|Name||Ultraportable laptop: Lenovo X121e|
|At a glance:||Small but comparatively heavy,Good performance for the price,Longest battery life in roundup ,(5 hours 19)|
|Summary:||An affordable travel companion with a solid build and great stamina.|
Following Lenovo’s usual design philosophy, the X121e is boxy but good. It’s heavier than most in our 2011 ultraportable laptops roundup at 1.6kg, but it's still second-smallest in volume thanks to its 11.6-inch screen and overall thickness of just 24mm. Build quality is high, and the X121e feels solid.
Inside is an Intel Core i3 2357M processor together with its included HD Graphics 3000 engine, and 4GB of RAM. It lacks in storage compared to others in the roundup, given that it has just 320GB, though that is still notably larger than the capacity of the MacBook Air and Acer TravelMate’s SSDs.
Performance is good – the Core i3 can’t match the higher-end Intel CPUs, but provides an average of 70% better performance in CPU-bound benchmarks than the AMD Fusion E-350 and E-450 APUs. What it doesn’t have is DirectX 11 support, which AMD Fusion provides. In the DX9 and 10 benchmarks the Lenovo could run, it fared similarly to its Fusion-based competitors.
Battery life is stated as ‘up to 9.3 hours’ – in our ‘productivity’ battery test, it lasted an impressive 5 hours 19 minutes (5.3 hours), which was 26 minutes longer than the next best laptop. Under light use, Lenovo’s claimed nine-hour battery life seems achievable.
Downsides? The touchpad is particularly unresponsive and inaccurate. The trademark Lenovo joystick-style pointer is far more accurate, but very much a love/hate device.
With great battery life, fair performance and solid build quality, you’d expect the Lenovo X121e to be priced accordingly. Oddly, it’s really not – at just $1,033, I’d consider it a bargain for the battery life alone. This is definitely one for professional road warriors, or travellers that don’t mind a bit of extra weight in their carry-on.