For larger laptops, CES 2011 seems to be more about gradual improvements than whole-scale innovation. Lenovo's newly-announced IdeaPad lineup updates seem to confirm this theory quite well: better processors, improved graphics, and Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0, an engineering tweak that Lenovo promises will offer extremely fast boot times. Though it can be pretty difficult to suss the differences out among the various lines of IdeaPads, we'll give you a rundown.
The IdeaPad Y570 and Y470 lead the pack, with second-generation Intel Core processors, and GPU options including Nvidia's new GeForce GT555 switchable graphics. These laptops have 15.6- and 14-inch screens, up to 8GB DDR3 RAM, hard drives up to 1TB, and up to 64GB of SSD storage assisting the rapid-booting process. Multimedia features include Blu-ray drives and JBL speakers. The new Y series laptops also have a metallic finish and improved keyboards. The Y570d has Nvidia 3D Vision, and is an update to the Y560 we reviewed last fall, but it still uses polarized glasses instead of active-shutter glasses. CPU options range from a second-generation Intel Core i3-2310M up to a second-generation Intel Core i7-2620M. The Y series starts at $899, and will be available in May.
The affordable G series has expanded to 14-, 15-, and 17-inch models. The IdeaPad G770, G570, G470, G575, and G475 use AMD graphics, topping off at the AMD Radeon 6370M (6650M on the 17-inch G770), and comes in AMD and Intel flavors: up to a Core i7 or an AMD Fusion Brazos processor. Hard drives cap at 750GB, and DDR3 RAM at 8GB.
The IdeaPad Z570, Z470, and Z370 laptops "are designed for consumers who desire a PC with features that can keep up with their exciting lifestyle," and come in fuschia, sky blue, and dark brown colors. Launched last summer, they slot between the G and Y series as midrange laptops. Optional Blu-ray drives and Dolby advanced audio lend the machine some entertainment-friendly appeal. 1,366x768 resolution displays, Nvidia GeForce graphics up to 2GB 525M, a maximum 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and up to 1TB 7,200rpm hard drives round out the package. Processor options range from a 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2310M to a Core i5-2520M.
The IdeaPad V series is a small business-oriented laptop line with sharp edges and aluminum touches. The V570, V470, and V370 are 13.3-inch to 15.6-inch laptops with 1,366x768-pixel displays, second-generation Intel Core processors up to Core i7, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and up to 1TB hard drives. The Z series updates start at $599 and will be available in April.
Finally, the IdeaPad B570 and B470 are a new line, targeted for "use at the office or while relaxing at home." To that end, they're a bit of a hybrid design between small business and consumer, with most of the same specs (second generation Intel Core processors, Lenovo Enhanced Experience) as the other laptops. The B series starts at $499 and will be available in April as well.
Editors' take: Expect a ton of Sandy Bridge Intel Core i-series laptop updates all over CES; this is Lenovo's batch of updates, and the lines all seem too similar to one another to really discern differences. Too many letter lines, too much confusion: for 2012, our IdeaPad wish is for line simplification.