23 Oct 2015
The concept of the 360-degree convertible is still relatively new, and Lenovo has quickly become one of its biggest proponents. The firm's Yoga series now encompasses an array of back-flipping laptops, spanning a multitude of prices and target markets.
The Yoga 900, announced in mid-October, is very much a high-end addition to the range and UK pre-order listings price it at £1,400. To find out whether it's worth it, we went hands-on at an Intel-hosted event in London.
The Yoga 900's flexing abilities come from the 'watchband' hinge, an intricately segmented, outward-rolling mechanism first seen on 2014's Yoga 3 Pro and quite possibly an inspiration for the Microsoft Surface Book's Dynamic Fulcrum hinge.
It's surprisingly sturdy for a hinge only several millimetres thick, while enabling the screen to slip around without needing to apply much force. The screen can wobble if poked and prodded too hard, though. It's a common problem with convertibles that Lenovo has seemingly yet to solve.
Indeed, the Yoga 900 feels at its best in a standard laptop configuration. Despite slightly shallow key travel, the keyboard and trackpad are comfortable and responsive, and we've never really been fond of using a fully-rotated convertible as a handheld tablet anyway; they're just too big and heavy compared with a regular slate.
That said, the Yoga 900 is impressively slim even after managing to fit in three USB 3.0 ports and a full-size SD card reader. It's noticeably lighter and more portable than, say, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 although, unlike on that device, the keys aren't physically locked from depressing, resulting in a disconcerting amount of key-mashing when using the tablet mode.
At 3200x1800 resolution and 276ppi the Yoga 900's touchscreen is beautifully sharp, and text, images and videos all look crisp and clear. Colour balance is mostly fine as well, although blues and purples sometimes aren't as vibrant as the rest of the spectrum.
This might worry designers and artists who require full colour accuracy, but for most people the Yoga 900 is very well suited for general content viewing. That high resolution is especially impressive, as many laptops and convertibles don't even break the 200ppi mark.
Operating system and software
Lenovo will launch the Yoga 900 with Windows 10 Home, the ‘basic' version of Microsoft's latest operating system. This means that it won't benefit from the security enhancements of Windows 10 Pro, such as AppLocker and BitLocker encryption, but Windows 10 Home is still a fine fit, mainly for the Continuum feature.
This allows the Yoga 900 to switch between a traditional desktop view and a tile-based tablet view, based on whether it's in a laptop or tablet configuration. What's more, it can be set to change automatically as soon as the screen is sufficiently rotated, and seems to detect configuration changes very near instantly.
Unfortunately, Lenovo couldn't resist tossing a few of its own pre-installed programs onto the hard drive. These include dubiously useful additions like SHAREit, which is effectively just an app for emailing files, and REACHit, a fairly basic cloud storage service that doesn't offer anything that more established commercial services don't.
The model we tested included a fairly beefy Core i7-6500U from Intel's 6th-generation Skylake family. It's a dual-core chip clocked at 2.5GHz - 100MHz faster than the Broadwell Core i7-5500U it replaces - and has been partnered with 8GB of RAM.
A Samsung-built SSD supposedly provides 512GB of storage, but a quick jaunt into Windows Explorer revealed that only 400GB of a 432GB partition was free.
Hands-on events aren't great for judging capacity, as vendors will often add software and files for demo purposes even if they won't appear on the device once it hits the market. Even so, that's a solid fifth of the maximum drive capacity out of use, which is a lot for what should just be the operating system and some firmware.
Still, 400GB is quite a lot, especially for those who mostly work with small files. The speed benefits of an SDD, as opposed to an HDD, shouldn't be underestimated either.
The £1,400 remains intimidating, but the Yoga 900's sharp screen, speedy performance and skinny profile has gone a long way towards winning us over.
It's certainly a cooler, trendier alternative to the ThinkPad Yoga 12, although this comes at the cost of the latter's business focus. At best, this is a solid consumer device that might suit SMBs, but doesn't include the management and security tools of the ThinkPad series. That may prove more offputting than the cost.
05 Sep 2015
BERLIN: Lenovo unveiled its latest IdeaPad devices at IFA this week and one of the most notable was the Miix 700, an Intel Skylake-powered Microsoft Surface competitor.
Looking a little like a clone of Microsoft's tablet, the IdeaPad Miix 700 offers a Windows 10 experience in a portable form factor and with RealSense camera functionality.
We got our hands on the IdeaPad Miix 700 on the IFA show floor to see whether it is just as similar to the Surface in real life as on paper, as well as to see how well it fared in our usual initial tests. Here are our thoughts ...
The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 sports an integrated kickstand, optional keyboard cover and the same dual watchband hinges as seen on the Yoga 3 Pro, of which we are fans.
The familiarity of the Surface was evident in our hands-on. For example, the kickstand works in exactly the same way and has a similar 'full friction' feature. This allows the kickstand to move so that the tablet sits in almost any position. It rested well at any angle without slipping, even when applying pressure to the screen.
The IdeaPad Miix 700‘s metal chassis makes the device feel robust and expensive, and so it should for $700 (£450), which we might add is considerably more than the lowest priced Surface 3 ($499).
It feels around the same weight as the Surface 3, although it is a little thicker. Unfortunately, we do not have exact measurements yet but it does feel light and thin enough to carry around in a small backpack or satchel, for example. We'd say it probably weighs less than 1kg with the keyboard.
One thing we do not like, however, is the keyboard dock. It's an exact rip-off of the that seen on the Surface, and cheapens the overall look of the device. We also found that it makes it difficult to use because of the odd layout of the trackpad and cheap-feeling keys which have poor travel.
Lenovo said that the IdeaPad Miix 700 features an option for Intel's RealSense 3D cameras alongside Windows 10 for "never-before-seen PC performance" while "giving discerning shoppers multiple reasons to upgrade this holiday season". We didn't get a chance to see how well the RealSense 3D camera worked in our short hands-on, but we will give it a go in a full review soon.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 has a 12in Full HD+ 2160x1440 touchscreen display, which is quite bright and the resolution doesn't lie. Images are detailed with deep colour representation and no jagged text. It also proved very responsive to touch, in the same way as the Surface.
Performance and software
A 6th-generation Intel Core processor and up to 8GB of RAM make the IdeaPad Miix 700 quite a powerhouse for its size. It runs Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home and this seemed to run smoothly, being responsive to touch with no lag. This is thanks to the updated Intel 6th gen processor running on the latest Skylake 14nm architecture.
Skylake is the successor to the chipmaker's Broadwell architecture and is touted to deliver significant increases in performance, battery life and power efficiency. Intel's latest chipset is the first mainstream Intel desktop platform to support DDR4 memory, and is claimed to deliver 30 percent better performance than a three-year-old PC based on Ivy Bridge architecture, 20 percent better performance than a two-year-old PC (Haswell), and 10 percent better performance than a one-year-old PC (Broadwell).
Essentially, this means that devices such as the IdeaPad Miix 700 can have a smaller form factor without any decrease in speed or performance.
There's up to 256GB of SSD storage, meaning that files, photos and videos should be stored quickly.
The IdeaPad Miix 700 starts at $699 (about £450), and will be available sometime this year, Lenovo said.
LAS VEGAS: Lenovo unveiled its third-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook this week, featuring Intel's 5th-generation Core processor to bring the best possible performance for the form factor.
We got a chance to play with the device while running between the booths at CES 2015.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon looks all but identical to its 2014 predecessor, with the same black finish and red detailing.
The updated features are subtle, but very welcome. The laptop features an even thinner and lighter chassis, weighing just under 1.3kg and measuring 17.7mm thick, almost a full millimetre thinner than last year's model which measured 18.5mm.
The laptop felt especially light and thin in our hands and we can see it being ideal for travel or business trips.
Another new feature is PCIe SSD storage in a similar vein to the MacBook Air, which can take advantage of faster onboard SSD drive storage. The laptop will ship with up to 512GB drives.
The Thinkpad X1 Carbon (2015) is available in touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions. The demo unit we tried boasted a 14in, 10-point multi-touch display, with WQHD in-plane switching.
As well as being nicely responsive to touch, the new Thinkpad X1 Carbon's screen is pleasant to look at. Using the Thinkpad X1 Carbon in the brightly lit showroom floor, the ultrabook's display proved suitably bright and remained legible even when hit with stray light.
We were also impressed with its viewing angles, as text remained crisp even when viewing the screen from the side.
Colours were suitably vibrant and, while not as crisp as the Retina displays seen on Apple Macbooks, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon's screen was far better than those seen on most competing Windows 8 ultrabooks.
