ThinkPad X1 Carbon: Business Sense

Lenovo have released the latest model in their ThinkPad range, the X1 Carbon. Designed with the business user in mind, the ThinkPad’s build arguably rivals that of the Apple Macbook Air.

With its slimline appearance, tough exterior, and impressive specs, the ThinkPad is likely to wow Windows business users as a portable, high-performance machine.

ThinkPad-X1

Tech Specs

At only 0.7 inches in thickness, and weighing in at just 3lbs, despite its 14-inch screen, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon also boasts an Intel Core i7 processor, 256GB storage and up to 8GB RAM. Inclusion of the Lenovo RapidCharge system means you can experience up to five hours’ battery life on just a 35-minute charge. A full charge can last around seven hours.

The 720p HD webcam is perfect for conference calls, while the dual-array microphone and keyboard noise suppression provide you with maximum sound quality, and minimum interference.

Although it is a business-orientated machine, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon caters for your leisure needs too. Built-in Dolby Home Theater v4, and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, provide you with a high quality entertainment experience.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is also security-conscious, containing a fingerprint reader, as well as TPM and BIOS encryption.

Connectivity

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has built-in 3G capability, so you can gain contract-free access to the 3G network when you need it. The machine also comes with Mobile Hotspot technology.

Features

Users can manage their data on the X1 Carbon remotely using Intel vPro technology. This helps streamline common IT functions and uses encryption and password protection to keep data safe.

The ThinkPad’s keyboard is backlit, with two different brightness settings. The keyboard also contains Lenovo’s uniquely-shaped keys, which are designed to minimize typing errors.

Size

The computer’s carbon fibre shell contributes to its minimal weight, but doesn’t compromise on the laptop’s durability: it’s as strong as aluminium, but a third of the weight.

The small, light-weight frame does produce some drawbacks, similar to those experienced with the Macbook Air. For example, the machine doesn’t have a wired Ethernet port or a user-replaceable battery. It does, however, have a USB drive and the machine comes with a separate Ethernet USB dongle.

Price

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is set for release on 21st August. Retail prices are expected to start at around £1,000.

Little Tikes Young Explorer PC Workstation – cubicle culture in the classroom?

Opinion seems divided so far on the just-released Young Explorer PC Workstation from Little Tikes, with some American Moms and Dads suggesting it is preparing their wee ones for a life of office-based slavedom in a cubicle. However, I’ve read plenty of posts from users in school, nurseries and libraries, who have nothing but praise.

The Young Explorer is a joint project between Little Tikes (best known for plastic playhouses, garden slides and the Cozy Coupe cars) and IBM (best known for, um, the PC).

Little-Tikes

The technical specs include a Think Centre PC, 16GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, 19in widescreen Flat Panel LCD monitor, speakers, internal DVD player. Little Tikes has provided the workstation, including a flat desk area, built in mouse pads (left and right), bench seat for two children, locking cabinet doors and space for computer wires inside the cabinet.

Targeting children aged three to seven, the aim is to provide an attractive, durable introduction to computing. However, with a price tag of just under £2,000, I wonder how attractive it will be. Sure, the workstation itself is made the durable Little Tikes way, and the lockable tower cabinet is a great idea (I am speaking as the mother whose child pulled hard on her laptop’s screen and snapped its hinges). But as the price is nudging towards that of a speedy Mac, I think even larger institutions may think twice.

While there will definitely be a few nurseries who purchase one to make their IT corner look more attractive to prospective parents, for those of us wishing to create a similar effect at home it would be cheaper to simply buy a net book and a kids’ desk and chair to create the same effect.

In my experience, children don’t need any particular encouragement to use computers, but if you fancy buying your little one their own piece of technology, so that they keep their hands off your work machine, here’s a couple of more affordable suggestions:

Zoostorm Fizzbook Notebook
A tough armoured plastic body, with integral handle surrounds this notebook, with its 9in screen. The keyboard has been scaled down to suit little hands, but tougher than your usual netbook’s. While this is aimed at older children (6-14 year-olds) I think most people, whose kids have played on their own computer, will find it is just as suitable for littlies.
Price: around £290

The Generics Children’s Lower Case Colour coded keyboard
Add this child-friendly keyboard to your existing computer. This features lower case letters and colour coding for vowels, consonants and numbers and costs £15.22.
The BigKeys Plus Large Key keyboard has a simplified keyboard, with, surprise surprise, big keys. At £119, it might be a bit pricey for the average parent – it’s really aimed at nurseries and special schools.