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Mossberg Reviews the Lenovo X300 Vs. MacBook Air 362

Posted by kdawson
from the cage-match dept.
genji256 writes "Adding to his first impressions, Walt Mossberg has published a full review of the soon-to-come Lenovo X300. As a bottom line he 'recommends the X300 for road warriors without hesitation, provided they can live with its two biggest downsides: a relatively paltry file-storage capacity and a hefty price tag.' Gizmodo lists all the comparisons with the MacBook Air that Walt inevitably makes. Final score: it's a tie, though certain points are arguable ('Doesn't use Mac OS X Leopard. Winner: MacBook Air')."
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Mossberg Reviews the Lenovo X300 Vs. MacBook Air

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I notice on the Amazon listing for the Macbook Air [amazon.com] that there are nothing but five-star reviews. Is it really that good, or are they just shills? It's a bit odd that a review never appeared here on Slashdot.
    • Who's going to buy the Macbook air except for those predisposed to love it? It's a niche product from a company that makes very good products if you're in their customer base. The lack of an optical drive and most of the standard ports are going to sow enough doubt that those who aren't already in love with the company are going to walk away. That's especially true for how new the product is; give it some time to mature and for word of mouth to get out, and you'll get more balanced views.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It makes sense: Much of the criticism of the MacBook Air are of it's clearly advertised lack of big features (quite literally). Those that have decided that these issues don't affect them are left with what appears to be an excellent laptop (for its intended market).

      To put it another way: It's not like people are buying them, later realizing that they lack an optical drive, then making sure they let people know by posting a harsh review.

      Many people have commented on how much better the keyboard and screen a
  • Bah. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @04:49PM (#22508324)
    Feh. Both of them leave me uncaring. I'd have expected more benefit from SSD in the runtime dept for the price premium it carries. But on the other hand the Apple is too much compromise in function to achieve 'cool factor' for my taste. If I really wanted to optimize the size (while still keeping something close to a real keyboard) over everything else I'd grab an eeepc.
  • by puff3456 (898964) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @04:53PM (#22508370)
    The X300 is like a tank, the Air like a sculpture, one is purpose built to get the job done, the other is purpose built to woo the eyes.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:00PM (#22508470)
      The X300 is like a tank, the Air like a sculpture, one is purpose built to get the job done, the other is purpose built to woo the eyes.

      Have you ever held one? The Air is quite solid, for something so thin. I would have no hesitation lugging one around in a backpack ad not having to worry about treating it gently.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rworne (538610) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @04:54PM (#22508380) Homepage
    FTA:

    It [Thinkpad X300] isn't as sexy or inexpensive as the MacBook Air, but it has numerous features the Apple lacks, especially a wide array of ports and connectivity options, a built-in DVD drive and a removable battery.


    The first time I have ever seen someone use "inexpensive" to describe the Macbook Air.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:16PM (#22508628)
      jobs is going to double the price if he hears that.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by internetcommie (945194) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:34PM (#22508816)
      It often surprises people, but when comparing computers with the same features, Macs often turns out to cost less.
      Yes, you can get a Windows or Linux PC for $199, but it does not exactly have the performance of a Mac Pro. I was recently looking for a high performance PC, and found the Mac Pro was actually the cheapest one that met my requirements. What surprised even me is that even if I assumed I would be buying RAM and a display from Apple, it came out to less than a similarly equipped Dell, with Dell RAM and display.

      • by BeanThere (28381)
        More important, and people always forget to do this, is to factor in the extra time you need to baby a Windows system to keep it running OK, e.g. digging through website forums, going in circles trying to find and download the patches and driver updates that might hopefully fix the problem you're having, applying obscure registry edits (Vista especially, if you add it up I've had at a *minimum* two weeks fulltime downtime just trying to get basic things to work, from USB flash drives / USB mice to digital c
      • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by giminy (94188) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:56PM (#22510992) Homepage Journal
        It often surprises people, but when comparing computers with the same features, Macs often turns out to cost less.

        Ah, slashdot: you point out the truth that macs actually are cheaper than PCs, and you get modded a troll. Sorry man.

        But it is true, so the moderators should mod the parent up. Macs might not be quite as configurable as PCs, but if you compare a low-end Dell to an iMac (say), you'll find that the iMac packs a better video card, bigger monitor, bigger hard drive, more ram, and better CPU for the price. You can argue that you can't upgrade the video card/processor/whatever in an iMac, but most people never do that anyway (and if you want to do that stuff in a Dell, you're going to have to buy a new [proprietarily wired, so expensive] power supply).

        Obviously it doesn't hold true for roll-your-own PCs, but then roll-your-own PCs don't come with a decent 1-3 year warranty where you can go to just one company for the machine to get fixed...

        Strange how the "Macs are expensive" myth is still out there.

        Reid
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by delire (809063)

          Strange how the "Macs are expensive" myth is still out there.

          To be fair the Mac range is simply often far more expensive. For those of us that don't care for OS X the MBP just isn't a sane buy while better hardware exists for less cost.

          I've always thought Thinkpads were a luxury laptop, however after reading many customer reviews, reading benchmarks, reading about build quality and looking at prices it turned out to be a very sane idea to buy one. I couldn't find a better spec'd, more performant and port

  • Tie? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by um_atrain (810963) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @04:57PM (#22508410) Homepage
    How is this a tie?
    How can the lack of an optical drive, any expansion, etc be counted as so low.
    Also, the X300 only has SSD as an option right now. Compare that to the SSD version of the MacBook Air, and the price is very comparable.

    And, as others have mentioned, Hackintosh! They can both run Windows or OSX. Sure, one doesn't ship with the other, but seriously, its not like its that hard to figure out. OS should not have been factored in at all.

    They used thicker + heavier + screen height as 3 separate points. That should all be 1 point.

    I don't see how the MBA can even get close.
    • How can the lack of an optical drive, any expansion, etc be counted as so low.

      Well I see it the other way - how can it be a tie when the things you actually use a laptop for when traveling, work or applications, come out better on the Air with a faster processor and better battery life? Not to mention you have the Windows AV Processor tax making the thing even slower.

      I have a Macbook Pro and have not used my optical drive once in about two years of travel (who travels with DVD's for example - I rip movies,
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        If the X300 ran OS X I certain would. The MBA is crippled by its terrible hard drive. Who cares what the processor speed is when the machine has ground to a halt waiting on disk (which OS X does all the time).

        The X300 shows just how compromised the MBA is for the sake of being pretty. For the same weight, it offers comparable portability, superior screen, far superior IO, and far greater configuration flexibility. It's inability to run OS X is artificial; they both use substantially the same parts insid
        • by xSauronx (608805)
          i, for one, would love a x300 (or even a t60) with linux. i can see the market for the air: people who need to do very little with a laptop. as for me, i do *all* of my computing with my laptop. i want it to be able to do things. i have no interest in a laptop thats smaller than my t40, nor in one that has fewer features. anything less and id rather just have a smartphone.
        • I agree the hard drive is more limiting - if I get one it would be with the SSA.

          But again all the things you list I simply do not see as limits at all based on how I have actually use my Macbook Pro, and I do see a need for better battery life and as fast a processor as practical. I do not think everyone could or should use the Air, but I'll bet a lot of people could if they thought about how they use a laptop.

  • by cliffski (65094) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:08PM (#22508542) Homepage
    Can we stop calling travelling salesmen 'road warriors'. Its a pathetic attempt to make very safe ordinary jobs done by people in suits sound like ninjas.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:09PM (#22508556)
    The Macbook air won in almost all the categories you would want from a laptop:

    * Being able to use it from an airline seat (Macbook Air has a shorter screen and thinner base)
    * Ait has longer battery life
    * Air has faster processor

    The only technical aspect I could see swaying some people, the X300 has more resolution. But not much more, and the processor/battery life in particular would seem to be key to me.
    • Ehhh... I'm a hardcore Mac user (MacBook Pro for me)... and I disagree. One of the things that really kills me about the MacBook Air is the TOTAL lack of ports. You know, Apple was the first one to jump on the USB bandwagon, using USB HID peripherals when everyone else was still shipping them with PS/2 ports. But now, they ship a laptop with only TWO ports? The ONE thing I hate about my MacBook Pro (and the MacBook) is that it only has two USB ports, necessitating ANY serious user to get a USB hub (oh great

      • by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @06:15PM (#22509222)
        Are you honestly bitching about having to lug a small usb hub? I would think you'd be bitching more about the substantially larger accessories your lugging around for no reason. The only thing I ever plug into my Macbook is a thumbdrive, and maybe my cellphone's USB charging adapter. My mouse is the Bluetooth Apple mouse, and my phone syncs via Bluetooth as well. The only thing I could possibly need to plug into my Macbook is a webcam, or DVD burner, which it already has built in!
        • by p0tat03 (985078)

          Hmm... So, thumb drive. Let's say you want to pull files off a disc and onto a USB drive with the MacBook Pro. Oops!

          See, things would be wonderful if they were all Bluetooth, but they ain't. Bluetooth mice are expensive (the Mighty Mouse is a poor excuse for a mouse, IMHO), and the selection is very limited. The best mice in my experience are not Bluetooth, sadly.

