Lenovo has been on an absolute roll this year. First, they launched their Legion store, promoting their powerhouse gaming brand and highlighting their push to make it big in the gaming community, while revealing their high-end Legion Y740 laptop.
Then, they launched a smorgasbord of new devices, including the new Legion Y540, the midrange IdeaPad L340 Gaming, and next-gen ThinkPads for the enterprise market.
Now, Lenovo’s tackling their toughest market yet – millennials.
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That’s right, Lenovo just made a pretty laptop just for the modern yuppie. In a fancy launch at Y Space in RCBC Plaza, Makati, Lenovo unveiled its brand new ThinkBook S lineup, and I have to admit it’s the most excited I’ve been about a thin-and-light laptop in a while.
The launch began with a little bit of background on the ThinkPad brand. The older generation of tech-savvy professionals will remember the legendary ThinkPad from back in the IBM days. The ThinkPad brand has been around since 1992, and it’s long been associated with awesome durability, enterprise-grade hardware, and that cute little TrackPoint nub that I don’t think I ever used. The ThinkPad is even used on the International Space Station. How many laptop brands can say that?
It means business
Of course, the thing about the ThinkPad is that as a business-focused laptop, it sort of looks the part. Even as the ThinkPad lineup has evolved with the times to host better hardware and a thinner, sleeker profile, for better or worse it’s retained the boxy, no-frills look that it’s had for the better part of three decades.
That’s a problem that Lenovo believes computer companies face today. The rising Millennial workforce wants high-performance laptops that are ready for any kind of content creation, but they also want something that looks good and which they can carry around anywhere they go.
At the same time, there has to be a careful balance regarding the price. Young professionals often can’t afford the current crop of top-tier laptops that are lightweight, premium and fast, and sometimes neither can the companies they work for. By occupying a midrange price point with a gorgeous, fast, compact device, Lenovo will be able to give companies an option their employees will be very happy with.
Luxury and elegance
And so it was that after a brief pre-launch ceremony, Lenovo finally unveiled the absolute beauty that is the ThinkBook 13S, a companion brand to the ThinkPad that combines business-class performance with a luxurious look and feel.
“Through the high performance and elegance of the ThinkBook, businesses will have an edge in attracting tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z workers who grew up working, creating, and communicating online with stylish and premium devices. Lenovo helps companies create a more productive workplace as the young employees, who are already competent in leveraging technology, can now work to their fullest knowing that their demands of flexibility, power, and aesthetics are fulfilled,” said Lenovo Philippines Country General Manager Michael Ngan.
The ThinkBook 13S is a premium, lightweight 13.3” laptop made with a beautiful magnesium/aluminum chassis that feels rock-solid to the touch, while managing to be profoundly lightweight at just 1.3kg. The extremely narrow bezels around the 13.3” screen give it almost the form factor of a 12.5” laptop. Combined with a thickness of a little over half an inch, this is definitely a compact laptop for the times.
The ThInkbook 13S is equipped with the Intel Core i5-8265U quad-core low-power processor, which is about as fast as the full-power quad-core i7s of previous generations. Critics might complain about the fact that it’s not an i7-8565U, but in practice the two perform extremely similarly.
It also has an excellent IPS display that performs with admirable brightness, while subjectively maintaining very accurate colors. I didn’t have a reference display or a color calibration tool on hand, but I can say that it looks great. As an IPS display, it also has great viewing angles, with little of the color-shifting that you get from cheaper TN screens. It also has the surprising inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR support, making it a great futureproofed multimedia laptop.
Thinks fast, moves fast
The extremely fast 512GB SSD and power management allows the ThinkBook 13S to boot from cold start to full usability in just six seconds. With an integrated fingerprint scanner in the power button that scans your fingerprint even from a cold start, it definitely adds unprecedented convenience to security. In honor of its ThinkPad roots, the ThinkBook also includes dTPM support for enterprise-grade security.
It also uses Modern Standby power management, which means that entering and leaving sleep mode by closing and opening the lid is faster than ever. MacBook users who complain about how long it takes to exit sleep in Windows will feel right at home with this device.
Speaking of power management, Lenovo claims up to 11 hours of battery life, and a Rapid Charge feature allows for charging up to 80% of the battery in just an hour. There was no way I couldn’t test this feature at the launch event, though.
So what’s the magic number? What’s the price tag that Lenovo decided to slap onto this gorgeous device?
How much for all of that?
Clearly, they’ve done their homework as to what people are willing to pay, and they’re letting go of all this premium goodness for a solid Php58,990. This is the version with Windows 10 Pro and integrated graphics.
There’s also a cheaper version that retails for Php54,990 that sticks with Windows 10 Home, but adds in a Radeon RX 540X graphics card, which performs around the level of the popular GeForce MX150. Gamers will probably prefer the latter option.
The ThinkBook 13S will be available in Lenovo Exclusive Stores located at SM North EDSA, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Megamall; as well as Thinking Tools SM City Cebu. It comes with an impressive warranty that actually includes Accidental Damage Protection—meaning it covers drops, minor spills, damaged screens, and other user error-related issues, which isn’t something that you find in every warranty.
So yes, I like the ThinkBook S at first glance. But that’s after a couple of hours spent in a controlled environment, with the full force of Lenovo’s marketing machine aimed at hyping me up. What’s it actually like on the field? Well, you’ll get to find out soon enough – Lenovo was kind enough to lend us the device for a week and a half. We’ll have a review up by next week.