The laptop will be available with FHD display options.
Performance and software
Lenovo didn't go for an Intel Core M design and instead opted for the chipmaker's latest 5th-gen Core processor. The model we tested was running a Core i7 chip, and felt super fast in our initial tests.
It seemed to handle Windows 8.1 very well. There was no lag when swiping between pages, and programs popped up almost as soon as we selected them. It handled everything we threw it at with ease.
Beyond its performance-boosting powers, the real benefit of Intel's new Broadwell chip architecture is its ability to boost ultrabooks' battery lives.
Lenovo lists the Thinkpad X1 Carbon as being able to last for 10 hours of regular use from one charge, one hour more than last year's Broadwell model.
Intel's Core update packs in 35 percent more transistors than in Intel's previous 4th-generation Haswell CPU, while also shrinking die size by 37 percent, allowing for super powerful machines with form factors like the XPS 13, so expect many more like it to pop up from other OEMs later this year.
In terms of other features, there's wireless connectivity in the form of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a selection of USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI output.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon starts at $1,249 and will be available in the US from January. UK release dates are yet to be announced.
12 Sep 2014
Lenovo revealed a range of new phones, all-in-ones and business laptops at IFA in Germany earlier in September. The Chinese firm's most significant unveiling was an update to its Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, unveiled at CES in January.
Taking on the Microsoft Surface tablets and Samsung Ativ series of hybrids, the ThinkPad Helix offers businesses an all-in-one tablet that is also an ultrabook.
Design and build
The 11.6in ThinkPad Helix features a Gorilla Glass display, weighs 815g and measures just 9.6mm thick, a design that has been made possible by the featured Intel Core M processor, which Intel also announced at IFA during its press conference on Friday.
At first glance the ThinkPad Helix has a lot more in common with its ThinkPad predecessors than other convertible laptops. The product's design features the same minimalist black, hard-edged plastic design associated with all ThinkPad laptops.
It's only when you open it up and look closely that you realise that the ThinkPad Helix is actually a convertible, sporting the obvious left-hand switch that, when popped, separates the tablet section from its dock.
Playing with the ThinkPad Helix, we were fairly impressed by the hinge mechanism's build quality. Despite being made of plastic the connecting section felt sturdy.
Popping the tablet in and out of the dock a few times, we felt suitably reassured that the section wouldn't break during prolonged use. The same was true of the ThinkPad Helix main tablet section, which also seemed fairly robust.
The 11.6in ThinkPad Helix features a Gorilla Glass FHD display with a 1920x1080 resolution, 10-point multi-touch screen. During our initial tests we found the display boasts great viewing angles, colour and brightness levels.
Testing the screen we found that the ThinkPad Helix was pleasantly responsive, easily picking up and responding to every swipe and poke we threw at it.
Performance and OS
The ThinkPad Helix is designed to offer users ultrabook-level performance, with the top-end version having up to an Intel Core M processor, either 4GB or 8GB of RAM and a range of different storage options such as a 128GB SATA, 256GB SATA eDrive, 512GB PCle or 180GB to 360GB Intel hard drive.
Running Windows 8.1 Pro, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix has the same five modes as seen on the previous version and the consumer IdeaPad Yoga products, allowing users to put the device into Tablet, Stand, Tent, Laptop and Desktop modes.
In our tests the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix seemed to work flawlessly, with apps and web browser pages popping up instantly.
Our initial impressions of the ThinkPad Helix are positive, as it has some worthy upgrades from its predecessor, particularly the Intel Core M processor.
Lenovo added that the ThinkPad Helix also features better power efficiency and battery life compared with its predecessor, as well as a suite of add-on security options, including a biometric fingerprint reader, a military-grade smart card reader and three-factor authentication. We weren't able to test the improved performance or battery life on the IFA showroom floor, but check back soon for a full review.
With a hefty $999 starting price, which tops many other convertible laptop-tablet hybrids, we're not sure the ThinkPad Helix will attract a great deal of users when it is released worldwide at the start of October.
05 Sep 2014
BERLIN: Since Apple released its original iPad Mini, 8in tablets have become increasingly popular and manufacturers around the world have been releasing a steady stream of the mid-sized devices.
Key players were Samsung's Galaxy Tab S and Note ranges and Acer's latest 8in Iconia tablet, for example. Unperturbed by the strong competition, this IFA Lenovo chose to join the 8in tablet race, unveiling its first ever mid-sized Android tablet, the Tab S8.
Design and build
Unless you pick the yellow colour option, the Tab S8 is fairly unassuming, featuring a round back and sides, and barebones front that's free of noticeable design features. In fact, were it not for the Lenovo stamp emblazoned on the Tab S8, you could easily mistake this for one of Asus' or Acer's existing devices.
While some may complain about the Tab S8's unassuming design, we didn't really have too much of an issue with it. This is largely because, while not terribly ostentatious the Tab S8 ticks all the necessary design boxes. For starters, measuring in at 210x124x7.9mm and weighing 299g, the Tab S8 is suitably travel friendly and feels comfortable to use, or hold one handed.
Additionally, despite being made of plastic, the Tab S8 doesn't feel too cheap and, from what we've seen, it's reasonably well built. While we didn't get to drop test the Tab S8, its chassis did feel scratch and drop proof.
In a world where tablets regularly break the 300ppi milestone, we were a little disappointed when Lenovo announced the Tab S8 will feature an 8in 1920x1200, 283ppi in-plane switching (IPS) LCD.
However, during our hands on we found the Tab S8's display is pretty impressive, especially when you consider its $200 price tag. Using the Tab S8 on the showroom floor at IFA, while it was occasionally prone to picking up stray light, the display did perform fairly well. Colours, while not on a par with those seen on Samsung Super Amoled tablets' displays, were rich and the Tab S8 featured impressive brightness levels. Text and icons were suitably crisp and we never experienced any serious issues with the display during our hands on.
The Tab S8 runs using a customised version of Android 4.4 KitKat. We're not massive fans of Android skins as generally they don't add to the user experience, either making superfluous, or detrimental changes that make Android less user friendly and slow down future updates.
For example, in the app menu Lenovo has added a random shortcut icon. This brings up a tab on the bottom of screen with links to the tablet's main settings and theme options, all of which can also be accessed directly from the app menu.
That said, the skin is still significantly lighter than those made by some of Lenovo's competitors, such as Huawei Emotion or Samsung Touchwiz, and most Android users won't take too long to get used to it.
Unlike the majority of manufacturers, Lenovo has chosen not to use a Qualcomm snapdragon chip and has instead loaded the Tab S8 with a quad-core, 1.3GHz Intel Atom processor and 2GB of RAM.
We didn't get a chance to benchmark the Tab S8 during our hands on, but found the tablet was very fast for basic tasks. Webpages opened in seconds, even on the showroom's over-stacked WiFi the Tab S8 ran smoothly.
While we didn't get a chance to see how the Tab S8 ran when faced with more demanding tasks, such as 3D gaming, considering its use of Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics we have high hopes and are keen to see how it performs in our full review.
Tablets of all sizes are yet to really offer anything above average imaging performance when compared with their smartphone siblings and, from what we've seen, this will remain true with the Tab S8.
Testing the Tab S8's 8MP rear camera we found the device is fairly average and images, while more than good enough for sharing on social media, rapidly lost their clarity when zoomed in on. The same remained true when we took a few snaps on the Tab S8's 1.6MP front camera.
Battery and storage
We didn't get a chance to test the Tab S8's 4290mAh battery life, but even if Lenovo's projected seven-hours is true it will still be below average, with most similarly sized tablets lasting at least eight to nine hours before dying. In terms of storage the Tab S8 comes with 16GB of internal space that can fortunately be upgraded using the tablet's Micro SD slot.
The Lenovo Tab S8 will be available from the beginning of September, with prices starting at $199. While we did notice some issues during our hands on, considering its low cost and the inclusion of a powerful Intel processor, there is still plenty to like about the Tab S8 and we can see it being a popular choice for buyers on a budget.
Hopefully our positive opening impressions will ring true when we put the Lenovo Tab S8 more thoroughly through its paces in our full review later this year.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
04 Sep 2014
When Lenovo announced its desire to purchase Motorola from Google, it made it clear the move was designed to increase its global smartphone presence and let it break into the Western European market.
The Vibe X2 is the latest step in Lenovo's expansion plans and debuts a number of cutting-edge technologies designed to showcase what the Chinese firm has to offer.
Design and build
Lenovo prides itself on the Vibe X2's design, claiming it is the first "layered smartphone" in the world, and we can see why the firm is so keen to boast about it. The Vibe X2 is built from three distinct sections, each of which has a different colour and texture. These range from basic polycarbonate backplate to a more esoteric "wood" finish.
Another interesting design twist, which we sadly didn't get to test during our hands on, is the addition of "Xtensions". These are extra custom covers that add add new functions to the Vibe X2, such as improved sound quality.
Despite being composed of three layers, the Vibe X2 is reasonably thin, measuring in at 7.3mm. The 5in device is also comfortable to hold and feels fairly similar to Sony's range of straight-edged Xperia devices.
We were also reasonably impressed with the Vibe X2's build quality. It felt solid and left us fairly sure that it would survive the odd accidental bump and scrape. The rear backplate's slightly matt finish also felt suitably scratch and blemish resistant.
Display technology is an increasingly important factor for many potential buyers, so Lenovo has configured the Vibe X2 with a 5in, 1080x1920, 441ppi, in-plane switching (IPS) LCD touchscreen. Using the screen on the brightly lit showroom floor we were impressed by how well it performed. Colours on the display were rich and vibrant and the screen showed surprisingly wide viewing angles.
Unlike Motorola, Lenovo chose to tweak the Vibe X2's Android 4.4 KitKat operating system with its custom Vibe UI 2.0 skin.
The changes we noticed during our hands on were fairly unobtrusive and amounted to little more than tweaked application icons and menu layouts, but under the hood the Vibe X2 does have a few notable features, one of the most useful of which is its quick-access lock screen.
The feature is designed to let you more quickly access regularly accessed applications from the lock screen using screen taps. It lets you can activate the lock screen from sleep with one tap and access a quick menu with shortcuts to recently opened apps with a second tap. While small, we can see the feature being a selling point for business buyers who regularly have to access emails or check incoming messages on the move.
One of the Vibe X2's most interesting features is its MediaTek eight-core processor, using a mix of ARM Cortex-A17 and low-power Cortex-A7 cores. In a clear shot at Samsung, which has recently launched smartphones and tablets running on its own Exynos "octa-core" chips, Lenovo claims the MediaTek processor is the first "true" processor of this kind and, paired with 2GB of RAM, will allow the Vibe X2 to easily outperform competing handsets.
We found there could be some truth to this claim. During our hands-on, the Vibe X2 moved between windows and open applications smoothly and stutter free, and proved capable of opening multiple content-rich websites in the native browser app hassle free.
We're keento see how the Vibe X2 performs when faced with more demanding tasks, such as 3D gaming, upon its release later this year.
The Vibe X2 comes with a 13MP rear camera with a back-illuminated sensor and 5MP front camera, which we were also impressed with.
Shots taken on the Vibe X2 looked reasonably vibrant, crisp and had decent colour balance. The only possible issue we noticed was that, on a few occasions, the shutter speed was slightly slower than we'd have liked, which is odd as Lenovo claims the handset has advanced "instant-capture" capabilities.
In terms of shot modes, the unit we had featured all the staple options you'd expect, such as burst, panorama and HDR, plus a more esoteric "beauty mode". The beauty mode works the same way as the equivalent feature seen on Huawei's Ascend P7 and is meant to let users quickly remove blemishes from "selfies". But we really can't see this taking off with business users.
Battery and storage
The Lenovo Vibe X2 comes loaded with 32GB of internal space, which sadly can't be upgraded due to the device's lack of a Micro SD card slot. However, considering the number of cloud-storage services available, we can't see this being too much of an issue for many buyers.
Past this, the Vibe X2 is powered by a 2,300mAh non-removable battery, which Lenovo claims will easily last a full day's use off one charge. But we didn't get a chance to check this claim during our hands on.
Price and release date
The Vibe X2 will launch in China in September, costing $399 SIM-free. It is currently unclear if the Vibe Z2 or X2 will be released in the UK, though Lenovo has promised to make the phones "available in select regions starting in October".
While it's still unclear if the Vibe X2 will launch in the UK the device is still interesting. Featuring a unique and original design and "true" eight-core mobile processor the Vibe X2 is clear proof that Lenovo wants to establish itself as an innovator in the smartphone industry, and we'd be pleased to find out if it delivers on its promise, if and when it arrives in Europe.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
LAS VEGAS: Lenovo released the original ThinkPad X1 Carbon in 2012 and it was one of a select few unashamedly business-focused ultrabooks.
