Dell, HP, and Lenovo all announced major upgrades to their respective PC lineups this past week. Let’s take a quick look.
But first, an equally quick apology: As some of you may know, I tried to take some time off last week as part of a road trip to bring my daughter, belatedly, to college, and that was mostly successful. But these new PCs were all announced during that time, and I would have normally covered each of these separately as that happened. So I’m trying to get caught up here, as I didn’t want to ignore these interesting advances.
Another quick but related note. For all of the terribleness of the COVID-19 pandemic this year and the lasting financial, health, and wellbeing impact it will have on us for the foreseeable future, there are some silver linings. And among the surprising benefits is a retroactive, dawning realization that the humble PC, long thought to be slowly drifting into irrelevance, is still very much necessary and important. As someone who values and cares about the PC more than any other digital platform, this makes me very happy.
As do the announcements we saw this week, not just from Microsoft—which I did write about, time off be damned—but also from the three biggest PC makers in the world, Lenovo, HP, and Dell.
Here’s what each announced.
Dell replaced its XPS portable lineup this year—I’ve already reviewed the new XPS 13 and will soon publish a review of the XPS 15—to great effect: These are gorgeous, well-designed, premium PCs. This week, however, Dell announced that it is revving the XPS 13, XPS 13 2-in-1, XPS 13 Developer Edition (which comes with Linux), most notably with Intel 11th-generation “Tiger Lake” processors, Thunderbolt 4, and faster 4267 MHz LPDDR4x RAM. These are, Dell tells me, its first Intel EVO platform-based systems. And each is now available in the U.S. and Canada with prices starting at $999.
I’ve been badgering HP to offer 3:2 displays for years, but aside from a few tablet PC models, it’s stuck with more common but less useful 16:9 displays. Well, it’s finally seen the light: The new Spectre x360 14—which slots, Goldilocks style, neatly between the 13.3- and 15-inch models, offers 11th-generation Intel Core processors with Iris Xe graphics, Thunderbolt 4, quad speakers, Wi-Fi 6, and, bam, a 14.1-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a Surface-like resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels, and very small bezels. Finally!
The biggest news, perhaps, is that Lenovo is finally ready to start selling its ThinkPad X1 Fold, which was first revealed last year as a Windows 10X device. Windows 10X is a distant memory, but the first folding display PC is read for sale at a heady $2499. It looks really thick, though, and I’m a bit wary of the first-generation technology.
Lenovo also announced some less controversial designs, most notably the ThinkPad X1 Nano, which it bills as the lightest-ever ThinkPad (laptop, I assume) at 1.99 pounds. It’s also the first ThinkPad based on the Intel Evo platform and features a 16:10 13-inch 2K display. Prices start at $1,399.