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Lenovo unveils the thinnest ever Thinkpad with can-do attitiude

Tom Morgan
19 May 2011
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The laptop manufacturer unveils the X1, its thinnest Thinkpad yet to coincide with a new assault on the consumer market

Laptop manufacturer Lenovo announced plans to widen its focus from business users to consumers, to coincide with last night’s launch of the ultra-thin ThinkPad X1. The unveiling, which took place at London’s Millbank Tower last night, came as no surprise following a series of high-profile leaks last week.

Lenovo - those who do

We're suckers for a Venn diagram here at Expert Reviews - even one as meaningless as this

Primarily perceived as a business brand, Lenovo will try hard to appeal to home users with its new “For people who Do” campaign, which features owners using their laptops in more unusual settings. Storm chasers, motocross riders and DJs all feature in a series of print and video adverts which should soon be appearing on TV and online.

Lenovo X1

Nice laptop, lovely setting

At less than 18mm thick at its thinnest point and weighing just 1.7kg, the X1 is the thinnest notebook the company has ever produced. It’s also the smallest to use a full-voltage Intel Sandy Bridge processor, which provides plenty of performance muscle. There’s plenty of ports for such a small machine, including regular USB and the faster USB3, Mini DisplayPort and HDMI out, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth and optional 3G mobile broadband.

Lenovo X1 rear ports

The business-like design won't trouble the MacBook Air's status as the most desirable ultra-portable laptop, but the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass screen and spill-proof backlit keyboard will appeal to anyone looking for a sturdier machine. A handy quick-charge feature promises to refill up to 80% battery capacity in thirty minutes, but the estimated five hour life away from the mains can’t match ultra-portables with low-voltage processors.

Lenovo X1 keyboard

It does feel fantastic to use, with the usually-excellent ThinkPad keyboard having a surprising amount of travel and feedback for such a compact laptop. The whole chassis feels very tough and rigid too. The only possible let-down is the display, which looked to us like a TN panel, rather than a superior IPS model.

Portability also doesn’t come cheap; prices start from over £1,100 for the base model, rising depending on specification. We’ll withhold judgement until we’ve completed a full review, but the high price and plain styling are unlikely to give it a wider appeal, despite Lenovo's attempts to attract a more consumer market.

Another, slightly lower-key unveiling also took place; the ThinkCentre Edge all-in-one PC is surprisingly thin for an AIO at just 2.5in, but can still pack in a 2nd Generation Core i7 processor, dedicated AMD Radeon graphics and a solid state disk. The 21.5in Full HD display looks great, although the glossy finish might not appeal to the core business demographic that Lenovo hopes to target.

Expect to see both new machines, plus the new “For People Who Do” campaign, appearing in the next month.

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