But despite being lightweight and ultra powerful, the first X1 Carbon's enterprise appeal was hampered by a few issues, chief of which were its lack of Ethernet port and slightly poor non-removable battery. Two years on Lenovo has attempted to address these flaws by releasing a brand new, Intel Haswell-powered version of the X1 Carbon.
Design and build
At first glance the 2014 X1 Carbon looks all but identical to its 2013 predecessor, featuring the same sleek black carbon fibre chassis. It's only when you get closer to the device that you realise it's slightly smaller than the 2013 X1 Carbon, measuring in at 331x226x18.5mm. By comparison the 2013 model was 331x226x21mm.
The 2014 X1 Carbon also features a slightly more impressive array of ports, with two USB 3.0 as well as a single full-size HDMI; OneLink Docking; mDP; and Native Ethernet inputs. Opening up the X1 we also noticed the newly added Adaptive Keyboard.
The Adaptive Keyboard is a capacitive strip that lies on the top of the X1 Carbon's keyboard dock. It is designed to provide users with a choice of touch shortcut keys that dynamically update depending on which application is open.
The feature was fairly useful and responsive. While playing a video file on the X1 Carbon the bar offered basic stop, start, fast forward and rewind keys, but switched to offer home, forward back and refresh keys when we opened Internet Explorer.
The 2014 X1 Carbon is available in touch and non-touch screen options. The demo unit we tried boasted a 14in, 10-point multitouch, 2560x1440 in-plane switching (IPS) display.
As well as being nicely responsive to the touch, the X1's screen was also fairly pleasant to look at. Using the X1 Carbon in the brightly lit showroom floor the ultrabook's display proved suitably bright and remained legible even when hit with stray light. We were also impressed with its viewing angles, with text remaining crisp and legible even when viewing the Carbon's screen from the side.
Colours were also suitably vibrant and, while not as crisp as the Retina displays seen on Apple MacBooks, the Carbon's screen was far better than those seen on most competing Windows 8 ultrabooks.
The X1 Carbon comes with Windows 8.1 Pro preinstalled, so the Carbon is running the latest version of Windows. While some businesses are choosing to sit on the fence with Windows 8, upgrading their systems to the more familiar desktop-focused Windows 7, we're big fans of the latest version of Microsoft's operating system (OS).
As well as featuring full legacy software support, Microsoft has also fixed a number of minor tweaks in Windows 8.1, reinstating a Start button on the Desktop menu's user interface and improving its search capability to let users search the internet as well local menus using the built-in Search setting.
Our demo unit ran using a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 Haswell processor and boasted 8GB RAM. The combination meant that for pure productivity purposes the X1 Carbon was more than powerful enough, and it opened web pages and applications seamlessly.
Sadly we didn't get a chance to properly benchmark or see how the X1 Carbon dealt with more demanding tasks such as 3D gaming or design during our hands-on. But considering its integrated Intel HD graphics we're guessing it will struggle to play most current PC games – meaning its bring your own device appeal could be limited for some users.
As a final enterprise perk, the X1 Carbon also features Intel vPro technology. VPro is a custom technology from Intel designed to protect devices from cyber attacks at a hardware level. Considering the growing number of criminals looking to target corporations, its inclusion is seriously worthwhile.
Battery and storage
Past its performance-boosting powers, the real benefit of Intel's new Haswell chip architecture is its ability to boost ultrabooks' battery lives. Intel claims that thanks to its more energy-efficient design, Haswell chips are able to offer third-generation Core processor-level performance, coupled with Atom-length battery lives. For this reason it's unsurprising that Lenovo lists the X1 Carbon as being able to last for nine hours of regular use off one charge.
We didn't get a chance to battery burn the X1 Carbon to check this, but considering the fact that the X1 Carbon's battery is non-removable it will be a serious pain for business users on the move if it doesn't live up to Lenovo's claims. Storage-wise Lenovo has stocked the X1 Carbon with a generous 512GB of internal space, which should prove more than enough for most regular users.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is confirmed to arrive later in January, priced from $1,299. While we're disappointed at the lack of a removable battery, our opening impressions of the 2014 X1 Carbon are positive. Featuring a powerful and efficient Haswell processor, vPro technology and the latest version of Windows, the X1 Carbon could be one of the most enterprise-friendly laptops available in 2014.