          Not to mention that this whole wireless thing that Apple is apparently touting doesn't quite work. My iPhone cannot sync wirelessly with my la

      • The ONE thing I hate about my MacBook Pro (and the MacBook) is that it only has two USB ports, necessitating ANY serious user to get a USB hub (oh great, ANOTHER thing in the laptop bag). And now we're looking at... ONE PORT?

        Then for you it's the same - you still need a hub.

        But what are you plugging into the ports? You don't need an external mouse for a Mac.

        I am as I said, basing my observation on my use. In the entire lifespan of two laptops, I have yet to ever use more than one USB port, and that's just
        • by p0tat03 (985078)

          My MacBook Pro is my main workhorse machine - and I have no desktop to complement it. It's always got the following hooked up to it:

          - Keyboard ('cos the integrated one really sucks for anything beyond basic text entry)
          - Mouse ('cos when I'm really chugging away at my work I need to be speedy)
          - External HDD ('cos the internal drive really isn't big enough, even at 160GB)
          - iPhone sync cable ('cos... well that's obvious)

          The keyboard and mouse collectively take up only one USB port on my machine, thanks

    • As much as I like the MacBook Air, you neglect what happens when you get to the meeting:
      * You need to get something off a CD or DVD
      * You need to plug in ethernet as well as a USB flash drive
      * The resolution of the X300 is much, much better

      If I had my way, my next laptop upgrade at work would be an X300 (I have a T60 now), and an additional personal laptop would be an Air (I have a MacBook Pro now). Toss in the high-res screen from the X300, and the Air could easily *be* my next lapto
      • You need to get something off a CD or DVD

        You use someone else's drive in the room

        You need to plug in ethernet as well as a USB flash drive

        What company does not have wireless nodes now? Nowadays companies are a lot more reluctant to let you plug non-company devices physically into the network. And if you must, there is an adaptor for cheap ethernet...

        The resolution of the X300 is much, much better

        As I said, that is the one aspect that I could see being compelling. But given the size of the screen, I don't
    • "Standing up taller" is actually a double edged sword for using on an airline seat. If you are 6'4 and have large thick legs (muscular or otherwise) then a taller screen makes it harder to use. When the passenger in front puts their seat back then the taller screen has to be bent forward; because you are so tall you end up looking fown on the leading edge of the cover and cant see sh*t on the screen.

      • That is my problem, I'm rather tall.

        The Macbook Air screen is shorter, therefore to me it would be more usable on an airline seat. I have given up using my Macbook Pro screen on an airline tray in coach. I am pretty sure the Air would be just shorter enough (in screen size and in base depth) to make it workable.

    • Personally, I'd take my Thinkpad X61s over either of those. Much cheaper, faster, and (the deciding factor for me) 10 hours of battery life. The small size increase of the X61s is trivial to me when I can get MUCH longer battery. Stock OS does not matter to me either, as I use Gentoo on all of my machines.
    • The X300 also had longer battery life if you remove the DVD and put a battery in there. That seems like a more fair comparison unless you're going to credit the X300 for having a DVD drive where the Air does not.

      The other thing I'm surprised people aren't more concerned about is the Air's lack of a removable battery. On long trips I always run my D630 with 2 batteries and a spare so I can swap the main battery without shutting down. With my old T40, I flew from San Francisco to Taiwan this way, comput

      • There are a number of small external power solutions for laptops that do not take up much more room than a spare battery. I have a device called a "Solio" that can charge either from the wall, or by built in solar panels - it charges an internal battery and has adaptors for a number of different devices, including a 12V adaptor to use with a Macbook car charger. Caveat - I've not yet tried this particular device for actually charging a laptop so I don't know how much extra time it would provide, or if it
    • "* Being able to use it from an airline seat (Macbook Air has a shorter screen and thinner base)"

      It accomplishes this by being deeper. The X300 is shallower and taller due to its hinge design. I don't accept Mossberg's opinion that the Apple design is more airplane-friendly.

      "* Ait has longer battery life"

      Mossberg's MBA battery life measurement is highly suspicious. He hasn't provided any evidence that the MBA battery life for a traveler is actually better and there's plenty of reasons to feel otherwise,
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        I meant "without the DVD drive" of course.
      • It accomplishes this by being deeper. The X300 is shallower and taller due to its hinge design. I don't accept Mossberg's opinion that the Apple design is more airplane-friendly.

        I do because I've given up using a Macbook Pro on airline trays in coach for exactly this reason.

