When it came out out last spring, we praised Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 for its svelte design, powerful performance, and best-ever tactile keyboard. However, we were disappointed by the X1’s short 4-hour and 11-minute battery life and its overly-glossy, low resolution screen. Today, Lenovo announced its long-rumored ThinkPad X1 hybrid, which tries to solve the battery life problem by adding a low-power Qualcomm processor that runs an Android-like environment called Instant Media Mode while Windows 7 and the main Intel Core Series CPU are asleep.
Users can easily switch between Windows and IMM (Instant Media Mode) by simply clicking an icon on the desktop. IMM has its own scaled-down set of apps, including a browser, a photo viewer, music player, video player, and document editor. Because IMM runs on the 1.2-GHz Qualcomm 8060 processor, Lenovo claims that users will get 10 hours of battery life in the low-power environment as opposed to the normal 4 hours they get under Windows. In addition to the Qualcomm CPU, IMM also has access to 16GB of storage memory and 1GB of RAM.
Lenovo’s bold move does not affect the other specs or design of the original ThinkPad X1. The notebook still has a 13.3-inch, 1366 x 768 screen, your choice of Intel 2nd Generation Core series CPUs, and still weighs around 3.7 pounds. The ThinkPad X1 will start at $1,599, which is $300 more than the regular $1,299 X1 starts at today.
Users will still have the option of buying the $150 battery slice, which adds .8 pounds to the notebook but doubles its battery life in full fledged Windows. Whether business users prefer a scaled-down OS to .8 pounds of extra weight remains to be seen. The ThinkPad X1 Hybrid is due sometime in Q2.