Ultralight notebooks seem to be one of the most prominent themes running into CES this year, and Lenovo, now the world’s number two computer maker, will be no exception. On Thursday, the company announced a handful of new ultralight ThinkPad notebooks to be shown this coming week at CES 2012, including a flagship model that uses both standard Intel processors and processors grabbed straight from the smartphone parts bin – not a totally foreign concept to Lenovo.
True to rumors that surfaced back in November, the X1 Hybrid follows the same super-slim styling of the standard X1 at only 0.6 inches thick, but stretches its meager battery to new lengths with a clever feature known as Instant Media Mode. When you access Instant Media Mode from Windows by clicking on an icon, the X1 will switch to a dual-core Qualcomm processor (like the type you might find in a smartphone or tablet) and boot up a custom Linux-based operating system. You’ll be limited to watching videos, leafing through photos, listening to music, browsing the Web and working on documents, but Lenovo claims the switch to the volt-sipping processor should double battery life, allowing the X1 to run up to 10 hours when equipped with both a four-cell integrated battery and six-cell slice battery. That even puts many Ultrabooks, and the MacBook Air they’re patterned on, to shame. Starting at $1,599, it had better.
Of course, Lenovo already introduced its own Ultrabook with the IdeaPead U300, but now the ThinkPad line will follow suit with a business-savvy rig built to Intel’s Ultrabook specifications. The 14-inch T430u will get that legendary ThinkPad keyboard, silky matte black finish, and a sturdy aluminum top cover, all in a package under 0.8 inches thick and four pounds. Component choices will include Intel Core processors, integrated Intel or discrete Nvidia graphics, and SSDs up to 1TB, with an estimated run time of six hours on one charge. True to the budget appeal of the Ultrabook concept, the T430u will start at $849.
If a T, X, L, and W series weren’t enough, Lenovo will also elbow out some more room for affordable notebooks in the ThinkPad line with a new B Series, which fall under the Edge branding. The 15.6-inch B580 and 14-inch B480 and B485 both borrow the pro styling and software bundles of the ThinkPad line, without the price points – Lenovo says they’ll start at $399, but hasn’t hashed out specifics. The base versions of both sizes will offer Intel Celeron processors, but Core I series chips will also be available further up the line, and they can also be equipped with Nvidia graphics with Optimus for intelligent switching.