Lenovo is continuing the trend of touchscreen computers built around Microsoft Windows 8 with a new tablet and five new laptops. On Thursday evening, the company announced the notebooks as well as the Miix: A Windows 8 tablet expected to cost around $500 when it goes on sale in the next three months. Adding touch capabilities can boost the price of a device, but Lenovo’s new finger-friendly laptops will start at $429.
The new Lenovo Miix is a 10.1-inch tablet with 1366 x 768 resolution and uses a dual-core Intel Atom processor, which is on par with others in this class. The 1.2-pound device is 0.4-inches thick, includes 64 GB of flash storage, has a microSD card slot for memory expansion and offers 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi are included while an optional GPS/3G configuration will be available.
Lenovo is known for its ability to make outstanding keyboards, so the “quick-flip detachable folio case with an integrated AccuType keyboard” could make the Miix stand out from the crowd. I’m curious as to how the Miix keyboard compares to Microsoft’s TypeCover for its Surface devices.
Three new touch laptops will be added to Lenovo’s IdeaPad S product line: The 11.6-inch S210 Touch, 14-inch S400 Touch and and 15.6-inch S500 Touch. All three start with an third-generation Intel Core i3 processor to help keep costs down; respective prices for the base models are $429, $449, and $579. The latter two can be configured with more powerful Core i5 processors, but these aren’t the new Haswell chips that offer up to 40 percent more battery life. Apple’s latest MacBook Air uses this silicon and runs for 9 to 12 hours on a charge.
Power users craving a touch screen laptop will be more interested in the new 13.3-inch U330 Touch and 14-inch U430 Touch models. These start at $799 and $899 respectively but can be purchased with Haswell, or fourth-generation Core i7 processors to boost performance and battery life. Other options include NVIDIA GeForce graphics and up to 1 terabyte hard drive paired with an additional 16 GB of flash storage.
The new laptops are intriguing as the push towards touch computing continues, but as a tablet fan, I’m more interested in the Miix. If the keyboard is as good as Lenovo typically makes, this $500 machine with support for the vast Windows software library is a compelling choice over other Atom-based tablets and even slightly lower-priced Windows RT slates.