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Lenovo unveils an Arm laptop with Microsoft Pluton security

The advanced security in Lenovo's ThinkPad X13s is through Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chipset. Lenovo plans to ship the laptop this year.

Lenovo has introduced the first Arm-based business laptop that includes Microsoft's Pluton security processor for storing credentials, such as a Windows ID and password, encryption keys and other critical data. The ThinkPad X13s indicates the gap is closing between Arm- and x86-based PCs.

Introduced this week at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the X13s weighs 2.35 pounds, making it slightly lighter than Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air powered by the company's Arm-based M1 chip and HP's 14-inch HP 14  powered by an Arm-based Qualcomm chip. The laptops are for remote workers who need light systems with long battery life.

The ThinkPad X13s runs Windows 11 and offers up to 28 hours of battery life, according to Lenovo. The laptop has a 13.3-inch display and a 5-megapixel camera, and noise suppression microphones for video conferencing. It supports Wi-Fi, 5G and 4G LTE for wireless connectivity.

The X13s is the first laptop to use Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chipset, which includes Pluton. The Microsoft processor, available on x86 PCs, prevents attackers from obtaining credentials and other critical data, even if they have possession of the system.

Photo of the Arm-based Lenovo ThinkPad X13s laptop
The ThinkPad X13s is Lenovo's first Arm-based business laptop. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx chip powers the notebook.

Along with the added security, the X13s benefits from Windows 11 being better at emulating 64-bit applications designed for x86 processors. "The industry is seeing Windows on Arm closing gaps with Windows on x86," said Wayne Lam, an analyst at CCS Insight.

Major software makers have been adapting to Arm. Microsoft, Box and Dropbox have recently released their cloud storage applications to run on Apple's M1 computers and Windows on Arm systems.

Lenovo kept the X13s in line with the trend among computer makers to manufacture laptops made of sustainable materials. The new ThinkPad's cover is 90% recycled magnesium, its printed circuit board cover and battery frame are 97% compostable plastic, and it uses packaging made from recycled cartons.

Lenovo plans to release the ThinkPad X13s this year, but didn't disclose pricing.

At MWC, Lenovo introduced several x86-based ThinkPad models, including the T16, the T14 Gen 3 and the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5. The X1 Extreme includes an Intel vPro or 12th Gen Intel Core i9 H-series processor and supports up to 8 TB of memory.

Lenovo also unveiled new ThinkBooks, including the 14s Yoga Gen 2 and the 13s Gen 4i. The two-in-one laptop tablets have 12th Gen Intel Core processors and 14-inch displays with up to 40 GB of memory. Lenovo plans to make them available in June.

Maxim Tamarov is a news writer covering mobile and end-user computing. He previously wrote for The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., and the Sun Transcript in Winthrop, Mass. He can be found on Twitter at @MaximTamarov.

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