Today Lenovo released a new, smaller edition to their fledgling ThinkPad Edge family: the 11.6-inch Edge 11 notebook. It has everything we’ve come to expect in the Edge lineup, except that it isn’t available in the United States. And what about the other 11.6-inch ThinkPad, the X100e?
As it sounds, the Edge 11 is a smaller Edge notebook aimed at the same markets and with the same general features. There are AMD and Intel CPUs, a handful of useful ports (including HDMI output), a large chiclet keyboard, and of course the ubiquitous TrackPoint.
Pricing is highly competitive as well, ringing in at $449 for the AMD version and $549 for an Intel chip. The Intel chip in question is a previously unheard of Core i3 U380 running at 1.33GHz. Clearly this is an ultra low voltage chip that won’t win many speed contests, but has the advantage of being cheap and power thrifty. It is highly likely that this is the new “CULV” chip to replace the Core 2 Duo SU-models.
Engadget liked the new model well enough, with the bulbous extended 6-cell battery providing 4-5 hours of runtime and decent enough performance.
So what about the X100e?
Most of you likely know that there is already a new generation 11.6-inch ThinkPad, the love-it-or-hate-it X100e. Also sporting an 11.6-inch display, chiclet keyboard, AMD processors, and low price point, there certainly is some confusion in the ThinkPad ranks.
Comparing images of the two systems, there are many similarities and a few differences. Of course the overall chassis looks similar, but you can tell the hinges, LCD bezel, and touchpad buttons are different. The keyboard, however, appears identical save for the Edge’s new F-key layout (replacing traditional F-keys with common system functions).
The X100e offers no Intel chips at all and it is likely that the Edge 11′s AMD offerings will be newer than the ones in the X100e. The only technical difference that we can confirm is the Edge 11 will have a glossy HD LCD, as all Edge laptops do, compared to the X100e’s matte display. Lastly, the Edge 11 adds an HDMI port whereas the X100e had to do with just VGA output.
Why, oh why?
Somewhere in Lenovo, someone realized that having a one-off ThinkPad that wasn’t like the rest was not ideal. It needed to live with another successful product brand, be refreshed to offer the same value proposition as those models, and not be confused with a “real” ThinkPad.
In reality, the X100e had nothing in common with the rest of the X Series, other than its diminutive size. Rather, it was an Edge model even before the Edge lineup existed. Whether the relative success of the X100e spurned the Edge lineup or the Edge lineup assimilated the X100e into the new Edge 11, we will never know.
The Edge 11 won’t be sold in the U.S., at least for now. There’s no sign of it on other Lenovo.com country pages either, nor anywhere on the web for that matter. However it is only a matter of time before the Edge 11 eclipses the X100e, and the latter fades into the sunset.