MacBook Air vs Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Could Apple be Challenged?

We’ve previously brought you news on Lenovo ThinkPad products, but you may not yet have heard of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 which has just gone up for pre-sale in Europe and is thought will be launched in the US too. However, from what we’ve been hearing about the ThinkPad X1 we reckon it won’t be too long before many people are talking about it. Now we are wondering if Apple could be challenged when taking a look at the MacBook Air vs. the Lenovo ThinkPad X1.

We’ve often reported on the MacBook Air which has been hugely successful for Apple and its most recent competitor has been the new Samsung Series 9 laptop, another ultra-slim device. We compared the two and found the MacBook Air just came out on top. I have to express an interest here as I use a MacBook Air daily and for me it’s certainly the best notebook that I’ve ever used.

Now Melanie Pinola over on PC World brings us news of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, which is another very thin device, also sporting some impressive specs. For starters there’s a 13.3-inch display featuring Gorilla Glass, the latest Sandy Bridge Core i5 processor, 160GB SSD drive and battery technology, which means this laptop could see battery life of around three times longer than a normal notebook battery. Availability on the Swiss site where the ThinkPad X1 came to light is listed as May 20 with a heady price of 2,585 Francs, that’s around $2,900, so the price would certainly need to come down to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air which costs between $1299 and $1599.

PC World also provides a very useful way of comparing the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 with the MacBook Air with a chart, which also includes the Samsung Series 9 and Toshiba Portege R830, but for now we want to concentrate on the ThinkPad X1 and the MacBook Air. The OS for the ThinkPad X1 is Windows 7 Professional compared to Mac OS Snow Leopard on the MacBook Air. As far as storage goes the ThinkPad X1 has 8GB RAM while the MacBook Air has 2GB onboard storage, up to a maximum of 4GB.

The ThinkPad X1 also impresses with its 160GB SSD drive compared to the MacBook Air, which comes with 128GB or 256GB of Flash Storage. As far as processor goes the Lenovo ThinkPad has the Sandy Bridge Core i5 (2.5 GHz – 3.2 GHz) processor mentioned earlier, while the 13-inch MacBook Air has a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB on-chip shared L2 cache, or optional 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache. More facts and figures on these laptops can be found on the chart linked to earlier. You can also find out much more on the MacBook Air at the product pages here at Apple.com.

From what we know then, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 certainly looks set to be a major contender to the MacBook Air, although of course if the price doesn’t fall for the US version, that would make a huge difference. It’s also worth remembering though, that the MacBook Air looks likely to see a refresh in the coming few months so specs are likely to be upgraded once again.

What are your thoughts on these two laptops? Do you think Apple could be challenged by the ThinkPad X1 or will the MacBook Air see off yet another rival? Let us know with your comments.