Check back with V3 later this month for a full review of the 2014 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
LAS VEGAS: Small form factor tablets have been increasingly popular in the technology industry. But traditionally these devices have opted to use the mobile-focused Google Android or Apple iOS operating systems, rather than Microsoft's touch-focused Windows 8.
For consumers this isn't too much of an issue as the entertainment offerings on iOS and Android are great. However, for businesses it can be a bit of a pain as neither Android or iOS were ever designed with IT managers' needs in mind.
The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 is a clear move by the Chinese PC maker to amend this problem, offering businesses full Windows 8 Pro and Microsoft Office software in a travel-friendly 8in form factor device.
Design and build
Visually the ThinkPad 8 has the barebones black design synonymous with its namesake, but it is slightly curvier than previous Lenovo tablets, boasting rounded corners and sides. The curves mean that while retaining the unashamedly corporate look of its predecessors, the ThinkPad 8 is very comfortable in hand. This is helped by its small 132x224x8.8mm dimensions.
But we did find the ThinkPad 8 far heavier than other 8in tablets, such as the 331g Apple iPad Mini. We tested the 4G model, which weighed a hefty 439g. The WiFi-only version weighs a slightly lighter 430g.
Ports-wise the ThinkPad 8 is reasonably stocked, with single micro USB 3.0, micro HDMI and micro SD inputs. These mean it should be easy for users to connect the tablet to a monitor and keyboard and turn it into a fully functioning PC.
We were also fairly impressed with the ThinkPad 8's build quality. Despite being built with plastic the ThinkPad 8 felt fairly sturdy in hand. Unlike the larger ThinkPad Tablet 2, the ThinkPad 8's back offered no flex when pressed and in general left us confident it could survive the odd accidental drop or bump.
Lenovo has loaded the ThinkPad 8 with an 8.3in 1920x1200 full HD screen, with 10 finger multitouch, and we were seriously impressed with how well it performed.
On the ultra-bright CES showroom floor, the tablet remained usable, even when hit with direct light. We also found it was wonderfully crisp and featured brilliant brightness and vibrant colour levels. In short, while we wouldn't say the ThinkPad 8's display could match the iPad Mini 2's Retina display, it is still pretty impressive.
Operating system and software
The ThinkPad 8 comes with Windows 8.1 Pro pre-installed. This is a massive plus point for businesses because, unlike Microsoft's Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro is legacy software compatible. This means as well as having the touch-focused tiled Windows 8 interface, businesses can also install and run desktop applications created for older Windows versions; Windows RT tablets by comparison can only run apps from the official Windows Marketplace.
Lenovo's also bundled the ThinkPad 8 with Microsoft Office, meaning users won't have to shell out extra cash to work on spreadsheets or Word documents using the tablet.
The ThinkPad 8 will feature an Intel Z3770 quad-core 2.4GHz Bay Trail processor with Intel HD Graphics and boast 2GB of RAM. The ThinkPad 8 was very nippy and responsive, being able to open applications and webpages in seconds, and we didn't notice any performance issues.
We didn't get a chance to benchmark the ThinkPad 8 or see how it performed with more demanding tasks, such as 3D gaming, but we'll make sure to do this in our full review.
Battery and camera
Lenovo lists the ThinkPad 8's battery as being able to last for eight hours of regular use from one charge. We didn't get a chance to test this during our hands on, but considering our experience with other Intel Bay Trail-powered devices, eight hours is believable.
The ThinkPad 8 features 2MP front and 8MP rear cameras. Testing the rear camera we found that, while better than most tablets, images taken on the ThinkPad 8 still aren't on a par with those taken on most top-end smartphones. In general we found the images we took on the showroom floor came out looking slightly overexposed and weren't quite as crisp as we'd have liked, though we were shooting in less than ideal conditions.
The ThinkPad 8 is confirmed for release in late January with pricing starting at $399. Overall our hands-on time with the tablet was positive. Coming with a powerful Intel chipset, great screen and featuring all the inherent business perks of Windows 8 Pro, the ThinkPad 8 could be the best choice for businesses on the market for a small form tablet come its release.
Make sure to check back with V3 later for a full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad 8.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson