Lenovo launches ThinkPad Helix for business, Vibe smartphones

Summary:Lenovo dishes out the goods at IFA 2014, including two high-end smartphones (that probably won't make it to the U.S.) and a business-focused convertibles.

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Image: CNET

Lenovo on Wednesday announced the latest in its business device range: the ThinkPad Helix, designed squarely with the enterprise market in mind.

At the annual IFA 2014 tradeshow in Berlin, Germany, the Chinese electronics giant also announced two new smartphones: the Vibe X2, dubbed the world's first "layered" smartphone; and the Vibe Z2, the company's first 64-bit smartphone.

First and foremost, the ThinkPad Helix lands in as the company's flagship enterprise device of the year. Weighing in at 2.98 pounds and less than half-an-inch in thickness, it's lighter and slimmer — by as much as 15 percent — than its predecessor.

The ThinkPad Helix convertible 2-in-1 can snap out the display into tablet mode, or run in fully-fledged keyboard mode. Or, if you're feeling a little more adventurous, you can snap it into almost any angle you prefer. Boasting the latest Gorilla Glass, the large full high-definition (FHD) display is bright and sharp, but also strong and durable.

Lenovo executives boasted that the Helix has "no moving parts," putting it on the same desirability scale as other rival ultrabooks, like the MacBook Air.

It lands with an Intel Core M processor for better battery life, runs Windows 8.1 Pro, and comes bundled with a number of security and encryption features — a fingerprint reader, a military-grade smart card reader, and three-factor authentication.

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Image: Lenovo

The ThinkPad Helix will be available in October, with models priced at $999, with the ultrabook keyboard included. It will be made available worldwide through the company's partners.

But the star of Lenovo's line-up so far is its two new smartphones.

Calling the devices "multilayered" in its design, thanks to its gradient three-layer build, the Vibe X2 stands out from the crowd.

The smartphone lands with a MediaTEK MT6595 4G LTE True8Core processor, which is said to give the phone impressive speeds. It runs the latest Android 4.4 KitKat with Lenovo's proprietary user interface added on top. 

It has a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls (and selfies, let's face it), a 5-inch full high-definition (FHD) resolution display, and packs in 32GB of internal storage. 

The more consumer-focused Vibe Z2, however, lands in at just 7.8 millimeters in thickness, and sports a 5.5-inch high-definition display, which Lenovo says is one of the brightest and sharpest screens in the marketplace at the moment — even in direct sunlight.

Because the phone is the company's first 64-bit smartphone — the iPhone 5s was the world's first — it can run the more powerful future versions of Android. 

The Vibe Z2 lands sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and can store up to 32GB internally, and connects to most 4G LTE networks.

The Vibe X2 and Vibe Z2 will be first available in China in October, and roll out to Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in countries where Lenovo currently sells its phones. The Vibe X2 will cost $399, while the premium Vibe Z2 will land in at $429.

No word on the more developed markets, like the U.S. or Western Europe, however.

Topics: Lenovo, Laptops, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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