Lenovo Announces Release of New Laptops, Chromebooks and More at MWC 2018

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Feb 26

Lenovo is announcing a pair of new laptops today at MWC 2018. Named the Yoga 730 and Yoga 530, both are getting some design tweaks and come with Intel’s 8th gen processors. While there aren’t any major changes this year, the 730 is getting one notable improvement to help it stand out: it has built-in far-field mics so that it can support Alexa.

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The Yoga 730 has a touchscreen and can flip around into tablet mode. This year, the 730 has received a few nice but minor design tweaks. The back edge of both the top and bottom of the computer now come to a pleasant, bubbly edge, and the hinge slopes down between them. That also allows there to be some distance between the screen and keyboard when flipped into tablet mode. Like the previous model, there isn’t Windows Hello camera, but there is a fingerprint sensor.

To use voice commands with Alexa, you’ll have to have the laptop open and logged in, so you can’t always yell across the room and expect a response like you would with other Alexa devices. This is Lenovo’s third laptop to include Alexa, and it seems like we’ll be seeing it a lot more in future releases. It starts with a price around $900 but can go much higher if you max out the specs.

Yoga 530

Lenovo’s other new laptop is the Yoga 530 aka Flex 4, which is the successor to the Flex 5. These laptops go under the Flex name in the US; they use the Yoga branding in. That makes this laptop’s position much clearer: it’s yet a cheaper way of buying into the Yoga line, while still getting a lot of the same options. Like the 730, you can spec this way up, to an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a GeForce MX130.

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The Flex 14’s changes are a lot like the Yoga 730’s changes it looks pretty similar year-over-year, with some minor refinements to the build. This laptop has aluminium only on the palm rest; and it is pretty much impossible to open the lid without prying the two halves apart, so that’s not great.

Three new Chromebooks

Lenovo has a new trio of Chromebooks, all of which are designed for adolescents with blatant disregard for their hardware. Featuring reinforced hinges, ports, and keyboards, and capable of withstanding 30-inch drops, they’re built to survive just about anything an angsty teenager can throw at it.

Starting off with the most basic 100e Chromebook, which costs $219, Lenovo gives you an awesome little keyboard with plenty of key travel and near zero typing fatigue. It comes with an 11.6-inch screen that has a resolution of 1336 x 768.

The $279 300e Chromebook, adds touch functionality, a much-improved display, and a Yoga-style 360-degree hinge. The 300e is also capable of accepting notes written on its screen with a standard HB2 pencil. And no, the pencil won’t leave any traces on the panel.

The $349 500e Chromebook model has its own stylus, which provides a lag-free input. All three laptops share the same screen size and resolution, charge via USB-C, and promise a 10-hour battery life.

Interestingly, the 100e and 500e use Intel Celeron processors — N3350 for the lower model, N3450 for the pricier one — while the 300e has an ARM-based MediaTek MTK 8173C chip. The batteries of the Intel-powered machines are 42Wh while the 300e gets a little boost with 45Wh. A final distinction for the 300e is that it has a full-size SD card slot, while the other two machines make do with MicroSD.

Lenovo will start selling the 300e Chromebook and 500e Chromebook straight away, with the 100e Chromebook following in March.

Smart Speakers

As speculated earlier, Lenovo announced the release of their first ever Google Assistant ready smart speaker. It is powered by a Qualcomm SDA 624 SoC which features integrated CPU, GPU and DSP as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It is available in 8-inch and 10-inch models and can rotate from portrait to landscape mode automatically.

It comes in a soft Grey or natural Bamboo colour, which should go well with your room decor. It can be positioned horizontally or vertically to fit nearly any space. When not in use, the display can also double up as a digital picture frame.

The 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display starts at $249.99, and the 8-inch model starts at $199.99, both expected to be available early this summer.