Secrets revealed: the key ingredient of Lenovo's fastest ThinkPads yet

Ahead of the imminent CES 2017, Lenovo has unveiled a whole host of new ThinkPad laptops including a nifty Yoga convertible, and new T Series models that make use of Intel’s superfast Optane storage, the secret ingredient in the mix for blazing performance. All this comes along with a pair of fresh ThinkPad docks and ThinkVision displays.

Let's start with the new 2-in-1, Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 370 (pictured above and below), a 13.3-inch convertible which boasts Lenovo’s 360 degree hinge (to allow the Full HD display to be folded right back around, flat against the keyboard base) and its ‘lift n’ lock’ keyboard.

There’s a Kaby Lake CPU on board, Intel’s new seventh-generation processors – although the exact model hasn’t been specified yet – alongside up to 16GB of DDR4 system RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, with integrated graphics (Intel HD Graphics 620).

You also get a stylus with a built-in holder on the side of the notebook, with the machine being 18mm thick and weighing in at 1.44kg; it’s also MilSpec certified. As for battery life, Lenovo is claiming 10 hours.

Windows 10 Pro is the operating system, and you also get a precision touchpad here, and connectivity includes Thunderbolt 3 along with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.

The ThinkPad Yoga 370 will come in black or silver colour schemes, and will be on sale in February 2017, with the price starting at $1,149 (around £930, AU$1,590).

As mentioned, the company has revealed a load more ThinkPads, including new T470, T570, T470s and T470p models, along with fresh entries in the L Series – the L470 and L570. Plus there’s also an updated ThinkPad 13 and X270.

All of these will run with new Kaby Lake processors, precision touchpads, built-in dTPM 2.0 security, USB-C ‘anti-fry’ protection (to guard against faulty third-party USB-C power supplies) and a Microsoft Signature Image guaranteeing a streamlined Windows 10 Pro installation with no bloatware clogging your system up.

ThinkPad T Series

Lenovo notes that the base T470 (pictured below) will be the company’s 14-inch workhorse for business deployments, offering a fingerprint sensor, optional IR camera for Windows Hello login, and if you push the boat out all the way on the battery front, you can have a battery life of up to 18 hours (courtesy of three batteries).

It’s possible to specify up to 32GB of system memory, and on the storage front up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD – and optionally also a 16GB Intel Optane PCIe M.2 SSD (as a cache drive) which will boast blazing performance and impressive power efficiency.

You’ll be able to get Intel Optane on all these new T Series laptops including the T570 (15-inch model with twin batteries for up to 16 hours longevity), and T470p (14-inch ‘performance’ model which can be specified with a touchscreen or non-touch).

Only the T470s lacks an Optane option, which is the ‘road warrior’ model with plentiful connectivity (including Thunderbolt 3, and a trio of USB 3.0 ports plus a 4-in-1 media and SD card reader). This one can be specified with up to 24GB system RAM, although it doesn’t have discrete graphics like the other T models mentioned which run with a GeForce 940MX.

These notebooks will be out in January except for the T570 which you’ll have to wait until February for. Pricing will start at $949 (around £770, AU$1,310) for the T470 and T570, with the T470p and T470s running to $1,099 (around £890, AU$1,520) and $1,149 (around £930, AU$1,590) respectively.

Value for money

As for the new ThinkPad L Series laptops, the L470 is the value-end proposition, being a 14-inch notebook with switchable AMD graphics and up to 12 hours of battery life, starting at $799 (around £650, AU$1,100) and going on sale in February.

Want something cheaper still? Then the ThinkPad 13 is aimed at businesses or students on a budget, being a lightweight and highly portable system (322 x 223 x 19.1mm, 1.44kg) that can be specified with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage. On sale in January, this 13-inch laptop starts at $699 (around £565, AU$970).

And finally on the notebook front, Lenovo has updated the 12-inch X270 with Kaby Lake (as mentioned, all of these laptops have Intel’s latest processors) and it boasts dual batteries for a claimed 21 hours plus battery life – the best of the bunch. It goes on sale next month starting at $949 (around £770, AU$1310).

Docks and displays

Away from the laptops, Lenovo also revealed a new ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock capable of supporting up to three displays simultaneously, and bristling with 13 ports: a pair of DisplayPorts, HDMI, VGA, a Thunderbolt 3 port (USB-C), Gigabit Ethernet, stereo/mic combo jack, security lock slot, and five USB 3.0 ports. This peripheral will be out in February priced $280 (around £225, AU$390).

That comes alongside the ThinkPad USB Type-C Dock that supports up to two displays and has 12 ports (including one USB-C, three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 and a pair of DisplayPorts). This one is out in January priced $200 (around £160, AU$275).

And speaking of displays, Lenovo further unveiled a pair of new monitors: the ThinkVision P27h (27-inch) and ThinkVision P24h (23.8-inch). Both are 2560 x 1440 resolution IPS screens which boast 100% sRGB high colour gamut and have ‘super narrow’ bezels and a non-reflective screen, with an integrated four port USB hub. These displays should arrive in March 2017 with the ThinkVision P27h set to retail at $329 (around £270, AU$460).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).