Monthly Archive: August, 2018

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme adds graphics chops to its top biz laptop – CNET

Lori Grunin/CNET

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme isn’t the first Lenovo with discrete graphics or even the first mainstream ThinkPad with it: the 15-inch Yoga 720 launched with an Nvidia GTX 1050 option and the T series has had an option for Nvidia’s mobile graphics solution, the MX150, for a little while. But the X1 Extreme is the first of its top-end ThinkPad X1 line of business laptops with the option to combine a GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q with the bright, wide-gamut 4K screen that debuted earlier this year.

That makes it a potentially high performer for creatives who don’t need, or want to spend the money on, Lenovo’s sibling lightweight mobile workstation the ThinkPad P1. Though the entry prices for both are close — that laptop starts at about $1,900, while the X1 Extreme starts at $1,860  — it isn’t nearly as svelte-looking and doesn’t offer the better, Dolby Vision HDR-supporting display.

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Of course, the first thing people think of for discrete GPUs is gaming, and this will probably deliver decent performance for those days when you need to kill a few hours in an airport or hotel room. However, the ThinkPad’s keyboard feels a little mushy to me for gaming if you’re not using a controller.

Heat’s a big problem with the Max-Q designs, since their fans are supposed hit a lower sound volume than their high-test alternatives. Lenovo’s addressed that by adding a heat-dissipating aluminum alloy bottom cover to its veteran X1 carbon-fiber body. Otherwise, it’s the standard X1 clamshell design.

Other specs include:

Up to 8th-generation Intel Core i7 with vPro (Core i9 starting in November)
Windows 10 Pro 
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Max-Q with 4GB GDDR5) 
Display: 15.6-inch IPS 300nits, 4K IPS touchscreen 400nits 
Up to 64GB DDR4 RAM 2,666MHz 
Storage: up to 2TB SSD, SD card slot 
Battery life: up to 15 hours 
Two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports and one HDMI 2.0 
Weight: 3.8 to 4 pounds/1.7 to 1.8 kg depending upon display
Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa support

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IFA 2018: The key announcements from summer’s biggest tech show

Check out our picks of computers for creatives.

The Lenovo Yoga Book gets a second chapter – CNET

The dual-screen laptop is an idea that comes around every few years, but never quite manages to catch on. Learning from its previous attempt, the new Lenovo Yoga Book C930 changes up the formula in a way that is at least highly novel.

We’ve seen the idea of a laptop with a second screen in place of a keyboard a few times before. There was the Acer Iconia back in 2011, the original dual-LCD Yoga Book (in both Windows and Android versions) in 2016 and earlier this year, a sneak peek at an Asus prototype called Project Precog. This overall design might even be the future of mobile phones, once foldable screens become common.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The biggest issue with previous dual-screen laptops, including the first Yoga Book, is that typing on an onscreen keyboard just doesn’t work very well for most people, especially on a large, slick glass surface with little to no tactile feedback. Even iPad onscreen typing is still considered kludgey.

For the second-gen Yoga Book, now Windows-only, Lenovo is replacing the bottom display with a touch-enabled e-ink keyboard. That means you get a more specialized input device, better finger traction on the matte screen, faster response than the previous full-color touchscreen and potentially much better battery life.

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It does mean, though, that you can’t use the bottom screen as a secondary or extended Windows display, and you lose out on some flexibility in tools and widgets that can replace the keyboard. The keyboard adds multiple language and layout support, as well as a touch pad that can pop up only when needed.

Lori Grunin/CNET Think ink 

In my brief hands-on time with a prototype of the new Yoga Book, I thought the E Ink keyboard was more responsive and easier to use than the original Yoga Book, but superfast typists may find it has trouble keeping up (this may improve in the final version). The haptic response was decent, but it’s not the same as having per-key feedback.

Of course, you can use the E Ink display as a reader, but for now it only supports PDF files, not proprietary formats like Amazon’s Kindle e-books. That feels like it’ll be a make-or-break feature to add if at all possible.

A few other tricks the new Yoga Book has up its sleeve:

A Wacom active pen with a magnetic attachment to the body
A knock-to-open hinge that pops the lid pen with a tap
Dolby Atmos support
A larger, higher-res 2,560×1,600 primary display

The new Yoga Book C930 will be offered in both Intel Core m5 and Core i5 versions, starting in October for $999 and up. International price and release details were not yet available. 

IFA 2018: The key announcements from summer’s biggest tech show

Computers for the creative class: