Lenovo announces Broadwell ThinkPads ( T450 / X250 / W550s ) with Trackpoint-Buttons! A closer look.

Just one hour ago Lenovo announced the whole ThinkPad Ultrabook lineup for the first half of 2015. As you might have guessed, most models are mere updates of the Haswell models, as Lenovo always keeps the same design for 2 – 3 generations – but as always, not without some interesting additions. Lets take a closer look on the early 2015 ThinkPad lineup…

T & X: The bread and butter of the ThinkPad line gets the Broadwell update

The T & X series are the bread and butter ThinkPads, the best selling, most well known models in the lineup, and as usual, they are handled rather evolutionary and conservative – no big changes here for now, only small enhancements. For example, the T450 models now have 2 SODIMM slots and support 16 GB of RAM and now has three USB ports instead of only two. Of course as all models, all T & X models come with the new UltraNav lineup. In many other aspects, T450(s) and X250 are really T440(s) and X240 with Broadwell – Skylake will bring more changes here than Broadwell does.

X250 Specifications:

  • 5th generation Core i CPUs (Codename: Broadwell), Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, i7-5500U, i7-5600U
  • Intel HD 5500 iGPU
  • 12.5″ 1920×1080 IPS (400 nits), Touch or Non-Touch, 1366×768 IPS (300nits), Touch or non-Touch, 1366×768 TN
  • 4 – 8 GB DDR3L RAM, one SO-DIMM slot
  • 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA 3 HDD (up to 1 TB), SSHD (500 GB + 8 GB SSD) or SSD, plus a 42mm M.2 SSD
  • 2x USB 3.0, VGA, mDP, Combo-Headphone/Mic Port, Gigabit Ethernet, SD-Card Reader, 720p webcam, 2013 ThinkPad Docking-Port, Smartcard Reader (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi combo card; WWAN 3G/4G LTE (optional)
  • 6-Row backlit ThinkPad Precision keyboard, New 2015 UltraNav (“3 + 2 button ClickPad”) with dedicated TrackPoint buttons
  • 3 battery options: 23.5 Wh (internal) + 23.5 Wh (external), or 23.5 Wh + 47 Wh, or 23.5 Wh + 72 Wh, Power Bridge
  • 305.5 x 208.5 x 20.3 mm, starting at 1.3 kg
  • Glass Fiber Reinforced Chassis with an internal Magnesium structure-frame
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: Starting at 1.149 $

T450s Specifications:

  • 5th generation Core i CPUs (Codename: Broadwell), Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, i7-5500U, i7-5600U
  • Intel HD 5500 iGPU
  • 14″ 1920×1080 IPS (300 nits), Touch or Non-Touch, 1600×900 TN
  • 4 – 12 GB DDR3L RAM, one SO-DIMM slot, 4 GB soldered
  • 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA 3 HDD (up to 1 TB), SSHD (500 GB + 8 GB SSD) or SSD, plus a 42mm M.2 SSD
  • 3x USB 3.0, VGA, mDP, Combo-Headphone/Mic Port, Gigabit Ethernet, SD-Card Reader, 720p webcam, 2013 ThinkPad Docking-Port, Smartcard Reader (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi combo card; WWAN 3G/4G LTE optional
  • 6-Row backlit ThinkPad Precision keyboard, Full size, New 2015 UltraNav (“3 + 2 button ClickPad”) with dedicated TrackPoint buttons
  • 3 battery options: 23.5 Wh (internal) + 23.5 Wh (external), or 23.5 Wh + 47 Wh, or 23.5 Wh + 72 Wh, Power Bridge
  • 331 x 226 x 21 mm, starting at 1.58 kg
  • Carbon Fiber top, Magnesium base unit with an internal Magnesium structure-frame
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: Starting at 1.090 $

T450 Specifications:

