Since 2013, I own a ThinkPad X300. I really like its design, its impressive build quality and the really awesome keyboard.
Unfortunately, I think there is no real successor to this device, because after the original X1, there hasn’t been any new “real” ThinkPad with a 13 inch screen. Coming to the original ThinkPad X1, there are some points I have been really disappointed of:
- the low resolution screen: I think the 1366×768 resolution is really a shame for a business device
- the lack of a docking port
- the rather short battery life
But also the X1 Carbon Ivy Bridge and the X1 Carbon Haswell had some disadvantages, so there has been no ThinkPad yet I’d really like to replace my X300 with.
If there would be a new revision of the ThinkPad X300, I’d call it X350. In my opinion, there should be the following changes
As I really like the case of the ThinkPad X300, I wouldn’t change nearly anything. It’s slim, beautiful and durable, so the X350 should feature almost the same case. Because it seems to be needed for the additional ports, I’d only change the port layout slightly. The hard disk tray should also be changed, because I’d like to see the use of M.2 SSDs with a length of 80mm.
Unfortunately, the CPU of the X300 is quite slow. Due to the integrated GPU that doesn’t support hardware rendering, even YouTube videos are a problem when you choose resolutions higher than 720p. In combination with 4GB RAM and a SSD, the overall performance is quite good, but if you really need CPU power, the X300 is the wrong device. Even with new thermal grease, the device gets quite hot if you don’t edit the fan settings with a tool like TPFanControl. To avoid this problem, I’d like to use a CPU with a lower Thermal Design Power, but the same fan, in the ThinkPad X350. This should also avoid throttling issues that I spotted with recent ThinkPads like the T440s or the X1 Carbon.
The new Intel Core M CPUs seem to be perfect for a X350. Because the new X350 will be a high-end device, there should be only one CPU option available, the Intel Core M-5Y71. Let’s have a look at the specs:
- 2 cores, 4 threads
- Base frequency: 1.2 GHz (this is also the max frequency of the CPU used in the X300)
- Max turbo frequency: 2.9 GHz
- TDP: 4,5W
- Configurable TDP-up: 6W (This means that Lenovo can raise the TDP and the frequency to increase power and performance. Due to the higher TDP of the X300 CPU, this shouldn’t be a problem when using the same fan (heatsink) as in the X300)
- Configurable TDP-up Frequency: 1.4 GHz
- GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 5300 (support of up to 3 displays)
In my opinion, this CPU should be almost perfect for a X350.
If there is only one slot, you will lose performance especially when it comes to the GPU, so there should be two DDR3-SODIMM slots available to support a maximum of 16GB RAM, although you might not need that much. In contrast to “ultrabooks” like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the original ThinkPad Yoga, the RAM shouldn’t be soldered to the system board!
The original display of the X300 is quite a shame. It’s bright and the sunlight readability is good, but there aren’t any other advantages. The viewing angles are really poor, color gamut is disappointing and the contrast ratio is quite low.
The ThinkPad X350 should feature a 16:10 2880×1800 IPS/AHVA/… display with really high color gamut (100% sRGB should be covered), perfect viewing angles and excellent brightness. Hopefully, there is almost no ghosting, backlight bleeding or any other problem. If a screen like this doesn’t exist, Lenovo could let it build like they did with the Toshiba Display of the original ThinkPad X300.
There should be a dedicated M.2 slot (attached via PCIe to ensure highest speed) with a length of 80mm to use the latest SSDs. Please don’t use any proprietary port or a port that isn’t widespread
Sound card and speakers
Please keep the sound card of the original X300 or use an even better one, because the sound cards used in all other new ThinkPads are very bad!
When it comes to speaker quality, you should further improve them to sound good even at louder volume.
In my opinion, you should keep the modular bay, but there should be more options available:
- Blu-ray drive
- pico projector
- 2,5″ SATA hard drive bay (7mm)
- travel cover
- additional USB ports
- numeric keypad
Although the age of optical drives may be nearly at the end, I’d really enjoy to see a “revive” of the original UltraBay idea. In contrast to the current devices like the T440p or the W540, the modules should be hot-swappable.
- Please keep the excellent 7-row keyboard. If it’s possible to make a 7-row Chiclet keyboard with backlight and the same excellent quality, this could also be an option. Please don’t integrate the current “crippled” keyboards you use in the T440s, X240 and other devices. Please avoid the “Adaptive Keyboard” used in the new X1 Carbon, as it seems to be far worse than i expected.
- Please keep the TrackPoint buttons!
- Please increase the size of the touchpad and the amount of gestures it supports.
- Keep the amount of status LEDs, but make them brighter.
- Increase the brightness of the ThinkLight
- Add a SDXC or at least microSDXC card reader
- Replace the three USB 2.0 ports by USB 3.0 ports, add one additional USB 3.0 port at the rear side
- Keep the discrete headphone and microphone jack, as I don’t like “combo” ports
- Add at least one miniDisplayPort or even Thunderbolt, if Intel Core M supports the latter
- Keep the VGA port, as I need it at university or in office
- Add an OneLink docking port, because I really miss the docking port with my current X300
- Keep the Gigabit LAN port, because I see no reason why one should remove it if the case stays nearly the same
- Replace the mPCIe extension slots by the new M.2 ports, but keep all three slots
- Remove the UEFI whitelist for WWAN and WLAN cards, because due to digital signing, there won’t be any UEFI mods available
- 802.11ac and LTE should be standard
- Move the wireless switch to another position
Unfortunately, the battery life of my ThinkPad X300 is quite poor with a new 3-cell battery. I expect the X350 to perform much better due to Core M, but if possible, you should increase the amount of watt hours the 3-cell and 6-cell batteries can store. I’d really like it if the battery remains user-replaceable, but if it shouldn’t be possible, please don’t use glue to fix it at least!
If Lenovo would announce a device like I described above, I wouldn’t resist to buy it. If anyone at Lenovo reads this, please fulfill my wish 🙂
What do you think? Are you also a fan of the X300/X301? Do you like the X1 Carbon or do you also want a X350? How would you change the X350?
Please feel free to comment below.