Lenovo revamps business ThinkPad, desktop PC lineups

The new systems, many using Intel's new Skylake processors, will ship in the fourth quarter with starting prices as low as $449.


With its profits dropping, thanks in no small part to declining PC sales, Lenovo hopes to deliver some good news with a freshly revamped lineup of business computers, both desktops and laptops, that it's just announced. Sexy new features are in short supply, but designs have been tweaked and specs updated to the latest and greatest, including the use of Intel's new Skylake processors.

The popular ThinkPad laptops get an E Series refresh, with a pair of AMD-based models (the 14-inch E465 and the 15.6-inch E565) and a duo that are Skylake powered (the 14-inch E460 and the 15.6-inch E560). All include an option for AMD Radeon discrete graphics and a choice of Windows 10 or Windows 7. The larger models include a numeric keypad, and the E560 can come equipped with Intel's RealSense 3D camera. Another option for the new ThinkPad E notebooks is a fingerprint sensor for added security, and Lenovo has built the laptops in an environmentally friendly manner, earning Energy Star 6.1 and EPEAT Gold certifications.

There are also several new non-ThinkPad portables being rolled out. The M41 is a thin-and-light (4 pounds) model with a 14-inch screen that's available in up to 1,920x1,080 (full HD) resolution. You can load it with an Intel Core i7 Skylake CPU, AMD Radeon R7 discrete graphics, and up to 16GB of RAM. Like the ThinkPad E laptops, the M41 has an optional fingerprint sensor and comes standard with a Kensington lock.

The 14-inch E41 and 15.6-inch E51 are larger machines thanks in part to an optical drive, standard on the E41 and optional on the E51. The fingerprint sensor is also standard equipment on the E41, but just an option for the E51. Finally, the 14-inch B41 and 15.6-inch B51 are budget-priced, general-purpose notebooks that offer an optical drive and fingerprint sensor as options. One thing to note about the E51 is the lengthy list of pre-installed apps; though ostensibly part of its "productivity" appeal, you may recall the issues from earlier this year surrounding Lenovo and "crapware" loaded on its systems.

In terms of desktops, the updated S family runs the gamut from all-in-one (AIO) PCs to towers in traditional and small form factors, all of which feature "smart USB protection" that restricts access to ports beyond keyboard and mouse inputs and Lenovo Bluetooth Lock that will automatically lock the computer when someone walks away from it. The AIOs run from 19.5-inch (S200z) to 21.5-inch (S400z and S405z) to 23-inch (S500z) versions. The S400z and S500z both offer Skylake processors, and while the S200z only provides a choice of either a Pentium or Celeron, it does include a built-in carrying handle.

The S200 is a traditional desktop tower with built-in Wi-Fi, but despite its larger footprint, it only comes with a processor choice of an Intel dual-core Celeron N3050 or quad-core Pentium, both Braswell-based systems on a chip. Ironically, you'll get better options for increased performance from the S500 small form factor PC (pictured above), which Lenovo claims is 26 percent smaller than the competition (though who knows how it came up with that percentage). In addition to Celeron and Pentium CPU choices, you can also configure the S500 with a Broadwell Core i3, i5, or i7 chip.

Though all the new systems will be shipping in the fourth quarter, only the ThinkPads have more specifics regarding availability -- November -- and pricing. The E460 and E465 will start from $549 and $449, while the E560 and E565 will be priced from $549 and $479, respectively.