Apple may only have a few computer models, but its competitors seem to give a new model number and name to everything. The other day, Lenovo introduced six new Ultrabooks and tablets, but today, on the eve of CES, the company has let ‘er rip, detailing 16 new Windows 7 laptop and desktop models in six separate alphabetized categories. We’ll attempt to detail some of the highlights and differentiators of each model below.
Ultrabooks – U Series – IdeaPad U310 and U410
Check out our full review of the Lenovo IdeaPad U310.
These Ultrabooks follow up Lenovo’s U300 series. They have 64GB solid state drives for fast data access, but can also come with a traditional spinning hard drive at up to 500GB for those who need the space (SSD flash drives don’t come in high memory amounts yet unless you’re willing to pay a fortune). They have Nvidia GeForce 610M graphics cards, measure less than an inch thick, and will be released in May starting at $700. Shell colors include “Aqua Blue” and “Ruby Red.”
“Mini Laptops” — S Series – IdeaPad S200 and S206
These are supposed to “fill the void” between netbooks and regular laptops. They have 11.6-inch 720p HD screens, measure only .8 inches thick and weigh less than 3lbs, but you’ll have to sacrifice on processing. Both come with Intel Atom dual-core processors, 32GB of SSD storage, and can get about 4 hours of battery life. They are not technically Ultrabooks as they must not meet some of Intel’s requirements, but they do have the fast booting of an Ultrabook. Both variations will be released in June starting at $350 and come in many fancy colors like “Crimson Red” and “Electric Blue.”
Actual Laptops – Y Series – IdeaPad Y480 and Y580
For those who want a more powerful laptop, the Y Series is a good option. They come with 15-inch 1080p screens (good for multitasking) and have 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX660M graphics cards. Perks for this line include Dolby audio, a backlit keyboard, an HD camera with “night view,” and an optional TV tuner. No fancy colors or hints at battery life are offered by Lenovo, which means that these laptops won’t have great battery life. It also appears that they run off of traditional spinning hard drives, meaning they’re a bit slower at accessing data than some of the fancy new SSD models, but no slower than any computer you’ve ever owned. The Y Series will launch in April starting at $900.
“Sylish and Colorful” Laptops – Z Series – IdeaPad Z580, Z480, and Z380
It’s difficult to say why this series exists, but it does come in fancy colors like “Cherry Red,” “Amber Orange,” and “Coral Blue.” An LED 720p HD screen is also a bit brighter than other models and the graphics card is good too (GeForce GT640M 2GB). It also comes with a DVD or Blu-ray drive. No mention of battery life or SSD once again indicates that it uses a regular hard drive and won’t last long without its AC adaptor. The Z Series will launch in April and start at $600.
“Affordable” Laptops – G Series – Lenovo G480, G580, G780
Not even Lenovo had much to say about this series in its press release. They have 14-17.3-inch 720p HD screens, which is nice for those who want a big laptop, but no other specs are given, likely meaning that they don’t have great processing, storage, or other capabilities. The G Series will launch in June starting at $400.
Touchscreen All-In-One Desktop PCs – B Series – IdeaCentre B540 and B340
All-in-One PCs seem to be the only desktops really selling these days (or being marketed, at least). There’s nothing wrong with them as a PC, but we don’t recommend getting them for their touch capabilities since Windows 7 doesn’t support touch very well. The B Series have 21.5- and 23-inch 1080p screens with optional 3D support (with glasses), Nvidia GeForce GT 650M 2GB graphics cards, and can be easily turned into an HDTV with Picture-in-Picture. DVD or Blu-ray drives and a 720p Webcam are also standard. The B Series will launch in June starting at $700.
Old School Desktop PCs – IdeaCentre K430, Lenovo H520s
Standard desktops don’t even get their own series anymore, sadly. These two stragglers are polar opposites of one another. The H520s is a budget desktop with no notable attributes and will hit shelves in June starting at $500. The K430 appears to be a souped-up, hardcore machine, offering up to 32GB of fast DDR3 memory, twin hard drives, and 128GB of SSD too, if you want it. Nvidia or ATI graphics cards are offered. It hits shelves in May starting at $600 (but likely costing a lot more).
That’s it, for now
Honestly, we gave all of these models a bit more text and time than they may even deserve. Lenovo’s lineup appears to be decent, but it’s hard to imagine any consumer sifting through these categories and easily finding the computer that’s right for them. Lenovo isn’t alone. Other PC makers have convoluted laptop linups as well, full of model numbers and marketing nonsense. If anyone is wondering why tablets and Apple are making headway, one reason is that they don’t have so many flavors. Which Lenovo laptop is best for me? From this information, I couldn’t tell ya. We’ll be checking out the Chinese manufacturer’s products at CES this week, so hopefully some hands-on time will make the whole process easier.