Other features

There are plenty of all-round usability features, many of them standard for today's laptops, but all well thought out. For instance, a red LED by the "mute" button gives a clear indication that the laptop will be quiet, so there is no danger of disrupting a meeting or presentation with a loud start-up chime. Like all good laptops should, it has status lights on the outside of the lid as well as inside.

There are three USB ports, two of them on the left, along with the audio ports - all clearly marked with icons so it's easy to know where to plug in headphones or other devices without picking up the laptop. On the back of the laptop there's an Ethernet port (Gigabit, obviously), the third USB port, a clearly visible hard wireless switch, and the video port. On the right, there's the optical drive - which can be replaced with an extra battery - that we expect would extend the life to a realistic full day's unplugged work.

There's also a blue ThinkVantage button, which accesses features like system save and restore and other features, or can boot the system into a special recovery operating system, with options to restore factory defaults, restore to a previously saved state, or copy files off to an external drive. This OS even gives you a web browser to download patches or email an SOS.

Old ThinkPad hands will reach instinctively for the keyboard light (useful on overnight flights or dark lecture theatres) Fn-PgUp, on opposite corners of the keyboard produces a nice white LED light (some cheaper ThinkPads use yellow).

Summing up

In conclusion, we love the X300. It's got everything we want from a laptop and is smaller and lighter and far more usable than anything else we've seen with anything like this power.

OUR VERDICT

This is an exceptional package. If you travel, and can justify nearly £2000 on a laptop, this should be on your short list. The pros listed here easily outweigh the minor cons.