Lenovo ThinkPad X100e reviewed again, battery still stinks

The Lenovo ThinkPad X100e stands apart from other notebooks in the thin and light crowd in a couple of ways. First, it has an AMD Neo MV-40 processor and ATI Radeon 3200 HD graphics, which you don’t find in a lot of 11.6 inch laptops. Second, it has a distinctive keyboard design. Third, it’s got Lenovo’s signature TrackPoint system which lets you use either the touchpad or a pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard to move the cursor.

But there’s another thing that apparently sets the ThinkPad X100e apart from other thin and lights such as the Asus UL20A, Acer Aspire 1810, and even the Lenovo IdeaPad U150. The X100e gets horrible battery life.

A few weeks ago Peter at Netbooked reviewde the laptop an found that even with a six cell battery, he was only getting 3 to 4 hours of run time. Now SlashGear’s Ewdison Then has posted another review, and he says the laptop typically ran for just about 3 hours on a charge.

Lenovo admits that the the X100e isn’t designed to get the 10+ hours of battery life we’ve come to expect of netbooks and ultraportables with Intel Atom or CULV processors. The company says with a 3 cell battery the X100e should run for about 2 hours, and it should be good for up to 5 hours with a 6 cell battery. But it sounds like the laptop is having a hard time coming anywhere close to that 5 hour promise. Perhaps you need to turn off the WiFi, dim the screen, and let the CPU idle…

Of course, some users would probably be willing to put up with crappy battery life if it came with a significant performance boost. But SlashGear says the laptop doesn’t feel any faster than a machine with an Intel Atom CPU. But as Netbooked points out, the ATI Radeon 3200 graphics does at least give the machine a bit of an advantage in some tasks. For instance, it can handle 1080p HD video playback, something that no Atom-powered system can do without help from NVIDIA ION graphics or a Broadcom HD video accelerator.

  • http://www.lacarretacr.com/ PopGoesWeasel

    Using Chrome 5 beta, I am writing this on a T23 using a WPA encyrpted 802.11 wireless link. Something that was not even envisioned on this machine when the T series was designed more than 10 years ago. I have been in love with the T series keyboard and screen ever since I first saw one and have not owned any other brand of laptop since.

    For ThinkPad users, the idea of a much smaller unit with decent processing power for the tasks that ThinkPad users are used to doing, the idea of the X100e is great.

    This is not a netbook, it is a physically smaller ThinkPad!

    I have used laptops for (shall I admit it–decades) including T22's and T23's with various versions of windows and ubuntu. I want an X100e!

    Regards,

  • tromp

    I'd buy this in an instant if it had an Atom N450 instead.
    Even better would be an SSD option; a fast 32-40GB one
    for an extra $100 or so.
    Hot running battery wasting CPUs have no place in a netbook.
    And for a business oriented one, integrated graphics are just fine.

  • Nick

    I'm with you guys. I think this thing is great. Although I must admit that that sort of battery life is a little disappointing out of a laptop this size. My amazing T60 which runs Windows 7 currently is 4 years old and still gets 4 hours of battery life. It's a champ. But I'd love something a bit smaller and also widescreen.

    I'd rather not go with the ideapad netbooks because the build quality of Thinkpads is second to none and the NavPoint is amazing. Shucks. Put the N450 in there and I'm sold.

  • nscreated

    Very disappointing. I was hoping that this would have much better performance vs. Atom netbooks. As a premium netbook it's not terrible, even with the battery life.

    My interest in gadgets sags in the price range of $400-$700. Below $400 is where you seem to get the most practical features for the dollar. And above $700 is where you get exclusive and exciting features. But between those two, you get lots of blah.

  • JK

    I think you should fix your subject lines; it's not the battery itself that stinks (from what I can gather).

  • Olga

    10+ hours with Atom? Really? Where?

  • Marc

    I'd recommend to look at the Asus 1005PE, if battery life is your first priority, but of course there are numerous similar offers from other manufacturers.

  • TrackSmart

    What a crappy trade-off. You lose half of the battery life and only get marginal performance gains. Just slap an Intel CULV processor and chipset in there and end the compromise.

    I like supporting AMD, but they don't have any low-power solutions worth mentioning in the netbook/ultraportable realm.

  • Michael

    The review was upgraded after they updated the bios, which caused better performance, and pushed the average battery life to 3.5 hours.

    Things are looking better. Now to wait for the dual-core options.

  • http://twitter.com/techno_techie techno_techie

    Man, ever since I purchased my T61, I have LOVED Thinkpad design. I was set on the XPS from Dell, but now, I just want plain, not flashy. I think this netbook is the best looking I have seen yet with the smaller bezel. I just wished they fixed the battery issue – that is much more like a normal machine. Who's gonna turn off wifi, lol, on a business notebook? I know that is how they run these tests. Fix that one battery issue, and I am sold. Add the Pixel Qi screen, and I've bought it yesterday.

