Lenovo showed off their brand new laptops in NYC last month, with updates to basically every Think-branded portable the company owns. New ThinkPad L series, T series, W series and X series were unveiled, as well as the super-chic new ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
From Lenovo’s point of view, most of the additions made to the L/T/W/X series were unremarkable, save for the newer chips and better performance. To many longstanding ThinkPad fans, however, the changes might not seem so subtle. There are several things that the ThinkPad brand of notebooks are known for – the nipple mouse, the rugged durability, and, of course, the keyboard.
Be sure to check out our full photo gallery (see top left of the page) for more hands on and product photos!
It’s to this last that Lenovo made the biggest change. Gone are the full-area, key-to-key notebooks of ages past. No, in this new ThinkPad era, Chiclet-style keyboards reign supreme. These new keyboards will span the whole line, and Lenovo is fully committed to its choice. I asked them whether they expected any feedback for the design choice, considering the, ah, hostility, with which such decisions have met in the past, but the notebooks’ product managers feel that this is a good move, and that the community will move with them.
After fiddling around for a bit, I’m inclined to agree; the community may or may not be so quick to jump. Not only do the keyboards look much more modern, but they still feel sturdy, with minimal flex – keep in mind, however, that these are early models (and some mere prototypes and models) and any impressions should be taken with a grain of salt until we get honest-to-goodness review units in-house.
ThinkPad T Series
New models: T430, T430s, T530
Lenovo is playing coy in terms of publishing exact specifications for the new year’s crop of ThinkPads. Here’s what we do know, however, about the T430 and T530:
- New “Precision Keyboard” (see above)
- DisplayPort ports, with audio-out
- T430 is lighter than the T420, while the T530 is either the same weight or heavier than its previous model
- Dolby Advanced Audio (generally meaningless brand tie-ins, but the speakers don’t completely suck, which is good)
- Backlit keyboard availability (and the backlighting is quite nice)
- 720p HD webcam with face tracking
- Ivy Bridge CPUs
- 30-hour+ battery life with optional batteries
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