Much like every year, Lenovo has today announced a refresh for its professional ThinkPad laptop series ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas. The upgraded ThinkPad models are said to include faster processors, new authentication features, and improved trackpads. It will also come packed with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Signature Edition to provide a stripped down bloatware-free experience to users.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the hardware updates introduced in the complete range of business laptops — which are prominent. It will now be powered by Intel’s 7th generation Kaby Lake processors, with some high-end ThinkPad adding support for Intel’s extremely fast Optane caching drives. This non-volatile storage solution provides high-speed data transfers but the technology being fairly new can only be expanded up to 16GB. So, you’d still need to get the regular flash drives or SSDs as the preferred storage option for your laptop. These models include ThinkPad T470p, L470, L570, T470, and T570.
In addition, the Chinese manufacturer is addressing one of the prominent pain points and switching to Microsoft’s Precision TouchPad for a more intuitive experience across devices. It is a completely new set of drivers and interfaces for defining touch gestures, introduced with the new Windows-as-a-service program. However, don’t be disheartened, the little red TrackPoint button is available on the newer models as well.
As for the authentication features, Lenovo has included a fingerprint sensor onboard to support biometric verification and Windows Hello to enable you to login into your laptops using an infrared camera and facial recognition techniques. This has currently only been included in newer high-end machines to attract customers from geographical locations with more stringent security policies. It is also pushing for more USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports on its new models.
Also, the inclusion of the Signature Edition of Windows 10 with the upgraded ThinkPads point towards the Lenovo’s commitment towards providing a secure experience to its users — who’ve recently shunned support due to Superfish and other security loopholes in its bootloader. The users will no longer be required to deal with third-party services that disrupt the software experience, thus, also eliminating the need for loading a custom image on their machines.
Here is a detailed look at the upgraded Lenovo ThinkPad lineup along with changes and pricing details. Starting off, ThinkPad Yoga 370 is a 13.3-inch FHD version of their previous models — one with a smaller 12.5-inch and other with a larger 14-inch screen. It provides the users with an integrated pen which docks inside the laptop. Available in Black and a new silver color variant, the Yoga 370 will go on sale in March 2017 for as low as $1246.
The higher-end models, namely ThinkPad T470 and ThinkPad T570, feature a 14-inch and 15.6-inch screens respectively. Though optional, the new models pack the Intel Optane 16 GB cache drive, fingerprint sensor, IR camera, a GeForce 940MX GPU and up to 32 GB of DDR4. The former includes a split battery whereas the latter can feature different display resolutions (a UHD display in larger model) as well. The said models will also be available in March, starting around $900.
Lenovo has also refreshed other models of the ThinkPad T470s and T470p, where the former continues to get lighter and slimmer and the latter ups the ante in performance. Most of the features in these laptops are similar to those packed in the original T470 model. This lineup starts at $1099 for the 470s model and $1049 for 470p model.
The company has introduced a set of docks and displays for its ThinkPad upgrades as well. This includes a Thunderbolt 3 Dock provides you with power, two DisplayPort connectors, HDMI, VGA, five USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, audio and the Thunderbolt 3 ports as well. This will begin shipping in February, even before the upgraded laptop models. There is another dock for USB-C, which will launch in January and not include the Thunderbolt 3 port (obviously) and downgrades two of the USB ports to 2.0. It has also released two new displays, starting at $259.