Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 Gen 2 hands-on: Slick updates for hybrid work

Again at CES, Lenovo confirmed off an enormous portfolio of recent gadgets together with a true dual-screen laptop and a desk lamp that doubles as a webcam. However now, Lenovo is again at Cell World Congress with a couple of extra refreshed notebooks and tablets headlined by two attention-grabbing updates to the ThinkPad Z household.

Designed to be preferrred companions for hybrid employees, the brand new ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 and Z16 Gen 2 function an all-AMD setup. You’ll have the ability to select from a spread of Ryzen 7000 processors and even an optionally available Radeon 6650M graphics card on the bigger Z16, together with as much as 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. Nonetheless, for people who find themselves continually hopping on and off video calls, the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16’s new communication options may be the larger draw.

That’s as a result of along with new full HD webcams, you’ll additionally get help for Wi-Fi 6E and Dolby Voice-enabled microphones, so you must look and sound good on Zoom conferences. However my favourite new function is the TrackPoint Fast Menu that may be summoned by merely double-tapping the corporate’s signature purple nub. This opens a window that permits you to rapidly alter issues like digital camera settings, mic quantity, voice dictation, noise suppression and extra. You’ll be able to even customise which settings you wish to see so you might have quick entry to the stuff you have a tendency to alter most frequently and I feel it’s a good way of including new performance to a traditional part just like the TrackPoint.

Different specs embrace as much as a 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED show on the Z13 Gen 2 or a bigger and better decision 16-inch 4K OLED panel on the Z16 Gen 2. Lenovo has additionally retained helpful options like an digital shutter for the webcam, along with twin audio system with Dolby Atmos, two or three USB ports relying on the system, and a devoted SD card reader on the Z16.

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In the meantime, to assist enhance your mousing expertise, each the Z13 and Z16 Gen 2 function a Fusion FX touchpad from Sensel, which provides extra refined haptics, higher palm rejection and extra. On high of being bodily bigger (120mm throughout), long-time Trackpoint followers will even respect that Sensel’s touchpad helps three digital haptic buttons that run throughout the highest of the touchpad, so that you’ll nonetheless have easy accessibility to left and proper mouse clicks with out having to succeed in too far.

Lastly, the final large change for the Z13 is that alongside the default aluminum end, as a part of its dedication to sustainability, Lenovo can be introducing a brand new flax fiber lid which is comprised of waste materials collected throughout the harvesting course of. This materials is one thing we’ve seen earlier than on a handful of idea automobiles from corporations like Porsche and Polestar, however Lenovo says that is the primary time this strengthened flax fiber materials might be out there on a client digital machine.

On the new Z13 and Z16 Gen 2, there's a new TrackPoint Quick Menu that can be summoned by double tapping the company's signature red nub.

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Admittedly, this isn’t for everybody, however I sort of prefer it as a result of it seems to be virtually like a futuristic tackle wooden paneling. Not solely does this add a bit of heat to the laptop computer’s look, identical to a pleasant piece of furnishings, every flax fiber lid incorporates a distinctive grain, which provides the entire system a little bit of added persona. On high of that, Lenovo says the lid is bonded to a high cowl comprised of 75 % recycled aluminum.

Whereas their designs aren’t altering a ton (apart from that new lid possibility on Z13), the addition of speedier elements, bigger touchpads and higher conferencing options ought to make the second-gen ThinkPad Z-series laptops even higher at getting work performed – each at dwelling or within the workplace. And because of its optionally available flax fiber lid, the Z13 Gen 2 may be probably the most fashionable and sustainable ThinkPad but.

The Z13's new Fusion FX touchpad from Sensel features a row of haptic mouse buttons, improved palm rejection and overall better accuracy.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 is predicted to go on sale someday in July beginning at $1,249, with the ThinkPad Z16 Gen arriving a bit later in August beginning at $1,749.

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