This year’s all-digital CES doesn’t officially kick off until next week, but Lenovo has partnered with NEC Personal Computers to break early with a small-factor portable PC concept called the Lavie Mini that has an interesting gaming twist.
The Lavie Mini’s form is reminiscent of the netbooks that first appeared a little over 10 years ago. But this latest device concept from NEC and Lenovo has a bit more going on than those small laptop-like devices designed for online surfing and little else.
The clamshell can fold right over like a 2-in-1 convertible, with the 8-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 pixel, 400-nit touch-enabled display then used like a tablet. The keyboard underneath or around back, depending on which mode is being employed, features backlit circular keys but no touchpad – though there is an optical touch sensor. The logo on the lid lights up when the mini-laptop is powered on.
Inside, there’s an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1180G7 processor married to Intel Xe graphics, supported by 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage. It comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 cooked in, and sports two USB-C ports and a combo mic/headphone jack.
Though the basic specs all sound perfectly reasonable, gaming is where things get a little more interesting, as users can attach optional controllers to each side of the device when it’s in tablet mode to transform it into a chunky Nintendo Switch of sorts, though one that plays “high-quality PC games such as battle royale and car racing games.” Of course, the Mini is larger and heavier than the Switch at 7.87 x 5.79 x 0.67 in (200 x 147 x 16.95 mm) and 1.28 lb (579 g) before you even think of adding the controllers.
There’s an optional gaming dock too, which not only tops up the Mini’s battery and offers more USB ports, but there’s also a HDMI connection that allows the gaming experience to be transferred to a big-screen TV.
Rounding out the given specs are two 1.5-W speakers powered by Intel High Definition Audio, and a 26-Wh Li-ion battery – though per charge playtime isn’t specified.
That could be because the Mini is just a prototype concept for now, and has been revealed as part of Lenovo’s CES 2021 product launch. But it’s an interesting idea, and may even make it to production if there’s enough interest.
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