  • Pingback: Lenovo X100e Reviewed: Crap Battery Life « -:: Malaysia Mobile Tech News ::-

  • Rob

    I just got my x100e couple days ago and i love it. I m currently a student at college and this handles everything i wanted. I used to have a dell mini 10 and i can feel a huge difference in performance. I removed a lot of the software that i didnt need. I love the design of the x100e. its sleek and very clean looking. The keyboard is perfect. It does everything i want it to. I can get close to 4.5 hrs surfing web with screen dimmed.

  • goldcoast

    Thinkpad X100e would probably be attractive to someone is not necessarily a computer hobbyist or professional.
    a business person looking for the best keyboard, likes the thinkpad pointer, not interested in glaring screen, but just needs a portable computer to actually do work, as distinct from computer games, or high end high overhead HD movies, etc.
    obviously it is not suitable for 10 hour plane trips to watch DVDs, etc.
    has no disk drive.
    just a practical economical ergonomic computer which is a very, very inexpensive Thinkpad at that size and weight.
    many business people are interested in everyday computing, not necessarily the best performing computer in a 3 lb package, and not necessarily to be off the power grid for for many hours.
    cost is important for many business people.
    the Intel more efficient CPUs would make the computer much more expensive, but this one is a practical very inexpensive ergonomic computer.
    there is a target audience, but probably not computer hobbyists.
    nothing wrong with being a computer hobbyist, computer power freak, performance at any cost freak, battery longevity freak, but this does not describe the average business person.

  • ninetynine

    I mean…maybe…I feel like you just called the average business person a fool though xD.

    While I agree the design and ergonomics are appealing…how does being ultraportable help when you have to carry an adapter all the time and be by a power plug anyway.

  • goldcoast

    My observations of coffee houses, libraries, etc., is that virtually everyone with a netbook or a notebook is plugged in to the 110 VAC anyway. In airports and on airplanes and in the classroom, sometimes the AC is not so readily available, and if that is going to be an issue for you, the X100e is might not be the rig you would want to buy.
    There is no rig that works for every need.
    I don't know how % of customers actually need 12 hours of battery life. My concern here is some kind of arms race of bragging rights, “my battery lasts longer than yours does.”
    and a lot of these attributes are used by vendors to sell computers. This car has chrome wheels, etc., but most people don't need chrome wheels to get from point A to point B.
    I understand that most people are being sold computers with huge capacity hard drives far in excess of what they are going to be using in the real world, simply because it sells computers and makes for bragging rights.
    So you really need to figure out what is most important to you when you buy a computer. Its always a compromise.

  • goldcoast

    the power cord connector for the Thinkpad x100e is pretty small and light.
    Lenovo says that the dual core CPU will be offered in Q1 2010, and I think it may be worth waiting for, because the dual core should be available soon at a reasonably low price. It should be not only more powerful, but offer better trade-offs between power, battery charge longevity, and heat dissipation on the computer itself. Given the issues in the single core model, it seems very worthwhile to wait for the dual cure offering before buying – if you can wait until it is offered later this calendar quarter.
    Also, in the future Lenovo seems likely to come out with more sophisticated energy saving circuitry and probably even more efficient and less expensive CPUs, so the initial offering of the X100e should probably be regarded as a work in progress – likely to
    evolve into a more consumer friendly product.

  • zima

    What's the point of very small Thinkpad if it's not really portable, due to horrible battery time? :(

  • zima

    Most people carry AC adapters and are stuck to power outlets because they don't realize yet that it could be different. Of course they won't use their machines where there's no AC available, it's hardly possible.

    And there's no compromise here taking place, no other choice available. Where the mini Thinkpad that's otherwise quite comparable but with Pixel Qi screen, Atom N450 and bigger battery flush with the case? (because there's place for it with Atom; or _even bigger_ extended battery)

  • zima

    What's the point of very small Thinkpad if it's not really portable, due to horrible battery time? :(

  • zima

    Most people carry AC adapters and are stuck to power outlets because they don't realize yet that it could be different. Of course they won't use their machines where there's no AC available, it's hardly possible.

    And there's no compromise here taking place, no other choice available. Where the mini Thinkpad that's otherwise quite comparable but with Pixel Qi screen, Atom N450 and bigger battery flush with the case? (because there's place for it with Atom; or _even bigger_ extended battery)

  • Voice of Reason

    Actual battery life seems to average four hours:
    http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=59&t

    Of course that person had an SSD installed, which could make a minor difference. But four hours is plenty, unless you're a frequent cross-country flyer (i.e. unless you're a salesperson or something).

