Lenovo drops ThinkPad X300 to answer MacBook Air

x300_smallIf for some strange reason it wasn’t before, thin is officially in as far as notebooks are concerned. At least that’s what seems to be the case with Lenovo as it answers the MacBook Air with the ThinkPad X300. It’s thin, yes, but not quite as thin as the Air (the Air fits in an envelope, the X300 merely fits on top of a newspaper or whatever that is on the left there — hell, maybe it IS an envelope).

What it lacks in the not-as-thin-as-the-new-MacBook department it more than makes up for in the actually-comes-with-useful-stuff department, with a built-in optical drive, removable battery, three USB ports, Ethernet jack, and optional integrated high-speed cellular modem and/or GPS chips.

Says Walt Mossberg, who got a sneak peek at the X300…

Like the MacBook Air, this is a rare small laptop that is built around a full 13-inch-wide screen display and a full keyboard, rather than the little screens and cramped keyboards common in subnotebooks. And, like the Air, it offers a fast, rugged solid-state drive instead of a hard disk.

But, unlike the Apple, Lenovo’s new skinny ThinkPad comes with a hefty complement of ports and features, some of the very things critics complained Apple left out. It has a built-in DVD drive, removable battery, three USB ports, and a wired Ethernet networking jack. Inside, in addition to Wi-Fi, it can be ordered with a built-in cellphone modem and even GPS. It comes with either Windows Vista or Windows XP.

It’s not as thin as the Air but it still falls in at under an inch thick and at roughly the same weight (3.12 pounds). Also — and here’s some fodder for flaming, should you choose to accept it — the X300 will only come with a solid-state drive, so it’s hugely expensive right out of the gate. Mossberg says “it will start at between $2,500 and $2,800” and it’ll sit staunchly at 64-gigabytes of hard drive space.

Super-Slim ThinkPad Sneak Peek [AllThingsD]