Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lenovo Unveils new ThinkPad Lineup with Intel’s Ivy Bridge, new Keyboard Design

Lenovo is formally announcing its new ThinkPad lineup for 2012 today at an event in Las Vegas. The new lineup includes the following: ThinkPad X1 Ultrabook, T430, T430s, T530, X230, X230t, W530, L430 and L530. All will include the new 3rd generation Intel Ivy Bridge class of processors and, breaking with several years of tradition, a new 6-row chiclet style keyboard.

New ThinkPad Precision Keyboard

One of the most notable changes to the entire ThinkPad line is the new keyboard design. Lenovo is calling this the ThinkPad Precision Keyboard and is claiming improved ergonomics that make for more comfortable and accurate typing over previous generation keyboard designs. The keyboard will have 6-rows of keys instead of the traditional 7-rows seen in earlier models, and the design will use island / chiclet style keys. Also gone is the Blue Enter key. ThinkPad diehards are definitely going to groan, roll their eyes, and cry fowl but the company is insisting the changes are all part of lots of internal debate, testing and market research. The keyboard is said to feel very much the same as before, despite what might appear as a drastic change.

I got a chance to try out the keyboard on several of the new ThinkPads and have to say it really does feel pretty much the same in terms of keystroke, but that was with just a few minutes of trial and not a rigorous test nor was it done with a side by side comparison using a current generation ThinkPad. Needless to say, it’s going to take a little more use and extended typing experience to determine the pros and cons of the new keyboard over the old.

Lenovo is also going to offer a backlit keyboard option across the lineup of ThinkPads. They’re also keeping the ThinkLight in place, so you can choose your favorite keyboard illumination option. I think this is one thing we can all agree on as an improvement. I got to checkout the backlit keyboard in action on the ThinkPad T430, a picture is below:

ThinkPad X1 Ultrabook

The 14” screen ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a premium business focused Ultrabook built of the toughest and lightest materials in the industry. The ThinkPad X1 will have a 14” 1600 x 900 resolution screen yet weighs under 3lbs and thanks to a light weight but durable premium carbon fiber rollcage and case. The X1 will be available starting in the Summer of 2012, though there is no specific month or day set as of yet.

The ThinkPad X1 will have other premium features such as a backlit keyboard, 3G connectivity, RapidCharge that allows for an 80% charge in just 30-minutes, 128GB or 256GB SSD, USB 3.0 and super bright 300-nit HD display with wide viewing angles.

Full Coverage of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

ThinkPad T430, T430s and T530

The 14” screen ThinkPad T430 will be available in June with a retail price of $879. The T430 will feature the new Intel Ivy Bridge processors and new keyboard design. It offers battery life of up to 30 hours using a 9-cell battery and additional slice battery that attaches underneath the laptop. The T430s will be a slimmer and lighter version of the T430.

The T530 will be much like the T430 but offer a larger 15.6” screen . It will offer a Full HD display with 95% color gamut for an amazing screen viewing experience. Dedicated Nvidia Quadro graphics will be available.

Full coverage of the ThinkPad T430 and T430s

Full coverage of the ThinkPad T530

ThinkPad X230 and X230 Tablet (X230t)

The popular X-series will get updated with the X230 model that will retail for $1,179 starting in June. The X230 will feature a 12.5” screen with a premium IPS option, the same as that offered in the current X220. The X230 will use a standard voltage Core i3/i5/i7 processor giving it the same performance as much larger laptops. Also available will be the X230 Tablet PC, it will start at $1,479.

Full coverage of the ThinkPad X230 and X230 Tablet

ThinkPad W530

The W530 will be a workstation style laptop, it will offer a Full HD IPS display with 95% color gamut and built-in colorimeter to ensure the ultimate in color accuracy. The W530 will sport the new Intel 3rd generation Core i7 processors and have Nvidia Quadro graphics.

Full coverage of the ThinkPad W530

ThinkPad L430 and L530

The ThinkPad L430 and L530 are 14” and 15” laptops respectively. They’re essentially a budget offering of the ThinkPad T series, with slightly less premium design and features. That said, they’ll still be available with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors and will offer Nvidia discrete graphics. Both models will retail for around $879 and be available in June.

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