Hands-On Lenovo’s 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Legion Y-Series Gaming Notebooks, VR Headset And More At CES 2017
While touring Lenovo’s suites adjacent to the convention center, we were able to get our hands on the new Legion Y-Series gaming notebooks, an upcoming wireless multimedia keyboard, all of the new ThinkPads slated for 2017 – including the hot, thin-bezeled ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Lenovo’s Smart Home Assistants, and a prototype Virtual Reality headset being co-developed with Microsoft.
As you’ll see in the video, the new Legion Y-Series Y720 and Y520 gaming notebooks have a similar look and design-language to the awesome Y900 we just featured in a recent giveaway, but they are slightly smaller and feature 15.6-inch screens. Both machines are packing discrete NVIDIA graphics, Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processor tech, and backlight keyboards (customizable on the Y720). The Legion Y720 is also packing and integrated wireless receiver that works with Microsoft’s Xbox One controllers.
While demoing the machines, we got to see a new hub application Lenovo is working on that pulls in all multimedia content and games into a single interface. That tool also gives users the ability to watch non-VR-optimized content in a VR environment and also up-scale games for use in VR. When used with the HTC Vive, for example, with Deus Ex, the VR headset can be used for head tracking, which moves the reticle on-screen, while the Xbox One controller can be used to fire and move around. Watching a movie in VR gave the impression of actually being in a theater, complete with seating and a screen.
The VR headset Lenovo was showing is a mock-up of a design that’s slated to arrive late this year, for under $400 (we’re told closer to the $300 price point). It is being developed in conjunction with Microsoft, and will leverage the Windows Holographic platform. Because the headset will use dual world-facing cameras, it reportedly will be able to do room-scale VR without the need to set up light-houses or other sensors, like the HTC Vive. The front-facing cameras should also make the headset well suited to AR applications as well.
Lenovo also showed off an upcoming handheld, multimedia keyboard, on which all of the keys actually function like a touchpad, for easier navigation. Lenovo’s Smart Home devices which leverage the Amazon Alexa API were shown too. Lenovo’s upcoming Smart Home assistants will be offered in a couple of versions; one standard device which will be more affordable than the Amazon Echo and another featuring Harman Kardon tuned audio.
There is also some hands-on video with Lenovo’s new line-up of ThinkPad machines for 2017, including the newly-redesigned ThinkPad X1 Carbon. All of the machines have been refreshed with bleeding-edge hardware, like Intel’s 7th-Gen Kaby Lake processors, silver is now a color option for the chassis, and in the case of the X1 Carbon, the bezels around the screen have been reduced significantly, which allow Lenovo to squeeze a 14” screen into a smaller 13” form factor.