WinRT spreads to the major vendors after they touched the Surface

Subject: General Tech | August 14, 2012 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: winRT, asus, dell, Lenovo, Samsung, microsoft, arm

When Microsoft released their Surface tablet/notebook, the tech community wondered if this move by a software company would upset the Tier 1 hardware vendors who might not want the competition.  That discussion was ended when Microsoft announced that Surface was a proof of concept and would be released in very limited qualities.  Today The Inquirer reports on upcoming mobile devices running on ARM hardware and WinRT from all the major vendors, giving us a rough idea what to expect in the way of performance.  The quoted specs include user interface animations at 60FPS and touchscreen sampling rates of 100Hz per finger.  Battery life will be impressive, 320 hours and 409 hours of standby time and for video playback you can expect 8-13 hours of HD playtime, though they do not talk about the quality of that playback.

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"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has revealed Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung Windows RT devices will be available at the launch of the operating system.

Microsoft has been playing a very dangerous game with its Surface tablet hogging the Windows RT limelight, something that its long-term and invaluable partners will not like. Now the company has come out and said that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will also have Windows RT devices when the operating system launches later this year."

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Source: The Inquirer

Lenovo Planning Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT Tablets

Subject: Mobile | August 12, 2012 - 08:25 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, Thinkpad, tegra 3, tablet, slate, Lenovo

Earlier this year Microsoft unveils its plans for Windows 8 and its self-designed Surface tablets. Most machines will come with the full version of Windows 8, but some OEMs will be shipping ARM-powered mobile devices with the stripped-down Windows RT version. Microsoft is further delving into the hardware game by designing its own hardware with the Surface tablet and accessories. It will come in two versions, one with an ARM processor and Windows RT and another with an Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 8 Pro.

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According to several leaks around the web throughout the week, Lenovo is taking the Surface to heart and planning its own two-pronged approach. The Lenovo ThinkPad 2 will be running Windows Pro with an x86-64 processor while the Windows RT version will be packing an NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC.

Unfortunately, there are essentially no other specifics to the rumor other than sources for the Wall Street Journal confirming its existence and that it will be of the convertible tablet form factor.

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The Verge got hands-on with the ThinkPad 2 tablet. A keyboard, touchscreen, stylus, and pointing stick... input options abound!

On the other hand, there is a lot more meat to the ThinkPad 2 rumors, and it looks like a nice lightweight mobile workhorse. Allegedly the ThinkPad 2 is being developed as a “joint effort” with Intel and Microsoft. It weighs in at 1.3 pounds, is 9.8mm thick, and holds a 10.1-inch 1366x768 display. Running a full version of Windows 8, the ThinkPad 2 tablet is powered by an Intel Atom processor. Other features include an 8 megapixel and 2 megapixel camera on the back and front respectively as well as micro-HDMI port, fingerprint reader, and stylus. NFC and Wi-Fi are also very likely to be included, and a 3G/4G cellular radio will be an optional add-on. A separate keyboard accessory will allow users to dock the tablet and have access to a full keyboard with pointing stick. Alternatively, there is a dock attachment that adds an HDMI output, Ethernet jack, and three USB ports.

With the release of Windows 8 on October 26 official, it is likely that the two Lenovo ThinkPad tablets will be launched on–or shortly after–that date (the RT version might be delayed more so than the x86 tablet if I had to guess). No word yet on pricing, but here’s hoping that the prices are competitive with the Surface counterparts. 

It is not promising to see Lenovo going with Atom of all things for the x86-64 version, but that may just mean it will be one of the lower-cost tablets able to run the full version of Windows 8. As a fan of ThinkPads and styluses (styli?), I shall try to remain open minded until reviews come out with some benchmarks showing off the performance–or lack thereof (but remember, trying to stay positive here heh).

You can find more photos of the Intel Atom-powered ThinkPad 2 tablet over at The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Lenovo is showing off a nice pair of Ultrabooks

Subject: Mobile | August 10, 2012 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, ultrabook, ideapad u410, ideapad u310

Lenovo is offering two levels of their new Ultrabook series, the U410 with a Core i7-3517U, 8 GB DDR3-1333 RAM and a 1GB GeForce 610 while the U310 sports a Core i5 3317U, 4GB DDR3-1600 and relies on the built in HD4000.  There is another major difference as well, the U310 may be less powerful but its chassis is more attractive and comes in a variety of colours, making it perfect for those who need a bit of mobile power but not something focused on performance.  The lack of a discrete GPU also lowers the price and makes it more affordable for students.  Hardware.Info reviewed both of them separately, the U310 here and the more impressive U410 here.

