Evaluation of ThinkPad Helix deformed tablet: the performance is powerful but the workmanship is not good enough
Recalling the CES 2013 Electronics Show earlier this year, we seem hard to remember the new products released, for the release is basically a bunch of product mix, and lacks an impressive part. The notebook is more serious, looking around, there is just a bunch of similar Windows 8 Ultrabook s priced more than $ 1,000.
In this chaotic situation, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix can be called a stand out. The device features a tablet / notebook combo hybrid design. In normal conditions, it is a tablet, while attached to the keyboard dock with battery, it becomes an ultrabook. Of course, it has higher hardware configuration, and runs the Windows 8 system of complete version. Two batteries (body + base) configuration is also allowed it to have a long battery life. Even its keyboard dock also designed two fans, so you can overclock the device. It sounds that Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is a fantastic product designed for high-end users. The rugged portability, office, strong performance and good scalability aspects are what we expected.
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix should have been on sale in February this year, but for various reasons, it has been postponed. Until now, it comes to us. As at the CES, its specifications and features have not changed, and we cannot wait to start using it. But you have to notice changes in the market: Intel recently released a Core processor Haswell of new generation. Some new products with this processor have been released or listed, so I have to re-examine the value of the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix.
Disregard whether the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix has missed the best time to market or not , it still has some opportunities. Then whether the high-end deformable device of $ 1679.99 is worth selecting or not, an evaluation of the content can help us to find the answers.
Body design: good idea is only the beginning of success
The design concepts of Lenovo ThinkPad Helix may be more inclined to highlight the form of combined use, and the tablet part is like part of the laptop screen. Combination with keyboard base is its most complete form. So it has a lot of physical design in connection part, rather than as Acer P3 installed on the keyboard to connect via Bluetooth. But I personally think that Lenovo seems too much emphasis on the concept of fit, resulting in some of the details of the over-designed, and affecting the overall experience.
First, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix body feels slightly thick, the tablet of 0.8 kg and the base of close to 1 kg combined total weight is 1.8 kg, and perhaps this weight is still in the range of ultrabooks, but you need to take into account, the weight of two parts is very close. In other words, part of the screen is thicker. Opening the screen in a notebook form need to use some of the effort, and the fuselage will probably fall over. In addition, the combination of the body is much thicker than the average 11.6-inch Ultrabook.
The part of tablet and the base has a black tone design, and uses a matte texture of the carbon fiber material, which is very similar to the ThinkPad Carbon X1 in texture. Them through a series of complex hybrid hinge connection, as many as six parts, in addition to fixed interfaces and some port connection transfer, so as to properly use the keyboard to the base of the various interfaces. In the interface part, the base back features two USB ports and a Mini video output. Tablet PC has a USB, a Mini video output, an SD card slot and a SIM card slot.
The hinge design allows you to get experience like the Lenovo Yoga, you can install the tablet on positive or negative directions, so it can get a different display modes. When the screen is outward, you can also put the screen flat to use the keyboard, but this way is actually to make a thin tablet originally become a heavy one, which makes no sense. Through the fuselage on the left of an awkward release button, you can separate the tablet and the base.
Although Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is currently the most liberal form used in ultrabooks, there are many problems in this design, which are basically comes from the hinge. I have not even mentioned the piece of ugly metal on the back, and its existence seems only to cover the fans and some ugly design parts, which make us feel very perfunctory. Lenovo’s designers seem to mean that these are some really ugly, but you can cover them up.
From X1 Carbon or Yoga 13, you can find that Lenovo has gradually learned how to design a simple, lightweight and stylish laptop, but from the ThinkPad Helix, it seems that Lenovo has completely backwards for a few years, confusion and exposed screws, huge welding gap can even pry the overall design feels very strange. Generally speaking, the design concept of ThinkPad Helix is good, but the actual experience far failed to achieve the desired results. What is more, this is not the only drawback of the machine.
