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Lenovo adds touch to IdeaPad and ThinkPad laptops for Windows 8

Lenovo has introduced some updates to its IdeaPad and ThinkPad laptops, adding touch to what were more traditional Windows 7 laptops. Lenovo of course did this to bring an optimised experience to Windows 8, particularly since Windows 8 works best with a touch screen.

All four IdeaPad laptops (U310/U410 and Z400/Z500) now add the word 'Touch' to their names, so you can tell them apart from their non-touch predecessors. Also, Lenovo adds Windows 8 to its SMB-oriented ThinkPad Edge line, along with a few hardware and software enhancements.

The IdeaPad U310 and U410 lines continue their slim and light ultrabook lines, though now you can get one with a 10-finger touch screen. The U310 Touch is a 13in ultrabook, while the U410 Touch is a similar unit bumped up to the 14in screen. Both lines are available with up to Intel Core i7 processors, Windows 8, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 1,366 x 768 resolution screen, and instant resume. The U310 weighs under 2kg, comes with Intel HD Graphics 4000, sports up to 4GB of memory, and up to 500GB hard drive+24GB cache SSD.

The U410 weighs about just over 2kg, can take up to 8GB of memory, 1TB drive+24GB cache SSD, and comes with an extra USB port. The U310 Touch starts at $799 (£499) and U410 Touch starts at $850 (£527).

The IdeaPad Z400 Touch and Z500 Touch are more mainstream laptops that also have 10-point touch screens. The main differences between the two lines are that the Z400 is 2.4kg and comes with a 14in screen, while the Z500 is 2.6kg and comes with a 15in screen. Otherwise, both lines feature up to Intel Core i7 processors, Windows 8, 1,600x x 900 resolution screens, Nvidia GeForce graphics, up to 16GB of memory, up to 1TB hard drives, and both feature HDMI output. Both lines will come in a selection of colours, and feature backlit keyboards. The Z400 Touch and Z500 Touch models start at $699 (£435).

The ThinkPad Edge line gets two new models: The ThinkPad Edge E431 (14in) and the ThinkPad Edge E531 (15in). These ThinkPad models have many more screen options than the IdeaPads, with 1,366 x 768 resolution, 1,600 x 900 resolution (E431), and 1,920 x 1,080 resolution (E531) as options for the laptops' screens. Touch screens are optional as well.

The components sound familiar: up to Core i7, Integrated Intel or Nvidia discrete graphics, up to 1TB hard drives (5,400rpm), and a built-in DVD drive. WLAN is an option on the ThinkPad Edge models. The E431 is less than 2kg, while the E531 is about 2.5kg. The ThinkPad Edge E431/531 lines feature a five-button ClickPad for Windows 8 gestures, which is handy for the non-touch and touch models alike. Both ThinkPad Edge models will be available in May, starting at $539 (£335).