Microsoft an important partner in PC ecosystem, says Lenovo
Yoga 900 and Yoga 700 convertible notebook PCs available end-October
MICROSOFT Corp. may have launched some compelling PC hardware products this year with the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book, but the industry’s top vendor, Lenovo Group doesn’t seem fazed.
Speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) at the sidelines of Lenovo Singapore’s holiday portfolio launch event on Oct 21, Lenovo’s Country General Manager Jessie Quek (pic, below) said, “We do not deem Microsoft as a competitor. We continue to partner with them.”
“They are an important partner in our whole ecosystem and we’ll continue to innovate to offer choice to our customers.
“We also have 2-in-1 devices, for example the Helix, which is also based on [Intel’s] Core i processor,” she noted.
The ThinkPad Helix, now in its second generation (prices start at S$1929), is Lenovo’s only high-end 2-in-1 device and typically targeted at corporate customers.
The company’s inexpensive consumer-grade 2-in-1 products come under the Miix range and features Intel’s Atom processors. But with the recent launch of its Surface Pro look-alike model, the Intel Core m7-powered Miix 700 (complete with a kickstand and detachable cover keyboard), Lenovo seems more ready to take on Microsoft on this front.
Still, the clear focus for the Chinese technology giant is in convertibles PCs, specifically its Yoga range of notebooks which feature displays that can fold all the way back into a tablet.
Quek believes the market is big enough for both form factors. “I wouldn’t say one would cannibalise the other. One is a 2-in-1 device and one is an all-in-one device which can fold 360 degrees, so in terms of functionality and usage models, it’s very much the same”.
Broad holiday line-up
Headlining the launch event was the newly announced flagship, the 13.3-inch Yoga 900 convertible notebook, as well as the slightly larger and heavier but more affordable 14-inch Yoga 700.
They succeed Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro laptop, which was widely seen as underpowered due to the inclusion of Intel’s fan-less Core m processor.
Both the Yoga 900 (pic, above) and the Yoga 700 (pic, below) are now powered by Intel’s sixth generation ‘Skylake’ Core i chips, which are expected to provide a significant performance upgrade.
The Yoga 700 is fitted with an Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics chipset, while the 14.9mm thick Yoga 900 – one of the thinnest convertible notebooks in the market – comes with an improved ‘watchband’ hinge, which Lenovo claims provides enhanced stability and support for the display, no matter which angle it’s facing.
These refreshed models also mark the return of the dedicated function key row to the keyboard, a hardware feature that was unfortunately removed from the Yoga Pro 3. Prices for the Yoga 700 and Yoga 900 start from S$1799 and S$1999 respectively and will be available in Singapore retail stores by the end of October.
The aforementioned Miix 700 (pic, above) meanwhile, is a 12-inch tablet and notebook 2-in-1 that’s aimed straight at the Microsoft Surface audience. Sporting Intel’s sixth generation Core m7 processor and a dual ‘watchband’ hinge to prop up the kickstand, Lenovo bundles the cover keyboard along with the tablet (unlike Microsoft which sells the Surface Pro keyboard separately). This device will be available in November at prices starting at S$1299.
An entry-level 2-in-1 option, the 10.1-inch Intel Atom powered Miix 300 will also be available at the same time, starting at S$449, so if light computing, web browsing and entertainment needs are higher on the list, this may be the more ideal option.
On the tablet front, the new Yoga Tab 3 Pro (pic, above) takes centerstage with a 10.1-inch QHD (2560 x 1600 resolution, 299 PPI, an Intel Atom processor and an integrated 70-inch projector to beam images and videos to a large screen or wall.
Similar to previous Yoga tablet models, this unit comes with 18 hours of battery life (under typical usage conditions) and 4 JBL speakers built-in. The swiveling kick-stand also returns along with a hole in the center of the stand, so users can hang the tablet on a wall (which Lenovo awkwardly dubs ‘hang mode’).
Pricing for the Yoga Tab 3 Pro starts at S$899, and is due to be available by the end of December.
Gaming and mainstream PCs
Lenovo is also gunning for gamers with its high-end tower, the Y900 (pic, below), featuring Intel’s latest Core i7 chips and NVidia’s GeForce GTX graphics card, backed by DDR4 memory. The 34-liter chassis provides plenty of room for upgrades and more than enough LED lights to show off its ‘gaming rig’ street cred. It comes bundled with a 23.8-inch screen.
The company also upgraded its gaming notebook offering with the Y700, a 15.6-inch laptop with Intel Core i7 processor and discrete graphics courtesy of NVidia, as well as built-in JBL speakers.
Both the PCs will be available in November, with the Y900 costing S$2699 while the Y700 will set buyers back $1499.
At the other end of the notebook scale, Lenovo has refreshed its entry models as well with Intel’s new chips. The 11-inch 100S (which weighs just 1.4kg) costs S$299, while the 14-inch 100S will be sold at $499. Meanwhile, the 14-inch 500S comes with an Intel Core i7 processor for $1049. All three models will be available in October.
Shoppers on the look-out for large-screen all-in-ones (AIO) need not worry as Lenovo has also refreshed its desktop line with the AIO 700. Powered by Intel’s Core i7 chip and NVidia discrete graphics chipset, both the 24-inch and 27-inch models can also be fitted with Intel’s new RealSense 3D camera and dual microphones to provide face recognition capabilities. Prices start at S$1399, and they are available from November.
More smartphones at retail stores
Lenovo is also expanding its smartphone presence in Singapore, offering the recently launched Phab Plus, Vibe Shot and A7000 Plus for sale in retail outlets as well as online channels.
Working with newly appointed local distributor A-Mobile Pte Ltd, Quek said Lenovo is aiming to soon offer the 6.8-inch phablet through telecom operators as well (along with the standard price subsidies). For now, the Phab Plus is available contract and subsidy-free, at S$499.
The Vibe Shot and A7000 Plus meanwhile, have been sold exclusively online through Lazada.sg, but a company representative told DNA that the camera-centric 5-inch smartphone will be available through retail channels thanks to its new local distributor partner Raduga Pte Ltd.
The Vibe Shot features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and a 16-megapixel rear camera, while the 5.5-inch A7000 Plus – a popular mid-range model, DNA was told – is powered by a MediaTek MT6752 octa-core chipset and features a Full HD (1080P) display. Both are available now for S$479 and $$279 respectively.
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