New laptop: Lenovo X301

Exactly one month after I bought it, my Lenovo X301 finally arrived in Guadalajara. Big thanks to Ferg and Maeve for getting it to me.

New X301

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 ]

8 thoughts on “New laptop: Lenovo X301”

  1. You repeatedly chose the wrong options? Let me guess, was it pertaining to partitioning/disk encryption? I’ve had to reinstall three or four times on one machine because I forgot that.

  2. Oh yeah, it was all about the encrypted partition. First time, I typed the password wrong (twice!!) so I couldn’t log into the system once it was installed. DOH! Then I forgot the /boot partition. Then the installer crashed. Then I installed a server install by mistake. I think I finally got there on the 5th attempt.

    Now I’m considering switching to a 64 bit kernel, so I might need to re-install all over again! 🙂

  3. Hehe, I figured. If you do move to x86_64, there’s a shortcut. You can install linux-image-2.6-amd64 directly and save yourself the hassle.

    At least I think that’s what the packagename is. I’m on debian. Should be close.

  4. I must admit i was very impressed with it. The build quality is superb…i particularly noticed the depth of travel on the keyboard, and how sturdy the keys feel compared to most laptops. However, these are things which the MacBook takes care of nicely.

    The one thing that i wasn’t too impressed with was the size of the trackpad. The fact there is a nipple and a trackpad means there are two sets of mouse buttons, which take up valuable real estate. The MacBook has a clickable trackpad (ie the trackpad can be pressed like a button, rather than tapping to achieve a click) which is a jolly nice feature, and means that it can be even larger. And large it is! I don’t know the technical complexity, but it would appear to me that it would have made more sense to place the nipple and trackpad next to each other so that they can both have more room. Perhaps the track pad further to the right and the nipple slightly further to the left. The problem with more pixels, is that you need more movement to get the mouse over there.

  5. @Fergy: I use the trackpad mainly for scrolling, so I find the layout works really well for me. I use the nipple for mouse work, and jump down to the trackpad to circular scroll.

    The new Macbook trackpad is a nice idea, but it only has one button, I miss my middle button on Windows machines. 🙂

  6. @mc: Really? I understood from reading a few threads that I’d need to re-install completely.

    I don’t see x86 packages in synaptic / apt-get. I think it only shows packages from my current architecture.

  7. I thinking to buy Lenovo x301 and install in it Ubuntu 8.10 too. Seriously is to easy to install? camera and fingerprint wors in ubuntu? what about battery life’s, hours..?
    Thanks and sorry my inglish

  8. @mikij1: It really was a cinch. Almost everything “just worked” out of the box.

    The fingerprint reader does not work under Linux. It’s an AuthenTec chipset and they don’t support Linux. However, it is being worked on, so it’ll probably be supported eventually. Shame, because other chipsets are well supported.

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