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 find themselves juggling work and home life, potentially both in an office and at home. Lenovo’s next pile of laptops aimed at these power users comes with a slew of features that it claims will help you show your best side when you’re collaborating, even if it requires a chunkier notch for your display’s top bezel.
The new ThinkPads’ Communications Bar
All of Lenovo’s new ThinkPads have what Lenovo is calling a Communications Bar, which is really just a chunky notch on the screen’s top border. In the three upcoming ThinkPad X1 laptops announced today, the notch allows for four microphones, plus a powerful webcam packing a larger-than-average camera sensor for a laptop at 1.4 µm. 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 tell if you’re sitting in front of the PC. That way, the laptop knows if it should wake up or go dim when you look away, which saves battery and protects privacy. Lenovo even claims you can wear a face mask and use the feature.
The notch is also supposed 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 start rolling out in March. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 starts at $1,639, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 will start at $1,659 and the ThinkPad Yoga Gen 7 at $1,749. All three have up to 14 CPU cores, courtesy of Intel’s 12th-gen 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 screen with up to 3840 x 2400 resolution and the option for OLED or IPS. Redesigned keycaps are meant to allow for more air intake to keep the device cool and spill-resistant. It comes with up to a 12th-gen Intel U- or P-series CPU and has a starting weight of 2.48 pounds.
The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 is a lighter, smaller option, with a starting weight of 2.13 lbs. Its 13-inch screen is limited to 2160 x 1350 resolution and 450 nits brightness. Lenovo opted for up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 P28-series processor with 14 cores here.
As denoted by Lenovo’s use of the name “Yoga,” the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is the only convertible ThinkPad announced today.
This is the heaviest in the bunch, with a starting weight of 3 pounds. The 2-in-1’s 14-inch screen can go up to a 3840 x 2400 OLED panel. Lenovo said it will make the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 available with up to Core i7 U15 and P28-series processors.
ThinkPad Z16 and Z13
As opposed to what we would’ve seen years ago, the priciest ThinkPads Lenovo announced this week run AMD, not Intel. Using AMD’s Ryzen 6000 mobile CPUs, these thin-and-lights can boast AMD features, like SmartShift Max (an update to SmartShift announced this week that shifts power between the CPU and graphics based on the workload) and SmartShift Eco (for battery efficiency). Arriving in May, the Z16 will start at $2,099 and the Z13 at $1,549.
Similarly to the Dell XPS 13 Plus announced this week, the ThinkPad Z16 and Z13 will use a glass touchpad with haptic feedback within an all-glass palm rest. Lenovo even made a Communications QuickMenu that pulls up when double-tapping the touchpad to bring up settings for all that lives in the so-called Communications Bar.