Lenovo has introduced a second member of its new SOHO/SME-focused Edge range, and a new family of entry-level enterprise ThinkPads — the L series.
ThinkPad Edge 15"
The 13.3in. ThinkPad Edge, which we reviewed back in January, marked a departure from the 'classic' ThinkPad design, by introducing a choice of red and black livery (in glossy or matte finish), a modern (spill-resistant) 'chiclet'-style keyboard and support for Intel or AMD processors. Our reviewer's main criticism with the Edge 13" was the lack of an optical drive (omitted for cost rather than engineering reasons according to Lenovo) — something that's rectified in the new Edge 15".
The ThinkPad Edge 15" has an updated design and lacks the docking options of 'classic' enterprise-focused ThinkPads.
The 2.49kg (with 4-cell battery) Edge 15" offers Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Celeron processors, with either integrated Intel graphics or a discrete ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5145 (512MB) GPU. Battery life is quoted at 3 hours for the 4-cell, 4.5 hours for the 6-cell and 8 hours for the 6-cell unit.
Pricing for the ThinkPad Edge 15", which includes an optical drive, will start at around £474 (ex. VAT).
The 15.6in. LED-backlit screen lacks the glossy surface of many out-and-out consumer notebooks, but has a movie-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio (1,366 x 768 pixels); there's also an HDMI port to complement the standard VGA connector. Wi-Fi (802.11n) comes as standard, with integrated mobile broadband an option. As well as a large multi-touch touchpad, you get the trademark red trackpoint.
Lenovo claims that the Edge 15" offers fast Windows 7 bootup and shutdown times and improved VoIP and video conferencing perfomance, thanks in part to a 2.0-megapixel webcam with enhanced low-light performance. The company's ThinkVantage user support technologies are all present and correct, presented in an updated UI.
ThinkPad L series
Lenovo's new ThinkPad L series replaces the R series and is aimed at corporate buyers requiring lower-spec, more affordable, notebooks than the high-end T series. The design is 'classic' ThinkPad, with updated components — including Core i3 and i5 processors, 16:9 screens (14in. and 15in.), integrated Intel or discrete ATI graphics, optional mobile broadband, a multitouch touchpad and plenty of expansion ports (including four USB).
The new L-series ThinkPads retain the 'classic' design and offer docking compatibility with existing enterprise-focused models. Prices start at £650 (ex. VAT)
Although it's not claimed to be a 'ruggedised' notebook, Lenovo says the L series passes eight 'military specification' tests for resistance to heat, cold, dust, vibration, thermal shock, mechanical shock, humidity and altitude. Look out for full reviews in due course.