I’m very impressed with the X301. It’s not cheap, my configuration retails for around $3’500 USD, but it definitely feels worth it. The machine is half the weight of my previous ThinkPad R60. The screen is noticeably brighter, I’m running it about 70% brightness indoors. It’s also got 70% more pixels, which means more stuff on the screen. That was the main reason I changed laptops, I wanted more desktop space.
Naturally, I immediately installed Ubuntu. I didn’t even boot the machine on Vista. I also swiftly removed the Intel Inside and Microsoft Vista stickers. After some hassles getting Ubuntu installed (I repeatedly chose the wrong options), I finally got there. Everything “just works”. Bluetooth, wifi, FN keys, the whole lot. This was the easiest Linux install I’ve experienced to date.
What impresses me most about the X301 is the build quality. It feels absolutely solid, particularly for a machine that is so light. Oz is staying with us at the moment and he has a MacBook Air so I’ve been able to compare them both first hand. The Air feels smaller. It’s thinner at the edges so it looks smaller. The two machines are almost identical in dimensions, I think the Air is 0.03 inches thinner at it’s thickest point. The Air also looks better. It’s Apple good looking. Metal finish, back lit Apple logo, etc. It looks awesome. However, I’m happy to have a machine that looks old school, it draws less attention and is less likely to be stolen.
The X301 comes into its own on performance. The Air has a total of 3 ports. Headphones, mini-dvi and one USB. The X301 has 3 USB ports, headphone and microphone sockets, DisplayPort, VGA, ethernet, the list goes on. My X301 has an in-built DVD Burner which I can swap out for a second battery. The Air’s battery is not removable, so no carrying spares. I can run two batteries in my X301 and given enough batteries, achieve potentially unlimited runtime.
Overall, I’m delighted with my new X301. It’s super light, ultra portable, but packs enough performance that I can use it as my main workhorse machine. Very happy with my purchase.
[ Picture on the screen is One Night in Bangkok by Stuck in Customs ]