Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 'Rip & Flip' Convertible Review

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Convertible laptops and ultrabooks had a big presence at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). At CES, Lenovo revealed its ThinkPad Helix which it marketed as having a "groundbreaking 'rip and flip' design" that enables this 11.6-inch ultrabook to transform into a powerful Windows 8 tablet. When detached, Lenovo claims the Helix is the thinnest full-function Intel 3rd generation Core tablet with Intel's vPro technology for the enterprise.

The ThinkPad Helix lets you work in four different modes: laptop, tablet, stand, and tablet+. When attached to the Enhanced Keyboard Dock in laptop mode, you’ll get additional battery life and additional ports as well as Lenovo’s ThinkPad Precision keyboard, a five button trackpad that supports Windows 8 features, and TrackPoint mouse. By docking the Helix backward on the enhanced keyboard, you can use it in stand mode, making it perfect for business presentations or watching movies. Folding it down from stand mode enables tablet+ mode which gives you a tablet with extended battery life and additional ports.

The ThinkPad Helix features an 11.6-inch Full HD 1080p IPS (In-Plane Switching) 10-point multi-touchscreen with pen touch input and Gorilla Glass for protection. Lenovo claims the ThinkPad Helix will run for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Of course, we’ll put this to the test in our review. When using the ThinkPad Helix in tablet mode, the device will reduce its maximum power draw to less than half in order to increase battery life.

As you would expect from a convertible ultrabook, the ThinkPad Helix is very compact. In tablet mode, the ThinkPad Helix measures just 0.46 inches thick. When docked, the ThinkPad Helix is 0.80 inches thick. The tablet alone weighs about 1.73 pounds. The keyboard dock adds just under two pounds, making the entire system weigh about 3.54 pounds.

ThinkPad Helix 3698-4LU
Specifications & Features

Operating System
Windows 8 Professional 64-bit
11.6-inch (1920x1080) IPS, VibrantView (glossy) display with infinity Corning Gorilla Glass, 350 nits, 800:1 contrast ratio, MultiTouch screen supports ten-finger gesture, One Glass Solution
Intel HD 4000
Intel Core i5-3337U (1.8Ghz)
4GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3L SDRAM
Internal Storage
Wireless Connectivity
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205S
Bluetooth 4.0

HD Audio, Realtek ALC3202 codec, Dolby Home Theater v4
stereo speakers (1 watt x 2)
dual array digital microphone
combo audio/microphone jack

Front: 2.0-megapixel, 1080p resolution, fixed focus
Rear: 5.0-megapixel, 1080p resolution, auto focus, flash LED

Ports and Expansion
Tablet: USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, SIM card, Dock Connector
Keyboard Dock: Two USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort

Tablet: 11.66 x 7.37 x 0.46 inches
Tablet with Keyboard Dock: 11.66 x 8.90 x 0.80 inches
Tablet: From 1.73 pounds
Tablet with Keyboard Dock: From 3.54 pounds

Tablet: Lithium Polymer 3-cell, 42 Whr, Up to 5.6 hours
Keyboard Dock: Lithium Polymer 4-cell, 28 Whr, Up to 8 hours

Starts at $1,679.00

Lenovo offers four ThinkPad Helix models that are most easily differentiated by their processor and mobile broadband capabilities. In this review, we’ll take a look at the ThinkPad Helix configured with an Intel Core i5-3337U processor and 180GB SSD. Lenovo also offers the Helix with an Intel Core i7-3667U processor, up to a 256GB SSD, up to 8GB of RAM, and other options. The full specifications for our review sample are posted above.

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ajm531 one year ago

hmmmm to expensive. I meant that tablet battery life is terrible. Why would i want to even use it in that mode if it can barely last 2 hours. Thats not convenient at all. I understand its a full ultrabook in a tablet mode but thats just not enough. I like that they used the idea of asus though and made the dock contain extra battery and ports and stuff since its supposed to be an ultrabook anyways.

JeremiahWhite one year ago

I don't think you realize that their test is meant to rip the battery a new one. That's an EXTREMELY impressive score for a tablet. Not many tech sites use this benchmark.

Straight from a review: Battery Eater Pro is an application that exists solely for the purpose of making life hell for your portable computer's battery. Rather than giving you a best case scenario prediction of the battery life in your notebook, Battery Eater Pro uses every power-hungry option to try to drain your battery as fast as possible. This is in many ways a better benchmark, since it's consistently repeatable, and lets you know what you can expect under the worst conditions

shadizzle one year ago

Pretty expensive, but def. a nice device.

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