Screen, keyboard and touchpad design: small screen + high-resolution caused reading difficulties
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix features a 11.6-inch IPS screen, and the resolution is up to 1080P. The overall display is clear and bright, accurate color reproduction, viewing angle is very wide, and touch feel is good. But it has the same problem that many Windows 8 devices of small size have, that is, high pixel density makes all the display elements become too small, whether it is text on the page or application icon, it will be very laborious to read. Of course, this is not a hardware problem, we can only say that Microsoft is still not ready for the high-resolution screen: even the latest Windows 8 system, it temporarily does not support Apple iOS or Mac OS X’s optimization measures for the high-resolution screen.
The upper left corner of the plate section of Lenovo ThinkPad Helix also has a stylus slot, which seems that Lenovo proposed solutions in response to high-resolution screen. This stylus can indeed play a role at certain times, including the suspension preview, candidate feature, you can better select small icons, but this is still not the best solution. Lenovo ThinkPad Helix video playback screen works well, but the sound quality is more general, although the front of the screen has two small speakers, the volume is lower than I expected.
The keyboard of Lenovo ThinkPad Helix has the natural design of ThinkPad series, the middle button is slightly recessed, arc design brings a good feeling, but also the familiar red dot TrackPoint, function keys design is comprehensive, and the overall size of the keyboard is generally more spacious than11.6-inch products. Generally speaking, this is a best Windows keyboard, although it does not configure backlight. Now the keyboard is available on www.laptopwide.com.
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix also started to use a new designed touchpad, abandoned the previous button design, completely features a full touch form, and this is more smooth flowing, but also more suitable for operating system Windows 8. Of course, some parts of the system still exist problems, some of the gestures slightly graphics Dayton, which is Microsoft’s problem needed to be solved.
Performance and battery life: powerful overclocking
Because Intel has launched the Haswell processor with better performance and longer endurance, Lenovo ThinkPad Helix hardware configuration has been slightly out of date in the present situation. It comes with a 1.8GHz clock speed of the third-generation Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor and 4GB of memory and 128GB/256GB SSD. It also comes with a plethora of third party applications without built-in Windows 8 system, but Lenovo’s own applications and Norton anti-virus software will still pop up from time to time.
In actual usage, I feel Lenovo ThinkPad Helix’s overall performance is very good, and Microsoft Surface Pro is considerable, but ThinkPad Helix installed into the keyboard base, the built-in fan allows the processor overclocking, so the overall performance is more excellent. In addition to similar large-scale software such as Adobe Illustrator, running on the ThinkPad Helix general mainstream, you almost cannot find the difference between tablet and laptop.
However, the image abilities of Lenovo ThinkPad Helix are general. It is much easier to reach a better graphics performance Haswell platform, so I believe that if the machine will get better performance after upgraded the Haswell. As for battery life, ThinkPad Helix tablet itself can reach about 5 hours of continuous use, similar products have been very prominent; while connecting a keyboard dock, using time is extended to eight hours, if we upgrade the new platform in the future, and then life will be immeasurable.
Evaluation Summary and rating: connection design still needs to improve
First, the worthy part of Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is that it really will be integrated into the tablet and notebook, and provides a solid performance, keyboard with good feel and long battery life, which are the three advantages that similar products are not compatible with. But the price is to sacrifice some portability, as well as the rough design of the product itself. I personally want to get a slim and stylish hybrid tablet / laptop, rather than a combination of the two together poorly designed products.
For ThinkPad Helix, the largest part of this product is not affecting other unlisted Haswell mixed products, but the brand itself from the competition. For example, if you want to have an excellent tablet / notebook combo, Lenovo Yoga series is a good choice, it is slim and stylish and has an excellent design, large-sized keyboard and touchpad are also advantages. If you prefer laptop, ThinkPad Carbon X1 is a a slim design and in each aspect of the model has a good performance.
For Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, I hope Lenovo can then take some time to reconsider the design, packing the Haswell processor, which will let it get more recognition.
This guest article has been composed by Ann who works as a free writer, who writes Guest Articles.She loves to update herself with different technologies, especially the latest information of technology.