Lenovo, now just a few sales away from overtaking Hewlett-Packard as the global PC leader, has introduced four new convertible devices with touch-screens, designed to take advantage of the upcoming Microsoft Windows 8 and RT operating systems.
Like Windows 8, two of the new Lenovos, the the IdeaPad Yoga 13 and the ThinkPad Twist, will arrive Oct. 26. Following in December will be an IdeaPad Yoga 11 and the IdeaTab Lynx, a tablet that clicks into not just a keyboard but a realistic laptop base.
The IdeaPad Yoga 13 is a thin and lithe Ultrapad with a 13.3-inch HD+ IPS (In-Plane Switching) display with 10-point multi-touch capabilities, a 1600 by 900 resolution, the possibility of the Windows 8 Pro operating system and up to an Intel Core i7 processor. But quicker to grab attention is a hinge that enables it to bend 360 degrees, showing off arguably even greater flexibility than its name suggests.
Can't picture it? Imagine an Apple MacBook Air, but a smidge thinner—the Yoga 13 measures 0.67 inches thick and the Yoga 11 0.61 inches, to the MacBook Air's 0.68 inches—opened and then leaning back some more, until the yogic equivalent of its head touching its heels, at which point it's essentially a tablet. (After the hinge passes 180 degrees, the keyboard stops working, so there's no fear of accidental typing.)
Both Yogas also have the strength to stop midway; they can be used with the keyboard face down and the display angled back, while watching a movie, for example, or propped up tent style during a video chat.
The Yoga 13 weighs 3.4 pounds, gets seven hours of battery life on a charge, and offers up to 8GB of DDR3 (double data rate type 3) memory or a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). There's a 720pHD Webcam and a choice of Silver Gray or Clementine Orange.
The Yoga 11 is an ARM-based Windows RT notebook with an 11.6-inch HD display with a resolution of 1366 by 768 and five-point multi-touch. It can run up to an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, lasts 13 hours on a charge, weighs 2.7 pounds and offers up to 2GB of DDR3 memory and up to 64GB of eMMC storage. It also supports HD graphics, has a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) out port and a 720p HD Webcam. And again, there's the choice of gray or orange.
Next up is the ThinkPad Twist—an Ultrabook with a swivel hinge that more conventionally transitions it into a convertible tablet, where the back of the display sits on top of the keyboard. It has a 12.5-inch extra-bright HD IPS screen with a touch sensor and 350-nit Gorilla Glass, up to an Intel Core i7 processor and the Windows 8 Pro OS, and gets up to seven hours of battery life with a 30-day standby and two-second resume time.
The Twist measures 0.79 inches thick and weighs 3.48 pounds.
It comes in only Mocha Black, but there's the option of 3G in addition to WiFi and either a 320GB or 350GB hard-disk drive or a 128GB SSD. It, too, has a Webcam, as well as Dolby Home Theatre version 4 and a dual-array microphone.
Last but not least is the Lynx, which Lenovo brags is "one of the first Windows 8-based tablets with the latest dual-core Intel Atom processor." Options run up to a dual-core 1.8GHz Z2760.
With its optional base, the Lynx is a strong answer to the question of whether to buy a tablet or a laptop. Without the base, it looks like any number of slim tablets on the market, making it very truly a two-in-one offering.
As a tablet, it weighs 1.41 pounds, measures 0.37 inches thick and gets eight hours of battery life. With the base, it weighs 2.86 pounds, measures 0.74 inches and gets 16 hours of battery life, eliminating any question of leaving the power cord behind for the day.
The base also adds a full-size USB port to the deal, which makes for easy printing, among other things, but with or without it, users get Dolby Home Theatre sound, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and up to 64GB of eMMC storage that's expandable, thanks to a 32GB microSD card slot.
"We think these innovative convertibles are the best devices for a groundbreaking touch-screen experience, plus their multi-modes give people even more ways to use their PC," Peter Hortensus, senior vice president of Lenovo, said in an Oct. 9 statement.
The IdeaPad Yoga 13 will start at $1,099—and while it won't go on sale until Oct. 26, Best Buy will begin accepting preorders Oct. 12.
The IdeaPad Yoga 11 will start at $799, the ThinkPad Twist at $849, and the tablet component of the IdeaPad Lynx at $599, while the keyboard will retail for $149.