        Mossberg's MBA battery life measurement is highly suspicious. He hasn't provided any evidence that the MBA battery life for a traveler is actually better and there's plenty of reasons to feel otherwise, namely (a) lower power X300 proces
  • Well duh. That's rediculous for a review. We aren't talking splitting hairs a few dollars more it's a lot more expensive and it's larger and heavier and it's not all pluses since the Mac has more drive space. It feels more like a "Gee I prefer windows" review than a head to head match up. Until some one has a machine of a similar size and weight for a similar price then reviews are pointless. The Macbook Air does exactly what it was designed to do. You simply can't install a DVD drive inside a machine of th
  • I found this an interesting comment from TFA:

    Also, the ThinkPad's screen, when opened, stands significantly higher than the Mac's, so it is less usable in a coach seat on an airplane when the person in front of you reclines.

    Really, how many people who are willing to spend $3,000 on a laptop are flying coach? I spent barely 1/4 of that on my laptop, and I do fly coach. If I had 4x as much income available, I think I would at least spring for business class if I had to do work on my laptop while flying...

    • by imsabbel (611519)
      I do?
      A single buisness class flight Europe->West Coast and back can buy you 3 macbook airs.
      The total additional cost economy->buiness amounts to about $250-300 per hour you are in the plane. For that money, i can endure it. A good laptop, otoh, will be in use for many hundred hours. At that point, the price can really be worth it.
    • by vought (160908) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:42PM (#22508906)

      Really, how many people who are willing to spend $3,000 on a laptop are flying coach?
      Quite a few, actually. And the users with $3000.00 laptops whose businesses force them to fly coach are possibly even more numerous. Most laptops I see on business travel lately (about 50k miles on domestic flights since mid-January) are in the $2-3,000.00 range. I see a lot more MacBook Pros than I used to, and quite a few high-end latitudes. Occasionally a Lenovo, but they're actually rare in airports and domestic flights.

      Clearly your philosophy comes from the conspicuous consumption school or spending. There are virtually no mid-class "business" seats for domestic travel in the U.S. On the vast majority of flights, only two-tier seating is available, and from my experience, First Class is filled with upgraders for two weeks from the flight date.

      Not sure what airline or where you fly, but I'd pass along a bit of advice that has served me well: "Fly coach now so you can fly first class later."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bram (490)
      no you wouldn't :)

      I've spent 2800 (well minus taxes) Euro on my MacBook Pro. I fly economy class.
      Business class is ridiculously expensive.
      Also laptops last longer than a flying business 2 times.

  • I'm really not sure I see the advantage of this point:
      Has USB Wireless. Winner: Lenovo X300.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:29PM (#22508764)
    I usually use Mac portables, but the ultra-lightweight, while a decided gift, also means reduced functionality. I don't want to load my stuff via a wireless connnection; it's slow and ties up the resources used.

    The Lenovo when compared to the MB Air SSD version comes out nearly the same in price as might be expected, and for good Cost-of-Goods reasons.

    But if you want to use a Fujitsu Lifebook, you can get a tablet-based notebook, airline usable, all the ports and guts, and a reasonably decent (Lenovo and Apple are known for theirs, sorry Dell users) and run whatever you want if it's Windows or Linux Something.

    It's very cute and sexy, and if that's why you buy Apple, you'll be happy. Still, it's a stunted machine, and the Lenovo, while pretty cool, is pretty expensive, too. The Lifebook ain't cheap, but it's a contender here.
  • by suburbanmediocrity (810207) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @05:45PM (#22508934)
    The Apple Slice. A razor thin laptop with a bunch of bloody smiling fingerless people.
  • by pizzach (1011925) <pizzachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @06:05PM (#22509118) Homepage
    For a laptop that is .1 inch thinner than a regular Macbook Pro and is on average is about half an inch thicker than a Macbook Air, I fail to see how this Thinkpad is really compairable to the Macbook Air to begin with. It's like saying, "Haha, my Van can seat more than your compact car!!!" Holy crap people, regular Macbook Pros are famous for having about that much thickness and having that many ports for years.
  • Cramped? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rhade (709207) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @06:32PM (#22509378)
    The SSD is fast and rugged, but today it can hold only a cramped 64 gigabytes of files

    I cannot imagine a 'road warrior' or any other business man ever finding that much space cramped, you could have 20 divx movies and a thousand mp3's on that hardware and still have what, a paltry 40gig left? No doubt necessary for the 32 million spreadsheets and documents you use every second of every day.

    In my opinion if your not haxing l33t warez and downloading copious amounts of porn and lat3st n gr3at3st moviez my 5 yo 32gig raptor is more space than I will need for the foreseeable future.

  • The target demographic of the Air is women. Young women just hitting there career stride.

    Do you think the Mary Kay addition to the board was a coincidence?

    Look at it, it looks like a compact for crying out load.

    different demographic. Yes I like the way it looks, but I doubt I would buy one...unless they add induction charging. Of course then I could never hold on to it because my boner would keep knocking it out of my hands.

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