Lenovo ThinkPad X100e Impressions
The outer lid is matte black with a smooth rubber feel that shouldn't attract as many fingerprints as the glossy ThinkPad Edge. The same ThinkPad nameplate can be found in the top corner as well, although it doesn't have a red LED dotting the letter "i" as seen in the Edge.
Looking at the front of the system with the lid closed, we see battery and sleep LED indicators as well as two mouse click buttons. The right side of the machine shows an SD card slot, an always-on USB port (signified by the yellow coloring) and a Kensington locking slot. On the back is the power connector, battery and a VGA-out connector. The left features exhaust ports, two additional USB ports, a network jack and a headphone jack.
There are no DisplayPort or HDMI ports, as Lenovo considers this a business class notebook and not a traditional consumer product. Additionally, due to its small size, there isn't an optical drive included with the X100e.
On the bottom of the X100e are four small rubber feet (two on the base and two on the battery). The battery is removable via two locking sliders. Doing so reveals the Windows Product Key sticker.
Seven small screws secure the back access panel. Once removed, you have access to two memory slots, the hard drive, add-in cards and a SIM slot. The X100e can support up to 4GB of system memory and the hard drive is easily removable if you want to upgrade to a solid state drive.
Opening the lid, we find the 11.6" HD matte display with a low light sensitive webcam and microphone positioned above, and the system brand/model below.
The X100e's full-sized keyboard is very similar in design to the one we found on the Edge. The island style keys are concave and spaced apart perfectly. The X100e is also outfitted with Lenovo's spill-resistant design.
As for button layout, Lenovo has excluded some rarely used buttons like SysRq (System Request), Screen Lock and Pause. I can't tell you the last time I used any of these functions and fully agree with having them removed to make room for other, more commonly used buttons.
Lenovo continues to baffle with their button arrangement, however. They have again "swapped" the Function and Control keys on the bottom left of the keyboard. Maybe I just dislike change, but it's something that I have yet to get used to. Fortunately, this can be reversed in the BIOS, but the keyboard labeling would still be incorrect. I would also prefer the Delete key to be in the top right of the keyboard.
Much like the Edge, the X100e features a TrackPoint between the G, H and B keys. For those unfamiliar, this is a pointing device that emulates a mouse pointer using your finger. Lenovo includes an extra set of mouse click buttons directly below the Spacebar for use with the TrackPoint, so you don't have to reach way under the TouchPad to access them. Between these two buttons is the center button that can be used to scroll through documents or web pages, and can also activate a magnifying glass that enlarges items on the screen.
The multitouch touchpad on the X100e is adequate size for the system and is recessed a bit from the palm rest. The mouse click buttons below the touchpad are individual buttons and rank as some of the best I have used. Lenovo has certainly nailed the mouse click buttons, much as they did on the Edge.