NEW YORK - News of the super-thin Lenovo ThinkPad X1 notebook may have leaked weeks ago, but that didn't stop the company from giving a proper, enthusiastic welcome to the notebook it's calling one of its most interesting products ever.
At a dinner here for members of the press May 11, Lenovo executives showed off the X1-arguably its answer to the Apple MacBook Air-as well as a new Apple iMac competitor, the ThinkCentre Edge 91z all-in-one desktop. In both cases, Lenovo-whose secure, enterprise-geared and surprisingly rugged devices have never been accused of being sexy-paid a little more attention to the beyond-business design details and added features that make for more well-rounded machines.
"When we set out to design the X1, we wanted to create the thinnest ThinkPad we'd ever created," Dilip Bhatia, vice president of Lenovo's Think Product Group, told those assembled at the event, adding that what they were seeing was the culmination of 15 months of work. "We wanted to set a trend, a new direction, that business notebooks don't have to be boring."
For the first time on a business notebook, Lenovo included Dolby Home Theater v4 sound and other small niceties like a backlit keyboard. The business traveler can only send so many emails, Bhatia said. "At the end of the day, I want to watch a movie."
Another perk for the traveler: Starting weight for the X1 is 3.7 pounds. It also features a scratch-resistant 13.3-inch Superbright Infinity LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass (to emphasize that first point, Bhatia dragged a key across the display, to no effect), and users have a choice of 2nd-Generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors running at 2.5GHz-normally only an option in 14- and 15-inch Lenovo laptops.
"This engineering allows the ThinkPad X1 laptop to double the CPU performance and quadruple the graphics performance of the ThinkPad X301, Lenovo's previous flagship 13-inch laptop," the company said in a May 17 statement.
The X1 runs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, and includes RapidCharge technology, which enables the battery to charge up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. It also offers Intel Wireless Display technology, which lets users wirelessly stream 1080p video to a TV or projector, and secure features like Intel vPro technology and a fingerprint reader. Optional features include an external battery slice that doubles battery life to 10 hours; integrated 3G mobile broadband connectivity; and a 720p camera, high-definition microphones and advanced calling modes for conferencing over VOIP (voice over IP).
Also shiny, slim and black, Lenovo has nicknamed the all-in-one ThinkCentre Edge 91z its "Do Machine." It features a 21.5-inch high-definition LED Infinity screen, up to an Intel i7 Quad-Core processor, 8GB of DDR3 (double data rate type 3) memory and an 80GB solid-state drive, or a 1TB hard drive and optional 1GB of ATI discreet graphics.
With the Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 for Windows 7, the 91z boots 30 percent faster than other models, and RapidDrive technology on the optional solid-state drive can take 20 seconds off the boot time.
There's an optional, island-style wireless keyboard, a 2-megapixel Webcam and-as on the X1-a spill-proof keyboard. It measures 21.46 by 16.31 by 3.18 inches, and can be used on a desktop or hung on a wall. Additional options include support for HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), a Blu-ray DVD drive and streaming-video capabilities via WiFi.
The thin-and-light trend, as one Lenovo executive at the dinner noted, "is certainly here to stay."
The ThinkPad X1 will be available May 17 starting at $1,399, and the ThinkCentre 91z will follow in July, starting at $699.