CES is always an exciting time for everyone. New products are announced and innovations are showcased. Lenovo is no exception. This year they’re bringing about a lot of new things and new technology while they update their whole ThinkPad lineup to be even more competitive than they already are.

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Lenovo is hitting hard at CES 2017 with new ThinkPads

Naturally they’re updating all the ThinkPads very quickly with Intel’s newest Kaby Lake CPU. This is more of a small improvement, but it will add efficiency. We saw in the U class of processor some very nice improvements in both performance and efficiency with the Yoga 910. We’re very excited to see how the 45W H series do. Not a massive improvement with only minor tweaks, but it’ll be quite exciting nonetheless.

The most exciting is the inclusion of Intel’s Optane NAND in an M.2 form-factor. This, if leveraged, can greatly improve performance of some applications. The version of Optane used here is likely the Optame Memory 8000p series that we’ve heard quite a bit about recently. The 16GB of Optane will act as caches for the slower drives, being leveraged by other applications for their much higher performance. These will be the first machines that integrate Intel’s 3DX Point Optane technology. A very welcome advancement, at that.

The full list of improvements being baked into the full ThinkPad lineup are below. One of the more curious inclusions is the inclusion of an audio-based diagnostic system. This, with the musical tones that relate diagnostic information is unusually close in design to droid speak that’s used by R2D2 and BB8 in the Star Wars universe. With the absence of a visual indicator of what might be wrong, as with what most motherboards seem to have, they’re going beyond the typical, simple, beep language to something more complex to help more fully diagnose issues that may arise. Things do occasionally go wrong and a nice inclusion, even if it’s a slight nod to Star Wars.

Massive improvements this year:

  • Processing platform: Upgrades to Intel’s latest generation Core i processors based on Kaby Lake.
  • Microsoft Signature Image: 100% of the ThinkPad comes loaded out of the box with the Microsoft Signature Image providing a clean image and a fast system with no bloatware.
  • Precision TouchPad: The full ThinkPad portfolio now supports Microsoft’s Precision TouchPad (PTP) standard, enhanced with an experience tuned to each ThinkPad.
  • USB-C “Anti-Fry” Protection: Systems that support USB-C with the latest gen processors have a circuit to guard against badly designed or malfunctioning non-Lenovo USB-C power supplies.
  • dTPM 2.0 security support: ThinkPad designed a universal implementation of the discrete TPM 2.0 support which is required for BitLocker and other security implementations on Windows 10 systems.
  • Smart Amp: Lenovo implemented a smart amplifier CODEC that detects the speaker output voltage and current. Smart Amp optimizes the sound for nearly every 2017 ThinkPad. Small laptop speakers tend not to be loud enough and have high distortion at higher volumes. Smart Amp combined with custom-tuned Dolby Audio enhancements results in better sound from small speakers.
  • ThinkPad Intelligent diagnostic codes: A series of musical tones are produced by the ThinkPad Intelligent Diagnostics and interpreted by the smartphone app to show the identified condition.
  • Intel Optane Performance: This new non-volatile storage medium in the PCIe M.2 format will offer significant improvements in endurance, performance, and power consumption.

 Beyond are the updated ThinkPad laptop descriptions