Cheap, 11.6'' ThinkPad ultraportable becomes official

Lenovo has chosen to celebrate the New Year with two firsts: the release of the first sub-$500 ThinkPad ultraportable and the first ThinkPad with an AMD processor. We're talking, of course, of the new ThinkPad X100e. Gadget blogs already hinted at the system's existence last year, and now, Lenovo has officially announced it.

The ThinkPad X100e starts at just $449 and combines an 11.6" 1366x768 display, an Athlon Neo MV-40 processor, and a novel industrial design. Lenovo has taken some obvious cues from the rest of the ThinkPad line, even including both a trackpoint and a multi-touch touchpad. However, the keyboard is of the chiclet variety (a first for a ThinkPad), and the laptop's exterior has either white highlights or an all-red garb depending on the model. We're not seeing any bulky metallic hinges or metallic panels, either.

Delving deeper under the new look, the new ThinkPad carries Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, as much as 4GB of RAM, 160GB to 320GB of 5,400-RPM mechanical storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and optional Bluetooth and 3G connectivity. The whole thing has a thickness of 0.59"-1.16", and it weighs either 2.99 lbs with the three-cell battery or 3.31 lbs with the longer-lasting six-cell unit.

According to the press release, the ThinkPad X100e should be "available immediately through Lenovo Business Partners and with models starting at $449." Later this quarter, Lenovo will beef up the offering with options for faster, dual-core Athlon Neo and Turion processors.

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