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"For the price you get a pretty powerful and well-equipped Ultrabook. Most brands offer a Core i5 at this level, but Lenovo includes an energy-efficient Core i7 and 8 GB memory. And instead of the typical 500 GB hard drive you get a 1 TB version and even a dedicated graphics card by Nvidia. While it's just the GeForce 610, it's still a nice addition."

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Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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Change is hard. The Internet, for all of its talk about openness and cultural advancement, seems to have crystalized this more than any other form of communication. If something popular is changed, for better or worse, it’s only a matter of time before the virtual pitchforks are brought out.
 
Laptop manufacturers usually dodge this bullet because they change designs before they have a chance to gain a following. It’s hard for fans to become mad about a new design if the old one wasn’t used long enough to create an expectation. But there’s always been on exception – Lenovo’s ThinkPad. 
 
Though this line of matte-black business laptops has been expanded over the years with the ThinkPad Edge the core of the line-up has remained stubbornly similar. The ThinkPad T420 I reviewed earlier this year was strikingly similar to the T42 that I owned in college. Yes, the display’s aspect ratio had changed, but the keyboard, trackpointer and overall design aesthetic was familiar. 
 
I wasn’t surprised to see Lenovo’s announcement that it would be changing the keyboard on its new ThinkPad laptops send waves through the enthusiast community. Now Lenovo has sent the X230, one of the re-designed models, and I can see if this change is blasphemy or a new revelation. 
 
Oh, and the hardware’s different, as well. Ivy Bridge, blah blah blah, Intel HD 4000, blah blah blah. You’re likely familiar with this tune – but you may be surprised to hear it played on an instrument this small.
 
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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In the wilds of the laptop market, nestled between the hordes of 15.6” mainstream laptops and the slim ultraportables, there is an odd breed. The 14” multimedia laptop. Even describing them as such is limiting because each model seems to offer its own take on the concept. Some are nearly as thin and light as laptops with much smaller displays while others are bulky powerhouses hidden behind a façade of portability.

Lenovo has long been a proponent of the 14-incher in actions if not words. IdeaPads of this size have also been common, usually gracing Lenovo’s website as a smaller alternative to a 15.6” laptop with a similar model name.

As a result, absolutely no one was shocked when Lenovo announced the IdeaPad Y480. It’s exactly the kind of product most consumers end up buying and exactly the kind of product tech journalists don’t care to talk about. 

So what’s powering this new mid-size laptop? Let’s have a look.

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Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480!!

Lenovo Abandons Beveled Keyboards On New ThinkPads, Unveils X1 Carbon

Subject: Mobile | May 14, 2012 - 10:23 AM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, news, Lenovo

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Brace yourself, enthusiasts. The recent rumors that Lenovo will be ditching its traditional beveled keyboard in favor of a more modern – and some would say, inferior – chicklet-style design are true. Lenovo today announced new ThinkPad L,T, W and X series laptops. All of them ditch the old design for a keyboard similar to the one Lenovo has been using on the ThinkPad Edge since its introduction.

Lenovo’s ThinkPads have held strong for years as chicklet-style keyboards overtook the industry, causing enthusiasts looking for a great typing experience to flock in the company’s direction. Changing the design is sure to raise the ire of some enthusiasts.

The “Precision Keyboard,”as it is being called in Lenovo’s literature, is not entirely without benefits. The key surface allegedly reduces typing errors. It also finally gives ThinkPad owners a backlit keyboard option, something that couldn’t be offered on previous models because the beveled keyboard could not accommodate it. 

Some rumors had suggested that the ThinkLight (a small LED used to illuminate the laptop’s interior) would perish as a result of the new backlit keyboards. This does not seem to be the case. Screenshots clearly show that the light remains.

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Lenovo’s other big announcement is the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Lenovo’s previous X1, which we reviewed last year, was an ultrabook that predated the ultrabook – super slim, fast and expensive. Lenovo is now bestowing the X1 with the label and, as the new name suggests, a “roll cage” made of carbon fiber. 

The changes don’t end there. The new X1 is lighter, weighing it at 3 pounds instead of the 3.73 pounds of its predecessor. It has a better display, which is now 14 inches in size and ups the resolution to 1600x900.  And, as you’d expect, it receives Intel Ivy Bridge processors. That’s true of all the other ThinkPads announced today, as well. 

What do you think of the new keyboard? Love it? Hate it? Or don't care? 

