Lenovo lines up the ThinkPad Stack for modular PC add-ons

Add an access point or extra hard drive with these new mix-and-match add-on boxes.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

As laptops have gotten smaller, features have been stripped out and some capabilities have been diminished, so your super-slim PC may very well have tinny speakers, a too-small hard drive and limited ports.

Lenovo aims to correct that with its new ThinkPad Stack system, a series of boxy accessories that slot together and offer expanded capabilities for your laptop. These small boxes, each about the size of a portable hard drive, are designed to nestle on top of each other, allowing you to add just the features you need, while maintaining a small desktop footprint.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The initial run of Stack devices include a Bluetooth speaker, a power bank for extra battery life, an access point for sharing your Wi-Fi signal and a 1TB external hard drive. An interlocking pin design passes both power and data through the Stack devices you have set up, so you won't end up with a massive tangle of extra cords.

Lenovo ThinkPad Stack at CES 2015 (pictures)

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Connecting via micro-USB 3.0 or Bluetooth, the Stack series can technically be used with any laptop, but the basic black design is clearly made to complement Lenovo's line of minimalist ThinkPad laptops. The devices are each about 5.5 inches by 3 inches (14 cm by 8 cm), and carrying all four available devices will only add a bit under 2 pounds (around 900g) to your travel bag.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The Bluetooth speaker will be $89, the power bank will be $49, the wireless access point and 1TB HDD will be sold together for $199, and all the Stack accessories are coming to the US in April. Price and availability information outside the US is not yet available, but the US prices convert to around £60, £30 and £130 or AU$110, AU$60 and AU$245.