Being an avid Mac user for the past couple of years (since 2008 to be exact), I never thought that I would ever go back to Windows for any particular reason. With tablets being the majority of mobile computing these days, Lenovo created something just to please the best of both worlds, the ThinkPad Helix. This ‘Business Ultrabook’ is the hybrid between tablet and laptop, but does it meet the standard of each?
This rather heavy beast of a tablet has a lot of guts to offer. Running a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 2.80 GHz with 4GB of RAM with Windows 8 Pro. This is definitely the business stats your looking for in portable computing. It should be able to handle your normal everyday PowerPoint or word processing. Atop that you have an ll.6 ” 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS display that does a pretty great job at with color reproduction and also handled my Netflix movies pretty well.
Interestingly, the Ultrabook runs a 180GB SSD hard drive that can please those data speedsters, especially for business. The best and worst thing for this computer is the fact that it is a tablet and laptop. In tablet form it has 1 Mini Display Port, 1 USB 2.0 and 1 SIM card slot. With the laptop attachment, it only has the 1 Mini Display Port and 2 USB 3.0. The tablet can be put in reverse form so that it can be upright without additional accessories.
Last but not least we have a front facing 720P HD face-tracking camera that is low light sensitive. I found myself video chatting with certain people and they didn’t seem to have a problem seeing me even if the only light was coming from my screen.
Now, I am not a Windows 8 expert but I think that the tablet and laptop software fusion is amazing. The simplicity and complexity is all there. Being able to go straight to the tablet style interface with a simple swipe and touch and going back with just a simple touch has never seemed easier.
The downside I think is that the tablet app store is pretty weak, especially against the iPad per-say. If your looking for the common app like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu you should be just fine with it.
This is where the headache comes in. Like I mentioned earlier, the best and worst thing are the fact that its a tablet and laptop. The ‘keyboard’ accessory has a very awkward hinge that seems to only rotate when the tablet is attached. You also have to make sure that the tablet is completely attached to the keyboard, I’ve had several instances where the tablet is a bit loose and could’ve slipped out while I make a transfer from desk to desk.
The absolute most complicated thing I feel could’ve been worked on is the weight proportion from the keyboard to the tablet. The tablet (of course being the majority of the weight) when leaned too far back pretty much lifts the keyboard therefore making it useless unless there is weight on the keyboard to hold it down. You learn to manage it but something could’ve been done here.
This always plays a major factor and with a computer with this much flexibility, this is the remaining factor as to whether it is yay or nay for this buy. In a full day of usage, including a couple presentations, some streaming and quite a bit of video chatting, the Helix lasted me about 6 hours. According to the specs, its projected to last 10 hours and that’s not including the additional battery that the keyboard accessory can add. I guess that depends on how much stand by time is included with the mix of heavy usage. Otherwise, it was a pretty decent life span from when I had to make a pit stop with the wall outlet.
For the majority of the time that I spent with the Helix it was mostly business over pleasure. Luckily for me, I had the Helix with me to do some on the go presentations. Besides the fact that it handled the PowerPoint presentations well every time, I had a lot of comments on how easy it was to use the Helix (or maybe it was just my skills ha!).
All in all, the Helix is a monster in the business world despite a few mishaps here and there. Flexibility, portability and accessibility are the three components that make up what can be what you need. I say, if you can afford it, go for it.