Haswell-powered ThinkPads sport 1080p displays, hot-swap batteries

Lenovo has introduced a trio of Haswell-powered ThinkPads destined to hit US shores next month. The T440, T440s, and X240 boast thinner bodies and bigger touchpads than their predecessors, according to the press release. They also promise better battery life thanks to a new hot-swap system dubbed Power Bridge. Like most modern ultrabooks, the latest ThinkPads are equipped with internal batteries. That power source is augmented by an external battery pack that can be swapped without powering down the machine. External packs will be available in 24, 48, and 72Wh capacities, and they'll work with all of the new ThinkPad ultrabooks.

Lenovo claims the new ThinkPads can last for up to 17 hours on a single charge. That run time was achieved using the internal three-cell battery and the 72Wh external pack. It's unclear which of the new models deserves the credit, though.

For me, the most intriguing of the bunch is the ThinkPad X240. This 12.5-incher has a 1080p display and weighs less than three pounds. Although the press release doesn't detail the panel type, the older X230 has an IPS screen, and I'd expect its successor to follow suit. Also on the menu: Core i7 processors, keyboard backlighting, and up to 1TB of internal storage.

Unlike smaller ultrabooks that skimp on wired connectivity, the X240 is lined with VGA, HDMI, USB, and Ethernet connectors. Laptop Magazine even spotted an SD slot onboard. All this can be yours for $1099 and up.

If you prefer something a little larger, the ThinkPad T440 and T440s stretch the screen to 14". These puppies have 802.11ac Wi-Fi and optional 4G connectivity. They're only 0.8" thick, but Lenovo doesn't mention their respective weights.

The display on the T440s has a 1080p resolution that Lenovo characterizes as Full HD. The T440's screen is described as HD+, which suggests a higher resolution but apparently means 1600x900. Perhaps Lenovo should refer to that resolution as HD- instead. Again, there's no word on the panel type. Given the prevalence of high-quality displays in tablets and an increasing number of notebooks, Lenovo would be foolish to skimp on a sub-par panel.

The difference in display resolutions explains why the T440s will start at $1149, $250 more than the T440. The Verge says the T440s will be available with faster processor options, and Engadget adds that folks shopping for the system outside North America will be able to add a discrete GeForce GTX 730M GPU. Too bad the GeForce won't be an option stateside.

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