Microsoft’s Windows 8 strategy depends on its hardware partners delivering compelling 2-in-1 machines with solid hardware and reasonable prices. It seems that’s exactly what Lenovo is delivering with the Lenovo Flex 3 family of laptops coming this May.
Lenovo announced Flex 3 laptops in three different sizes at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this afternoon. By now, most are familiar with the ideas behind 2-in-1s. With little changing in the tablet game, Windows PC makers have used Windows 8 to build devices that can be both a tablet and a traditional laptop. If done correctly, these 2-in-1s are the only device people need to get work done and enjoy some downtime. This is true of all the Flex 3 machines Lenovo introduced today have hinges that allow users to fold their display backwards.
The Flex 3 11 hits the right price. It’ll cost $399 when it launches in May. It has an 11.6-inch high-definition display, an Intel Pentium processor, Intel HD graphics, a 500GB hard drive. A front-facing web cam allows buyers to video chat with their friends and take self-portraits. It’ll weigh 3.8 pounds, the least of any member of the Flex 3 family. It’s thin too, measuring 0.9-inch from top to the bottom.
The Flex 3 14 measures just 0.8-inches from top to bottom and weighs 4.2 pounds. It owes that to the high-definition 14-inch display that dominates its form factor. Upgrades for it include processors from Intel’s 5th Generation Core i5 line, the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7. There are also options for a dedicated NVidia graphics card. Adding the discrete graphics card allows users to work with hefty media, like video, better. It’s not bad for gaming either. Users will have the option to add a 1TB hard drive to the Flex 3 14. It’ll cost users $549.
Finally, there’s the Lenovo Flex 3 15 for $579. It has a spacious 15.6-inch high definition display for users who need a bit more screen real estate. The 5th generation Intel Core processors, options for 8GB of RAM, and hard drive are the same. The big difference here is in weight. Its 5.07 pounds, almost double what the entry level Flex 3 11 is.
There’s more to these machines than just their flipping hinges. Every member of the Flex 3 family has Bluetooth 4.0 so that users can connect to their smartphone or other device without wires. There’s also 802.11 AC, the latest wireless internet standard available. Paired with a compatible router, users should see a speed boost and better reception. The Flex 11 features 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port for connect to other devices. The Flex 3 14 and Flex 3 15 include 2 USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0 port. All machines in the family include a front-facing webcam, stereo speakers, a 4-in-1 media card reader, a headphone jack, Ethernet port and HDMI out port. That last one is important for giving presentations and connecting to an external display without having to buy an adapter.
All told, the Lenovo Flex 3 family seems to hit all the right notes. The only thing really disappointing is its launch time. A lot of things in the notebook market can change in that time. Lenovo itself has new ThinkPad Yoga devices launching in the meantime. That being said, launching the Flex 3 family in May allows Lenovo to have something new and innovative available before the Back to School shopping season. For sure, students will love the new color options. There’s orange and a more sophisticated looking white-on-white design.
Read: CES 2015
Users will be able to choose options and purchase the Lenovo Flex 3 11, Flex 3 14, and Flex 15 directly from Lenovo’s retail website. It’s unclear which retail stores will carry which models after launch. Lenovo has confirmed that the Flex 3 family will include support for its new Harmony software package. Harmony makes it easy for users to adjust their software experience based on what mode the Flex 3 is in.
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