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Lenovo X300 versus MacBook Air

I really lucked out when Steve Jobs announced the MacBook Air at MacWorld. I had been following the development of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X300 since it was first conceived back in the summer of 2006. When I started the process, I had no idea where it would lead. Would the project get dropped? Would it be a dud? It turned out that the MacBook Air announcement came on the same day that the folks at Lenovo held a meeting and gave the final go-ahead for the production of the X300, a super-thin, super-light ThinkPad with all of the cutting-edge technologies a laptop maven could want. The folks at Lenovo practically flipped out when they heard about the Air, but they calmed down considerably after they discovered that the X300 is svelte enough to fit inside an interoffice mail envelope, just like Air. I turned their reaction to Air into the anecdotal lead of the BW cover story, Perfect: The Quest to Design the Ultimate Laptop. Since then, a ton of bloggers have picked up on the story—129 and counting when I checked this morning. The X300 and the Air are really aimed at different audiences—Air at Mac fanatics/consumers and X300 at business executives and frequent travelers. But there’s a lot of interest in comparing the two since both companies are design-forward and people love thin and light laptops. A lot of the bloggers are focusing on the fact that while Air is a bit thinner, X300 has a lot more technology packed in it. I’d like to see the results if you subjected both machines to the same stress tests. Let’s see how they react to being dropped five feet onto a stone slab—which is one of the tests Lenovo’s engineers in Yamato, Japan, run on their laptops.