Lenovo: New ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Yoga, IdeaPad, and Flex Laptopsby Jarred Walton on January 10, 2014 6:51 PM EST
Lenovo had their usual location set up in the AquaKnox lounge at the Venetian, with a huge number of products on display. We’ll break things up into the laptop/notebook/multi-modal devices here, tablets and smartphones next, and then “everything else” for the products that don’t fall into either of the previous categories.
On the laptop front, the big news is the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which has been updated with Haswell, a thinner and lighter design, a redesigned keyboard, a new display, and last but not least a new external dock. The X1 Carbon uses a 14” display and still manages to pack all of this into a 2.8 pound laptop weight, with a promised nine hours of battery life.
Starting with the keyboard, the layout has been modified quite a bit. Gone is the row of function keys, along with seldom (never) used keys like Scroll Lock, Pause/Break, Caps Lock, and Insert. The cursor cluster gets dedicated PgUp/PgDn keys while the Home/End keys are moved to the former Caps Lock location. Caps Lock, if you’re wondering, is still available by double-tapping the left Shift key. As for the function keys, the entire row has been replaced with an adaptive LCD panel that can detect and change the available keys based on your currently running application. By default it shows the normal multimedia keys (volume control, LCD brightness, Search, and a few others); load Internet Explorer and you get refresh, new tab, and back keys. You can also cycle to normal function keys or disable the adaptive feature entirely.
The trackpad is also larger this round, with a fully hinged design (i.e. hinges on the top and bottom of the touchpad); the TrackPoint is still present and the top of the touchpad becomes the usual left/right buttons if the system detects use of the TrackPoint. As for the OneLink Dock Pro, it provides two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, and DVI through a single cable. Pricing for the new X1 Carbon starts at $1299 with availability scheduled for the end up January; the OneLink Dock Pro is available now for $179.
Moving over to the Yoga side of things, there are a couple new laptops to announce: the Yoga 2 Pro and Yoga 2 (with some Yoga tablets as well, but we’ll cover those separately). Similar to Microsoft’s Surface products, the Yoga 2 targets a lower price and has less advanced features while the Yoga 2 Pro goes “all-in”. Besides supporting up to Core i7 Haswell processors (the U-series parts), the Yoga 2 Pro adds a high-DPI qHD+ (3200x1800) touchscreen IPS display and the keys on the keyboard now “lock” when in tablet mode. Availability appears to be “now”, with pricing starting at $949. As for the Yoga 2, there will be two models available, one with an 11.6” 1366x768 display and one with a 13.3” 1080p display. The Yoga 2 13” will support up to Core i7 Y-series parts and should last up to eight hours on a charge, while the Yoga 2 11” targets a more budget-friendly feature set with up to Pentium Y-series CPUs and eight hours of battery life. The Yoga 2 11” is available now starting at $599 while the Yoga 2 13” will be available later this month, also starting at $599.
Other laptops were also on display, though I didn’t have as much time to look at them. I know there are new IdeaPad Y40/Y50 laptops, with a 4K touchscreen panel available on the Y50. Both models are supposed to be quite a bit thinner and lighter than the previous generation as well. Also shown were a few Flex laptops, including the Flex 15D shown at AMD’s press event that has an AMD A6 APU and 300 degree hinge (so not quite a Yoga). There’s an Intel Flex 15 available as well, starting at the same $499 as the Flex 15D but going up to Core i7 processors on higher-end models, and a Flex 14 Intel as well starting at $499. All three Flex laptops are available “now”.
