Lenovo is expected to announce the latest addition to its popular X Series ultraportables this week, but we already know many of the details of the new ThinkPad X1 thanks to a steady series of leaks over the past few weeks.
[Update: Engadget has posted a full review of the ThinkPad X1.]
The X Series already includes the ThinkPad X120e, which has an 11.6-inch display, and the ThinkPad X220 with a 12.5-inch display (and X220 convertible tablet). The X1, which has a 13.3-inch display, takes the spot in the lineup once occupied by the ThinkPad X300 Series, which was hailed as a MacBook Air-killer when it first arrived in early 2008.
Like its predecessor and other members of the X Series, the X1 looks impressively thin and lightweight. Based on this Lenovo comparison, the X1 will have a starting weight of around 3.0 pounds, and other reports have suggested it will measure about 0.6 inches thick.
But the design looks to my eye like it has as much in common with the ThinkPad Edge E220s as it does with the old X300. For starters the X1 does not have an integrated DVD drive. Also like the Edge 220s (and larger Edge E420s), the X1 has a sealed battery, which Lenovo says recharges more quickly and lasts longer (my colleague, Sean Portnoy, has previously written about this feature).
The X1 will be based on Intel's second-generation Core processor, better-known as Sandy Bridge, and it will have a bright (350 nits) 1366-by-768 IPS display. An In-Plane-Switching display provides wider viewing angles. The display also comes standard with a Corning's Gorilla Glass-one of several durability features highlighted in this Lenovo video on YouTube. The X1 will have a standard USB 3.0 port (it's optional on the X220), as well as HDMI, DisplayPort and two USB 2.0 ports including a powered eSATA connection.
This category has changed ThinkPad X300 landed the cover of BusinessWeek and the competition is no longer just the MacBook Air. For starters, Apple hasn't updated the MacBook Air since last October, though there are rumors it will get an upgrade to Intel's Sandy Bridge in June. Meanwhile others have jumped into the ultra-thin 13-inch category including the Samsung Series 9 and Toshiba Portege R830 Series.
Stay tuned for a hands-on look at the ThinkPad X1 to see how it stacks up to this formidable competition. In the meantime, here's more recent coverage of Lenovo's ThinkPad X Series: