Lenovo unveils 2012 line up of notebooks, ultrabook is the magic word

CES 2012 is getting so close we can almost taste it, and the companies are all starting to make their slightly vague press releases about what they're going to show off. Lenovo today announced their latest line up of portable computers, and it's no surprise that they've got in on the ultrabook action too.

Lenovo appears to be the first company to certify that all their new notebooks are "Windows 8 ready" too, which is surprising, but it's likely we'll see the other major players follow suit quickly.

Thinkpad X1 Hybrid

First up is Lenovo's forage into the ultrabook market. The company is rehashing it's previous flagship device (the X1, naturally) and slapping on double the battery life (in "Instant Media Mode") and adding in a second processor as well. The Thinkpad X1 Hybrid looks like every single other Lenovo notebook; a blast from the past, but it comes in at just 0.6" and under four pounds.

The device features a 13.3" screen, which is HD and coated in Gorilla Glass. It comes in i3, i5 and i7 flavors, as do the previous years' devices, and had a HD webcam built in, with HDMI out and Intel Wireless Display technology onboard. According to Lenovo's press release, they've doubled the "graphics power" too, but they don't mention what's actually onboard in the release.

Interestingly, the device also features "Rapid Charge" technology that allows it to hit an 80% charge within just 30 minutes. Not bad. It also comes with optional mobile broadband onboard, a spill resistant, backlit keyboard, USB 3.0 and an optional SSD. Lenovo's also removed the buttons from the touchpad on the X1 Hybrid, which is interesting considering it's business angle.

Instant Media Mode is a custom Linux based OS that allows the user to watch videos, look at photos, listen to music and browse the web while somehow preserving battery life. It uses an alternative Qualcomm dual core processor and uses 16GB of flash storage. To switch to instant media mode from Windows, users simply click an icon and "operates much like a smart phone, remaining turned on and requiring fewer charging sessions." We're not exactly clear on what that means, but we've reached out to Lenovo for comment.

We also noticed it comes complete with "free software" too, which is something companies usually avoid mentioning in press releases. You'll get Norton Internet Security 2011, Office 2010, Windows Live Essentials, Skype for Business and Acrobat shoved down your throat by default.

The Thinkpad X1 Hybrid starts at around $1,599 USD, and is targeted at both the home user and the business user. More images are in the gallery below for your perusal.

Thinkpad T430u

Ever thought that you'd never get a decent business ultrabook? Worry no more! Lenovo's releasing a enterprise targeted machine too.

The T430u features a matte finish, aluminum top cover and comes with a 14" display. Businesses can select their choice of an i3, i5 or i7 processor as with previous devices, and up to 1TB of storage. Strangely enough, there's no 10 hour battery life here like with the X1, with the maximum available being 6 hours.

The T430u can be stacked with 16GB of RAM and has Intel Integrated graphics. This business class ultrabook starts at just $849 (USD).

Lenovo Edge S430

It appears Lenovo is attempting to delve into the "fashionable professional" market, with the Edge S430. The new notebook comes in Mocha Black, and is just under 1" thin, featuring metal accents and a "soft-touch finish." It's another 14" laptop, with the lineup of an i3, i5 or i7 processor onboard, DVD burner and dual harddrives.

A quick look at the pictures of this beast makes one wonder if this is what the result is Samsung Series 9 and a Lenovo have a lovechild, but we coudn't say if that's so before we see it at CES.

Graphics are either nVidia Optimus or Intel Integrated, and the laptop features not only USB 3.0 but Intel Thunderbolt technology whih makes it one of the first PC's to get the functionality. Lenovo claims that Thunderbolt will let you backup a "year of continuous MP3 playback in just over ten minutes" which is a really strange way of putting how fast the technology is. 

Full specifications embedded below, but one of the more interesting optional extras is the ability to add 2GB of discrete nVidia Optimus graphics. The S430 will only be available in "select markets" which we assume means they won't be available in the US, and the company didn't list the price of the unit. They're expected to be released somewhere in the world come June.

Additional Thinkpad Edge Series devices

The ThinkPad Edge 14" (E430) and 15" (E530) are targeted at Small and Medium businesses to give them the "power they need," allowing choices of any current Intel processor or AMD Fusion APU, with integrated or discrete graphics. It's pretty much the same features you'll see in any other Lenovo laptop in the 2012 line up, but you're able to choose a color. These laptops are all Windows 8 ready, too.

The E430/E530 starts at $539 USD for the base model, and should be available in June. 

