Just about a year ago, Lenovo introduced the ThinkPad Edge series, an updated, low-cost redesign of the ThinkPad targeted at small businesses. The 2011 updates to the ThinkPad Edge series, announced today, bring new second-generation Intel Core i processors as well as a bolder, sleeker design in the 12- and 14-inch Edge E220s and E420s.
The ThinkPad Edge E220s, perhaps the most attractive of the bunch, has an unusually sized 12.5-inch screen but dimensions and weight that more closely match an 11.6-incher. The E220s is less than an inch thick and weighs under 3.5 pounds but lacks an optical drive, while the larger-screened, 14.1-inch E420s has a slot-loading DVD drive.
Both the E220s and E420s have a smoother matte finish, metal touches on the corners, a large clickpad, and HDMI ports, as well as Dolby Home Theater audio technology and an HD Webcam. Processors will range from second-gen Intel Core i3 processors up to Core i7. The new Edge laptops also have Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0, which Lenovo claims significantly improves boot-up time.
The stylistic improvements are impressive, but come at a price: the E220s starts at $899, which puts it in a premium territory. The E420s will start at $749, but both are more expensive than last year's ThinkPad Edge laptops.
The 14- and 15-inch ThinkPad Edge 420 and 520 will offer more affordable alternatives, essentially carrying over last year's Edges with new processors and starting at $599. All new ThinkPad Edge models will be available in April.
Lenovo has also announced a successor of sorts to last year's 11.6-inch ThinkPad x100e: the ThinkPad x120e will start at under $400 and keep its 11.6-inch screen, but use AMD's new Fusion E-Series CPUs. We really liked the x100e, and all signs point to the x120e being an affordable improvement. Lenovo promises improved battery life, an HDMI port, and a release date in February.
We'll be checking out these new ThinkPads firsthand when we touch down at CES in Vegas.