Lenovo 3000 V200

If you've dreamed of owning an ultraportable but you blanch at the sight of the typical price tag, the Lenovo 3000 V200 is a happy compromise. It isn't as light or as sleek-looking as some models, but it is very nicely equipped for a reasonable price--so long as you don't need built-in mobile broadband.

The V200 starts at less than $1200, though our test unit cost $1550 (as of 9/12/07). The design is low-key but attractive, featuring a sloped front, a silver lid, and a dark keyboard. Except for very small arrow keys, typing is easy. Features include a built-in Webcam, a fingerprint reader, and an instant-on multimedia button that will play media without your having to boot Windows. The plentiful ports include three USB and one FireWire, and you get both an ExpressCard slot and a three-in-one media card slot. Including an integrated dual-layer DVD burner, our test unit's minimum weight came in at 4.3 pounds--that's on the heavy side for ultraportables, many of which don't have an integrated optical drive.

Performance was very impressive; in fact, it was more like a full-size laptop's. Our Windows Vista Ultimate review machine, equipped with a top-of-the-line 2.2-GHz T7500 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive, earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 79, a result that was 46 percent better than the average score of 54 earned by 14 recently tested ultraportables. Its battery life of 4 hours and 4 minutes was 11 minutes short of average for this class of notebook. Still, 4 hours will let you get a good chunk of work done in transit.

If you've been looking for a nice travel notebook that won't drain your bank account, the light, comfortable, and capable V200 fills the bill.

--Carla Thornton

Subscribe to the Power Tips Newsletter