Lenovo B series

Finally, the Lenovo B series brings entry level users "essential technology" they need. There's nothing of great interest here unless you're looking for something that's powerful and cheap. Users can choose the base model, which starts at $399 USD or add extra features, such as 1TB of storage, USB 3.0 ports, card readers or HDMI out.

The B480/485 comes in 14" and the B580 comes in at 15".

If you've made it this far, it's likely you're a Lenovo fan and you're impressed by this years line up. It's great to see Lenovo bringing out such a wide range of devices, but it's a little saddening to see that whilst the designs are slowly evolving, they haven't gone anywhere new for another year. It might be appealing to the business user, but Lenovo really doesn't know how to get to the consumer just yet.

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30 Comments

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They need to stop with this 1366x768 resolution bull**** >
My x301 13.3" has a 1440x900 resolution and this laptop is over 3 years old. I was so ready to purchase the U400 until I saw the lame resolution. HD my ass

I'll be waiting to see what the T430 and T430s is before getting anything. My T410s is doing pretty good still and I really don't need to upgrade but just want "new" again

The T430u seems OK but that chicklet keyboard, ugh! It has a slice so I guess it can get decent battery life but at the cost of weight. I am just hoping to get a T410s chassis with a (actual) 5hr+ battery runtime and i'll be good.

Lenovos have come down in price (except for that top model).

The only thing is that (most) dont have the option of dedicated graphics. I see a model on that list that has; something is something.

htcz said,
Lenovos have come down in price (except for that top model).

The only thing is that (most) dont have the option of dedicated graphics. I see a model on that list that has; something is something.

Thinkpads have dedicated graphics. Mine E520 has Intel HD (1 GB) and AMD Radeon HD 6630M 1GB, swichable. Even my 11 years old Thinkpad A31p has an ATI Radeon with 64MB.

I've had ThinkPads for the past 10 years ... good solid workhorses and the looks never date unlike other laptops I'm looking forward to getting a new one once the new T and R ranges are announced this year.

I tend to keep them for over 5 years and use them pretty much every day. Aside from a known issue with a Nvidia chip on my T61p (which Lenovo replaced the motherboard even outside warranty) and a battery going after four years abuse they have been excellent.

shadodemon said,
I hate how they did the Touchpad wtf, and what about the successor to the T520?

If I recall, they announced the T520 around the middle of the year so I'd wait a little while... I would imagine there is still demand in the business world for a fully functional 15" machine.

Can someone explain why they still have the "eraser head" mouse? I thought the were no longer used for various reasons?

Auzeras said,
Can someone explain why they still have the "eraser head" mouse? I thought the were no longer used for various reasons?

I have a Thinkpad and I use the TrackPoint. I prefer it over the touchpad which I disable.

It is funny looking at the comments, seeing people complaining exactly about the thinks I like and mostly not getting it that they are not you laptops that you use to post to your facebook or play flash games.

The "eraser head" is the best thing when you travel or do productivity work, no ****ty trackpad that gets in the way, no mouse to take your hand of the keyboard.

And about the "classic style" - it's the best suited for work.

And more I have an IBM Thinkpad x40 - works great even after 6 years and the battery still keeps me 2:30 hours after so many years. Love the docking station.

Auzeras said,
Can someone explain why they still have the "eraser head" mouse? I thought the were no longer used for various reasons?
It's personal preference... when I got my ThinkPad I doubted I would use it much... then I discovered how awesome it was to use it when lying down or when you're typing... just move your pointer finger along and your thumb down a little and you can do quickly jump around and apply formatting and suchlike.

HP and Dell have them on their higher end business models but they never seem to work as fluidly as the Lenovo one.

alexalex said,

I have a Thinkpad and I use the TrackPoint. I prefer it over the touchpad which I disable.

I could not agree more.... I loved TrackPoint!

Auzeras said,
Can someone explain why they still have the "eraser head" mouse? I thought the were no longer used for various reasons?

To be honest I hate trackpads on most Windows laptops (I love the one on my MacBook Pro). I alway try to disable the trackpad on any notebook that has a trackpoint. And to tell the truth I would only buy a Lenovo T-Series notebook if I were to ever go back to Windows notebook in my private life (and thats only because of the trackpoint)...no choice at work but thats normal.

alexalex said,
Lenovo shouldn't promote and Microsoft shouldn't allow "Windows 8 ready" if the PC doesn't support touch screen.

Windows 8 won't be a touch-only OS.

Heck, a decent multitouch trackpad could give you just as enjoyable an experience navigating the OS.

KingCrimson said,
I like the red one!

A friend of mine wanted a new laptop, so I suggested the current Edge E520 (which was excellent value at the time... about AU$570 with an i5, AMD graphics, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive plus an external 500GB drive for $1), and she got the red.

