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Lenovo 3000 N100 Laptop

, 5 Mar 2007
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Hardware review of Lenovo 3000 N100 laptop

Screenshot - Lenovo_3000_N100.jpg

I bought this laptop with Windows Vista Business pre-installed. On the plus side, Vista runs fine—the computer comes with 1GB memory and a graphics subsystem with enough horsepower to run the Aero interface. On the minus side, the computer does not come with an Vista OEM disk, and it's loaded with crapware, just like laptops from HP, Lenovo, and others.

The computer has four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, an Ethernet connector, headphone and speaker connectors, a VGA connector, a built-in SD/MMC card reader, and one PC Card slot. The keyboard is nicely laid out, but the unit lacks an independent volume control. There are volume control buttons on the keyboard, but they simply move the Vista system volume up and down.

A feature I really like is the laptop's built-in bluetooth. It works great with the Logitech bluetooth portable mouse, which matches the case nicely. It's nice to have a wireless mouse without a dongle hanging off the back of the laptop.

Since the laptop doesn't have a Vista OEM disk, there is no practical way to de-crapify it. Lenovo loads the recovery files onto a separate partition on the hard drive and provides a utility to generate an emergency boot disk that will reload the factory install. However, the utility only allows you to make one disk, so good luck if that disk fails.

I initially tried deleting Lenovo's craplets using Vista's Programs and Features control panel. I was able to get rid of a lot of it, but there was a fair amount that couldn't be deleted without disabling the OS. So I finally ordered an OEM copy of Vista Business and used it to perform a clean Vista install.

The clean install worked quite well. Vista found nearly all the drivers for the laptop, including the graphics and wi-fi drivers. I only came up short in one area. The laptop has a fingerprint reader, which I find quite nice. Well, apparently, Lenovo got its software (Softex OmniPass) for the reader on the cheap, because it doesn't provide the software in its download area.

I assume Lenovo's deal with Softex only allows it to include the software as part its factory install. Since that install is an image, it means the program can't be reinstalled without the rest of the Lenovo factory install. The long and the short of it is that I had to go to the Softex web site and purchase the software.

Overall, I like the laptop. I've had no problems with Vista, and it seems as rugged as most business laptops—certainly more rugged than most flimsy consumer laptops. As to the crapware, I don't particularly hold that against Lenovo. I found tons of crapware on every entry-level business system I looked at. Even factoring in the cost of the OEM copy of Vista and the fingerprint reader, The laptop is attractively priced—about $1,100 for a dual-core, 1.6 GHz processor, 80 GB hard drive, and 1 GB memory.

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About the Author

David Veeneman
Software Developer (Senior) Foresight Systems
United States United States
David Veeneman is a financial planner and software developer. He is the author of "The Fortune in Your Future" (McGraw-Hill 1998). His company, Foresight Systems, develops planning and financial software.

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GeneralInstallation, Drivers & OEM Vista Business with N100 Pinmembereclektiklp1-Apr-07 22:43 

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