Feeds
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook: Your new summer convertible?

Core i7 and a 10-hour battery life - but is it enough...

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Review Make it thin enough with a decent battery life, slap Intel’s latest Core series mobile chippery in there and it seems that just about any design can be described as an Ultrabook these days.

Has the marque lost its focus? These days there is a huge range of options from HDD to SSD, slimlime or slab-like - yet all for a price premium. Apparently, Intel wants Haswell models to wake from sleep in three seconds, so how cheaper HDD models will cope remains to be seen.

There are now high expectations of battery life to be met too. Yet for some manufacturers, these details won't be troubling them just yet if they stick to Ivy Bridge for now. Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix is a case in point, but it's no slouch and designed for the long haul too.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

The ThinkPad Helix is another one of those convertible tablet-cum-keyboard affairs. Lenovo’s Yoga remained a notebook but its bend-over-backwards hinge allowed it to behave like a tablet. The Helix goes for full separation but at first glance you’d be forgiven for assuming it to be notebook-only.

Equipped with a 2GHz Intel Core i7-3667U vPro CPU, the tablet aspect is a tad lardy at 11.6mm thick and 835g but it does sport an 11.6in full HD display that relies on the Intel HD 4000 integrated GPU. It also has 8GB of DDR3L 1333MHz SDRAM and the review sample has 256GB Toshiba SSD stuffed into it.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Parting of the ways

The docking unit has a full-size keyboard featuring the timeless Trackpoint teat. It doesn’t skimp on the trackpad size either. The room for palm rests is made possible by the space needed for the inch-tall tablet hinge arrangement, which, in effect, adds more depth to the base.

The keyboard unit packs an extra battery too and, effectively, doubles the thickness and weight of this clamshell combo to 1.67kg and 20.4mm respectively. All told, it's certainly not the lightest Ultrabook I’ve ever handled.

That said, this additional 4-cell power pack enables the Lenovo Helix to clock up those hours and earn the Ultrabook and ultra pricey credentials. Yup, it’s £1,861 for this full spec model with Win8 Pro. Sure it’s a Core i7, but just how badly do you need a convertible with an 11in screen? For £1,600 you can have a 128GB SSD and Win8 or an equivalent 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U CPU model for £1,340. Tempted?

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Latching mechanism: push in to release from dock

Before we get into tablet mode, the base also features two USB 3.0 ports and a mini DisplayPort connector. Apart from the power input, that's it. Alas, the keyboard isn't backlit but the spacing is great and Lenovo slots in a row of function keys that double up with dedicated shortcuts to various settings on Windows 8 – very handy.

My only gripe with the keyboard is the positioning of the arrow keys, as I was constantly hitting the Page Down button by mistake. Other than that, everything else fell into place.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Not too chunky when closed, but a bit on the weighty side

There's one neat trick this combo pulls off, which is to allow the tablet to be docked in a presentation mode, so if you fold it down onto the keyboard, the screen remains uppermost. OK, so it's going to work out heavier this way than just using it as a tablet, but you do end up with more battery power.

When upright, presentation mode does seem a bit of a gimmick as only touch control is enabled. Still, I could see this might work nicely for navigation if linked to another screen mirroring the visuals.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Seeing double

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.