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...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Seeing double

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.