  • 5th generation Core i CPUs (Codename: Broadwell), Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, i7-5500U, i7-5600U
  • Intel HD 5500 iGPU
  • 14″ 1600×900 TN, Touch or non-Touch, 1366×768 TN
  • 4 – 16 GB DDR3L RAM, two SO-DIMM slots
  • 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA 3 HDD (up to 1 TB), SSHD (500 GB + 8 GB SSD) or SSD, plus a 42mm M.2 SSD
  • 3x USB 3.0, VGA, mDP, Combo-Headphone/Mic Port, Gigabit Ethernet, SD-Card Reader, 720p webcam, 2013 ThinkPad Docking-Port, Smartcard Reader (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi combo card; WWAN 3G/4G LTE (optional)
  • 6-Row backlit ThinkPad Precision keyboard, Full size, New 2015 UltraNav (“3 + 2 button ClickPad”) with dedicated TrackPoint buttons
  • 3 battery options: 23.5 Wh (internal) + 23.5 Wh (external), or 23.5 Wh + 47 Wh, or 23.5 Wh + 72 Wh, Power Bridge
  • 339 x 232.5 x 21 mm, starting at 1.81 kg
  • Glass Fiber Reinforced Chassis with an internal Magnesium structure-frame
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: Starting at 849 $

T550 and W550s: The first 15.5″ ThinkPad Classic Ultrabooks

Two completely new additions to the lineup are the ThinkPad T550 and the ThinkPad W550s. Both share the same chassis and design, as always with the 15″ T-series and the 15″ W-series. The W550s is the workstation variation of the T550 and comes with a dedicated nVidia Quadro K620M CPU and is only available with Intel Core i7 processors, whereas the T550 is an Intel HD Graphics model when it comes to the graphics card and will be available with Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors as well.

T550 Technical Specifications:

  • 5th generation Core i CPUs (Codename: Broadwell), Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, i7-5500U, i7-5600U
  • Intel HD 5500 iGPU
  • 15.5″ 2880×1620 IPS (350nits), Touch or Non-Touch, 15.6″ 1920×1080 TN, 1366×768 TN
  • 4 – 16 GB DDR3L RAM, two SO-DIMM slots
  • 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA 3 HDD (up to 1 TB), SSHD (500 GB + 8 GB SSD) or SSD, plus a 42mm M.2 SSD
  • 3x USB 3.0, VGA, mDP, Combo-Headphone/Mic Port, Gigabit Ethernet, SD-Card Reader, 720p webcam, 2013 ThinkPad Docking-Port, Smartcard Reader (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi combo card; WWAN 3G/4G LTE (optional)
  • 6-Row backlit ThinkPad Precision keyboard, full-size + num-block, new 2015 UltraNav (“3 + 2 button ClickPad”) with dedicated TrackPoint buttons
  • 3 battery options: 45 Wh (internal) + 23.5 Wh (external), or 45 Wh + 47 Wh, or 45 Wh + 72 Wh, Power Bridge
  • 380 x 252 x 22.4 mm, starting at 2.26 kg
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: Starting at 999 $

X1 Carbon: The Adaptive keyboard goes, PCIe SSDs arrive

As a result of mostly negative feedback from customers, the Adaptive keyboard touch-row is gone now with the new X1 Carbon (2015). It is being replaced with a “normal” F-key row, which means the X1 Carbon 2015 has exactly the same keyboard layout as a T440(s). But that’s not the only change here: Instead of a 14″ HD+ (1600×900) TN screen as the “low end” screen choice, we now have a 14″ FHD (1920×1080) TN screen. Still the preferred choice for most users should be the 2560×1440 IPS display, but its good to see Lenovo raising the bar for the low-end configurations as well when it comes to the screen resolution. As for the internals, the internal battery is now bigger, 50 Wh instead of 45 Wh, and finally, the X1 Carbon 2015 is the first ThinkPads to support PCIe M.2 SSDs, which have a far superior speed compared with normal SATA 3 SSDs. The M.2 PCIe port has a theoretical bandwidth of 3.5-4 GB/s as the M.2 port has 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes connected.

