At a time when PC sales continue to dwindle across the globe, Lenovo stands out as one of the few traditional computer manufacturers that are still growing. The Chinese firm has overtaken the likes of Dell and HP to become the number one global seller of PCs over the past couple of months, so it may not be surprising to see it dedicate such a large portion of its IFA product lineup to a regular, albeit highly flexible, series of notebooks and PCs.
Earlier this week the company announced five new additions to its popular ThinkPad line of business-oriented laptops, but today it’s rounding out its PC portfolio with five more convertible PCs, as well as a new smartphone aimed at developing markets, the Vibe X, and a new tablet called the S5000.
Yoga 2 Pro
The most premium product of the bunch is the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, which will become Lenovo’s flagship Ultrabook when it launches this October for $1100. Its biggest draw is its 13.3-inch, 3200×1800 resolution touchscreen display, which supports 10-point multi-touch and matches the screens from rival notebooks like the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus.
The Yoga 2 Pro can be configured with up to a Core i7 Haswell processor, up to 8GB of RAM, Intel’s latest HD graphics, and either 128, 256 or 512GB of SSD storage. USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and micro HDMI-out ports are onboard, as are a SD/MMC card reader, Bluetooth 4.0, a built-in 720p webcam, and improved WiDi functionality.
Also built in are voice and motion control capabilities, which Lenovo says can be used to navigate photos or e-books, search websites and the like. The company claims the Yoga 2 Pro will give you around 9 hours of battery life with average use. Its tapered-edge frame measures at 0.61 inches thin, and Lenovo claims that it’s 10% lighter than past Yogas at 3.06 pounds.
The Ultrabook will be one of the first to come with Windows 8.1 installed from the start when it launches, but Lenovo’s touting a number of its own software features that it’s built into the Yoga 2 Pro for its various convertible modes.
The laptop’s dual hinges let it rotate a full 360 degrees, but it has four main states in general: regular laptop, tent, stand and tablet. For each one of these modes, Lenovo has built in software it’s calling “Yoga Picks,” which “acts like a concierge” and automatically recommends various apps to you once it senses what position the Yoga 2 Pro is in.
So when you’ve swiveled the device into tablet mode, it might prompt you to use Zinio for magazine reading. When it’s positioned like a tent, it might offer Lenovo’s own “Yoga Chef” app, which works in conjunction with the device’s voice and hands-free controls to offer cooking recipes. In laptop mode, you’ll get things like “Phone Companion,” which lets you copy text or webpages on the Yoga 2 Pro and send it to your smartphone through MMS message. And so on, with Lenovo-made apps for painting, photo editing and more included as well.
The ThinkPad Yoga, as its name would suggest, is Lenovo’s attempt at mixing in some of the consumer-oriented stylings of the Yoga line with its traditionally business-focused ThinkPad notebooks. It’ll arrive sometime in November for $950, and it too will come with Windows 8.1.
Like the Yoga 2 Pro, the ThinkPad Yoga sports a dual-hinge design and the same four laptop, tent, stand and tablet modes. It’ll support voice control as well, and it’ll also have optional support for Wacom digitizer pens. The device itself supports Lenovo’s “OneLink” docking for simultaneously connecting accessories and charging the laptop too. Its magnesium alloy frame weighs 3.48 pounds and measures 0.74 inches thin.
As for specs, the ThinkPad Yoga’s 12.5-inch 10-point multi-touch display disappointingly comes with a 1366×768 resolution by default, but an upgraded configuration can boost that up to 1920×1080. It’ll run on either a Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 Haswell processor, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage.
Two USB 3.0 ports and mini-HDMI output are built into the ThinkPad Yoga, alongside a 720p camera, TPM and NFC support, and the usual array of card readers. Lenovo says you’ll get anywhere from 5-8 hours of battery depending on which processor configuration you choose, with the Core i3 giving the most life and the Core i7 giving the least.
One particular innovation of note here is the ThinkPad Yoga’s “Lift n’ lock” keyboard, which automatically locks the laptop’s keys and buttons in place and makes them go flush against the surface whenever the device is turned into tablet mode. Simple, sure, but it should help keep the ThinkPad’s keyboard from getting dinged up whenever it’s being jerked around.
