Lenovo has been introducing the 3000 series that caters specifically for small businesses and people who do not have support from a dedicated IT department. Self-contained attributes such as a virus recovery button, software auto-update, and easy connectivity with other devices are also the selling points of the 3000 series. Announced recently to the series is the V100, a 12-inch widescreen ultra-portable notebook that looks to extend brilliant performance with worry free computing to all end users.
Given the strong IBM heritage in Lenovo’s relatively young line of notebooks, it's unavoidable that comparisons are often made against IBM’s ThinkPads. However, there are a few things that set the Lenovo V100 apart from its ThinkPad roots. Firstly, V100’s curved silver surface gives a completely different feel compared to the ThinkPad’s traditional black shade and angular design. Secondly, it also incorporates a latch-less design for the lid, making it easy for users to open and close the notebook, and lastly, the ThinkPad's infamous TrackPoint was dropped in favor of the touchpad. What remains the same however, is the excellent keyboard that IBM ThinkPads are renowned for, which means the V100 should be a joy to type on.
A lot of ports and features can be found on both sides of the V100: On the left side is a Kensington security lock, exhaust, a USB 2.0 port, a VGA monitor out, an ExpressCard 54 slot, a headphone and microphone jack, and a FireWire port. On the right side of the notebook are the power adapter jack, modem, Ethernet port, a 5-in-1 media card reader, a Wi-Fi on/off switch, and an optical drive.
The DVD combo drive is ordinary except that it can get pretty audible when a DVD movie is loaded. On the flip side, the onboard stereo speakers are loud enough to mask the operational noise of the combo drive for decent movie sessions.
Although Intel Core Solo processors are justifiably second choice compared to its dual core counterparts, the affordability and performance levels they offer means they are perfectuly suited for the V100 - let's not forget that Intel Core Solo processors are more powerful than its predecessors. That being said, we were not impressed with the battery efficiency of the notebook, especially when it's powered by a 1.66 Ghz T1300 processor along with an embedded Intel GMA 950 graphics. With its three-cell battery, DVD playback only lasted 87 minutes while productivity tests ended with two hours on the clock. For this reason, users are advised to purchase the six-cell battery for a longer battery life.
Lenovo’s notebooks will inevitably be compared to IBM’s ThinkPad in terms of style, performance, and functionality. However, users must really adopt an unbiased attitude when looking at the good attributes the Lenovo V100 has inherited from IBM ThinkPads: a keyboard with good input feel; lots of input/output ports; and a Lenovo Care utility program similar to the “ThinkVantage” that provide various options to protect and configure the notebook to optimal setting.
At USDS$1,290, the Lenovo V100 is quite a catch. However, we do encourage keen buyers to strongly consider getting the six-cell battery in order to prolong and maximize their usage time.