USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the potential to revolutionize how we plug in — a single cable that can do general purpose data, video, and power. And it's reversible! Lenovo's embracing USB-C in a big way with their newest docks and monitors.
Lenovo ThinkVision displays
There are two new displays to note here: the ThinkVision P27h (27 inches) and P24h (23.8 inches). Both are QHD (2560x1440) IPS LCD panels, supporting nearly 100% of the sRGB color gamut and a 6ms response time. Lenovo's shunning bezels here, with barely a border across the top and sides; even the one across the bottom isn't exceedingly thick.
And while they each sport HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, it's the USB-C port that's the real star here. This single port allows you to plug in your laptop with just one cable, sending video, data, and power. There are four full-sized USB ports along the edge of the display (all the better to connect with ease). Thanks to the 10GBPS capabilities of USB-C 3.1, there's even DisplayPort out so you can hook up a second display.
Lenovo's priced the ThinkVision P27h display at $329 and the P24h at $259, with availability expected in March 2017.
Lenovo ThinkPad Docks
While the new ThinkVision displays are essentially decent USB-C docks with attached displays, if you've already got a display or two that you like and would prefer to keep them, Lenovo has two docking solutions on the horizon as well. The two are largely the same — simple black boxes that run a single cable between your laptop and everything you want to connect to your laptop.
There are two separate models: one connects via USB-C and the other supports the blistering-fast 40GBPS Thunderbolt 3 connection (the same reversible USB-C port).
|Ports||USB-C dock||TB3 dock|
3x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
|1x Thunderbolt 3/USB-C|
5x USB 3.0
|Audio||Stereo/Mic combo port||Stereo/Mic combo port|
|Internet||Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)||Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)|
|Laptop connection||USB-C||Thunderbolt 3|
|Power||135W (65W to laptop)||90W (60W to laptop)|
The USB-C dock can drive a single 4K display at 60fps or a pair of HD 1080p screens at 60fps (all over DisplayPort). Thanks to the four-times increase in available data for the Thunderbolt 3 dock, it can drive two 4K displays simultaneously at 60fps, or even three 4K displays at 30fps (using both DisplayPort connections and the Thunderbolt-out port).
The beauty of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, unlike the docking solutions of the past, is that they're universal standards. Both the displays and docks work with compatible Lenovo laptops, sure, but also with any properly equipped laptop, regardless of manufacturer. It truly is the universal single-cable dream.
The Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C dock will retail for $199.99 and be available in January 2017, while the Thunderbolt 3 version will bump the price up to $279.99 and hit shelves in February 2017.
Both the displays and docks, along with new Lenovo laptops, will be officially unveiled at CES 2017. We'll be there to bring you all the latest!
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.