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997TT
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
Location: Germany
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New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

[ Edited ]
I own an Apple Macbook Air too(64GB SSD, 1.8GHz) but although the Macbook Air may be somewhat slightly
more sexy, the X300 is definetely looking much cooler and more professional.
Weight seems to be the same, the slightly bulkier(missing the soft/round edges of the Macbook Air) design of the X300
doesn't actually look bad at all.
 
So here are my findings and I also have a couple of questions but keep in mind that this is a FIRST DAY ownership
experience and I may change my opinion a little bit after a short while:
 
1. X300 has great built quality, the soft material(feels great and isn't as slippery compared to the Macbook Air) was really a great idea.
2. the display is definetely much better than the one I know from my "old" X61s(standard display, not TMD), the resolution is to my liking and the display can be easily read outside the office too, so it is definetely outdoor capable. The brightness at the maximum setting is almost at par with the Macbook Air but slightly darker than the Sony Vaio TZ series for example.
From my point of view, the X300 has the best display Lenovo ever had on their laptops.
3. the video camera is a nice addition, I can finally use Skype Video without any major problems. Quality is similar if not better than the video camera quality on the Macbook Air.
4. the X300 definetely runs cooler than the Macbook Air...MUCH cooler. Of course the Macbook Air has a much more powerful CPU but sometimes, especially in Bootcamp mode with Vista, I get the feeling that the Macbook Air is close to desintegration after watching half an hour of Amazon Unbox video stuff. There is a BIOS update available for the Air since yesterday which may fix the heat problem.
5. WLAN connectivity is very good, signal quality is practically at par with the Toshiba R500, the Sony TZ21 and the Macbook Air.
6. the fan doesn't seem to come on too soon on the X300, I'm really thankful for that. The X300 works pretty quietly but I didn't run videos on it yet.
7. battery life seems to be better than I expected but here's the thing: display brightness goes down by at least 20-30% at the maximum brightness level compared to the same setting with A/C power, so I really wonder what it wrong with that picture.
Yes, I get a 5:00 hours battery life from that but I really want a brighter display setting and I suppose that activating it somehow(there has been a description how to do it in a german IT magazine) lowers the overall battery life by at least 30 minutes or more.
Activating the enhance battery life option seems to increase battery life by around 50 minutes, not bad at all.
I have to emphasize that I'm using my own, not very energy consumption friendly, battery setup, so the achieved battery life of 5 hours is very impressive indeed, even taking in consideration the much lower available brightness with the battery.
When I choose maximum battery life, incl. the lowest possible brightness setting, I get around 35 minutes more battery life.
To make it short: running the X300 at full possible display brightness with only a very few energy saving options activated, gives you a real world battery life of aprox. 4 hours, maybe a couple of minutes more. This is better than the 3:30 hours I achieve with the Macbook Air.
8. the keyboard is fantastic, almost nothing to complaint here. I miss the backlighted Macbook Air keyboard in dark environments, it also looks kind of cool. However, the keyboard lamp in the display housing does a pretty good job too.
 
Now here are some questions about a couple of things I don't seem to understand:
 
1. why does the X300 need an active HDD protection, Toshiba for example turns it off on their SSD units?
2. the Vodafone SIM card which came with the X300 seems to have a PIN lock active. It asks for the PIN but I don't have a clue what the PIN number is. Apparently nobody knows the right answer to this problem, my dealer suggested to activate the card with Vodafone and see what is happening. Very funny. I'm already a Vodafone customer and I already have a SIM card with a 5GB/month data plan but before I use it, I simply want to know what there is an active PIN on the supplied Vodafone SIM and what the PIN of this card is. I already used up two tries, the third one will block it. I used 1234 and 1111, none of them worked. 1111 was actually the standard PIN available on the AT&T SIM cards for the iPhone.
So if somebody has a clue what the factory activated PIN for the Vodafone SIM is, drop me a hint.
3. the 64GB SSD(actually 59GB) is pre-loaded with lots of stuff, some I don't need. Out of the box, the SSD has 39 GB space left on it, OUCH. Does somebody know which Lenovo(I know about the others) applications aren't really necessary? Is it  possible to remove the recovery partition? Since the X300 has a DVD drive, there is not much need for it in my opinion.
4. any hint how to increase maximum display brightness running the X300 on battery?(keep in mind that it is 20-30% higher with A/C).
5. how good is the display cover protection? The Macbook Air seems to do a pretty good job, it feels rock solid.
I'm traveling a lot by plane and I usually carry my laptop in a very tight Oakley backpack. I managed to destroy the display of a Sony TZ21 in a hotel safe already(stupid me), so all these claims about a robust display cover, how seriously should I take them? My X61s had a pretty good protection, so what about the X300 series?!
6. what about that WUSB(?) interface next to the WLan interface? Is that WUSB card already available from Lenovo and if yes, are there already products availble using WUSB?
 
