It has come to my attention that the T and the R series Thinkpads, which were leaked by specs last month, have gnarly magnesium roll cages that remind me of Wolverine's reinforced adamantium skeleton. I've always been a Thinkpad fanboy. And while most of the other PC makers are handling this Santa Rosa launch with minor upgrades, I'm so glad to see the Lenovo Thinkpads are still evolving with robust engineering. These are the fastest, toughest, quietest Thinkpads ever.
The single piece roll cage under the keyboard is a single piece of metal, 3D, with mounts for the drives, motherboard, and other components, which when bolted in actually make the frame even stronger. The real genius is the replacement of the metal lid on the old Thinkpads with Plastic. Huh?
More, more, more:
There's a 3D, honeycomb sub frame below the surface, which makes the lid not only stronger, but roughly 50% more durable against uneven impacts (like a baseball hitting the back of the LCD in one point). The antenna for WiFi and WWAN is placed inside the plastic, but outside the lid cage, so reception is 2x that of the previous generation. Flexing the laptop hard resulted in minimal flex, and only a bit of protest from the optical bay. I'm tempted to make comparisons to toughbooks and other rugged notes, but I'm unqualified to do so.
Oh, I'm also happy to report that the IBM moniker, while not on the wrist rest, isn't gone as reported. The logo, which is available for Lenovo's use for five years from the purchase, is still on the lid.
The Thinkpads also have better thermal management, thanks to extremely tweakable software that shows you how much additional juice you get from turning components off, as well as better cooling hardware, along with that rollcage doing a great job of dissipating heat. And they've even gone and made the bottom a little bit more Mac-ish than the fugly old bottoms. It still has the drive head parking, which it pioneered before the Macs, and a fingerprint reader which is my preferred method of signing into Vista these days.
And they've got some 1GB of memory hanging off one of the express card controller (you'll have to sacrifice something) to be used as a disk cache. This is their alternative to using hybrid drives. They found it to be much faster than the very limited 256MB on a drive, and now you can swap in big old perpendicular drives without losing your big cache. It's called Intel Turbo Memory, and they find that it can bring a 5400RPM drive to faster then a 7200RPM drive in some cases (obviously not straight reads of uncached data.)
Some of the configs also have webcams, Blu-ray players, card readers. And they have HDD hardware encryption, 802.11n, WLAN with Cingular's HSDPA or Verizon's EVDO. (Aw, no Sprint). Both have up to Core 2 Duo (64-bit) up to 2.4 GHz, in Centrino Duo setups.
P.S. Lenovo, good job keeping your computer relatively craplet free. Sure you had lots of utility apps to power the fine Thinkpad hardware, but that's acceptable.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - May 9, 2007 - Lenovo today announced two new ThinkPad notebooks PCs - the first ThinkPad T61 14.1-inch widescreen notebook and the first ever R Series widescreen, the ThinkPad R61 14.1-inch widescreen notebook. Lenovo engineered the PCs with its latest innovations, including a new Top Cover Roll Cage for excellent durability, an improved cooling system, enhanced wireless connectivity with Ultra Connect II and longer battery life through its Battery Stretch control option. Featuring the latest Intel® Centrino® Pro and Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology, the ThinkPad T61 and R61 14.1-inch widescreen notebooks, respectively, offer users the strongest, coolest, quietest and best performing ThinkPad lineup yet.
Lenovo also today introduced the Lenovo 3000 N200 15.4-inch widescreen notebook offering top connectivity and graphics capabilities with the latest Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology.
"The technologies we've designed and integrated into our new ThinkPad notebook PCs demonstrate Lenovo's best engineering at work," said Peter Hortensius, senior vice president, Notebooks, Lenovo. "Improvements in durability, reliability and wireless connectivity will help to make our customer's PC experience more enjoyable and productive. With the latest Lenovo technologies, we are continuing to set the standard for innovation and reliability."
Rock Solid Reliability from Top to Bottom
Engineered with a new Top Cover Roll Cage in addition to the original hard drive magnesium roll cage, the new notebooks provide rock solid reliability with top to bottom protection. The new honeycomb-designed roll cage cushions the notebook's LCD, reinforcing the screen and helping reduce stress on the display structure and antenna. The new Top Cover Roll Cage reduces the stress on the LCD screen by 25 percent on average when the notebook is dropped compared to previous ThinkPad notebooks. Combined with features like the airbag-like sensor of Lenovo's Active Protection System and a shock-mounted hard drive, these notebooks provide the highest level of Lenovo notebook reliability and durability.
Improved Wireless for Road Warriors
Lenovo offers its best wireless performance with Ultra Connect II. This connectivity design helps reduce the effect of conductive material and LCD noise, boosting WWAN and WLAN performance and eliminating the need for external antennas. The notebooks offer several different connectivity options such as WWAN1 (on select ThinkPad T61 models) and WLAN with 802.11n technology,2 GB Ethernet LAN, Bluetooth and modem. When used with Access Connections, Ultra Connect II helps give road warriors an easy to manage wireless experience.
Cooler, Quieter System Designed by Nature
Owls are known for their silence during flight, and the unique shape of an owl's wing inspired the design behind Lenovo's improved cooling system design. The system reduces surface temperature by up to 10 percent and lowers the noise level by three decibels over previous ThinkPad notebooks, giving Lenovo its coolest and quietest notebooks yet.
Stretching Out PC Battery Life
Lenovo puts users in the driver's seat for up to 15 percent longer battery life3 with Battery Stretch. Whether it's finishing a presentation or watching the end of a DVD, Battery Stretch allows individuals to select and manage options like minimizing refresh rates and disabling radios and Bluetooth options in the Power Manager ThinkVantage Technology software to maximize their battery life.
Packed with Security and Performance
The new notebook PCs offer cutting-edge security with select models offering full disk encryption hard drives, an integrated biometric fingerprint reader and a smart card reader. Users can also opt for Intel® Turbo Memory with both notebooks and new IT management capabilities with Intel® Active Management Technology in the ThinkPad T61 14.1-inch widescreen. To enhance the multimedia experience, the notebooks offer choices of Intel integrated or NVIDIA discrete graphics and a four-in-one media card reader. Users can also opt for an integrated camera with the ThinkPad R61 14.1-inch widescreen notebook.
Lenovo 3000 N200: Another Smart Choice for Doing Business
Lenovo gives customers another smart choice for doing business with the Lenovo 3000 N200 15.4-inch widescreen notebook. This notebook features leading technology in a thin and light form all at a good value. With today's always-connected environment in mind, the notebook offers WLAN with 802.11n technology, 10/100 Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity options. Integrated fingerprint readers help individuals manage their passwords and information. And to help lower the total cost of PC ownership, Lenovo Care Tools help manage IT tasks with automatic updates, one-button system recovery and simple network connectivity.
Choices of Intel integrated graphics or NVIDIA discrete graphics combined with options like an integrated camera and microphone, a five-in-one multicard reader and Vibrant View display add up to an excellent multimedia experience.
Pricing and Availability4
The ThinkPad T61 and R61 14.1-inch notebooks start at approximately $1,399 and $1,249, respectively, and will be available in mid-May.
The Lenovo 3000 N200 15.4-inch widescreen notebook starts at approximately $1,099 and will be available at the end of May. All three notebooks will be available through Lenovo Business Partners and online at www.lenovo.com