Quest for 12"-14" workhorse with expresscard/thunderbolt


Nov 6, 2012
Hi Everyone,

Being a student and part-time IT-reseller/technician for many years, I've assisted hundreds customers in their search for a new computer or laptop. Despite my expertise and access to most of the distributors in the Benelux, I can't find a suitable notebook for myself!

Currently I'm working on a Lenovo X201. I has an I5-560M, 8GB DDR3, 256GB SSD, a carbon rollcage and a 12,1" LCD. The laptop is nearly perfect but more and more often I'm running into limitations of the low resolution (1280x800). Therefore, I'm looking for an upgrade.

This is a summary of the requirements of my laptop:

  • ■I often use the ExpressCard 54 slot and a direct interface to the chipset/processor is an absolute requirement for my work and study. So, the new laptop should have either a ExpressCard slot or a Thunderbolt connection.
    ■Furthermore, it needs to be lightweight, I carry it every day and more than 1.5KG gets annoying.
    ■As I use the laptop in multiple (non-laptop-friendly) environments, it needs to be solid and spill-proof, like the Lenovo Rollcage.
    ■optional 3-Years of warranty (preferably world-wide)
    ■LCD Resolution of 1920x1080 or 2560x1600
    ■Battery time of at least 6 hours
    ■Able to run FreeBSD/Linux (drivers should be available, not necessarily from manufacturer) and Windows 8
    ■Screensize 12" - 14"
    ■Preferably a trackpoint
    ■RAM upgradable to 16GB
All of the above requirements, except for the resolution and RAM, are met by my current X201. A new Lenovo X-series (X1, X231s) would be a logical choice but these laptops do not have a decent resolution (1600x900) and even worse, Lenovo has left the expresscard slot!

Is there anyone here on Tom's aware of a notebook with such specs? Or maybe of a laptops that has recently been announced or will be announced in a couple of months?

Thanks a lot!