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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 dfghjk (711126) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @07:42PM (#22509476)
    "* 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, namely (a) lower power X300 processor, and (b) more battery options on the X300. You are wrong here.

    "* Air has faster processor"

    Yes it does, but the Air is crippled by its terrible hard drive and its faster processor is harder on battery life.

    "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."

    Yes, resolution is a significant advantage for the X300, just not the only one. If you choose to travel with the DVD drive, as the MBA forces you to do, the X300 becomes lighter. If you choose a conventional hard disk rather than SSD, the X300 will offer a 50% larger drive. If you value battery life, the X300 offers two sizes plus a secondary battery in the DVD bay. Then there's the complete complement of IO, the cellular and the GPS options. You are again mistaken.

  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @07:53PM (#22509574)

    I've never ever had trouble opening my MacBook Pro in any airline seat... It seems to me 1" is plenty thin enough to be an airline workhorse... Any thinner IMHO is a bit pointless.

    I agree with GP, overall the Lenovo is looking like the better machine. More ports (yay!), better resolution (a small bonus, IMHO), WiMax integration (meh right now, may become important later), and integrated disc drive (yay!), is a lot of pluses, considering its only penalties are being thicker, and having slightly less battery life.

    About the only real place where the MBA wins over the X300 is the weight. Sure, 0.5 lbs don't seem like a lot, but then again, people said that about the 2 lb difference between the MacBook and MacBook Air. Weight does matter for people who are traveling with the device ALL DAY.

  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @08:22PM (#22509796) Homepage
    You make some good points, but:

    Has built-in DVD possibility. Winner: Lenovo X300.
        YOU say "Whooptee doo." Big plus for me... my laptop MUST have a built in DVD drive as I use it as an entertainment station for the kids while we're away, and having a separate drive hanging off on a usb cable is a big NO NO. You also contradict yourself with for the Lenovo "You get to lug a DVD player", and yet for the Apple you say "you can bring along a USB powered DVD". Which is better, one that's in built, out of the way, doesn't need the external casing, or one hidden away in the body of the machine... if you NEED or WANT a DVD player (which a LOT of us still do), then it's a major failing to not have one in the unit. Yes, I can see certain people who'll have little need for one, but don't off handly say it's not a good thing.

    I don't you really need the DVD drive with you when you're on the road. Just use Handbrake or some other software to rip the DVD to your HD, then you don't have to worry about your kids getting peanut butter on the disc. Or you can get an iPod or other portable video player so you don't have to worry about wasting your battery on movies.

    Has WiMax connectivity. Winner: Lenovo X300.
        I like how you ignore this, which considering that the Apple lacks drives and needs to share others, would seem to be something it could do with, data transfer wise.

    WiMax isn't meant for local networking. It is to Wifi as cellular phone is to portable phone. The MacBook already has 802.11n, which is decently fast. That said, yes, having it would be better than not.

    Has USB Wireless. Winner: Lenovo X300.
        While this isn't widespread yet, how cool to not have to plug in new devices? Very nice.

    It's called Bluetooth. I haven't plugged a mouse into my PowerBook for the last four years. Similarly, most printers can be either plugged into the network directly or plugged into the USB port on an Apple Wifi router (I don't know if other companies make routers that do this yet). So, the device that will take advantage of Wireless USB are going to have to be things that need a lot of bandwidth, but don't use Wifi. That rules out hard drives, since there are tons of wireless NASes on the market. So, basically it just leaves iPods/other media players and digital cameras, but already some of those use Wifi. So, while WUSB is a good idea, and I wish it luck, it's not such a big deal. It's just a minor evolution of existing standards.

    Doesn't use Mac OS X Leopard. Winner: MacBook Air.
        This SO doesn't apply to most people... SOME want OSX, OTHERS want Vista/XP, you can't put this as a carte blanch statement.

    The MacBook is more versatile. If you want to run XP/Vista, you just need to install it. With a PC laptop, you can only run OS X illegally, which is sure to be buggy and lead to headaches.

    One more point for people on both sides:

    I've heard a lot of complaining about the tiny size of the MBA's hard drive. And while that's true, what people are ignoring is the fact that we now have wireless NASes. So, just put a terabyte in your living room, store your media library on that, access it wirelessly from your laptop, and when you go on the road, just sync it to a portable media player first and keep your serious computing separate from your entertainment.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @08:30PM (#22509894) Homepage
    You aren't understanding the market for the Air. It's a niche laptop. A perfect example was given on a recent episode of TWiT, where most of the panelists were not impressed with the Air, but one of them loved it. He is a prolific writer, and when he wants to spend an hour sitting on the couch, say, watching TV, he's still writing. With a regular laptop, that is awkward, as they are hot and heavy when actually used as a laptop computer.

    And with a small machine, like his Vaio (or with a machine like an Asus EEE), you've got a small screen and a small keyboard. He can go for 10 minutes or so, but it is just too painful to write for hours on those. Those also have horrible battery life.

    The Air, he said, is perfect here. It is light enough and cool enough that he can use it on his lap on the couch for as long as he wants, but he has a decent sizes, beautiful screen, and a good keyboard, and good battery life.

    For the niche market of people who write incessantly and don't want to deal with a tiny pain-inducing keyboard and small screen in order to write everywhere they go, it is a winner. And there will be other niche markets like that, where everything comes together with it and it is a 5 star laptop for those people. For people who don't fit into one of those niches, it won't be a good choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:06PM (#22510648)
    Reasons not to put DVDs on ultra-portables:

    1. It's the most fragile and mechanical part of the whole thing
    2. It takes up space that I would rather devote to a thicker case or more battery
    3. It's useless. I can always plug in a USB DVD drive and copy twenty movies over to the HD before my flight, or I can access my PC's DVD over the net
    4. Gee, isn't it lovely to have a built-in (non-replaceable) DVD player now that BluRay has just won the format war and I won't be buying any more DVD movies?

    It's time for optical drives on ultra-portables to go the way of the floppy disk or the parallel port.

    So for me, "doesn't have a DVD" is an advantage of the Air. Vs these two options, I would take the Panasonic Toughbook T7 [panasonic.com] over either of these machines. It has real USB and Ether ports (unlike the Air), it has a two-button mouse (unlike the Air), and it is not encumbered with a DVD (unlike the X300), and it doesn't have a keyboard "clit" (I real real clits, not keyboard clits).
  • by sach2n (1228330) on Friday February 22, 2008 @04:33AM (#22512530) Homepage
    it does not matter if seven or more features of both the laptops match or not, but the main thing is that who will be able to keep pace with the changing tecnology and upgrage their laptops faster to give better service and stay ahead in competiotion. I think Apple will win on this.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by delire (809063) on Friday February 22, 2008 @11:03AM (#22514610)

    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 portable laptop with these features, let alone at the 14.1" footprint. I have around 6 hours battery life at normal use, a better graphics card than the most expensive MBP (the 17" has only the 8600 GT) and with twice the RAM (MBP is just 2G).. for $1000 less. Better still it has a keyboard to which no other laptop can remotely compare.

    See for yourself:

    The best spec'd MBP is $2799 [apple.com]. A better spec'd T61p is $1728 [lenovo.com].. The T61p$1000 less expensive..

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