If it's the same red as these, the pictures do not do it justice at all. It's absolutely stunning and I wanted to steal it simply because it was a nice colour.

You guys really shouldn't compare Lenovo's T Series notebooks with any other notbook out on the market (well, ok MAYBE a higer end Dell Latitude)... The T series notebooks are FAR more advance than your average "run of the mill" notebook you get at BestBuy/WalMart...... They might not be "pretty" to look at but are made VERY robust, and do things most others don't.... Like Intel vPro, and Docking stations that support tri monitor displays....

As someone who's suffered through Dells, HPs, Gateways, and Packard Bells, I have to agree that the Lenovo T series makes every other laptop feel like just a prototype. My only wish is for it to offer a gamer-worthy discrete GPU, instead of a business-class one. Or at least let me decide between them.

Take a look at some of the new T series notebooks that have the NVidia "Optimus" Chipsets in them.... those chips are pretty solid, for gaming, plus will support a tri-monitor display when docked as mentioned.....

Don't get me wrong, Lenovo makes great stuff, but I don't understand why they still stick with their 90's style laptops. It's disgusting to see them try and mash modern sleekness with a Windows 9x era laptop design.

Jimmy422 said,
Don't get me wrong, Lenovo makes great stuff, but I don't understand why they still stick with their 90's style laptops. It's disgusting to see them try and mash modern sleekness with a Windows 9x era laptop design.

I think the idea is that they don't alienate their user base?

Jimmy422 said,
Don't get me wrong, Lenovo makes great stuff, but I don't understand why they still stick with their 90's style laptops. It's disgusting to see them try and mash modern sleekness with a Windows 9x era laptop design.

A lot of people, including myself, love Lenovo's designs. There's no need to change it if they are still making a clear profit.

Hello,

Have you looked at Lenovo's IdeaPad lines? These are the consumer-focused models and have all sorts of different layouts. The ThinkPad line is the business/prosumer-oriented line.

Personally, I like the ThinkPad "look." It is classic and distinctive, like designs from Braun and F.A. Porsche, where you can see how each new generation has evolved from and paid homage to the previous the previous.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Jimmy422 said,
Don't get me wrong, Lenovo makes great stuff, but I don't understand why they still stick with their 90's style laptops. It's disgusting to see them try and mash modern sleekness with a Windows 9x era laptop design.

Jimmy422 said,
Don't get me wrong, Lenovo makes great stuff, but I don't understand why they still stick with their 90's style laptops. It's disgusting to see them try and mash modern sleekness with a Windows 9x era laptop design.

I think their design is awesome. Functionality>style!

Jimmy422 said,
Don't get me wrong, Lenovo makes great stuff, but I don't understand why they still stick with their 90's style laptops. It's disgusting to see them try and mash modern sleekness with a Windows 9x era laptop design.

The Thinkpad 'look' isn't just a matter of design. For its huge, loyal userbase, it's the most comfortable laptop experience on the market. Typing on the classic Thinkpad keyboard (which admittedly the above laptop does NOT use) is far more pleasant than the decidedly unergonomic chicklet keyboards of Apple/HP form factors, and no other laptop offers so many mouse input options without sacrificing space.

I owned six or seven laptops before getting my first ThinkPad, and my only regret is getting the 14" instead of the 15". It's lived up to every bit of praise I've heard heaped onto it over the last two decades, and unless something truly revolutionary comes along (sorry Macbook Pro, your wrist-cutting design can scream "you're holding it wrong" all it wants, I'm not interested), my next laptop will be another Thinkpad.

Edited by Joshie, Jan 5 2012, 9:30am :

Joshie said,

The Thinkpad 'look' isn't just a matter of design. For its huge, loyal userbase, it's the most comfortable laptop experience on the market. Typing on the classic Thinkpad keyboard (which admittedly the above laptop does NOT use) is far more pleasant than the decidedly unergonomic chicklet keyboards of Apple/HP form factors, and no other laptop offers so many mouse input options without sacrificing space.

I owned six or seven laptops before getting my first ThinkPad, and my only regret is getting the 14" instead of the 15". It's lived up to every bit of praise I've heard heaped onto it over the last two decades, and unless something truly revolutionary comes along (sorry Macbook Pro, your wrist-cutting design can scream "you're holding it wrong" all it wants, I'm not interested), my next laptop will be another Thinkpad.

I have 2 Thinkpads - one model with the chiclet keyboard and one with the traditional keyboard - the chiclet keyboard typing experience is just as good as the traditional keyboard and much better than any other chiclet kepboard I have used.