Walt Mossberg posts a preview of Lenovo's forthcoming ThinkPad X300, a competitor to Apple's MacBook Air.

Walt Mossberg generally had good things to say about the MacBook Air when he reviewed it in January, however he did note several limitations such as built-in battery, lack of optical drive, and lack of other connectivity ports as being possible deal-breakers for some.

On the other hand, Mossberg notes that the X300 makes fewer tradeoffs. Below is a table of some of the key differences between the machines. Lenovo has yet to publish official specifications, so the below is compiled from Mossberg's preview and Gizmodo's leaked specs.

Feature MacBook Air ThinkPad X300
Thickness 0.16 - 0.76" 0.73 - 0.92"
Weight 3.0 lbs 3.17 lbs (2.5lbs*)
CPU 1.6 - 1.8 GHz 1.2 GHz
RAM 2 GB up to 4 GB
Storage 64 GB SDD (80 GB HDD) 64 GB SDD
Display 13" Widescreen (1280x800) 13" Widescreen (1440x900)
Networking 802.11n, Bluetooth, optional $30 10/100 Ethernet 802.11n, Bluetooth, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 3G, WiMax
Ports Headphone, 1 USB 2.0 (high power), Micro DVI Headphone, Microphone, 3 USB 2.0, VGA
Optical Drive $99 external accessory or remote drive software DVD built-in*
Battery 5 hour built-in 4 hour replaceable*
Starting Price 1.6GHz: $2798 ($1799)
1.8GHz: $3098 ($2099)
approx $2700
*Note: The X300 has an expansion bay that can be configured empty to save weight, with the DVD drive, or with a spare battery.

Until now, comparing the MacBook Air to a competitor's laptop was difficult due to differences in screen sizes and/or weight. While the MacBook Air still has some additional unique features such as a multi-touch trackpad and the ability to run Mac OS X, the X300's introduction allows the closest hardware comparison yet possible.

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