Lenovo reveals new business laptops with hot swap battery feature
By Paul Ridden
September 2, 2013
Lenovo has taken the wraps off some new Windows 8 business class Ultrabooks ahead of an IFA 2013 debut. Though all of the new additions take advantage of the performance improvements and energy efficiency offered by Intel's Haswell processors, the new T and X Series models also feature something called Power Bridge technology that allows users to swap out the second battery without having to power down first. Lighter and thinner than previous ThinkPads, the new laptops all feature a large trackpad to support Windows 8 gesture controls, and come in both touch-enabled and non-touch display panel flavors.
The best of the two new ThinkPad T Series releases is the T440s (which has actually been sitting in Lenovo's online shop since July). With a starting weight of 3.5 lb (1.6 kg), and measuring 0.81-in (20.45-mm) at its thickest point, this model is the thinnest and lightest of all Lenovo's T Series laptops. It comes with two 3-cell batteries, one internal and the other swappable. Included Power Bridge technology means that the user can hot swap the latter with another battery pack without needing to power off which, in the case of the ThinkPad 68+ (72Wh) pack, is claimed to extend up time to much as 17 hours before the user needs to head for the nearest wall outlet.
Elsewhere, the T440s boats up to 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor configurations with integrated HD 4400 graphics, supported by as much as 12 GB of DDR3L system memory, and up to 1 TB of HDD storage or solid state options up to 512 GB. The 14-inch display is available in HD+ (1600 x 900 resolution), Full-HD and Full-HD touch IPS varieties, and there's a 720p webcam backed up by a noise-canceling dual microphone array.
Connectivity comes in the shape of three USB 3.0 ports, including one that can power connected devices, a media card reader, VGA and mini-DisplayPort, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Other options include 4G LTE WWAN technology and NFC capabilities.
It also features a full-sized, spill-resistant keyboard along with fingerprint scanner and tamper detection.
The T440s will be available from the end of October, starting at US$1,149.
The only appreciable differences between the standard T440 and its T Series sibling are processor options that only run up to Core i5, one less USB 3.0 port and the choice to include an integrated smart card reader. This model is also a little chunkier, with a starting weight of 4 lb (1.8 kg) and a thickness of 0.83 in (21 mm). The T440 has also been given an October ship date, but is a little cheaper at $899.
The rest of the Berlin bunch
The ThinkPad X240 weighs 2.94 lb (1.34 kg) and is 0.79-in (20.3 mm) thin. It's also available in configurations up to Haswell Core i7, and up to 1 TB of HDD storage (SSD is also available), though RAM tops out at 8 GB. Its 12.5-inch displays come in either HD, HD Widescreen and Full-HD non-touch, or HD Widescreen and Full HD touch-enabled versions, and there's Dolby Home Theater Advanced Audio 2. The backlit keyboard sports added Windows 8 functionality.
Buyers can choose to combine the X240's 3-cell battery with a 6-cell travel battery for over 10 hours of continued use before needing to find a wall outlet. Reported connectivity options include VGA and HDMI ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, and 3G/4G WWAN as an optional extra. This model has been earmarked for October availability, and prices start at $1,099.
The two remaining Ultrabook models announced by Lenovo are new additions to its S Series. The 14-inch ThinkPad S440 and 15-inch S540 are available as 10-point multi-touch and non-touch HD screen options, and discrete graphics with up to 2 GB of dedicated video memory. Up to 4th gen Intel Core i7 processing is available, supported by up to 1 TB of HDD or 256 GB of SSD storage. The S540 is able to house twice the DDR3L RAM of its S Series sibling at 16 GB.
The S440 benefits from a rapid charge feature that can provide its battery with up to 80 percent charge capacity in just 45 minutes. Either model can be connected to a OneLink Dock via a single cable for power and access to USB 3.0, native video, and Gigabit Ethernet ports.
At the time of writing, Lenovo hasn't revealed if the new S Series Ultrabooks will be made available in the US, saying only that the S440 is due for release this month in select markets for a starting price of €699, while the S540 breaks out in October for €649.