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Monday, November 24, 2014

Gadget of the Week - Lenovo Thinkpad Helix

Hybrid computers are admittedly a clear favorite here at Connect Magazine. There is partly due to our bias toward function as opposed to form. Our technological approach is informed by a belief that technology should be useful. For this reason, we tend to lean more heavily towards computing devices with which one can do actual work, not just consuming media.
Hybrid (tablet+notebook) computers combine mobility and productivity in one device, and that is an intuitive innovation worth writing about.

Previously, we have looked at the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, ASUS Transformer Book T100 and most recently, Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Our gadget this week is the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, 2014 edition.

Where it stands out

 The 2014 Thinkpad Helix comes with a new, faster processor - the Intel Core M processor.
It has a combined tablet and laptop mode.
The display is full HD (1920 by 1080). Front camera is 2MP and the dual cam is 5MP.

Another good feature is wireless broadband connectivity thanks to an embedded chip. The keyboard is full-size and spill resistant.
Last but not least, is the digitizer pen. See full specifications.

Expert Reviews

PC Pro UK reckons that this 2014 upgrade of the previous ThinkPad Helix makes this slim ultra-portable 2-in1 an impressive device.
The review ends with the following verdict:
The Levovo Helix has undergone what looks to be a thoroughly impressive update. It joins the Surface Pro 3 in the large-yet-impressively light category of tablets - you'll be shocked at how little effort it takes to hold the slate in your hand once it is removed from its keyboard dock - and features the very latest in Intel's mobile CPU technology. We can't wait to see if Intel's claims bear fruit.

Engadget compares this device with the previous Thinkpad Helix, and there is significant improvement:
Other than that slimmer profile, the other big improvement is in battery life. The tablet now promises up to 12 hours with the keyboard dock, versus 10 on the original. As it turns out, most of the enhancements come from the tablet, not the dock: Even on its own, the slate is now rated for eight hours of run-time, up from four.

User Opinions

Helix users on Reevoo give Thinkpad Helix a 8.9 out of 10 rating. Some of the reviews:

Jeffrey, a business user in London says:
PROS: Fast, light, functional. Build quality is superb.
CONS: The cost is high, and there are not enough USB ports on the keyboard dock

Tim shares the following experience:
PROS: The battery life is great for a non-Haswell product, and the ease of transforming from a great lap top to an equally great (if slightly heavy) tablet cannot be beaten
CONS: The tablet mechanism broke after 3 weeks of use. The machine is being replaced under warranty but it is a little too flimsy. 

Pricing and Availability 

On Amazon, Thinkpad Helix costs an average of $1,400.
On the Lenovo Kenya site, Thinkpad Helix is not yet listed among other convertibles, but digging a little deeper reveals the Thinkpad Helix here.

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Here's some anthropomorphic shenanigans for a gadget that is so promising. Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, I simply need you now!