Away from the besuited world of the ThinkPad, Lenovo lets its hair down with refreshed IdeaPad and Yoga lineups
Revolving screens, 5G, and an Alexa-based Show Mode
Lenovo's IdeaPad and Yoga lineup is aimed at the consumer and prosumer camps, which allows it greater room to experiment than would otherwise be possible with the conservative ThinkPad range. Just look at the new crop of machines announced today in advance of 2021's annual CES trade show.
Lenovo Yoga AIO 7
The Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 desktop touts a 360-degree rotating hinge, allowing the user to switch between landscape and portrait orientations with a gentle prod. This hinge also allows for the adjustment of viewing angles, and the machine's integrated 27-inch 4K display can be positioned either fully flat, or angled towards the user at a 20-degree angle.
Interestingly, Lenovo is positioning the Yoga AIO 7 as both a screen and a computer, with a planned software update to allow users to watch online TV without booting into Windows, as well as directly cast content from a smartphone. This isn't necessarily new ground (Samsung's Smart Monitor series replicates much of that functionality), but it's certainly novel to see it integrated into an all-in-one computer form factor.
Specs wise, Lenovo has hitched this machine to AMD's cart, fitting it with an eight-core Ryzen 7 4800H processor. It also comes with a discrete GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, which will come in handy for those working in creative fields, as well as those partial to high-end gaming. As you'd expect with an all-in-one, the machine comes with the usual bundled peripherals, as well as an external webcam, due to the absence of an integrated one within the screen.
There's no word on UK nor US availability just yet, but Lenovo says it will launch in "selected markets" in February with a starting price of $1,599.
Accompanying the Yoga AIO 7 are a smattering of premium IdeaPad notebooks targeted at more demanding punters.
As the name suggests, the Lenovo Ideapad 5G 14 and IdeaPad 4G LTE 14 prioritise cellular connectivity, although exacts a price from punters in the form of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8xc platform. App compatibility will be patchy, although Microsoft is inching towards releasing on-the-fly emulation for x64 apps.
Both connectivity flavours use the same 14-inch FHD IPS display, and ship with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, which cannot be upgraded. Mercifully, Lenovo opted to use standard M.2 PCIe storage, and offers tempted buyers a choice of 256GB and 512GB storage configurations. In terms of connectivity, the machine packs dual USB-C ports, as well as a lonely USB-A port.
Battery life seems promising, however, with Lenovo claiming 20 hours of continuous video playback. While it's always worth taking vendor battery benchmarks with a pinch of salt, this bodes well for long stretches of less demanding tasks, like office productivity.
For those wishing to stick to the tried-and-tested x86 world, Lenovo is proffering the IdeaPad 5i Pro and IdeaPad 5 Pro, both available in 14-inch and 16-inch variants. True to form, these machines are offered with a dizzying array of configuration options.
When it comes to the 14-inch variant, there only difference is the processor used, with the IdeaPad 5 Pro 14 opting for an AMD Ryzen chip, while the IdeaPad 5i Pro 14 has a choice of 11th-generation Intel Core processors. Besides that, it's much the same.
Storage is based on standard M.2 drives, with a choice between 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. Memory is based on standard upgradable DDR4 sticks, with a maximum of 16GB on both variants. Graphics top out at the Nvidia MX450. Both machines have the same ports: two USB-C, two USB-A, an SD slot, and HDMI port.
The 16-inch flavours show greater divergence. The AMD-based IdeaPad 5 Pro supports up to 32GB of memory (again, using standard DDR4 sticks), with an option to whack in an unspecified Nvidia RTX card. Meanwhile, the Intel variety has the same memory and graphics limitations as its smaller brethren, but includes a Thunderbolt 4 port.
Lenovo hasn't announced pricing or availability for the IdeaPad 5G, but says it will not see a North American release. The 16-inch AMD-based IdeaPad 5 Pro will hit shelves in May, with prices starting at $1,149.99. The smaller 14-inch variant will see a Europe release in March, with the cheapest configuration costing €799.00.
Curiously, Lenovo only plans to release the Intel-based IdeaPad 5i Pro in the EMEA region. The 16-inch spin will retail at €899, while the 14-inch model will cost €699. Both are expected around March.
For those partial to a bit of surveillance capitalism, all the machines listed will support Lenovo's Show Mode, which is expected to land in certain North American and European markets in Q1 2021. This feature will allow these machines to replicate the functionality of an Amazon Echo Show while not in use, letting punters probe Alexa from across the room.
Lenovo says Show Mode will trickle down to other prosumer machines in its lineup around the same time, including the Yoga Slim 9i, Yoga 9i, and Yoga 7i, provided they have an integrated far-field microphone. ®