CES is just around the corner, and that means lots of new product announcements and sneak peeks at upcoming projects. The excitment can be too much to contain, and in some cases, that means catching a glimpse at what's in store even before the annual convention kicks off, whether intentional or not. Take Lenovo, for instance, whose "New product showcase" page reveals half a dozen new laptops scheduled to go on sale starting January 5th-7th.
Kicking off the new lineup is theThinkPad Edge, a sleek 13.3-inch ultraportable with a spill-resistant keyboard, dual-core processor, up to 7.8 hours of battery life, three USB ports, and "clean lines with color and finish options." This one will go on sale January 5th.
So too will the ThinkPad X100e ultraportable, which sports an 11.6-inch HD display and weighs less than 3 pounds. It will come equipped with an AMD processor and boast corporate OS support and "robust warranty options."
Other upcoming models, each of which is slated to go on sale January 7th, include the ThinkPad T410s (14.1-inch, up to Intel Core i5 processor), ThinkPad T410 and T510 (up to Intel Core i7), ThinkPad W510 (up to Intel Core i5), and ThinkCentre A70z desktop (19-inch display).
Five years ago, when IBM sold its consumer PC division to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, business users trembled. ThinkPads were a staple of the IT community not because they were attractive, nor especially powerful, nor dirt cheap. IT guys often insisted on ThinkPads because they were simple, durable, and reliable. Price was "low enough" and performance was "good enough." Five years later, we can safely say that Lenovo has kept the ThinkPad principles alive. If anything, one could complain that it hasn't evolved enough. The SL510 model is a good example of this.
Is it fast? It's fast enough. The particular configuration we reviewed, clocking in at $999.00 at press time, comes with a Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz with 3MB of L2 cache), a decent 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive, but only 3GB of DDR3-1066 memory. It's outfitted with Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. It's built on Intel's GM965 chipset platform with GMA4500 integrated graphics. Our configuration includes Intel's 5100 AGN wireless adapter as well as an AT&T-ready 3G radio with GPS. If you can't decide whether you like to use a touchpad or a eraser-head like "nub", you'll be happy to see the SL510 includes both.
Here's an ad campaign we're willing to be you've never seen before. In an effort to prove just how tough their laptops are, Lenovo has outfitted buses and tram shuttles throughout Germany with the company's Thinkpad notebooks installed as seats.
That's right, Lenovo is daring Germans to plant their hind quarters on an open Thinkpad as prospective buyers are shuttled to Lenovo Roadshows all across the country.
A couple of questions immediately come to mind. Can this kind of seating really be good for sperm counts? And what happens if you have a bad case of gas? In that case, it sucks to be the next guy who's more interested in surfing the web than sitting on a laptop that's seen more ass than Paris Hilton.
If this were the Old West, Lenovo would be the gritty cowboy boasting the fastest draw in town. Challengers, both new and old, would step up and challenge the gunslinger to a shoot out, and at some point, Lenovo would likely fall.
In the modern era, Lenovo doesn't have to worry about catching a bullet between its eyes, but it will have to back up its claim of having the fastest Windows 7 boot-up and shutdown times. According to Lenovo, its ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktop PCs for businesses load Windows 7 up to 56 percent faster compared to booting XP or Vista.
The company also said its IdeaPad and IdeaCentre consumer PCs certified for "Windows 7 Lenovo Enhanced Experience" will load 33 percent faster and shutdown 50 percent faster than hardware that's not certified, even if using identical components. How is this possible? Through BIOS tweaks, Windows 7optimizations, special onboard hardware drives, and a rewritten power manager, Lenovo says.
If you’ve got a Lenovo laptop with a battery that’s providing sub-par performance, you just might be eligible for a free replacement.
The batteries in question don’t present any fire or safety hazard, so there’s no reason to worry about your health – the folks at Lenovo are simply looking to make nice. “Irreparable damage” and “battery cannot be charged” error messages from the Power Manager or Message Center are the main indicators that you have a bad battery.
If you’re not sure, but you have a ThinkPad R60, R61, T60 or T61 with battery FRU part numbers 42T4546, 42T4566 or 92P1141, and/or a model X60 or X61, with battery part numbers 42T4550, 42T4567, 42T4568, 92P1169, 92P1173, 93P5028 or 93P5030, it’s suggested that you should run the Battery Diagnostic Tool (available here), to find out if you need to swap it out
According to Lenovo, eight new ThinkPad laptop models meet military specs for semi-rugged computing. These include the ThinkPad X200, X301, X200s, X200 Tablet, T400, T500, R400, and SL300 laptops.
"ThinkPad is well known for quality, reliability and innovative security technologies for business computing," said Tom Ribble, executive director, Worldwide ThinkPad Product Marketing, Lenovo. "The truth is we've always built tough laptops that can weather extreme conditions from hiking the rainforests of the Amazon to flying in space. You don't need a PC that looks like a tank to excel in harsh environments, and unlike many of our competitors, we don't put an extra charge on toughness."
Though not billed as a 'ruggedized' laptop, Lenovo claims its military-grade models can withstand a barrage of brutal testing environments. Lenovo subjected its new ThinkPads to various harsh elements, such as low pressure operation at 15,000 feet, cycling 95 percent humidity through the environment, baking the laptops up to 140 degrees, testing at minus 4 degrees, fluctuations between extreme hot and cold, and subjecting the units to blasts of dust for an extended amount of time.
Given all that the ThinkPads withstood, we're not sure when an Accident Protection plan would come in handy, but Lenovo offers it nonetheless.
Lenovo says the ThinkPad T400 laptop with high brightness screen (680-nit) is available now through Lenovo business partners with pricing starting at $1,350.
As if we weren't already enamored with Lenovo's monstrous W700 Thinkpad, which earned a 9-verdict/Kickass award thanks in large part to a combination of high end hardware and a high color gamut screen, Lenovo's new dual-screen W700ds has us doing a double take.
All the innards remain the same, but this time around Lenovo adds a secondary 10.6-inch display to the exterior. That's larger than some netbooks! The 400-nit, 72 percent wide color gamut WUXGA display slides neatly out from the PC cover behind the primary display giving mobile power users the same dual-screen goodness as a multi-monitor desktop, albeit in a smaller package. The secondary display can be tilted up to 30 degrees and only adds a few millimeters in additional thickness to the Thinkpad, GottaBeMobile says.
"The ThinkPad W700ds dual screen mobile workstation challenged our international development team to engineer a notebook to fit the way workstation users work - in the office and on the road,” said Mark Cohen, vice president, Notebook Business Unit, Lenovo. “Bringing this level of innovation to the most extreme PC users required continually balancing size and functionality with keeping the PC cool and quiet."
The W700ds is available now direct from Lenovo with pricing starting at $3,663 (currently on sale starting at $3,070).
Let’s face it, the only real difference between a mobile workstation and gaming notebook has been the sticker and GPU drivers. Lenovo’s ground-breaking W700 changes that with a slew of features that truly make it worthy of being called a workstation notebook. But it’s not just about the W700’s 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme Q9300 quad core or its Quadro FX 3700M with 1GB frame buffer alone.
When we first walked into our meeting with Lenovo last week, we thought it was an oversized mockup. Sure, it looked like a ThinkPad. But it was huge! We're used to small, slim, no-nonsense ThinkPads; we were unprepared for this. Who would want a 17" ThinkPad?
Once we took a closer look at the just-announced W700, though, we got our answer: We want one. Maybe it's the integrated Wacom digitizer. Or the onboard HueyPro color calibrator. Or maybe we like the idea of a 640GB RAID array in a laptop. Or the 1GB of dedicated graphics memory. This is a big, powerful system, aimed at digital content professionals: photographers, videographers, animators, CAD/CAM engineers, and the like.
Looking closely at the specs, we can see that Lenovo’s not pulling any punches. The W700 will be the first notebook to ship with Intel’s not-so-secret Core 2 Extreme mobile quad-core CPU (officially launching at next week’s Intel Developer’s Conference), and the first with Nvidia’s just-announced Quadro FX3700M GPU, which has 1GB of video memory (Lenovo claims internal testing yielded over 10,000 in 3DMark06). Oh, and they’ll also put in up to 8GB of DDR3 memory.
Click though for more spec details, our impressions, and a ton of photos
From the Air to the Pro, Apple’s MacBooks are winning the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere—including PC enthusiasts. Maximum PC investigates whether the hoopla is warranted.
What do you really get for the money when you throw down for a MacBook, and how do these Apple computers compare to their PC counterparts in terms of performance, features, overall usability, and price? Maximum PC tests and reviews the MacBook Air, the standard MacBook, and the MacBook Pro against five PC models sporting similar price points and formfactors. It’s time we set the record straight.