Thanks for anybody who has an answer for my questions. :smileyhappy:
 
As soon as I find out more or as soon as I change my opinion, I'll post it here.
So far, the X300 managed to impress me and I have lots of toys lying around.
The X300 seems to be the long awaited travel companion but I first have to make sure that it works with iTunes videos and Amazon unbox videos. I watch a lot of TV shows/movies while traveling, so it is very important to know if the videos play fine or not. I'll keep you guys updated.
 


Message Edited by 997TT on 04-11-2008 06:34 PM
X300 (6478-15G), Intel SL7100 CPU 1.2GHz and X3100 GPU, 3GB RAM, 64GB SSD, HSDPA, Vista Business 32bit, 6 cell and 3 cell bay battery
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vkyr
Posts: 298
Registered: ‎12-12-2007
Location: Germany, near Hamburg
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

Related to Q4.) this is to my knowledge changeable inside the Lenovo energy management tool via an own profile, where you setup to use the maximum display brightness when on battery.

ThinkPad T60/X32/600/770 · IBM IntelliStation · 3x IBM SpaceSaver II

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997TT
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
Location: Germany
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

[ Edited ]


vkyr wrote:
Related to Q4.) this is to my knowledge changeable inside the Lenovo energy management tool via an own profile, where you setup to use the maximum display brightness when on battery.


Tried it, doesn't work. I think german computer magazine ct' mentioned a way to do it but I haven't checked it yet.
A little update regarding battery life: I was too optimistic, right now the battery life(lower display brightness, currently maximum possible brightness for battery operation and most energy saving stuff turned off) provides a 3:30 h battery life when fully charged, this is still OK but not as good as anticipated.

Very annoying is the SIM PIN problem: I can't find ANY source to indicate what PIN to enter. The X61s didn't have a PIN lock active when I used it for the first time. I'll try to contact Lenovo on Monday, maybe they know something I don't know.
The X300 I bought was originally sealed in the plastic pouch with the seal untouched, so I doubt my dealer did something with it.
Windows Vista setup also ran flawlessly like on a new computer, I suppose there is something I'm overlooking.
I wouldn't actually care too much about the SIM PIN since I have a Vodafone 5GB/month data plan but I wanted to use Vodafone Websessions with this SIM and I can't do it without knowing the PIN to unlock the SIM.
 
Btw: it was VERY difficult to get the HSDPA version over here in Germany, I found only ONE single dealer which had it available, all others were expecting their merchandise around June(!). Most dealers had the non-HSDPA version available though.


Message Edited by 997TT on 04-12-2008 09:12 AM
X300 (6478-15G), Intel SL7100 CPU 1.2GHz and X3100 GPU, 3GB RAM, 64GB SSD, HSDPA, Vista Business 32bit, 6 cell and 3 cell bay battery
Retired Moderator
vkyr
Posts: 298
Registered: ‎12-12-2007
Location: Germany, near Hamburg
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

[ Edited ]
I believe the c't had setup the full brightness when on battery in the same manner. Past Thinkpad models offered some BIOS setting for this purpose, but I don't know if the X300 follows this way too or not, since I don't have any X300 to check out these things.

Battery runtimes and their showed/indicated approximated runtime values are generally a theme of their own and so this depends on many factors like setup display brightness, overall notebook load, DVD usage etc. However, advertized battery runtime specs and the reality are always two different pairs of shoes, usually no matter which notebook vendor and model you look at (the TZ you mentioned might be the one rare exception here).