X1 Carbon (2015) Specifications:

  • 5th generation Core i CPUs (Codename: Broadwell), Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, i7-5500U, i7-5600U
  • Intel HD 5500 iGPU
  • 14″ 2560×1440 IPS (300 nits), 2560×1440 IPS Touch (270 nits), 1920×1080 TN
  • 4 – 8 GB DDR3L RAM, soldered
  • 128 – 512 GB PCIe SSD, NGFF / M.2 2280 form factor
  • 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, mDP, Combo-Headphone/Mic Port, proprietary mini Gigbit-Ethernet (with a dongle), OneLink Docking Port, 720p webcam, Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi combo card; WWAN 3G/4G LTE (optional)
  • 6-Row backlit ThinkPad Precision keyboard, New 2015 UltraNav (“3 + 2 button ClickPad”) with dedicated TrackPoint buttons
  • 50 Wh battery, internal (non-user replaceable), 9.5-10.9 hrs battery life according to Lenovo
  • 331 x 226 x 17.7/18.46 mm (Touch), starting at 1.27 kg
  • Carbon-Fiber top, Magnesium/Aluminum base unit
  • Availability: January 2015
  • Price: Starting at 1.249 $

ThinkPad E & L: Mainstream ThinkPad notebooks going thinner

With the Ultrabook uprising, Intel puts more and more emphasize on their ultra low voltage Broadwell-U processors. Also, with the trend of cloud, streaming technologies and downloads, optical media are losing more and more of their importance. Reflecting that trend, Lenovo’s budget consumer and small business (E450) and enterprise (L450) 14″ ThinkPads are being thinner, lighter and come without a DVD drive. The E550 as a 15″ model still has a DVD drive, but also uses Broadwell-U processors now, as the Haswell-M (Core i7-4600M for example) processors are not updated to Broadwell.

Specs E-Series: http://news.lenovo.com/images/20034/Lenovo%20ThinkPad%20E450%20and%20E550%20Spec%20Sheet.pdf

The L450 is the first L series model with drop-down hinges. It is also the first L ThinkPad without a DVD drive (as mentioned), as well as an 1920×1080 200nts IPS screen. As the L series is the successor to the R series of old, it is the more budget oriented variant of the T series, which means it lacks some of its premium features (structure frame, Carbon fiber materials, backlit keyboard), but it is still business oriented and, though made out of plastic and thicker and heavier, sturdy enough for business use 24/07. Compared to the E-Series, it comes with mDP instead of HDMI, a classic docking port for mechanical docks instead of OneLink, and features like vPro, SmartCard, TPM etc. . Also, being a “enterprise” model, it has only an external, easy replaceable battery, instead of an integrated one.

L450 Technical Specifications:

  • 5th generation Core i CPUs (Codename: Broadwell), Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, i7-5500U, i7-5600U
  • Intel HD 5500 iGPU or/and AMD Radeon R5 M240
  • 14″ 1920×1080 IPS (220nits), 1366×768 TN
  • 4 – 16 GB DDR3L RAM, two SO-DIMM slots
  • 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA 3 HDD (up to 1 TB), SSHD (500 GB + 8 GB SSD) or SSD, plus a 42mm M.2 SSD
  • 3x USB 3.0, VGA, mDP, Combo-Headphone/Mic Port, Gigabit Ethernet, SD-Card Reader, 720p webcam, 2013 ThinkPad Docking-Port, Smartcard Reader (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi combo card; WWAN 3G/4G LTE (optional)
  • 6-Row ThinkPad Precision keyboard, Full size, New 2015 UltraNav (“3 + 2 button ClickPad”) with dedicated TrackPoint buttons
  • 3 battery options: 23.5 Wh, 47 Wh or 72 Wh (all external, no Power-Bridge)
  • 339 x 235 x 24.3 mm, starting at 1.93 kg
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: Starting at 699 $

Wrap-Up

The early 2015 ThinkPad lineup is no big surprise. All around, it is mostly a small, but nice upgrade to the ThinkPad lineup. One important point: Most of the changes made were made due to direct customer feedback. For example:

  • Return of the TrackPoint buttons across the board
  • Discontinuation of the Adaptive keyboard
  • 2x SODIMM slots in the T450 and one more USB port

Taking that into account, I am curious how the Skylake ThinkPads will be like.

What do you think about the new ThinkPad lineup? Stay tuned in the next days, weeks and months for hands-ons, reviews and more on the new Broadwell ThinkPads.

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