro/XD), three USB 2.0 ports, 100Mbps Ethernet, FireWire and an ExpressCard/54 slot. Wireless connections are included in the form of Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi. One nice feature is the ability to play DVDs and CDs without booting to Windows. Unlike most notebooks, the 3000 V100 can use instantON technology to circumvent the usual boot options, which is a nice idea, although it's a little clunky to use as the cursor is disabled.
Cursor control is a slight disappointment as the touchpad is a little small. We found that our fingers would keep running off the edge and onto the keyboard. There is no trackpoint as seen on ThinkPads either, which will also be a disappointment to some. There is a fingerprint reader for an additional level of security. One final feature which we very much liked was the 1.3 megapixel webcam built into the lid. This produced some quite nice pictures, although the included 'BisonCam' software was far from intuitive.
Overall the 3000 V100 is a solid notebook. It would make an ideal companion for a student or businessperson who spends lots of time on the road.
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