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gobaers - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkThese look like nice consumer laptops, can can we get them to manufacture a laptop for hardcore Thinkpad enthusiasts? Consider a Thinkpad T-Series Classic:
13-14" 4:3-ratio IPS display
Old layout 7-row keyboard, TrackPoint with buttons intact
Narrow bezels on screen, laptop bezels next to keyboard similarly narrow
Rollcage to protect display and internals
Latest gen processor, SSD
Optical bay is not necessary, I think we're past its utility now
You could price this at old ThinkPad prices, I'd snap one up in a jiffy.
iniudan - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkThe hope of 4:3 is null, but would gladly accept a 16:10 or a 3:2. But yes, give back the 7 row keyboard that we had up to the T/W-(4/5)20 series, or at least the layout of it, for the chicklet key of the newer Thinkpad are at least decent compared to most of the competition, so I don't mind.
gobaers - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkAgreed, it doesn't necessarily have to be the old scissors keyboard. The layout is the important thing, through.
The main thing I want is a good IPS panel at a more square resolution. Everytime I look at the panel on my T420s, I want to throw it out the window. Washed out and terrible, it's embarrassing they shipped these units out the door. That I can barely get a few excel columns in view is an extra insult.
ImSpartacus - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkI don't get the aspect ratio worries. If you want more vertical space, then wait for 1800p 14" displays.
The T40-class T series is an excellent laptop, but it's advantages aren't quite as pronounced against today's competition as they are against ~2010's competition.
I admit that I used to have the same desires as you, but the competition has steadily improved enough that I don't lust for a classic thinkpad anymore.
w_km - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - linkProblem with 1800p is the nativ e 1600x900 resolution you'll be running it at...no more vertical space than a 2007/2008 14" T61 which had 1440x900 (16:10).
A slimmed down T/W/X_20 series with upgraded screens, chassis (CF please), backlit 7 row keyboard would be a winner for me.
BMNify - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkStill pentile on the Yoga 2 Pro or did they fix that?
psuedonymous - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - linkThe Yoga 2 Pro shown at CESW is the same Yoga 2 Pro that went on sale last October. So yes, it;s still the same nasty Pentile panel (though they at least somewhat mitigated the horrific yellow colour rendering performance that it had at launch with a driver update a few weeks after launch).
tiquio - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkMany of these laptops aren't new. I don't know why Lenovo is showcasing them now at CES. I've had the Flex 14 since early October. All in all, it's a good laptop with a poor screen. I have an i7 with 256 gb SSD. The battery life is great and it's removeable (a rarity these days). It's not like I have a second battery but it's nice to know that I can buy another down the line and replace my old one without opening the laptop. When I show people the flex, they love it but they all wonder if it folds back all the way. To be honest, even if it did fold back all the way, I don't think I'd use it as a tablet. In fact 90% of the time I don't even use the touchscreen. I use it intermittently when scrolling articles (At times, it's more comfortable to sit with your hand stretched all the way forward cusping the screen and scrolling with your thumb).
As for the yoga 2 pro, that came out the day Windows 8.1 came out. I saw it at Best Buy recently and it looks to have a much better build quality than flex (the flex is mostly plastic, except around the keyboard and palmrest). The yoga is also much lighter but despite the same battery size it has a lower battery life probably due to the high res screen.
As for the thinkpad X1 carbon, I think that's actually a brand new one that's coming out soon or is already out. My friend has last year's model of the thinkpad x1 carbon and it is indeed very nice. It's super light and super thin but I like the touch and feel of the yoga 2 pro more (metal feels better than carbon fiber). But I think I'd take lightness over feel. Having a lighter laptop makes a huge difference if you're carrying it around all day (as I do).
Well, that's my rant on Lenovo. The only reason I know so much about their ultrabook products is because I was in the market for one in October.
tiquio - Friday, January 10, 2014 - linkP.S. Just to throw in battery life times. On a light workload (internet, office, low brightness), I can get around 10 hours battery life. On a heavier load (downloading over wifi, watching movies), it's around 6-7 hours. The battery life is so good, I have the battery option perpetually set to "battery saver" mode which only charges it to 60%. Supposedly that'll increase the lifespan of the battery.
pixelstuff - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - linkWishing they had included an Ethernet jack on the laptop. I still need to interface with too many non-wifi devices to go without one.