Today I continue my coverage of CES 2019, with a round of announcements from computing giant Lenovo. Lots of attention has been paid recently to Lenovo’s progress in the datacenter (see my coverage of Lenovo Transform 2.0 earlier this year). Still, Lenovo is compelling in the PC, tablet, smartphone, and smart home device realm and is again the #1 unit market share leader in PCs and PCs + tablets. Insights & Strategy senior analyst Mark Vena will be covering Lenovo’s various smart home IoT-related announcements, while analyst Anshel Sag will cover Lenovo gaming. Without further ado, let’s dive into the PCs.
The new Yoga S940 notebook
Lenovo popularized the convertible form factor starting in 2012 and set the bar for many years of the design with many updates. Lenovo unveiled its new ultra-slim Yoga S940 notebook at CES. It is impressively small and light, at 2.65 lbs. and .48 inches thick, but the real story of this device is that it comes with a suite of AI-driven Smart Assist features. The computer can detect when you walk away from your computer, and auto-lock the screen to protect from any peeping toms. For that matter, it can even detect when someone is reading over your shoulder and alert you to their presence.
Another one of the S940’s Smart Assist features is Glance by Mirametrix, which basically utilizes AI to sense your attention via your face, eyes, and gaze, and leverage this to increase productivity. Using the Snap Window feature, users can move windows from their laptops to a second monitor, all based on their attention, intent, and focus. Another Smart Assist feature is a hands-free log-in experience that utilizes the device’s infrared camera, Windows Hello, and voice-matching personalization with Alexa or Cortana. Additionally, the computer is purportedly capable of learning and auto-adjusting its power settings to maximize battery life. Before I weigh in on these new features, I really need to spend some time using them. They sound great but are hard to get right and natural.
The S940 features up to an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB LPDDR3 memory, and up to 512GB PCIe SSD storage. It also comes with an optional 4K HDR display, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos speakers, giving it the potential for what looks to be a solid entertainment experience. One last noteworthy bit about the S940 is that it is the world’s first laptop to feature Contour Glass, which Lenovo says wraps around its bezels to create a more streamlined design. I checked out the S940 at the show and unlike Samsung Galaxy’s wraparound display, the image actually stops before the wrap. There still is a black display edge.
Yoga A940 AiO
Lenovo also introduced its new Yoga A940 AiO—an all-in-one desktop geared towards creatives, which I think was the biggest announcement for the company. It’s nice to see Lenovo bring these out, as other manufacturers are starting to see success with similar devices. For display, the A940 features a 27” optional 4K IPS touchscreen, with a rotating hinge that tilts the display into a 25-degree “drafting mode.” It also features a “Precision Dial” that can be placed on either side of the display to make more precise selections and adjustments while the other hand is occupied with a digital pen or mouse. For example, users can adjust brush stroke or tip size without having to set down their pen. As of now, the dial is optimized for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom, as well as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. I’m sure more applications will follow. Like the S940, the A940 also comes equipped with the AI-enabled Smart Assist privacy and productivity features.
The AiO features up to 8th gen Intel Core i7 processors, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, up to 512GB PCIe SSD (or up to 2TB SATA HDD) storage, and AMD Radeon RX 560 discrete graphics. Its Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos Speaker System also promise a high-quality entertainment experience—essential, since this device is geared towards creative projects such as video editing.
I really loved the Q1 charger “dish” where users can set their Qi-enabled phones, watches and earbuds to charge.
Yoga C730 AMOLED notebook
Next, I’ll briefly touch upon the updated Yoga C730 15” 2-in-1 convertible laptop. Like the others, it sports the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processors. Additionally, it features Windows Hello instant log-in and Windows Ink digital pen capabilities. The most significant update made to this device is a new optional 4K AMOLED display, which Lenovo says delivers a “more vivid viewing experience,” with better clarity and contrast. I have used another Lenovo 4K AMOLED design and if you want great blacks and colors, you should like this. As in life, there are no free lunches, and is a battery life trade-off with the 4K OLED display of a few hours. Beauty isn’t free.
Updates to ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga
The last item I’ll touch on is the updates made to Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga. Lenovo says the most notable feature of these redesigned devices are the new design options, which represents the look and feel of a “contemporary and dynamic workforce.” ThinkPad is iconic but could also be viewed as “old”, so it’s important to update its ID. Lenovo says both devices are lighter and thinner than previous generations and include new display options such as a 400 nit FHD display (with accompanying Privacy Guard).
The Yoga can now be purchased in an iron-grey color option with all-aluminum chassis, while the Carbon now has the option for a visible carbon fiber weave top cover. I really like the more pronounced carbon fiber weave top. I believe buyers and users will see it, know carbon fiber is in the best race cars, and feel good about getting the device. They sport the latest greatest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processors and connectivity options up to Cat16 LTE-A. Like the other devices we’ve covered today, the new X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga also include Dolby Atmos audio, alongside four built-in, far-field microphones.
All in all, it was another good CES for Lenovo. The company continues to improve the productivity and privacy of its PC line with the new AI-driven Smart Assist features. As I mentioned earlier, I’m glad to see Lenovo pushing into the AiO market with the A940—there’s clearly a desire for these kinds of devices, and I think the company could have some success here. Stay tuned for more CES 2019 coverage, as well as further Lenovo-related coverage from Moor Insights & Strategy.