Just ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this coming weekend in Las Vegas, Lenovo announced numerous new ThinkPad notebooks that it will release throughout the first half of 2012. This doesn't represent the company's full PC lineup for this part of the year, but it does present a tantalizing glimpse at the portable computing future. I intend to purchase more than one of these devices.

(Last year, I purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 420S after a brief and unfulfilling flirtation with a MacBook Air. This is still my daily use laptop, and I won't make the mistake of straying outside the Lenovo comfort zone again. These are the best portable computers in the world, period.)

ThinkPad Edge E Series


Tag-line: Infusing style and performance into business

Lenovo debuted its ThinkPad Edge series a few years back and has been updating and evolving the design-conscious line each year. (I used a first generation ThinkPad Edge loaner for several months in early 2010, and as noted above, have been using an Edge 420S since early 2011.) The Edge debuted with Lenovo's new, flat ThinkPad keyboard type, a cross between the full-sized keys of yore and today's more common chiclet-style keyboards. (As on Apple's laptops.) It's proven so popular and so successful that this keyboard type is starting to appear elsewhere in the ThinkPad lineup as well.

For 2012, Lenovo plans a number of new ThinkPad Edge designs. These include:

ThinkPad Edge 130/E135

Lenovo's new netbook+ class (or "ultraportable") ThinkPad features a 11.6-inch screen, the latest Intel or AMD chipsets, integrated graphics, a 320-500 GB hard drive or 128 GB SSD, and an optional external DVD drive. Weight is 3.3 pounds.

Available: April

E130


(I briefly owned this machine's predecessor, the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e.)

ThinkPad Edge 330/335
Market: Mainstream small business laptop

A 13.3-inch design with the latest Intel or AMD chipsets, integrated graphics, up to 8 GB of RAM, 320 GB to 1 TB hard drive with optional DiskBoost or 128 GB SSD, optional external DVD R/W, and 2 USB 3.0 ports plus 1 USB 2.0 port that's always on for powering devices. Weight is 3.9 pounds.

The Edge 330/5 is available with a red or black lid.

Available: April

E330


ThinkPad Edge 430/435
Market: Mainstream small business laptop

A 14-inch design with the latest Intel (430) or AMD (435) chipsets, integrated or dedicated graphics, up to 8 GB of RAM, 320 GB to 1 TB hard drive with optional DiskBoost or 128 GB SSD, integrated DVD R/W, and 3 USB 3.0 ports plus 1 USB 2.0 port that's always on for powering devices. Weight is 4.7 pounds.

The Edge 430/5 is available with a red or black lid, or in an all aluminum finish.

Price: $549
Available: April

E430


ThinkPad Edge 530/535
Market: Mainstream small business laptop

A 15-inch design with the latest Intel (430) or AMD (435) chipsets, integrated or dedicated graphics and HD or HD+ resolution, up to 8 GB of RAM, 320 GB to 1 TB hard drive with optional DiskBoost or 128 GB SSD, integrated DVD R/W, and 3 USB 3.0 ports plus 1 USB 2.0 port that's always on for powering devices. Weight is 5.4 pounds.

The Edge 530/5 is available with a red or black lid, or in an all aluminum finish.

Price: $549
Available: April

E530


ThinkPad Edge S Series


Tag-line: Infusing style and performance into business

This, I believe, is the replacement for the ThinkPad Edge 420S I'm currently using. From what I can see, Lenovo has really turned up the quality a notch on this one. Not that the 420S is shabby, but this new version seems decidedly leading edge.

ThinkPad Edge S430
Market: Extreme performance, extreme style

A 14-inch design that Lenovo describes as the ultimate notebook for thin and light productivity. It features magnesium alloy construction, is less than 22 mm thin, and weighs only 4 pounds. It features the latest Intel processors and chipsets, optional 2GB discrete graphics, HD or HD+ resolution, up to 512 GB of SSD storage, and an integrated DVD R/W that can be replaced with a second 1 TB hard drive.

Price: $749
Available: June

EdgeS430


ThinkPad T Series


Tag-line: An Ultrabook for business professionals

Lenovo's well-regarded ThinkPad T series is getting a major new addition in the first half of 2012 that positions the line for the coming Ultrabook era nicely.

ThinkPad T430u
Market: Thin and light corporate design

A 14-inch Ultrabook, the ThinkPad T430u features the latest Intel processors and chipsets, a 14-inch HD display, Intel integrated graphics, up to 16 GB of RAM, up to 1 TB of storage, and 2 USB 3.0 ports, and it weighs under 4 pounds. More important, and in keeping with its Ultrabook heritage, the device is less than 20 mm thin. I likee.

Price: $849
Available: April checking with Lenovo

T430u_01

T430u_02


ThinkPad X Series


Tag-line: High performance with extended battery life

After Lenovo canceled the well-regarded ThinkPad X300--which foresaw the Ultrabook craze by a whopping 3+ years--it surprised onlookers--and me, the recent purchaser of a ThinkPad Edge T420S--with the ThinkPad X1, a stunningly thin and light, drool-worthy new thin and light ThinkPad. This year, it's back, and in a nicely upgraded form.

ThinkPad X1 Hybrid
Market: High performance, great battery life

The thinnest-ever ThinkPad, the X1 Hybrid comes in at just 16 mm thick, and weighs just 3.7 pounds. It can charge up to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes. And it provides up to 5.2 hours of battery life, or 10 hours with an additional battery slice. Key stats include latest-gen Intel processors and chipsets, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port, a 128 GB or 160 GB SSD or an 80 GB micro-SSD combined with 250 GB or 320 GB of HDD storage (thus the "hybrid" name), integrated HD graphics, up to 8 GB of RAM, and an instant media mode.

Price: $1599
Available: April

X1

These aren't Lenovo's only new machines: The company will announce a lot more at CES. See you then.