TechSummit Rewind 137: Lenovo at CES 2017

This is a special edition of the TechSummit Rewind, focusing on Lenovo at CES 2017.

Smart devices

lenovo-smart-assistant

Lenovo is branching away from its niche of mobile devices into the smart home space with the Smart Assistant. Basically, it’s a speaker that brings Alexa in a smaller, rounder, and more colorful package. It’s available in basic and premium models, with the latter offering Harman Kardon audio enhancements for $180 (the basic model will set you back $130).

The basic model is white, with interchangeable bottom covers in grey, brown, and teal, while the premium version only comes in black. The Smart Assistant will launch in China this March.

Smart Storage

lenovo-smart-storage-1

The company also showed off the Smart Storage connected hard drive that wirelessly backs up your mobile content and lets you access the data wherever you are.

VR

lenovo-legion-y720-5

Lenovo is taking its future in VR very seriously. The Legion Y720 gaming notebook is set to launch this coming April, and retains the look of Lenovo’s Ideapad Y-series.

The $1,399 base model comes with a 15.6-inch display and an Intel i5-7300NQ processor, with options for up to 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. You can also bump up to a 4K display, though Lenovo didn’t reveal how much that will cost. An Xbox One controller receiver is built in so you can have one less dongle, and the Y720 is the first PC to come with Dolby Atmos sound. You can also shell out extra cash for multicolor backlighting on the keyboard.

There’s also a trio of USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, and a four-cell battery that’s rated for five hours on a single charge. However, the kicker here for VR is the Entertainment Hub. Basically, it acts as a media library where you can upscale movies and games for use in VR. Once you’re strapped in, videos play in a virtual theater surrounded with empty seats.

Headset

lenovo-vr-headset

That laptop will pair great with the less than $400 VR headset Lenovo’s launching for Windows machines.

The headset will set you back less than $400 when it launches later this year, and weighs in at 350 grams on your forehead.

Beyond that, you’re looking at a pair of 1440×1440 OLED screens floating in front of your face. The main display assembly sits on a hinge that you can swing up and out of your way when you need to take a quick breather. Turn the headset around and you’ll see a dial that lets you adjust the fit with more precision than the straps you’d usually find on this sort of thing.

However, the most interesting bits might be the two cameras embedded right up front. These allow Lenovo to provide room-scale virtual experiences without making you set up Vive-style lightposts for tracking.

ThinkPad lineup

thinkpad_x270_3-0

Note: The following previously appeared in TechSummit Rewind 134.

Lenovo will be updating its line of ThinkPad laptops in 2017 with newer processors, more authentication features, and improved trackpads.

Several new laptops, including the ThinkPad X270, the ThinkPad Yoga 370, four new ThinkPad T Ultrabooks, and the ThinkPad 13, will include support for Microsoft’s Windows Precision Touchpad that launched with Windows 10.

The new ThinkPads will run on Intel’s Kaby Lake architecture, the chipmaker’s latest, and some will get authentication features like Windows Hello support. That’s mainly coming to support European customers that face stronger security requirements, according to Lenovo.

Here’s the full lineup:

  • ThinkPad X270: 12-inch display with optional touch, starting at $999, available in March
  • ThinkPad Yoga 370: Full HD 13.3-inch display, $1264, shipping in March, comes in black/white
  • ThinkPad T Ultrabook: Variety of configurations starting at $909
  • ThinkPad L: 14/15-inch display, $779/$909
  • ThinkPad 13: Aimed at small business owners/students, $674

There is also an array of new docks that support Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C. Some of the laptops also come in white (including the Yoga 370), a first for the ThinkPad lineup.

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