Back in Black: Meet Lenovo's New ThinkPads

Intel's Core i-series processors and auto-boot fingerprint readers are among the upgrades in the latest ThinkPads.

ThinkPad X201

Last month at CES, Lenovo did its best to shuck off its stuffy business-oriented image, announcing, among other things, a hybrid laptop/tablet "with two brains," and new ThinkPads aimed at small to medium-size businesses that, in a huge break from tradition, come in bright red or white.

This month, however, it's back to tradition, as Lenovo unveiled six new traditionally black models of its ThinkPad laptops and Think business PCs. Here's a visual tour:

ThinkPad X201

Lenovo's successor to the 18-month-old ThinkPad X200 ultraportable comes in two flavors. It's aimed at enterprise road warriors who need fast gear. The standard 3-pound X201 offers one of three processors: Core i5 (2.4GHz dual-core 520M or 2.53 dual-core 540M) or Core i7 (dual-core 2.67GHz 620M) released last month. It has a magnesium-alloy frame. The slimmer, 2.5-pound X201s comes with low-voltage Core i7 620LM or 640LM chips and sports a carbon glass fiber frame, the same as that used on Formula One race cars, says Lenovo. Customers opting for the 9-cell battery can get up to 12.2 hours of battery life on the X201s (11 hours on the X201), claims Lenovo. Lenovo also guarantees those batteries will maintain their charge capacity for three years. Starting price: $1,599 (for the X201s).

ThinkPad X201 tablet

Business-oriented tablet computers are the unglamorous cousins of devices like Apple Inc.'s coming iPad. Clad in tuxedo-black plastic, the X201 is no exception. It's aimed at field sales reps, doctors and schools (for students). The i7-620LM and 640LM processors are 32-nanometer low-voltage 'Arrandale' designs running at 2GHz and 2.13GHz, respectively. Customers can get the conventional 12-inch LED screen or a brighter, multi-touch variant that can be viewed outdoors. The X201 also comes with a 2.0 megapixel camera optimized for low light along with a noise-cancelling dual-array microphone. Weight with 4-cell battery: 3.6 pounds. Starting price: $1,549.

Fingerprint reader gets even smarter

ThinkPads have long featured fingerprint readers that help automate the process of user log-in. The 2010 version, available on the W701 and some others, is even more convenient. First, users no longer need to press the power button first -- a simple swipe of their finger can boot their ThinkPad or wake it up from sleep. Second, the reader now shows an orange light to signal when a swipe has failed. Lenovo says the enhancements should save users a few seconds of time every time they start up their ThinkPad, which can add up.

ThinkPad W701

The W701 is Lenovo's 2010 update to the monster mobile workstation, W700. The W700 also came with quad-core Intel Core i7 CPUs, but the W701 has Intel's latest and greatest: the 2 GHz 920XM model, or the 1.73 GHZ 820QM chip. This is aimed at photographers and designers, so graphics is key. It's provided by the Nvidia Quadro FX 2800M or 3800M chip. Maximum memory has been updated to 16GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM. The W701 weighs 9 pounds and starts at $2,199.

ThinkPad W701ds

What do you get the digital photographer who has everything? The W701ds would be a good start. This is the dual-screen brother of the W701, and the successor to the W700ds released a year ago. The main screen is a 17-inch WUXGA; the secondary is a pull-out 10.6-inch WXGA. The specs are otherwise mostly identical to the W701 in the previous slide. Except for two things: the price -- starting at $3,799 -- and the weight -- likely to weigh about 11 pounds, like its predecessor.

ThinkServer TS200v

With the sub-$400 TS200v, Lenovo shows how serious it is about attracting recession-hit businesses. This PC tower is aimed at branch offices and small firms. Its' most advanced feature: the Intel Active Management Technology (AMT), which should make the TS200v easier for administrators to set up and manage remotely.

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors