Lenovo is saving the best for CES, but they’re getting the party started this week with nine new ThinkPad laptops launching in 2017. They all vary in size, form, specs, and price, but they’ve got something in common — ports. Lots of ports. Lenovo has new docks, too, but from the looks of it, a lot of people won’t need them.
Most of the refreshed devices in Lenovo’s flagship X series will be unveiled next week at CES in Las Vegas — today’s announcement is all about the midrange T series and the budget L series. Lenovo is also announcing the X270, a thicker 12″ laptop, and the 2-in-1 ThinkPad Yoga 370.
All of the laptops being announced share more than just a wide selection of ports — they’ll all use 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake processors, they’ll all have Precision Touchpads (Microsoft’s software standard for touchpads, and well-suited to Windows 10 gestures), and they’ll all have USB Type-C ports protected against damage from off-brand, poorly made cables. Being ThinkPads, they’ve also got a few common enterprise features, like dTPM 2.0 security support for encryption programs like BitLocker, military-grade durability, and Intel Optane memory for caching, which has been engineered to be more durable and consume less power. They all have the Microsoft Signature seal of approval, too, meaning they’re running plain Windows 10 with no bloatware tacked on.
The priciest option is the ThinkPad Yoga 370. The 13.3″ 2-in-1 has all of the above, plus 16 GB of RAM and up to a 1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD for storage. The 1920 x 1080 touch display will have an anti-glare and anti-smudge coating. According to Lenovo, the laptop will get about 10 hours of battery life. It’ll also benefit from the smart amp that will also be found in all other laptops announced today — this will work to improve the sound on those usually tinny internal laptop speakers. And, it’s got plenty of ports for the working world — HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port, a DisplayPort, a microSD card slot, and a combination audio port. On top of that, it’s got a fingerprint reader, NFC, WiGig, Bluetooth 4.2, and Wi-Fi 802.11ac. WiGig is short-range, high-powered Wi-Fi that makes wireless docking and wireless connection to monitors possible. There’s also a small stylus that pops out from the chassis, unlike the usual separately stored styluses that are prone to getting lost. All this makes the ThinkPad Yoga 370 a little heavier than other 2-in-1s at 3.17 pounds. But, thanks to a metal build and Lenovo’s Lift n’ Lock keyboard, which locks the keys when the 2-in-1 is in tablet mode, the ThinkPad Yoga 370 has gotten military-grade certification for durability.
The ThinkPad T and L series will range from 13″ to 15″, and will feature a wide range of CPUs (all in the Intel 7th generation of Core processors), storage (including Optane 16 GB cache drive options), and graphics processors, with the T470 getting a discrete Nvidia 940MX GPU. RAM can be as little as 4 GB on lower end models to 32 GB on higher-end models, like the T470. Some features like the fingerprint reader, IR camera, Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port, and standard 1080p display disappear as you move down in price. Lenovo is going for the shotgun approach here, making virtually every combination of specs and ports available, so users can pay for exactly what they need. Better yet, all start at under $1,000.
The 12″ ThinkPad X270 rounds out the new laptops being announced today. Being a smaller option, it’s lighter at 2.9 pounds, even if it’s fairly thick at just over 20 mm. This lower-end X series machine will lack a Thunderbolt 3 USB type-C port (it has a single, slower USB Type-C port instead), but retains essentials like an HDMI port, a 4-in-1 card reader, and, yes, an ethernet port. It also has a fingerprint reader, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to a 2 TB HDD (or up to a 512 GB PCIe SSD). A sub-1080p display is standard, but it can be configured with up to a touch 1080p display.
For anyone who needs legacy ports like VGA and ethernet (or just needs more ports), Lenovo will release Thunderbolt 3 ($280) and plain USB Type-C ($200) docks. Both will be able to supply power to the laptop, meaning you won’t need to plug in both a power cable and the dock at the same time, cutting down on cable clutter. New ThinkVision displays will also have USB Type-C ports, functionally making them docks — because Type-C can pass along power, data, and audio/video information, only one cable is needed to open up access to the many USB and audio/video ports on those displays. The P27h ($330) and P24h ($260) are both 1440p displays that use the sRGB color gamut, meaning improved color accuracy and fewer washed out or oversaturated colors.
The docks are due out in January and February, while both displays are slated for March. Lenovo will roll out these new ThinkPad laptops between January and March, with the ThinkPad Yoga 370 scheduled for a March release. From the looks of it, some of those ThinkPad laptops will be available in silver in addition to black, which is uncommon for the series.