Lenovo: Does it have the design chops?

Lenovo: Does it have the design chops?

Summary: Lenovo announced plans to enter the consumer market Thursday with a line of laptops that incorporate some interesting features--bezel-less screens, face recognition and linen texture lids. Will those design additions be enough to make a dent in the consumer market?


Lenovo announced plans to enter the consumer market Thursday with a line of laptops that incorporate some interesting features--bezel-less screens, face recognition and linen texture lids. Will those design additions be enough to make a dent in the consumer market?

The jury is still out on that one folks. Lenovo has three consumer IdeaPad laptops: 15.4-inch, 17-inch and 11-inch models. With the launch Lenovo has shown some flair for design (gallery right), but the consumer bar is high. And Lenovo is late to the consumer game.

For instance, after viewing these IdeaPads I had the following reaction:

  • The red one mimics Dell;
  • None of these laptops can hang with Apple on design;
  • These laptops will never get shelf space against HP.

The latter point is really clear--IdeaPad notebooks will be available online at stores like Best Buy, but not in physical stores. That's huge given the retail store is where the consumer gets hooked on a laptop via good design.

The features and designs on Lenovo's laptops are just fine, but there's nothing earth shattering. If Lenovo is going to make a splash in the consumer market it's going to need more than just fine.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Lenovo, Mobility

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  • IBM was never known for appealling notebook

    When Lenovo laptops were IBM laptops, they were known for robustness and the management software in it, not design style.

    Personally IBM's design is on par with Dell's design at the time. Quality-wise is better. Overall feeling it is more dull and lack the "trackpad" feature which I like.

    I think Lenovo should concentrate on maintaining the robustness and quality of their notebook. That is what I would buy Lenovo for.
    • In terms of style (and rebustness), I've always liked the thinkpad best. NT

      No text
      • Thinkpads rule

        I have found over many years that IBM thinkpads are the best for the professional Comms person, robust and reliable, i still use my A31 as a console and laptop after 6 troublefree years, the new lenovo T61 so far hasn't let me down either but i've only had it 2 months

        Comms engineer for 25+ years
        I also still have a Dulmont Magnum (australian designed and built Laptop Circa 1983)
        • Dulmont Magnum

          Hello, Kevin!

          You still have laptop Dulmont Magnum?
  • RE: Lenovo

    Only marketing folk are going to give their machines a no-go on design. A reasonably serious user is going to look at features and price. They make a really solid, competitively priced machine. It's pitiful bordering on idiotic that companies won't give shelf space to a respectable product. Another classic case of the american preference of style over substance.
  • I hope the quality is there...

    I've become concerned about ThinkPads. Starting with the T60, we've seen all sorts of hardware issues. Bad RAM, bad motherboards, hard drives, etc... All at a higher rate than the T43.

    And getting parts? It took me 60+ days to get a replacement port replicator that was dead within a few days of use.

    The on-site service sla of next-business-day is hardly ever being met. Every service visit seems to be delayed for parts hold.

    I like ThinkPad designs, but the implementation is giving me pause these days...
    • Here's what ya do...

      Buy IBM "certified used" equipment, you can find it on their web site. I've bought 3 laptops that way, at very reasonable prices. Haven't had any problems with any of them yet.
      • Not gonna happen

        I'm talking corporate environment here.
        • In that case...

          You are probably doing enough volume to have some clout? I would think you have the proverbial "throat to choke" who oughta be responding with some action, if you are screaming loud enough.
          • Clout doesn't fix laptops or make parts available

            I'm not sure clout even has an effect on Lenovo to be honest.
  • You've been swallowing Apple's "design" koolaid

    Who gives a rat's patootie about design? What do you want Lenovo to do, use some of that there aluminum stuff from the whattayoucallit, the space age? Wow - now that would be impressive. Like every morning in my aluminum shower stall.

    How about some good old fashioned FUNCTIONALITY?!
    • Think ThinkPad

      ThinkPad's have the best keyboard and great hinges. They have a cooling system that's quiet and works. They have the smartest battery recharging, although the default is dumb. Lenovo should think weight, strength, and function. People paying two grand for a laptop, do NOT want a red one.
    • 100% of humanity

      gives a rat's patootie about design. Even you. You just pretend you don't because the
      computers you pick look like crap.

      But I'll call you a liar to your face if you try to tell me you don't care how your car,
      house, furniture, TV, stereo, etc. look.
      • Make that 99.9999...9%

        You can subtract 1 person (i.e. me) from the list of people who care about how my laptop looks. Yup, I do care how my car looks, but not my laptop. Could be just me but obviously your statement that 100% cares is in error.
      • So what color will your plane be...

        ... when you buy the ticket to fly out here?
    • Functionality

      is why I use a Mac. The fact that its design is superb is a secondary
      • same here...

        nobody else is even smart enough to use two-finger scrolling in their track pads, or
        decent trackpads, for that matter. What's the deal with that?
    • Design vs Functionality

      Seems to be a misperception of the meaning of design. Function is one of the greatest parts of design. And "functionality" is not old fashioned. It is an integral part of good design. Good design takes into consideration the person who's using the machine which is why there's often a difference between the look and feel of a business machine vs a home machine.
  • Needs to look at RIM

    For the consumer market where it's mostly style over substance, it'll be tough to hang with sleeker looking models from Apple, Dell, etc. You can cram as many features as you want into a high quality laptop, but if it doesn't look good the average joe probably isn't going to go for it.

    On the flip-side you can even have amazing-looking laptops like Asus does (arguably the best-looking laptops as a whole, especially in the budget-consumer category) but if you don't have the brand recognition people won't go for it either. I don't want to see Lenovo bastardize the Thinkpad name, but if they want to make a serious push they need to do some promotion of either the Lenovo or Thinkpad brand as a whole. Maybe look at what RIM has done to push the Blackberry brand (which has a similar level of respect as the Thinkpad in corporate circles) out to broader mainstream consumer awareness.
  • RE: Lenovo: Does it have the design chops?

    If I want pretty, I go Apple...
    If I want cheap, I go Dell...
    If I buy retail, HP, maybe...

    What Do I buy if I want a machine that just works, no flashing lights, no bells, no whistles...

    "No one ever got fired going blue!" (with a red tint, granted, but blue inside)