Source: Lenovo
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction, Design

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If the netbook was a shooting star, the nettop was an asteroid that never quite entered our atmosphere. Instead it flew silently by, noted by NASA, written about in a handful of articles, and now forgotten.

That doesn’t mean it has ceased to exist, however. It’s still out there, floating in space - and it occasionally swings back around for an encore. So we have the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180. 

Of course, simply advertising a small computer as - well, a small computer - isn’t particularly sexy. The Q180 is instead being sold not just as general-purpose laptop but also as a media center (with optional Blu-Ray, not found on our review unit). There’s no doubting the demand for this, but so far, attempts to make PC-based media center computers have not done well - even Boxee, with its custom Linux-based operating system, was fussy. Can the Q180 succeed where others have stumbled? Let’s start with the specs.

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It’s been awhile since we tested anything Atom. Since our last look at this line of processors, Intel has updated to the code-name Cedertrail processors, allowing for higher clock speeds. The 2.13 GHz dual-core Atom D2700 looks quite robust in print. But this still the same old architecture, so per-clock performance doesn’t come close to Intel’s Pentium and Core processors.

Also included in AMD’s Radeon HD 6450A, a version of the HD 6450 built for small systems that don’t have room for a typical PCIe graphics card. This makes up for the fact that all Atom processors are still using hopelessly outdated Intel Media Accelerator graphics, which is entirely unsuitable for HD video.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180!!

Some Lenovo models might maybe get a little smokey ... but probably not

Subject: General Tech | April 27, 2012 - 09:58 AM |
Tagged: Lenovo, fud, M70z, M90z

Some Mexican made Lenovo models were recalled earlier this year and that recall has recently been expanded, to about 63,000 units.  It seems that one single fire incident and one smoke incident with no injuries, were recorded in the US and blamed on a possible faulty part in the PSU which could overheat.  A 0.003% failure rate is apparently unacceptable in some sectors of today's marketplace, with others requiring not only a much higher incident of failure but a fatality or at least a serious injury before a recall is even considered.  While PCs releasing their magic smoke on their own is certainly a bad thing, especially on models most likely to be found in the workplace it seems the PC industry is held to an obscenely high level of performance.  The Register is not terribly impressed either.

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"Lenovo has been forced to expand the recall of possibly flamey desktops it first announced back in March.

The Chinese PC giant, in conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced the initial recall affected around 50,500 ThinkCentre M70z and M90z desktops."

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Source: The Register

Looking for a low power SFF system you don't have to build yourself? Try Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p

Subject: Systems | April 24, 2012 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: silent, SFF, Lenovo, ThinkCentre M91p

Most people who want a small form factor PC at home are those who will build it themselves, but not everyone has the time or inclination to do so.  That is where systems like the Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p come in handy.   Powered by a 2.7GHz Core 5-2500S, a single 4GB DIMM of DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD it is not overwhelming in its abilities but certainly qualifies as a low heat and low noise machine.  Silent PC Review thought that this machine would be better for an office PC than an HTPC as the Intel HD3000 struggles with playback in some cases but are very glad to see the rare 2500S in a system as it is hard to purchase as a seperate item but is quite nice with a turbo speed of 3.7GHz.

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"The USFF version of Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p packs a significant punch in a small package. Utilizing an Intel "S" low power processor and a 150W external AC power adapter, it's also incredibly energy efficient."

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Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction, Design, User Interface

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As you may already know from my ultrabook editorial, I’m not entirely sold on them. There are disadvantages to being thin.

And as if to remind me of it, a Lenovo ThinkPad T420 suddenly appeared at my doorstep. Okay, that’s exaggerating a bit - I did know it was coming - but the timing of receiving an old-school laptop couldn't have been better. Not only because I wanted to take a closer look at a laptop purposely designed to not be thin, but also because we haven’t had a ThinkPad T series for review in, well, forever. 

This is a return to form for me. I owned several ThinkPads during my late teens, my college days, and the years just after college. My favorite was a T42 with a 14-inch display. 

Of course, laptops have come a long way since then. The ThinkPad T420 we received for review is a good example of a mid-range model. Let’s look at the hardware specifications. 

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According to Lenovo’s website, this configuration is the second pre-configured option available. It can be had for about $1000 after an eCoupon provided by Lenovo. All of the features above are standard, even the 1600x900 display and Nvidia graphics. They are standard only for this model, however - some less powerful versions are available at lower prices. 

The only option that came with our review unit was a 9-cell battery, which will set you back $50. We received both the 6-cell and the 9-cell batteries, so we will be testing the laptop’s battery life with both.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 laptop!!