The Lenovo 3000 V200 is an ultra-portable Windows Vista workhorse that costs less than a ThinkPad.

Lenovo has updated its ultra-portable laptops with the flagship 3000 V200. Sporting a 12.1in widescreen display (1280x800 native resolution) and based on Intel's ‘Santa Rosa' mobile platform, the silver-and-black V200 might just be the perfect highly-portable Windows-based system for cash-strapped small businesses.

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Starting at just £940 inc VAT, Lenovo's 3000 V200 is the company's lightest (1.81kg) widescreen laptop to date. That doesn't mean to say it lacks some grunt under the hood. Right now you can opt for an Intel Core 2 Duo processor up to a T7300 (2GHz), up to 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 system memory, and a very accommodating 160GB (5400rpm) hard drive. The processors have Santa Rosa's 800MHz front-side bus, and are paired with an Intel GM965 chipset.

Other technical niceties to ponder include a choice of graphics chipsets - Intel GM965 or nVidia GeForce Go 7300 (64- or 128MB) - and you can opt for either a CD-RW/DVD-ROM or DVD recordable (Dual Layer) drive. Unlike a lot of ultra-portable laptops, the Lenovo 3000 V200's optical drive is actually built in, so you don't have to worry about additional peripherals and power supplies weighing you down.

Powered by Windows Vista (Lenovo offers a choice of Editions), the Lenovo 3000 V200 is relatively well connected considering its size. There's a 4-pin FireWire port (ideal for external storage devices), three USB 2.0 ports (one at the rear of the machine and one at each side), analogue VGA port, 5-in-1 card reader, Express Card/54 slot, Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g/n, Gigabit LAN, 56K modem, headphone and microphone ports. Unfortunately there's no digital video-out (DVI) or S-Video ports, but the system isn't really designed for multimedia.

The Lenovo 3000 V200's battery should provide you with around 2 hours 45 minutes operating time, which is a little disappointing considering the small display.

Not as well supported in terms of pre-installed applications as a ThinkPad, the Lenovo 3000 V200 still offers more than your average business laptop. Take the one-button system recovery for instance, which helps you to recover from a crash or virus with the push of a button. Simple network connectivity and management tools let you quickly find and connect to a wireless network and save connection profiles for later use, while performance restoration keeps the system running almost as good as new by allowing you to restore to a previous backup without losing your personality settings for printers, browsers and applications.

Lenovo's automatic update utility is neat for staying up to date with model-specific drivers and patches. Fragmentation can cause slowdowns, crashes, system freezes or even system failures. With Diskeeper Home you can quickly analyse fragmentation levels and detect them automatically to maintain peak performance on your system.

Presentation Director is a display configuration utility that enables you to create, manage, and use various display and projection schemes when making presentations. Using these schemes you can quickly and easily configure the machine to display a presentation on an external projector, monitor, or television with appropriate resolution and colour settings; avoid interruptions by disabling the screen saver and power management timers and hiding your desktop and instant-messaging windows; and use multiple monitors to extend the size of your desktop.

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