Lenovo's New Budget Laptop Is Bland but Solid

Lenovo's 3000 C100 is fast and inexpensive, but it can't match a ThinkPad in appearance or details.
Lenovo's 3000 C100 is fast and inexpensive, but it can't match a ThinkPad in appearance or details.
When it acquired IBM last year, Lenovo assured everyone that it would continue to make IBM's distinctive ThinkPad series laptops but would also introduce new products. In the top portion of this page you'll see the first part of that pledge fulfilled (the company's new ThinkPad X60s); and now Lenovo has made good on the second part of that promise, releasing new notebook and desktop PC models under its own brand. I looked at the Lenovo 3000 C100 and found a low-cost laptop that offers a nice assortment of features and solid performance for a great price. But it's no ThinkPad.

On the plus side, the 3000 C100 offers a fairly robust configuration: It includes a 1.73-GHz Pentium M 740 processor, 512MB of RAM, a two-in-one media-card reader, and a DVD±RW drive that's located on the front of the laptop for easy access. The system's 15-inch standard-aspect screen is bright and easy to read, although it would have been better as a wide screen. The machine weighs a fairly manageable 6.4 pounds.

My shipping system turned in strong performance: The C100 managed a score of 77 on our WorldBench 5 test suite, making it one of the best-performing all-purpose notebooks we've evaluated. It turned in superlong battery life, as well--just short of 5 hours. Unfortunately, the C100 lacks many of the thoughtful design touches that make ThinkPad notebooks so popular. For example, there's no signature red eraserhead input device (just a touchpad). And its keyboard isn't nearly as comfortable to type on as a ThinkPad's, and the wrist rests feel a tad big, forcing you to position your hands farther back on the notebook to reach the keys.

At $999, however, the Lenovo 3000 C100 is a pretty terrific deal given its solid performance and good features. Just don't look for ThinkPad-like styling and details.

Kalpana Ettenson

Lenovo 3000 C100

Affordable notebook offers good features and great performance.
Street price when reviewed: $999
Current prices (if available)
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