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Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano, refreshed ThinkBooks are built for working from home

After having introduced a convertible variant of its iconic and popular ThinkPad X1 lineup with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga a few years ago, Lenovo is once again tweaking the design and styling of its iconic laptop by introducing the ThinkPad X1 Nano. Like the original X1, the Nano comes in a more traditional clamshell form factor, but Lenovo is making the laptop slimmer and lighter.

The move, according to the company, helps the laptop cater to small and medium business owners who are now working from home and remotely, a situation that’s accelerating due to the global pandemic.

Coming in at 1.99 pounds, the X1 Nano is not only Lenovo’s lightest ThinkPad notebook, but it’s also the first ThinkPad to be branded under Intel’s Evo platform. Certification for Evo means you can rely on the laptop to instantly wake from sleep and all-day battery life.

The laptop is powered by Intel’s 11th-Gen silicon and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, and it comes with a 13-inch 2K display that supports a 16:10 aspect ratio display and Dolby Vision. Despite its slim stature, the Nano is designed for performance — Lenovo claims that it delivers 20% faster productivity on Office tasks and two times faster game streaming. The laptop can be preloaded with either Windows 10 Pro or Ubuntu Linux operating systems, and optional 5G wireless connectivity helps business travelers work from anywhere, even when a Wi-Fi connection isn’t readily available.

Dolby Atmos speaker tuning and 360-degree microphones round out the feature, making the Nano a video conferencing giant and allows Lenovo to deliver on its promise to build systems that will help business owners work remotely. The laptop starts at $1,399 when it goes on sale later this year.

In addition to the Nano, Lenovo also announced pricing and preorder availability of the ThinkPad X1 Fold — a foldable laptop with an immersive screen. The Windows 10 foldable PC will be available starting at $2,499. The Fold can be configured with optional 5G connectivity, and optional accessories to complement the laptop include a Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard, Mod Pen, and Easel Stand. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is now available for preorder, if you want to be the first on the block with the innovative form factor.

ThinkBooks designed for remote work

If you don’t need all the premium styling and functionality from the ThinkPad range, Lenovo’s latest ThinkBook refresh is a great alternative that just got even more powerful, thanks to the latest Intel 11th-gen and AMD Ryzen mobile processors. The lineup features modern styling and professional colors that are suitable for small and medium business owners, along with features like narrow bezels, near-instant wake times, and even integrated wireless earbuds on the ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 i model, for instant collaboration and video conferencing calls.

If you find yourself still traveling, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i should be on your short list of laptops to consider. With its Intel Evo certification — formerly known as Project Athena — the $839 second-gen ThinkBook 13s is targeted at consistent performance, meeting Intel’s requirements for instant wake time from sleep to help you get working faster, and all-day battery life and fast charging all in a thin, light, and travel-ready package. It boasts a traditional clamshell form factor, though the screen can lay fully flat for collaborating

There’s an Intel Tiger Lake Core i7 processor under the hood, and you’re getting Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, plus PCIe Gen 4 storage. The laptop comes with a 13.3-inch WQXGA screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 90% screen-to-body ratio. Adaptive microphones with smart tuning help deliver the best meeting experience.

And for those who appreciate the flexibility of a tablet, Lenovo’s $879 ThinkBook 14s Yoga i comes with the company’s signature 360-degree Yoga hinge, allowing the laptop to easily convert between different use modes. It comes with a Smart Pen that syncs with the device, and like the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i, is powered by Intel’s 11th-gen Core processors.

The ThinkPad 15 Gen 2 i is a laptop with integrated earbuds. Seriously!

If you prefer a big screen for multitasking, the $569 ThinkPad 15 Gen 2 i boasts a large 15-inch panel. The most innovative and unusual feature of this laptop is the integrated noise-canceling wireless earbuds. The buds come with their own storage and charging bay on the right side of the laptop. By not having to rely on the laptop’s integrated speakers, this will allow traveling business owners to readily place and take video calls anywhere and not have to worry about privacy for audio.

The ThinkPad 15 Gen 2 i is powered by up to an Intel 11th-Gen Core i7 processor and optional Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics.  The laptop can also accommodate two storage drives for added flexibility.

What if you want an AMD Ryzen laptop?

If you prefer AMD over Intel, Lenovo has a number of options for you in its ThinkBook lineup. The company’s ThinkBook 15 Gen 2, ThinkBook 14 Gen 2, ThinkBook 13 Gen 2, ThinkBook 14s, and ThinkBook 13s can be configured with various AMD processors. The $549 ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 AMD and $729 13s Gen 2 AMD both feature AMD Ryzen 4000 Mobile processors, while the ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 and 14s Gen 2 will be available with either Intel or AMD silicon under the hood — Lenovo did not specify if these AMD processors are from the Ryzen 4000 family, however. The ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 with Intel processor starts at $569, while the ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 AMD starts at $549.

For those who need discrete graphics, the $939 ThinkBook 15p i features Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with a Pantone X-Rite panel for color accurate work. And finally, Lenovo is also refreshing its ThinkPad E14 and E15 Gen 2 models by upgrading those laptops with 11th-Gen Intel Core processors. Both models start at $699.

And there’s something for your head of IT, too

Lenovo is also introducing a new Device Intelligence software-as-a-service offering that uses a machine learning approach to proactively monitor and diagnose a fleet of hardware. The company claimed that its algorithm was able to predict blue-screen shutdown cases 85% of the time with its proactive approach. The tool is designed to reclaim lost productivity due to device failure, for instance, and help IT administrators quickly address problems, sometimes even before hardware issues even arise.

Pricing and availability

All of Lenovo’s laptops will be available starting October, save for the ThinkBook 14s Yoga, ThinkPad E14, and ThinkPad E15. These three models will be coming in November. The company also announced a new ThinkVision T27hv-20 monitor that’s designed for video conferencing when working from home.

The 27-inch 1440p monitor comes with an integrated 1080p webcam with IR sensor along with a handle to easily adjust the camera angle, a Smart Traffic Light to warn nearby family members you’re live on a call, and single USB-C cable connectivity. The panel retails for $549 and will be available in December and will compete with rival HP’s conferencing monitors.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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