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IBM's ultraportable notebook drops to 1.22kg and gains powerful rescue and recovery tools. Read our initial impressions. IBM has put its popular ultraportable, the ThinkPad X series, on the Atkins diet. Within the next few weeks, the company will start selling a new model, the ThinkPad X40, that at 1.22kg, weighs 0.44kg less than the current X31. The X40 is also about 20 percent smaller, making it by far the tiniest notebook the company has yet offered.
Although it's the smallest and lightest ThinkPad ever offerered, the ThinkPad X40 sacrifices little. You get the same sharp 12.1in. display, durable magnesium case, and great keyboard found in much larger models. The versatile design works with three different batteries, including an 8-cell hybrid unit that delivers up to 7.5 hours' life, according to IBM. The X40 even squeezes in features new to the ThinkPad line, such as an SD slot and powerful Rescue and Recovery tools. The latter allows you to restore files or an entire disk image, and access the Internet, even if Windows won't boot.
The X40 starts at AU$2,899, but it doesn't use the same media slice or batteries as other models (including the X31), and peripherals are pricey. The powered USB port is a nice twist, but IBM apparently ran out of room for FireWire. Finally, if your tastes are in any way racy, this basic black box isn't for you.
IBM plans to keep both the current (and highly-rated) X31 and the new X40 on the market. The latter should appeal to those who want a ThinkPad but who value a small size and a light weight.