ThinkPad Helix: You’re in Control

It was once the dream to be able to strip off the keyboard from a laptop and just retain its screen. Lenovo’s ThinkPad Helix beats the dream through its fantastic rip and flip design. Yes, you can detach its keyboard to transform the screen into a Windows 8 tablet.  Putting the two components back together gives you the option to attach the screen either facing away from the keyboard in stand mode or facing the keyboard in the normal laptop configuration.

Built to Stand Out

The Helix was first announced in the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2013. It was released a few months later in May 2013, this ultraportable (ultrabook and a tablet) is designed with corporate people in mind. Boasting of a crisp full HD 1920 x 1080 (Intel HD 4000 Graphics) on an 11.6 inch Corning Glass IPS display, demos and presentations are expected to stand out in more ways.  Add the 4-cell battery of the keyboard dock with the 3-cell battery of the tablet and the Helix promises to deliver up to 10 hours of battery life. At the heart of it all is a third generation Intel Core i7 that promises up to 2.0 GHz. An 8 GB DDR3 RAM assures to meet everyone’s need for memory. The provided power and flexibility will surely entice sales and marketing executives, to name a few.

In laptop, stand, and tablet+ mode, users are able to make use of 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, and 2 Mini DisplayPorts.  A USB 2.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort are available on tablet mode. Conference calls are not a problem thanks to the 2-megapixel front-facing camera and its 5-megapixel rear-facing counterpart.

Lenovo stepped up on input and navigation by providing a five-button ClickPad and the 10-point multitouch capability together with its renowned ThinkPad keyboard that is spill-resistant. Add to that the optional digitizer pen for all your tablet writing needs.

Connectivity issues are almost non-existent thanks to the built-in 3G, 4G (using one SIM card slot), Wi-Fi, and NFC.


On the Heavy Side

The Helix has covered all the necessary bells and whistles. However, there are slight downsides with this shiny corporate toy. First off is the hefty price tag of $1499. It’s 50 percent more expensive than the high end ultrabooks in its class. But since it is a Lenovo ThinkPad, consumers won’t mind paying top dollar in exchange for reliability and security.

Lugging around almost 4 lbs of the clamshell weight might also be a concern. The tablet alone, where all of the processing essentials are, weighs in at 1.8 lbs. The Helix might not be for those who move around a lot. It might have been tough to remove weight for a feature-packed laptop.

Also, it would be nicer if Lenovo placed a USB 3.0 port on the tablet side rather than a USB 2.0 one. For faster USB speeds (and additional ports), one has to dock the tablet onto the keyboard.

Dressed to Impress

Corporate consumers are sure to rake up productivity points thanks to this computing juggernaut. The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix ensures that its target market can deliver and possibly overachieve.

Future iterations will benefit if some heft will be shaved off and if top of the line ports (such as HDMI and additional USB 3.0 ports) are added. But the Helix is more than equipped to turn heads as much as it can flex itself.