Up close with Lenovo’s new ThinkPad notebooks at CES 2012

We already had a chance to poke and prod Lenovo’s clever new X1 Hybrid earlier this week, but Wednesday brought the opportunity to get some real hands-on time with these matte black beauties: The X1 Hybrid, T430u Ultrabook, and a number of new Edge models including the E130 and S430.

Despite what essentially amounts to a smartphone heart transplant, the X1 actually looks and feels precisely like the old model, which – in case you’re not acquainted – boasts remarkable thinness and rigidity. Though slightly more portly and less powerful, the $849 T430u Ultrabook is shaping up to be one of our favorites of the show. It offers two of the three factors that made us so smitten with Samsung’s Series 5: the option of conventional hard drives up to 1TB, and the option of a discrete GPU with 1GB of video RAM (this one’s an Nvidia, Samsung uses AMD). The 11.6-inch E130 might pass for a netbook at first glance, but without the power handicap: You can get them with full power Intel Core Series or AMD CPUs, and the option of discrete graphics, with a starting price of just $449. Not bad, though the tiny trackpad had us jumping to use the red track pointer instead. Finally, the S430 represents the higher end of the Edge line, almost stepping into Ultrabook territory with a depth of just 22mm. If you’re not hung up on the Ultrabook name, it offers some great perks for the extra millimetes, including optional Nvidia Optimus graphics, Thunderbolt connectivity, Dolby Home Theatre v4, and an optical drive.

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