Lenovo today announced a couple of stylish new additions to its popular ThinkPad Edge line of SMB-oriented notebooks. Dubbed the ThinkPad E220s and E420s, the 12.5 and 14-inch notebooks take the first-gen Edge design and expand on it with premium elements such as a rubberized soft-touch finish, real chrome trim (as opposed to the faux metal on the original), and a high-def 720p webcam.
Both notebooks are extremely thin and light, with the 12.5-inch E220s weighing less than 3.5 pounds and measuring less than 1-inch think while its larger cousin weighs just 4 pounds with 1-inch of girth at its thinnest point. Both systems will be available with a choice of “upcoming” (aka Sandy Bridge) Intel processors, though the E220s will use ULV processors while the E420s will have standard voltage chips. Due to its larger size, only the E420s will also come with a slot-loading DVD player and the option of AMD switchable graphics.
Perhaps the most interesting new feature available on the E220s and E420s is the optional Rapid Drive technology, which combines one of Intel’s new SSD 310 mSATA solid state drives with a standard 5,400 or 7,200-rpm hard drive to give users both high-speed and high-capacity storage. With Rapid Drive, the operating system, program files, and some documents are stored on the SSD while the majority of the users’ data sits on the hard drive. This allows extremely fast boot times and application opens, but still gives the user enough space to hold a ton of files.
We had a brief opportunity to look at design prototypes of both systems a couple of months ago and were particularly impressed with the premium build quality of their chassis. Not only is the soft-touch material attractive and pleasant to the touch, but, on the palmrest, it offers the kind of give that should make typing a lot more comfortable. We also noticed that, for better or worse, the models we saw had built-in batteries like the MacBook Air, which means you save space but can’t remove your battery.
Both the the 1E220s and 14-inch E420s will be available starting in April with starting prices of $899 and $749 respectively. For those businesses looking for a less-expensive and bulkier ThinkPad Edge, Lenovo is also introducing the less-expensive 14-inch 420 and 15-inch 520, which will have many of the same features in a slightly less premium and bulkier design for a starting price of just $599. Check out the specs for all the new ThinkPad Edge systems and a gallery below.