Laptops

Lenovo ThinkBook 13S review: Balance is everything

Be stylish at work

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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

You may have heard this famous proverb from the 1980 horror movie The Shining, but it really makes a fair point — if you don’t balance your work-life activities, you’ll get bored. Or worse, you yourself get boring.

In comes Lenovo’s ThinkBook 13S. A business laptop when it comes to its durable form factor and security but is equipped and poised to deliver an enhanced entertainment experience with its features.

We’ve previously given you a rundown of its headlining features during our unboxing and hands-on. For this article, we go straight to how it fares as a daily driver.

Being clad in an all-aluminum chassis, the ThinkBook 13S really feels robust when you hold it. There’s no surface that bends when you apply pressure and its metallic finish reinforces the sturdy look that it gives off.

The display spans 13.3 inches across which is just the right size for finishing up reports and working remotely. Plus, its entire form factor doesn’t take up much space inside a bag so that’s always a point for portability.

With its Full HD display with Dolby Vision, a noticeable improvement in dynamic range is seen while colors are pleasantly vibrant. A minor gripe is that glares are still an ongoing nuisance when you attempt to watch videos outside on a sunny day.

Its narrow 5.5mm bezels do make the display pop out a little bit, but it still has a slightly thicker forehead and a chin that, for me, visually cancels out the efforts of having slim side bezels.

Another interesting thing to note is that the laptop is protected from external factors that may damage it. The 13S has anti-spill protection for up to 60cc of water in case you accidentally tip over your drink beside the laptop while working.

Coming from Lenovo and its famous Yoga line, the ThinkBook 13S also received the capability to be able to open its lid all the way back thanks to a special hinge made with zinc-alloy. As such, it’s able to endure 25,000 open-and-close cycles so wear-and-tear isn’t something you’d have to think of.

Due to its capability to flip all the way, sharing content while giving a presentation to a colleague, for example, just got a lot easier.

We mentioned that this particular laptop values security and if so do you, you’d be glad to know that it comes with a fingerprint sensor embedded in its power button. It works as advertised and setting it up only takes a few minutes.

The built-in dual Harman speakers with Dolby Audio also performed well for a small laptop. It’s enough to fill a small room when you play music, but a set of external speakers would work best if you plan on binge-watching movies using this.

After you’ve taken your break from writing and are ready to go back to work, its Modern Standby feature kicks in to let you resume where you left off in less than 0.5 seconds — no more waiting for long periods just for the software to load your files and whatnot.

For a quick rundown on specs, it has an 8th generation Intel chip that can be bumped up to an i7 processor, up to 16GB RAM, and a choice between discrete AMD Radeon 540X or integrated Intel UHD graphics. It also runs on Windows 10 Pro.

The keys have good travel that allows for comfortable typing and are spaced apart just right so it doesn’t feel cramped up. Its touchpad, although not as wide as we’d want it to be, gives good response and doesn’t demand an additional mouse to be able to accomplish tasks efficiently.

According to Lenovo, the battery on the ThinkBook 13S can last up to 11 hours under optimal circumstances. As for us, we used it to work at cafes as well as during meetings and it was able to last the entire day with a little less than 20% left when we get home. It’s safe to say that it can go for a day’s work even if you left your charger back home by accident.

Overall, the ThinkBook 13S offers the needed characteristics to be able to get work done efficiently outside the house. It has a subtle, yet sleek physique, has a robust form factor to withstand the beatings of traveling with it, and an ergonomic layout of buttons, ports, and other physical elements.

It’s also secure for those sensitive or confidential files at work. It comes with a fingerprint sensor built-in as well as software features that prevent unwanted access to your device.

Of course, when you need to take a break from work, the laptop’s HDR display together with its Harman speakers will make your binge-watching and sound trip more enjoyable.

Based on our experience, the Lenovo ThinkBook 13S doesn’t make Jack a dull boy. Rather, it makes him sharper than ever before.

Pricing starts in the Philippines at PhP 54,990 (roughly US$ 1050) for the discrete AMD graphics while the model with integrated Intel UHD 620 starts at PhP 58,990 (around US$ 1126).

CES 2020

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 screams premium

Simple, clean, and light

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Despite Apple’s dig at Chromebooks, it appears to be going strong with yet another addition to the portfolio — the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436.

Simple, clean, and light

ASUS is calling this the thinnest and lightest 14-inch Chromebook. It’s only 13.7mm thick and weighs just 1.1kg.

