Chinese laptop manufacturer Lenovo has been looking to innovate in the portable-computing space and increase the stature of its brand outside of the enterprise market, so the arrival of the Flex series at this month’s IFA conference in Berlin could put it on the right track for mainstream success.
The IdeaPad range, into which these two new models slot, is already well equipped with worthy devices at different price points, but few offer the same functions as the Flex units.
Available with either a 14.1 inch or a 15.6 inch touch screen display on board, each panel has the ability to flip a full 300 degrees around its hinge into a secondary ‘Stand Mode’.
The idea is that rather than the display being quite a distance from the user with the keyboard in the way, in stand mode it will be brought much closer.
This might not have made sense a few years ago, but since the Flex models run the touch-optimised Windows 8 there is all the more reason to engage with this platform using your fingers, so not having to reach out far to do so is a benefit.
The rest of the technical specifications are promising, with Intel Core i7 processors available at the upper end of the configuration. A maximum 8GB of RAM can be included, while the standard 500GB hard drive can be supplanted by a solid-state drive if you want quicker loading times and lower energy usage.
The 14 inch Flex model is under an inch thick and boasts a battery life of up to nine hours, which is good for a laptop of this size. A camera mounted above the display will allow you to make video calls whether in standard mode or stand mode, while the laptop also has a voice-controlled software solution which lets you manage the camera without having to press any physical buttons.
At the moment the IdeaPad Flex range has been announced for a US release, with pricing putting it somewhere below £500. International availability has not yet been confirmed, but with Lenovo’s ambitions it is sure to follow shortly.
Laptops are leading the way when it comes to making the touch-oriented world of Windows 8 more widely available. Microsoft might have had a harder time selling its new software to consumers were it not for the fact that people are familiar with touchscreen technology as a result of the smart phone.
Of course, there are critics of Windows 8 and Microsoft has been forced to backtrack on certain elements, in particular the option to boot into the original desktop interface rather than simply launching the newer start screen.
Those who prefer a more traditional approach to laptop and desktop computing can still find what they need from older models, which are also more affordable than the new ones.
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