ROAD TEST

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@fin­week.co.za

THE LEN­OVO THINKPAD X301 is one of the most im­pres­sive lap­top com­put­ers I have ever laid eyes on. Its de­sign is sleek, it in­cor­po­rates cut­ting-edge, next-gen­er­a­tion tech­nolo­gies and pow­er­ful mo­bile com­put­ing – and it costs a for­tune.

I’ve tried to find things wrong with the Len­ovo X301 and came up short. It has ex­cel­lent bat­tery life, reach­ing 4 hours of use without much ef­fort if wireless ra­dios are turned off, a fan­tas­tic mon­i­tor, great key­board and built-in 3G mod­ule – sim­ply slip in a SIM card from your cel­lu­lar data provider and off you go.

The X301 also uses a new, solid-state disk (SSD) hard drive. This means there aren’t any mov­ing parts in the drive and the con­tents are less vul­ner­a­ble to fail­ures as­so­ci­ated with tra­di­tional stor­age. SSD also of­fers faster ac­cess times. The de­vice ships with Win­dows Vista Busi­ness and bun­dled applications from Len­ovo. And while bun­dled soft­ware is usu­ally ob­tru­sive and just un­nec­es­sary, Len­ovo’s util­i­ties are use­ful and wel­come.

Fin­ger­print ac­cess en­sures se­cu­rity of your data, and the X301 sports the usual, rugged de­sign that made the Thinkpad range fa­mous when it was still the prop­erty of IBM. I loaded Win­dows 7 RC1 on the de­vice us­ing Vista driv­ers for the hard­ware to test its com­pat­i­bil­ity and found the X301 could han­dle the next ver­sion of Win­dows bet­ter than most other lap­tops I’ve tried it on, bar­ring some ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties with the fin­ger­print scan­ner.

The only down­side to the X301 is its price – and this is due to the SSD hard drive, which on its own would cost al­most as much as the other com­po­nents com­bined. But if money is no ques­tion and you en­joy hav­ing the very lat­est tech­nol­ogy at your dis­posal, the X301 is an im­pres­sive piece of work.

PRICE: R27 500 IN­TER­NA­TIONAL IT re­search and con­sult­ing firm, Gart­ner says world­wide mo­bile phone sales de­clined 9%, while smart­phones grew 13% in the first quar­ter of 2009. Gart­ner an­a­lysts say there were some signs of a re­cov­ery in mo­bile phone mar­kets such as North Amer­ica and China, but over­all sales in the first quar­ter of 2009 reg­is­tered the big­gest quar­ter-on-quar­ter con­trac­tion since 2001. Nokia con­tin­ues to lead the mo­bile phone mar­ket, but its share dropped to 36% from 39% in the first quar­ter of 2008. Sam­sung re­tained sec­ond place and im­proved its mar­ket share with sales to­talling 51,4m units. Af­ter drop­ping to the fifth po­si­tion in the fourth quar­ter of 2008, Mo­torola over­took Sony Eric­s­son to re­gain fourth place.

OVI GOES LIVE THIS WEEK Nokia launched its mo­bile con­tent and ap­pli­ca­tion store, Ovi world­wide. How­ever, an over­whelm­ing re­sponse from in­ter­ested users re­sulted in more traf­fic than Nokia could han­dle and the store was un­avail­able to many on the day it launched. De­spite this, and other tech­ni­cal hic­cups, the store is now avail­able and of­fers users of Sym­bian-based mo­bile phones a se­lec­tion of applications and other con­tent for their de­vices. SWEDISH cel­lu­lar com­pany Eric­s­son and its part­ner Telia­Son­era have launched the world’s first Long Term Evo­lu­tion (LTE) site in Stock­holm, Swe­den. LTE de­scribes a set of tech­nolo­gies that will re­place cur­rent 3G mo­bile stan­dards. The site will be part of a com­mer­cial net­work that will come on­line next year. Eric­s­son says that its LTE tech­nol­ogy of­fers through­put rates of 160Mbps, or more than 20 times faster than the limit of 3G con­nec­tions cur­rently of­fered in SA. Vo­da­com has said it will be up­grad­ing its

Len­ovo Thinkpad X301

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