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Lenovo Unveils Sandy Bridge ThinkPads

The six business PCs feature longer battery life, improved performance management, video and voice calling features, and Intel's second-generation Core processors.

Lenovo ThinkPad T420 & T420s
(click image for larger view)
Lenovo ThinkPad T420 & T420s

Lenovo has introduced a half-dozen ThinkPads that offer the computer maker's latest business technology, including video and voice calling features and improved power and performance management.

The latest laptops, launched Tuesday, include the thin T420s that weighs less than four pounds and the T420, which gets up to 30 hours of battery life using Lenovo's extended battery. Other systems include the W520 mobile workstation, which has twice the performance of its predecessor. The remaining models are the T520, L420, and L520. The L Series is Lenovo's mainstream business laptop.

The latest ThinkPads bring new features to business customers by leveraging technology in Intel's second-generation Core processors, codenamed Sandy Bridge. Shipments of Sandy Bridge processors were halted in late January due to faulty chipsets, but replacements were expected to ship this week. Intel's Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 increases processor speed automatically when handling heavy workloads, such as video editing, data analysis, and 3D applications, while also reducing power to non-essential hardware. Lenovo has added technology that keeps processor temperatures down, enabling the chip to run longer at higher speeds.

The ThinkPad T420 and T420s get up to 15 and 10 hours, respectively, of battery life, when a six-cell battery is used. A nine-cell battery available for the T420 can extend the battery life to up to 30 hours, Lenovo says. The T and W Series laptops are the first Lenovo business laptops to include Nvidia Optimus automatic graphic switching technology, which also helps in lowering power consumption. The technology switches between integrated graphics and a graphics card, depending on application requirements, to extend battery life.

For video and voice calling, all the new laptops include private chat and conference call microphone modes, with either available through a mouse click. The private chat mode uses noise canceling technology to better focus on a single voice, while the conference call setting can capture audio from anywhere around the laptop for conversations involving multiple users.

Enterprise design features include the ability for the T, W, and L Series to share the same docking station. In addition, all the laptops use the same basic battery. Lenovo also offers as options multiple layers of security throughout the hardware, software, BIOS, as well as encrypted hard drives with remote management support, such as the ability to disable lost or stolen systems. Lenovo includes with each of the laptops its Enhanced Experienced 2.0 software for Windows 7 that can shave 20 seconds off the boot time

The new systems are scheduled to be available in March. Pricing for the T420s, T420, T520, L420, L520, and W520 starts at $1,329, $779, $909, $719, $719, and $1329, respectively.

The ThinkPad line of laptops is Lenovo's most popular product in the United States. The Chinese company is the world's fourth largest computer maker, and acquired the line in 2004 from IBM in a deal worth $1.75 billion.

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