    The Atom 450 is not a powerhouse. Its main improvement is in yet more battery life (which is of course always welcome). What they ought to do with Atom, IMHO, is design one with better thermal dissipation in mind and design it to be overclocked. Then when it was plugged in, you'd get much better performance.

    The X100e is a Thinkpad purist's notebook. From the beginning, Thinkpads were more about ergonomics, reliability and a no-nonsense design ethic than anything else– including performance and battery life.

  • bac

    I have an X100e and I wouldn't say the battery life is horrible. It depends on what setting you use for your battery I think. I run it using the Energy Saver setting and while my battery might say it's only 3 hours w/o being plugged in, the time seems to vary… It might say I have 2:50 left then five minutes later it might say I have 3:02. I think if you put it on the High Performance it will suck that battery down like crazy.

    Although this weekend I will time how long it will really take to use up the battery… I haven't taken it down to the “OMG DUDE! PLUG THIS PUPPY IN NOW BUDDY! RUN, DON'T WALK!!!!” state yet.

  • dr

    overall, would you recommend your X100e to others, on a scale of 1 to 10?

    • Drvnandak

      no.  the battery really stinks.

  • bac

    I have an X100e and I wouldn't say the battery life is horrible. It depends on what setting you use for your battery I think. I run it using the Energy Saver setting and while my battery might say it's only 3 hours w/o being plugged in, the time seems to vary… It might say I have 2:50 left then five minutes later it might say I have 3:02. I think if you put it on the High Performance it will suck that battery down like crazy.

    Although this weekend I will time how long it will really take to use up the battery… I haven't taken it down to the “OMG DUDE! PLUG THIS PUPPY IN NOW BUDDY! RUN, DON'T WALK!!!!” state yet.

  • dr

    overall, would you recommend your X100e to others, on a scale of 1 to 10?

  • Ben

    One explanation for the miserable battery performance could be: Lenovo prints on the six cell battery “57 Wh”. But the energy manager says that the battery is actually only designed for 47,35 Wh. That at least in my case reduced battery life to 2-3 hours.

    Ben, Germany

  • dr

    the new dual core CPU should provide more flexibility to extend battery life, if you manage it to extend battery life, because it is more powerful at lower power settings than the single core.
    if you need 11 hours of battery life, this computer is probably not for you. if you need to be off the 110 VAC for many hours, don't buy this computer. if your needs are normal, however, this computer should be fine for battery life.

  • http://www.laptopbatteriesinc.co.uk/acer-aspire-one-a110l-laptop-battery-p-7424.html laptop batteries

    although lenovo admits that the the X100e isn’t designed to get the 10+ hours of battery life we’ve come to expect of netbooks and ultraportables with Intel Atom or CULV processors,I also hope that

  • http://www.laptopbatteriesinc.com/ mylaptopbattery

    I think lenovo is the best laptop brand in china ,I like it very much

  • Guy41

    I’ve had mine for 8 months now and I rarely use it because of the battery life and the poor video quality. It’ll play 1080p sometimes but
    don’t plan on it being anywhere near perfect. To be honest, my little S-10s peformance is a close match. I like the feel of the sturdy S-10s case better and find I use it at school more than the X100e when I’m taking notes. Too bad too because the X100e has the better keyboard of the two.
    Has anyone tried using a Broadcom BCM70015 PCIe mini card to boost the video quality of the x100e? I ordered one today to see if I could get the video quality where it should be and take some of the work off the processor. I figure if it doesn’t work out I’ll stick it in the S10.

    • Guy_4121

      UPDATE! Well I pulled the x100e back out and started using it. After installing the latest updates from Lenovo which included a Bios update I got a message in the ThinkVantage ToolBox stating the battery was below 50% of its lifespan and linked me to a form to fill out for a replacement. The new battery came today along with the Broadcom mini PCIe BCN970015 Video Decoder I ordered from Logic Supply. I just finished installing the Video Decoder which I didn’t think would work after reading about the device whitelist in the Bios of other Lenovo machines. I booted the system into windows which found the hardware and tried to install drivers. After downloading drivers from Broadcom it appears to be working. It might be me, but system functions as well as the bootup seem snappier than before. Full screen playback on Netflix is awsome. Now for the battery. The replacement battery shipped with a return shipping label for “proper disposal” but I rather keep it for a backup. It’s still good for 1.5 hours.

  • Juna

    Great post. here my battery for lenovo x100e: http://www.lenovo-batteries.com/cheap-lenovo-thinkpad-x100e-laptop-battery.html