Set to debut on Tuesday at the Siggraph conference in Los Angeles, Lenovo's new ThinkPad W700 mobile workstation is full of firsts. The 17-inch laptop is the first time ThinkPad has ventured into desktop replacement territory, and its larger-than-ever case will pack in not only the latest-generation components, but also two features we've never before seen on a laptop: a digitizing pad integrated into the wrist rest, and a built-in color calibrator.
The 4.7-inch-by-3.2-inch digitizer is essentially a mini-Wacom tablet that sits next to the laptop's touch pad. The digitizer pad can be mapped to the entire screen or to a defined area so you can manipulate images by hand. Above the digitizer pad sits an X-rite Pantone color sensor that's capable of color-calibrating the display when the lid is closed, eliminating the need to carry a separate calibration device. True colors will be especially noticeable on the ThinkPad W700's 17-inch WUXGA display, which offers 72 percent color gamut (meaning it can display 72 percent of the entire range of visible colors).
As you might suspect, the ThinkPad W700 is intended for graphics professionals, such as those in the digital content creation, computer-aided design and manufacturing, or digital photography fields. As such, Lenovo has configured the W700 with heavy-duty components to handle complex rendering tasks. In fact, the components are so new they haven't even been officially announced; Lenovo can only tell us the ThinkPad W700 will include a "next-generation Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad Core processor" and the "latest Nvidia Quadro FX graphics."
The ThinkPad W700's case also incorporates VGA, DisplayPort, and Dual Link DVI-D connections to support larger external displays. Hard-drive options go up to 640GB of storage and include a 64GB solid-state drive (which will surely be too small for a digital content professional), and optical drive options include a Blu-ray drive.
Pricing will start around $3,000; with the digitizer pad, color calibrator, and the highest-end component options, the price could reach $5,000. It seems like a lot, but we suspect the ThinkPad W700's intended audience of graphics professionals will gladly pay that amount to have all the tools they need in one mobile workstation.
The ThinkPad W700 will begin shipping September 2. We'll be catching a close-up look at the laptop at Siggraph on Tuesday and will post photos later in the week.