Lenovo X300 Completely Rules the MacBook Air. Or Does It?

by Aayush Arya Mar 06, 2008

Lenovo had been working on an ultra-portable notebook for the past twenty months and had finally managed to get it done. Just when the project was nearing completion and was being readied for release, Apple dropped the bomb. They released the world’s thinnest notebook, so thin that it could fit inside an interoffice envelope and downright sexy to boot.

Next to the MacBook Air, the Lenovo X300 looks positively ugly and at a hefty price tag of $2,799 for the base configuration, doesn’t have the usual advantage of being cheap either. If anyone were to draw a comparison chart, the MacBook Air would have several clear advantages over the X300. Or so it would seem to the unbiased eye. If the comparison happens to be done by Lenovo, however, there’s simply no stopping the X300.

Lenovo rules

The folks over at Gizmodo have Lenovo’s official comparison chart of the two notebooks and the X300 seems to be the hands-down winner in every category. Starting from the top, which boasts a very unflattering picture of the X300, the first advantage according to Lenovo is that it is lighter and has better battery life. It becomes clearer, however, when you look at the details.

The notebook comes with three battery choices and the more backup you need, the higher the weight will be. So, at 2.9 lbs., the company claims to give a battery backup of 4.3 hours, 6.5 at 3.12 lbs., and 10 at 3.51 lbs. The third option will also require you to have an extra battery sticking out of the back of the notebook as an added appendage.

So you can either have a slightly lighter notebook with lesser battery backup or a heavier one with a better performing battery. Yet, somehow, the X300 enjoys both advantages over the MacBook Air, which at 3 lbs. has a claimed battery backup of five hours. You can already see where we’re headed with this one.

Lenovo also makes noise about the fact that the X300 can be configured with up to 4GB of RAM, but throws no cookies the MacBook Air’s way for its significantly faster processor. They then credit the X300 for having an optical drive, even though the base model does not ship with one, and the ones that do weigh in excess of 3 lbs.

They’re comparing the price of the base model of the X300 to the best configured MacBook Air to show the price advantage, and then using features of their best configured and higher priced model (which they make no mention of) to give themselves the edge. Frankly, the whole thing looks like it was prepared by a twelve-year-old. That’s not to say that 12-year-olds aren’t good at drawing charts, it’s just that one wouldn’t expect to see them working for Lenovo at that age.

This goes on for the rest of the chart, with Lenovo crediting the X300 for having ImageUltra (we don’t blame you for not having heard of it) but disregarding Mac OS X and the iLife ‘08 suite that the MacBook Air ships with. The Lenovo has better security features because it ships with a password manager while the MacBook Air, apparently, doesn’t. Guess who’s never had a chance to use the System Keychain.

Lenovo is also quite proud of their “super quiet design,” stainless steel display hinges and two display latches. Oh, why did Apple even think of releasing a notebook without any display latches! Someone’s gotta teach those engineers a thing or two about hardware design—maybe Lenovo could lend them a couple of experts.

This is the sort of thing best left to overzealous owners and their personal weblogs. It reeks of unprofessionalism and acute hopelessness. One look at that chart and it’s clear that the company feels fiercely threatened. If you had to come up with a chart of comparison, at least have the common sense to pretend to be unbiased to express some sense of fairness in the comparison.

Granted, you’re allowed to show your own notebook as the superior choice in your own comparison but there’s an extent to which you can bend the truth to better suit your own interests. Lenovo clearly seems to have crossed a line here. Desperate times do call for desperate measures, I guess.


  • Very good website. I liked it very much. Comments from http://www.delhiblossoms.com, http://www.mumbaiflowerplaza.com

    varun had this to say on Mar 07, 2008 Posts: 1
  • That picture is NOT a Lenovo X300. The trackpad and buttons are in the wrong position. Where is the pointing stick?

    Did you even have any hands-on time with an X300?

    starman94305 had this to say on Mar 07, 2008 Posts: 1
  • This is not a review of the X300. I don’t need to have hands-on time with it to read the specifications off Lenovo’s own chart and points out the bias. smile

    In my defense, that picture wasn’t selected by me. On behalf of our website though, I apologize for the mistake.

    Aayush Arya had this to say on Mar 07, 2008 Posts: 36
  • For a blogger on an APPLE FAN SITE to complain about bias, particularly in a press release, rings a bit hollow to say the least.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 08, 2008 Posts: 2220
  • All advertising by everyone stretches the truth. I’m quite sure if you go to Apple.com, you’ll see some unfair exaggerations Apple makes against Microsoft or PCs in general, as well as misleading feature counts (the iMac does not come with 5 simultaneously useable USB ports). Every company will try to stack the deck in favor of its product, and minimize the pluses and exaggerate the minuses of the competition. Don’t fool yourself by thinking that Apple is a unque victim and victim alone here.

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Mar 08, 2008 Posts: 121
  • Holy moly! That comparison chart is indeed hideous!

    @SterlingNorth: Are you forgetting the two USB ports on the keyboard?

    goobimama had this to say on Mar 08, 2008 Posts: 9
  • Are you forgetting the two USB ports on the keyboard?

    Are you forgetting that two of those are taken up by the keyboard itself and the mouse?  Also, the other port on the keyboard isn’t powered.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 08, 2008 Posts: 2220
  • Thanks, Beeb. Looks like somebody ran right past the words “simultaneously useable [sic—misspelling mine]” without registering. Yes goobimania, the keyboard is a two-port hub, but for those ports to work—and the keyboard for that matter—you have to plug it in to one of those USB ports on the iMac itself. In other words, you lose one port. In the very best case scenario—which is you have the USB keyboard and a Bluetooth mouse, you get four USB ports, not five.

    Now I remembered this bit of port-related misleading advertising. Before Apple introduced the ‘aluminum’ keyboards which now have ports that operate at USB 2.0 speeds, they would advertise that your Mac comes with “3 USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 1.1 ports on keyboard”, again without telling you that those keyboard ports could only work if you plug it into one of those three USB 2.0 ports. In other words, deception by omission.

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Mar 08, 2008 Posts: 121
  • Oh, and lets not forget the number of times Apple’s advertising has been cited by various foreign consumer boards for violating various truth-in-advertising laws.

    Oh yeah, Macs don’t crash!  Um, what’s that, you say?

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Mar 09, 2008 Posts: 121
  • Looks like somebody ran right past the words “simultaneously useable [sic—misspelling mine]” without registering.

    The obvious feeling here among the fanboys is that it’s perfectly okay for Apple to lie, exaggerate, and mislead.  But not the competition.  Just like it’s okay for Apple to rip off every idea under the sun (they refer to it as “innovation”), but not for the competition to do it.

    I guess that’s what makes them fanboys.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 10, 2008 Posts: 2220
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