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Lenovo’s Latest ThinkPads Aim to Ease Online Collaboration

Announced today at CES 2021, the four laptops and 2-in-1s, which include the thinnest ThinkPad ever made (pictured), come with Dolby video, audio, and voice features for better videoconferencing, plus 5G-ready options. By Rich Freeman

Lenovo has introduced new ThinkPad laptops and 2-in-1s optimized for a “work from anywhere” generation of knowledge workers logging long hours in videoconferences.

“To have the best audio and camera functionality, to have the best screen functionality, and to really give the user experience an increased importance is going to be, I think, even more important as we go forward,” says Rob Cato, vice president of North American channel for Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group.

All four new ThinkPads debuted on the opening day of this year’s CES conference, which is taking place online through Thursday. They include the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, which at 11mm in height is the thinnest ThinkPad ever made. Housed in a titanium case, the 13.5-inch convertible features Dolby Vision HDR support and a Dolby Atmos speaker system, for sharper sound and visuals during online meetings. It will be available for ordering later this month at prices that will start at $1,899.

Also due this month is the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, a 12.3-inch laptop/tablet with a backlit folio keyboard and support for an optional Lenovo Precision Pen or Lenovo Digital Pen. Prices, Lenovo says, are expected to begin at $1,149.

Due next month are the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 clamshell and ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 convertible, both of which come not only with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos speakers but also Dolby Voice technology designed to provide clearer audio that sounds more natural and reduces listener fatigue. The voice system also includes “dynamic leveling” functionality that automatically adjusts for speakers who are quieter or further away, and a noise suppression component designed to reduce background noise and echoes.

Both devices feature 16:10 displays. Pricing on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is expected to start at $1,429. Pricing on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 is expected to begin at $1,569.

Several features shared across the latest crop of ThinkPads, such as enhanced battery life and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, further reflect Lenovo’s emphasis on work-from-anywhere computing and video collaboration. In addition to LTE connectivity, moreover, all four products offer 5G-ready SKUs. Cato expects 5G support to be a priority this year among PC buyers eager to capitalize on 5G’s accelerated speed once service becomes available to them. 

“Buying one that’s 5G-ready, even though maybe in my area I don’t have the infrastructure around 5G, is still going to be very important,” he says.

Several new ThinkPad models also come with blue light reduction technology designed to reduce eye strain.

Security features in the new ThinkPads include “Human Presence Detection” that enables zero-touch login through Windows Hello and also locks devices automatically when users walk away. An optional PrivacyGuard display reduces vulnerability to prying eyes. A PrivacyAlert feature warns users of potential “shoulder surfers.”

In a further reflection of Lenovo’s increased focus on the needs of remote workers, the company also showcased forthcoming ThinkPad Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C Smart Docks at CES today. The new peripherals are engineered to detect, download, and install firmware updates silently. They also provide remote capabilities for updates, device management, and port status monitoring without interrupting users, and without the need for a PC to be connected.

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