Complementing the slim form factor are two unique finishes: An iridescent Aerogel White which changes color depending on your viewing angle, and a more subtle Transparent Silver.

The sexy look extends to the display which has an 85 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Unexpected power

One would think something this slim form-factor will hold it back from going all out in performance. Fortunately for us, that’s not the case.

Here’s a specs and ports dump: Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6. Two USB-C ports, microSD card slot up to 2TB.

Whether you’re typing in laptop mode or writing on it in tablet mode, this will help you get your work done. Yes, write on tablet mode. This Chromebook supports any USI-compatible stylus.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip’s 42W all-day battery promises to delivery up to 12 hours of battery life.

Not just for work

When you’re done with the day’s work, you can flip it to tent mode for a Netflix session. The display along with the Harman Kardon-certified speaker setup should produce audio perfect as you unwind for the day.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 starts US$ 999 will be available at around the first and/or second quarter of 2020.

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CES 2020

The Lenovo Ducati 5 is a racing inspired laptop

It even gets an exhaust note on startup!

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Lenovo has been partnering with Ducati on the racetrack for a couple of years now, and today, the company announced the Lenovo Ducati 5, a new Windows 10 laptop that was designed in collaboration between the two companies.

The racing stripe and additional design features come together well, and the fresh 10th-gen processor from Intel should keep it running quickly. The BIOS chime is meant to match the sound of Moto GP riders, and it comes in a Ducati gift box that has matching colors. It also comes with a sleeve that has a Ducati shield.

Apart from the Ducati branding, Ducati 5 is a standard mid-range laptop. It comes equipped with a 10th gen Intel Ice Lake Core i5-1035G1, Intel integrated graphics, 8 GB of RAM, a 14-inch display, and up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD.

Unsurprisingly given the size, there’s no discrete graphics on board, just the integrated graphics of the chip. This is not meant for serious video work or gaming.

Port selection is fairly good, offering users two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, one USB Type-C port, HDMI, an SD card reader, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

The Lenovo Ducati 5 starts at EUR 900 and will be available in April 2020. Lenovo does not list a U.S. pricing. With a production run of just 12,000 units, the Ducati 5 is clearly a niche product.

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CES 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold: Not just a computer

Best foldable so far?

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Last year in the midst of a foldable smartphone war, Lenovo showed us that a computer with a foldable display was also possible.

At that time it didn’t come with a name. Or specs. Or a launch date or a price. But all of that changes here at CES 2020.

What makes the Thinkpad X1 Fold so special? If you saw our preview video you would know, but if you didn’t don’t worry, we got you covered.

It’s not just a computer, its many things.

It’s a huge 13.3 tablet with an OLED display that folds close just like this. When shut, it looks just like a notebook complete with its built in leather folio cover.

You can also hold it like a book and and enjoy an e-book the way you would regular books. Use it with a pen, and it’s a notebook!

You can fold it horizontally too and the bottom half turns into a virtual keyboard. Or, and we weren’t allowed to tell you before, use a real keyboard.

When the X1 Fold is closed it fits snuggly in the middle of the display, so you can easily take it anywhere with you. Flick open the kickstand to use the tablet as a monitor and control everything with the physical keyboard.

You could also fold it horizontally and prop the keyboard on one half of the display and use it like you would any laptop. Key travel feels good and satisfying. It connects wirelessly and automatically. And it charges while tucked in the middle of the display.

The keyboard and pen are bundled and come free.

But Lenovo will also sell a stand for propping it up when you want to connect it to an external monitor. Yes you can do that do.

Another thing we weren’t allowed to show you before is its hinge mechanism. The secret sauce that allows it to fold and unfold like this.

It’s worth pointing out. While the durability of flexible displays is still questioned, Lenovo is willing to risk the name ThinkPad — a brand that’s synonymous with durability and performance.

Now that the design is final. We can also now share button and port placements: Two USB-C ports. One on the bottom, the other is on the right along with SIM card slot, volume button, and the power button.

At launch Lenovo will first be offering a model with a full version of Windows 10 Pro. A version with the upcoming Windows 10X is eventually coming.

Because many of you will ask. Here is the spec sheet: You get the latest Intel processors, up to 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

While the future of computing is still being debated. A versatile device like the ThinkPad X1 Fold is exciting and makes sense. It’s an idea we can get behind. And it’s one of GadgetMatch’s Best of CES 2020 Awardees!

The question now is people will go out and buy it. Would you?

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