Flex 14 and Flex 15
The 14.1-inch Flex 14 and 15.6-inch Flex 15 laptops round out the cheaper end of Lenovo’s new PC lineup, as the two will launch sometime this month for $630 a piece. As you’d expect, they’re less featured than the Yoga 2 Pro and ThinkPad Yoga.
Both come with 10-point multi-touch displays that default at a resolution of 1366×768, though the Flex 15 can be configured up to 1920×1080. Both come with a more standard single-hinge design and just stand and laptop modes, and both will launch with regular Windows 8. The Flex 14 measures at 0.84 inches thin and 4.41 pounds, while its bigger sibling comes in at 0.87 inches thin and 5.07 pounds.
Lenovo says the two can get up to 9 hours of battery life on a single charge. Both can be configured with up to a fourth-gen Core i7 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and up to 2GB of Nvidia’s GeForce GT740M graphics, while the Flex 14 can get up to 500GB of HDD storage and the Flex 15 can get up to a 1TB of the same. Software features aren’t as plentiful, but that’s the price you pay for not paying a higher price.
Lenovo’s latest stab at the all-in-one tabletop PC market is the Flex 20, which, like Sony’s just-announced Vaio Tap 21, is designed for general entertainment use and playing games with the family. Lenovo’s calling it the “baby brother” to its larger IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, which was announced earlier this year, but the point of the device is generally the same as before.
Similar to the other Flex and Yoga products, the Flex 20 can be laid down flat or contorted to standing anywhere from 15- to 70-degrees upright. Its 19.5-inch display has a resolution of 1600×900, and the AIO itself measures 0.81 inches thin and 7.72 pounds. Internally, it packs up to a fourth-gen Core i7 chip, Intel’s latest integrated graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of either HDD or hybrid storage. Lenovo’s touting 3 hours of battery life for the device.
As with the aforementioned Horizon PC, the Flex 20 runs Windows 8 standard and Lenovo’s Aura UI when in table mode, which is meant to let multiple people gather around and watch videos, view photos, listen to music and play games.
That last activity is getting a particular focus here, as Lenovo says that it’ll make a variety of compatible gaming accessories available, including a joystick, e-dice and strikers for playing virtual air hockey. There’ll be an app store built into the interface, and game publishers like Ubisoft will be offering some titles on the device as well.
The jury’s still out on whether or not tabletop all-in-ones like this will ever have real mainstream appeal, but Lenovo will give it another shot when the Flex 20 launches for $900 sometime this month.
Outside of its PC business, Lenovo also touts the fact that it’s one of the more widely used smartphone makers in China and emerging markets. It’s rolling out a new “Vibe” line of handsets to further those gains, starting with the Vibe X, which is the follow-up to Lenovo’s current K900 flagship phone.
The device sports a 5-inch 1920×1080 Gorilla Glass 3 display that’s good for 441 pixels per inch. It’s powered by a MediaTek 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 2000mAh battery, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a rather high 5-megapixel front-facing shooter.
It’ll run Android 4.2 under Lenovo’s skin, although Lenovo says that it’s pre-loading a range of apps onto it by default. EIther way, its black and silver frame will have curved bezels, weigh 4.2 ounces and measure as 0.27 inches.
As with the K900, the Vibe X isn’t expected to launch in US anytime soon. Instead, Lenovo says that it’ll come to its native China in October, and in “countries where Lenovo smartphones are sold” (i.e, the EMEA region) sometime in December. No word on how much it’ll cost.
Finally, Lenovo’s stayed relatively under the radar when it comes to its tablet business, but it’s giving it another go with the S5000. The 7-inch slate comes with a 1280×800 resolution, which will be a bit behind the curve with the Nexus 7 and such on the market these days.
The rest of the S5000’s specs are similarly dated; it’ll run on Android 4.2, and come with a MediaTek 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and 5- and 1.6-megapixel cameras. Its 3,450mAh battery is said to provide at least 8 hours of battery life; its relatively thin and light at 8.7 ounces and 0.31 inches; and its design looks like a bigger version of the slick-seeming Vibe X, however.
One thing that could salvage the S5000’s middling core specs is its price, but for the US, Lenovo hasn’t given any details on that front just yet. In Europe, the WiFi version of the device will cost €199, while the WiFi and 3G versions will cost €249. As for availability, the company is only saying that it’ll be available by the fourth quarter of this year.