Today Lenovo has announced several new and refreshed models as part of their IdeaPad product line. On the side of the U Series, we see previously un-released ultra-low-voltage Core i7 processors and a full complement of Core i3/i5/i7 chips added to the existing models. The Z Series is an entirely new series available in 13.3 and 15.6-inch form factors with the same Intel Core chips, but also AMD Phenom II processors.
U160, U460, U460s – what’s new
- U160: Celeron U3400, Pentium U4500, (1) Core i3, (3) Core i5, (2) Core i7 ULV processors; clock speeds at 1.06GHz or 1.2GHz across all models
- U460: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 processors
- U460s: ULV processors only, same as U160
- Island/chiclet keyboard design on all models
- Available in June starting at $699
As you can tell from above, there’s not much new with the U Series besides the processor refreshes. The existing U450p, which used CULV processors, has been expanded to two models with the U460 refresh. For those wanting performance over battery life, the U460 has full-power standard volt processors. The U460s, borrowing from the ThinkPad ‘s’ nomenclature, goes back to the ULV chips for longer runtime.
The only confirmed chassis change we know of is the use of chiclet keyboards on all models. Lenovo didn’t share very detailed specifications to confirm any other changes, and such information is usually preliminary anyway. We should have full details in a week or two (at most) from the PSREF docs.
Z Series – looks high end, high end technology, mid-range price
- Z360 13.3-inch, Z560 15.6-inch (Intel), Z565 15.6-inch (AMD) models
- (2) Pentium, (4) Core i3, (3) Core i5, (1) Core i7 processors on Z360 & Z560
- Z360: Intel HD or NVIDIA GeForce 315M 1GB graphics, HDMI, 6-cell battery, 4.41 lb, 0.8-1.3 inches thick
- Z560: Intel HD, NVIDIA GeForce 310M 512MB or 315M 1GB graphics, HDMI, 6-cell battery, 5.73 lb, 0.7-1.4 inches thick
- AMD processors: V120 single core (2.2GHz), Athlon II N330 (2.3GHz), Turion II N530 (2.5GHz), Phenom II dual core N620 (2.8GHz), Phenom II triple core N830 (2.1GHz), Phenom II quad core N930 (2GHz)
- Z565: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200 integrated, 5470 512MB or 5470 1GB; 4.85 lb, 0.7-1.4 inches thick
- 4 hours battery life with integrated graphics (all models)
- HD resolution (1366×768), 16:9 ratio on all displays; Blu-ray drive available on all models
- Available in June starting at $649
While not spelled out above, the Z Series have all the other features you come to expect; like triple USB ports, card reader, webcam, etc.
The coolest thing about the Z Series is that it should have a little something for everyone. Large or small form factors, integrated or discrete graphics, Intel or AMD, low end or high end. The chassis don’t look like anything to write home about, but that is part of the plan – to be reasonably stylish and still very neutral, to avoid ostracizing potential customers.
The AMD options are particularly cool. The jury is still out on whether these new mobile chips will be truly competitive with Intel’s class-act 2010 core chips, but the sheer number of processors and graphics options available is encouraging. And while this could be a fluke in the documentation, the AMD-based Z565 does weigh in nearly 1 pound less than its Intel brother.
The last tidbit to keep in mind is that while there are tons of CPU and GPU choices here, Lenovo will only pick a select few to sell as pre-configured machines on Lenovo.com. It seems their supply chain and fulfillment processes aren’t efficient enough to offer full customization of consumer models while preserving their margin, unlike HP and Dell, and they have not offered truly customizable consumer models to date.