Related to the SIM PIN problem, I remember past reports that this was always a somehow difficult to setup part for Vodaphone based HSDPA Thinkpad notebooks in germany. I found the following somewhere on the net related to that topic and a X60s...



...
...
Nach der Konfiguration erhielt ich vom Gerät selbst Hinweise zur Aktivierung der SIM-Karte. Mit der da angegebenen IMSI, ICCID und IMEI konnte aber im Vodafone-Shop niemand etwas anfangen. Ich habe dann bei Vodafone in der Hotline angerufen, die mich an Lenovo verwiesen. Lenovo verwies mich an einen Lenovo-Vertriebsbeauftragten. Doch keiner wusste, wie meine SIM-Karte zu aktivieren war!!! Auch die Hinweise, die Vodafone auf seiner Webseite zur Aktivierung der SIM-Karte bei diesem Gerät gibt ("die zur Aktivierung notwendige SIM-Nummer befindet sich auf einem Aufkleber auf der Geräteunterseite") war bei der Aktivierung ebenfalls nicht nützlich.

Die Lösung war: SIM-Card ausbauen (dafür Schrauben auf der Rückseite lösen, bei Vodafone PUK für diese Karte erfragen und damit neue PIN anlegen. Dann haben wir ganz normal einen Vertrag über eine Mobile Connect Card geschlossen und auf diese Karte gebucht. War das wirklich so gedacht? Nur ärgerlich, dass ich zusätzlich zum Datentarif noch 4,76 Euro für die Einzel-Datenkarte zahlen muss. Ich hatte mir dieses Bandling leichter in der Abwicklung vorgestellt und zumindest diesen Posten gern gespart - einen echten Vorteil habe ich nicht von diesem Bandling.

...




...but I can't tell you if things might have changed now for the X300 somehow here for the SIM card activation.


Message Edited by vkyr on 04-12-2008 12:07 PM

ThinkPad T60/X32/600/770 · IBM IntelliStation · 3x IBM SpaceSaver II

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thinkerpad
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
Location: canada
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

Piece of cake

go into bios. Press F1 when you power it on.

Open Config

Open Display

Set Brightness from normal to high

Save changes and presto! screen stays full brightness plugged in or on battery.

enjoy!
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997TT
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
Location: Germany
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

Thanks for the hint with the BIOS setting, I luckily found that out myself before reading your post but I guess I should have known better since the X61s I also own seems to have the same BIOS setting. :smileywink:
 
A few additions to my X300 report:
 
1. battery life with the display brightness set a maximum level seems to be in the 3:00 h range. Not very impressive and definetely pretty far away from the initial 4-5 hours I achieved but if you're not in a plane and you need a bright display(outdoor use for example), the 100% display brightness setting is the only way to go.
2. I did a longer and more thorough comparison between the Macbook Air and the X300 and it seems that the Macbook Air display is around 20% brighter at it's brightest display setting. For video playback, the Macbook Air display also seems to have a better viewing angle and also a faster display response time. Compared to the Macbook Air, the colors on the videos played on the X300 look a little bit washed out.
3. I watched two 45 min. episodes of House on my X300 FULLSCREEN, using the Amazon Unbox video player. The videos played just fine, no problem whatsoever, no stuttering, nothing. I should mention that the videos were on an external USB HDD(Trekstor micro 120GB HDD) which isn't too fast and definetely doesn't have the impressive transfer times of the built-in 64GB SSD. Also worth mentioning: while watching the videos, Norton Internet Security 2008 full real time protection was enabled but again, no problem at all. Meaning: playing videos shouldn't be an issue on the X300, especially if you play them from the internal 64GB SSD which delivers a much better reading performance than external(and many internal) HDDs.
I haven't tried iTunes videos yet, the iTunes Windows client is well known for eating up lots of hardware resources but I suppose I shouldn't have any worries in this regard. If there are problems, I'll report them here but so far, I'm very confident that playing iTunes videos, even fullscreen, shouldn't be a problem if I look at the Amazon Unbox video playback performance.
4. the Macbook Air cooling fan is coming on much more often than the X300 cooling fan and it also is much louder. The X300 is definetely a winner here, the Macbook Air fan is sometimes very annoying.
5. while playing videos for 1-2 hours, the Macbook Air becomes VERY hot and by VERY hot I actually mean EXTREMELY hot.
I think that the Macbook Air has a design flaw, the cooling openings in the lower part are not working right when using the Macbook Air for example in bed or other soft surfaces. Don't worry, as soon as the Macbook Air gets too hot, it shuts off.
The X300 got somehow "lukewarm" during 1-2 hours video playback, very impressive. I still wonder why Apple put a 1.8GHz CPU in a laptop which is so flat but I guess only Apple knows the answer. The X300 1.2GHz CPU of the same kind(as far as I know) uses less power, seems to operate cooler and doesn't need a cooling fan running at full performance.
 
Now here's a question again for the Lenovo experts out here:
1. is it safe to delete the SWTools folder on the C:/ partition? I suppose the software needed for recovery is available on the recovery partition already??? This folder uses up almost 2GB of SSD space, I would like to delete it.
2. any idea if it is possible to enable a boot up fingerprint authorization? I tried everything but it seems there is no way to do that, just the "classic" enter password method via the keyboard.
 
Thanks for any hint! :smileyhappy:
 
 
X300 (6478-15G), Intel SL7100 CPU 1.2GHz and X3100 GPU, 3GB RAM, 64GB SSD, HSDPA, Vista Business 32bit, 6 cell and 3 cell bay battery
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thinkerpad
Posts: 16
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

Hi,
 
I actually used the rr feauture after i had apps the way i needed and sent this to my wd passport usb drive. i was able to restore my system to the backed up state after blowing away what was on the x300.  their ghost imaging appears to work. that freed up about 8gb free space as well!  you can restore the image with fingerprint logon as well.  macair doesnt even have a finger print reader. 
 
i too have the macbook air and found exactly what you have with respect to heat and colors and viewing angle. it also feels lighter and the thinness is very nice. 
 
the 300 fan comes on but is way quieter and you can use this laptop on your lap unlike mba which gets way too hot.
 
my battery life is about 96 minutes going full on all devices like bluetooth wireless surfing and watching a dvd.  pretty unimpressive so will try 6 cell battery soon
 
i do like that the battery charges to full in about an hour unlike the MACbook AIR!!!  3-4 hours if im lucky.  battery life seems better on the air and vista runs well in bootcamp actually quite well.  not sure why but colors on the mac air look amazing maybe the gloss screen but i dont think so. adobe profile for rbg.  in fact ive never seen a laptop that is not mac that looks like the apple colors and display. my 24 inch imac is amazing to view items at. 
 
the key board on the mba is not as good as the x300 i feel.  i wish the mba had the new imac keyboard feel to it.
 
the x300 seems very fast and is a winner in my books.  i actually like ultranav feature and trackpad. ill probably up to 4gb of ram as this came with one 2gb stick which is another bonus from lenovo. its my first thinkpad and will not be last despite ibm not making them.  i took apart everything on the laptop in minutes and it looks like a solid contruction throughout.  thinklight is a nive feature too. 
 
 
by the way i see the lenovo support site is down? weekend maintenance?  that is not impressive as you think they would have redundancy in place.
 
question can you run leopard in vm session on windows vista?  just curious as mac can run windows.
 
 
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thinkerpad
Posts: 16
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

i m pretty sure a bootup finger print is possible as i suggest asking mark on this forum. i read
 
pre os fingerprint setting in the bios says quoted from online access help it can be enabled or disabled. so it looks like it is possible.
 
will test.
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thinkerpad
Posts: 16
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

i think ti would be fine to delete it try moving it first to another location. if all is well then delete it.  make an image of your machine with rr if uncertain as well before deleting it.
 
 
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thinkerpad
Posts: 16
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Re: New X300 with built-in HSDPA received today - thoughts and questions

does not appear that it can be done.  only predesktop. oh well.