ThinkPads get Broadwell and break the 100 million mark

thinkpad x1 carbon 4

Lenovo's well-liked ThinkPad X1 Carbon gets a 5th gen Intel chip refresh and celebrates 100 million ThinkPads sold.

Credit: Lenovo

Lenovo says it’s crossed a huge milestone with its ThinkPad line that’s impressive even if you say it without the Dr. Evil pinkie to the lips: 100 million.

That sales figure, of course, goes all the way back to 1992 and the ThinkPad 700 when Big Blue was hawking the line.

IBM, as we all know, gave up on the PC in 2004 and sold its PC division to Lenovo in a move that was first seen as prescient, but these days might be seen as trading away a graying quarterback who then goes on to win the Super Bowl the next season. Current events record Lenovo as the top PC vendor in the world, selling one out of every five PCs, while IBM has been in the doldrums for the last couple of years.

To mark the event, Lenovo said it actually pulled out ThinkPad No. 100,000,000, named it Eve and will be letting her (yes, it’s a she) Tweet throughout the year. I’m hoping to snap a selfie with Eve at CES.

Lenovo is also apparently celebrating by giving its ThinkPad lineup a refresh using Intel’s latest 5th-generation CPUs. That’s pre-announcement-speak for Broadwell, of course. 

The most notable refresh is the benchmark for most commercial Ultrabooks: the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. 

thinkpad x1 carbon 6 Lenovo

The latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon celebrates 100 million ThinkPads sold.

For the most part the ThinkPad X1 Carbon hasn’t changed much in external appearance since 2012, when it was first shipped with Intel 3rd-gen Ivy Bridge chips. The X1 Carbon saw one refresh last year with a 4th-gen Haswell Intel CPU, and now Lenovo is back with a 5th-gen Intel CPU version. Broadwell’s big promise is slightly better CPU performance, a better GPU and longer battery life, too. Lenovo says the X1 Carbon will hit 10 hours of run time on a charge.

Although it looks almost exactly the same, the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon does offer some differences. The top-end screen is still a 14-inch, 2560x1440 touch-enabled IPS panel, but the lower-resolution screen is now 1920x1080 instead of 1600x900. The keyboard is modified slightly (maybe an actual caps lock so we can scream in emails?), and an improved click pad appears as well.

Lenovo says it is now also offering a PCIe-based SSD, but we’re not clear on how that’s changed from the previous model’s M.2 SSD. I’ll let you know if I’m able to dig more info out of Lenovo during the chaos of CES.

Weight remains the same at 2.87 lbs, and Lenovo still claims the X1 Carbon is the “lightest 14-inch Ultrabook around.” The price of the X1 Carbon starts at $1,250 and moves up as you ladle on options.

thinkpad x250 2 Lenovo

The 2015 refresh of the ThinkPad X250 gets a 5th Intel CPU too.

Other ThinkPads get buff

I like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon as much as the next nerd, but others ThinkPads also get the Broadwell love—namely, the rest of the X, T, L and E series. So $1,149 ThinkPad X250? Take a 5th-gen CPU too. T450s and T450? ($1,099 and $849), you, too. Budget ThinkPad E450 and E550 (starting at $599) will offer Broadwell for you as well! Unfortunately you won’t be buying these updated ThinkPads immediately: Lenovo says it won’t have the units available until next month. Further details of any changes to these units weren’t disclosed by Lenovo before CES kicked off.

thinkpad thinkvision x24 sh02 Lenovo

The ThinkVision X24 is aimed at business customers who apparently care what a computer monitor looks like.

It’s not all about ThinkPads, either. Lenovo is also introducing the ThinkVision X24 monitor, aimed—surprisingly—at business customers who apparently don’t want their monitors to look like they came out of a 1990s movie.

The ThinkVision X24 is 7.5mm at its thinnest section and offers a 1920x1080 resolution with HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, which we’re going to assume are HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 respectively. The monitor will start at $250.

thinkpad stack sh05 Lenovo

The new ThinkPad Stack offers several Road Warrior features, including a nifty Bluetooth module that acts as a WiFi hotspot from your phone.

Mad Max: ThinkPad Stack

And just in case the road warrior doesn’t have enough crap jammed into the laptop bag, Lenovo is releasing its new ThinkPad Stack, which offers a modular approach to all the things you may or may not need.

One slice offers a 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive, another a 2-watt Bluetooth Speaker with noise-cancelling mic so you don’t have to take those VoIP meetings using the tiny laptop speakers and mic. Another slice offers a 10,000mAh charger for phones and tablets. The last slice is a hotspot access point that connects via Bluetooth to your LTE phone. 

Although full details weren’t immediately available, it sounds like you essentially connect it to any LTE phone via Bluetooth and the ThinkPad Stack acts as a WiFi acces point—perhaps without the permission of your carrier. Nothing like having AT&T or Verizon and Marriott Hotels gunning for you. The stack cleverly sticks together using magnets.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.