It’s a new year, which means it’s time for laptop refreshes. If 2022 is anything like 2021, many premium and business users will have to juggle work and personal life, possibly both in the office and at home. Lenovo’s next batch of laptops for these power users comes with a slew of features that it claims will help you show your best side when collaborating, even if it requires a bigger notch for the top edge of your screen.
The new ThinkPads communication bar
All of Lenovo’s new ThinkPads have what Lenovo calls a communication bar, which is really just a fat notch at the top edge of the screen. In the three upcoming ThinkPad X1 laptops announced today, the notch accommodates four microphones, plus a powerful webcam with a larger-than-average camera sensor for a 1.4 µm laptop. In the case of the two ThinkPad Z-series laptops announced Tuesday, there are only two microphones.
The new ThinkPad X1s can go up to a 1080p IR MIPI camera with a physical shutter and computer vision, which uses a neural processing unit to see if you’re sitting in front of the PC. That way, the laptop knows whether to wake up or dim when you look away, saving battery and protecting privacy. Lenovo even claims that you can wear a face mask and use the feature.
The notch is also said to make opening and closing the laptop easier, but Lenovo made that same promise to me with the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro, and I wasn’t impressed.
New ThinkPad X1 Laptops
Lenovo’s 2022 ThinkPad X1 laptops will be rolled out in March. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 starts at $1,639, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 starts at $1,659 and the ThinkPad Yoga Gen 7 at $1,749. All three have up to 14 CPU cores, thanks to Intel’s 12th-generation mobile CPU lineup, 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, and 2TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 has a 14-inch display with a resolution of up to 3840 x 2400 and the option for OLED or IPS. Redesigned keys allow for more air intake to keep the device cool and spill-resistant. It comes with a 12th-generation Intel U or P-series CPU and has a takeoff weight of 2.48 pounds.
The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 is a lighter, smaller option, with a starting weight of 2.13 lbs. The 13-inch screen is limited to a resolution of 2160 x 1350 and a brightness of 450 nits. Lenovo opted for a 12th generation Intel Core i7 P28 series processor with 14 cores.
As indicated by Lenovo’s use of the “Yoga” name, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is the only convertible ThinkPad announced today.
This is the heaviest of the bunch, with a takeoff weight of 3 pounds. The 14-inch screen of the 2-in-1 can go up to a 3840 x 2400 OLED panel. Lenovo said it will make the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 available with processors up to Core i7 U15 and P28 series.
ThinkPad Z16 and Z13
Contrary to what we would have seen years ago, the most expensive ThinkPads Lenovo announced this week have AMD, not Intel. Taking advantage of AMD’s Ryzen 6000 mobile CPUs, it can boast thin and light AMD features, such as SmartShift Max (an update to SmartShift announced this week that shifts power between the CPU and graphics card based on the workload) and SmartShift Eco (for battery efficiency). The Z16, which arrives in May, starts at $2,099 and the Z13 at $1,549.
Like the Dell XPS 13 Plus announced this week, the ThinkPad Z16 and Z13 will use a glass touchpad with haptic feedback in an all-glass palm rest. Lenovo even created a Communications QuickMenu that pops up when you double-tap the touchpad to reveal the settings for everything in the so-called Communications Bar.