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Lenovo's new Ideapads offer Skylake chips and RealSense facial recognition

Lenovo

Lenovo has unveiled a slew of new Windows 10 Ideapads, with so many hardware choices it's difficult to tell which are the high-end machines and which are the low-end — it all depends on which options you choose.

First up, though, are the 300 series and 500 series which offer the most powerful innards, with sixth-generation Intel chips available for both (or low-end Braswell processors for the 300 series), up to 1TB of HDD or hybrid storage, and as much as 16GB of RAM (although only if you pick Skylake chips). The 300 notebooks are available with 14-inch, 15.6-inch, or 17.3-inch screens, while the 500 series comes in 14-inch or 15.6-inch flavors. Lenovo is marketing these as light and portable machines, with the 14-inchers both weighing in at 2.1 kg and the 15.6-inch laptops tipping the scales at 2.3 kg. Prices for the 14-inch 300 start at $399, and for the 15-inch at $549; for the 14-inch 500 at $499 and the 15-inch at $599, with availability for all of these machines starting in October.

The Ideapad 500 offers Intel's RealSense 3d Camera

If this list of figures and specs has sent you reeling, well, we know how you feel. They might have confused Lenovo a little too, because it seems that you can get a high-specced Ideapad 300 that is pretty much as powerful as a Ideapad 500. The only major differences are that on the 500 series you have the option of slightly better graphics (a Radeon R7 M360 vs a Radeon R5 M330), as well as Intel's RealSense 3D camera. This enables cool tricks like unlocking your computer with your face on Windows 10, although there is a caveat: RealSense is only available on the 15-inch model.

To add to this already confusing cast list, Lenovo is also introducing the 300s and 500s range — lighter machines with less RAM (a maximum of 8GB) and less punchy graphics. They do, however, come with Skylake chips as standard and have up to 1TB HDDs or hybrid storage options. The 500s series is available in 13.3-inch, 14-inch, or 15.6-inch options, while the 300s Ideapads are available "up to 14-inches." Prices for the 300s with an 11-inch screen start at $249, while the 13-inch 500s will start at $499. Both ranges will be available from October this year.

There is certainly an intimidating array of options to choose from here, but Lenovo's strategy at least ensures there's a machine to suit most peoples' needs. If, that is, they can decide on which one they want.