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Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Andrew Williams

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Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Summary

The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is a hybrid Windows 8 laptop-tablet in the traditional ThinkPad vein. It's robust, it's functional and it certainly won't come cheap. However, this $1500 11.6-inch hybrid offers greater flexibility than some of the competition.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Design

As with any ThinkPad product, a large part of the appeal of the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is its build. Cast in the usual matt black and made out of a mixture of magnesium alloy and plastic, it's unmistakably ThinkPad.

Aside from the functional looks and the excellent signature ThinkPad keyboard, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix differentiates itself from the reams of hybrids with a reversible screen mechanism that Lenovo calls “Rip and Flip”. The 835g 11.6-inch tablet part can be used as a tablet, jammed into the keyboard base for a laptop-like form or turned around to make the keyboard act as a stand.

This arrangement would come in particularly handy for movie-watching, impromptu presentations or for just about any touchscreen-led use.

The keyboard base is cleverer than most too. Like the Asus Transformer tablets, it provides its own battery, boosting the battery stamina from 6 hours to 10 hours. That's not masses for a tablet, but let's not forget this is a “full fat” device running full Windows 8 rather than the RT version.

The keyboard base's hinge mechanism isn't the prettiest, but provides vents and a pair of additional fans to help cool the Helix when under more strenuous use – the assumption being that the most intensive tasks will probably be done docked.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Screen

With a 1080p 11.6-inch screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix matches the majority of “Pro” line Windows 8 hybrids, including the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro.

It uses an IPS display, bringing the usual excellent image quality and wide viewing angles we've come to expect from tablets and tablet hybrids. Another feature that is becoming standard for higher-end hybrids is a digitiser.

The Lenovo ThinkPad features a Wacom digitiser, and the tablet offers a cubby hole into which you can put the digitiser pen. Again, Lenovo wins extra points for thoughtful practicality.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Specs

The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix will be available in an array of spec configurations, but the one we saw demonstrated was a mid-range example, with a Core i5 processor. Core i7 options will also be available. The ThinkPad Helix uses current Ivy Bridge-generation CULV Intel chips, backed-up by 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix starts at $1,499 in the US.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Impressions

The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix feels like a hybrid roadwarrior. It's reasonably light, especially in its class, offers great build quality and careful attention to detail in its construction. It may not be a beauty, but it's one of the better full Windows 8 hybrid designs out there.

Chris Tootell

January 9, 2013, 11:08 pm

did the lenovo rep actually state 8gb ram? just want clarification. on the lenovo site they are now putting 4gb max.

Bugblatter

January 9, 2013, 11:42 pm

This sounds amazing for on-the-go, but for me what's letting these Win8 hybrids and tablets down is the 3D performance. Not any issue for everyone but if this is going to replace my Android tablet it needs more pep.

Some manufacturers have been adding 3D chips into docks; why not add one into the keyboard dock?

TechVegan

February 20, 2013, 3:32 pm

8GB is the maximum AFAIK, whether that translates to the UK remains to be seen - though usually even in the UK Lenovo offers flexible configurations on its flagship laptops/convertibles.

TechVegan

February 20, 2013, 3:38 pm

Yes as a gamer and digital artist I'm also a big fan of dedicated 3D cards for convertibles. Unfortunately, the reasons why one was not put into the dock here are fairly obvious: weight, space and price.

Mind you, an optional secondary dock with a GPU would still be a theoretical possibility... but until universal external 3D GPU stations using Thunderbolt or a similarly speedy connector come along, we'll probably have to hope and dream :S

Bugblatter

February 20, 2013, 3:56 pm

Well given that there have been a few laptops with powerful GPUs in the dock the tech should already be available. For example the Sony Vaio Z was doing it over a year and a half ago, using the same technology that sits behind Thunderbolt. But if it happens I agree it'll affect the price so will probably not be particularly mainstream.

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