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Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Review

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Published on Apr 18, 2013

Value & Wrap Up
In short, this is the absolute best implementation of the emerging category of tablet/laptop hybrids that I've used, and one of the best products overall that I've had. It doesn't compromise on experience anywhere. It's on the pricey side due to the amount of new engineering required for basically everything about it, but that price will fall in time for this device and successors to it. If you think it would meet your needs and can afford it I would fully recommend buying one when they officially hit the market. As always, feel free to ask any questions you may have, and I'd love for you to suggest other products for me to review. I can't promise I'll be able to, but I certainly will try.

Dock Mechanism
Lenovo has gotten tablet/keyboard docking right where so many others have missed the chance. The docking mechanism is really a joy to use, it's easy. You simply press this in here, and you can lift out the tablet with one hand, it's really effortless. The ability to dock the tablet backwards for the tablet+ modes is also unique, and works just as well as docking it the normal way. The magnetic flap on the back here insures a comfortable handhold, an aesthetically pleasing look, and better airflow for these two fans that vent air up through the bottom of the tablet and out the top to allow you to have full access to that i5 or i7 processor inside. It is worth noting that you can only open the Helix to around 120 degrees, however you won't have any issues with the balance of weight here, you have to intentionally tip this over, it won't fall on its own.

Display
One of the most important aspects of any device is the display it uses, it's what you're going to be looking at the whole time. I'm happy to report that the Helix has a fantastic display as well. At 1920×1080 the pixel density is nice a crisp, you can distinguish pixels if you look closely, but at a normal viewing distance you can't. Viewing angles are also really nice, at a very sharp angle you do get color degradation, but even with some miracle display where that didn't happen you would never view it from that angle anyway. They've also done a really excellent job of getting the display nice and close to the surface of the glass. I was unable to see any gap at all, so to use the common descriptor, it's as if the images are floating on top of the glass. Lastly, at 400 nits of brightness you're ensured nice accurate colors and a really easily viewable screen, even in bright light. It also dims almost to no backlight at well, so if you want to use this in the dark you're not going to be squinting into excessive brightness.

Performance and Battery Life
First off, the model I'm using is the baseline i7 processor version with 8GB's of RAM that cost around $2000. The base model uses an i5 processor, 4 GB's of RAM, and starts at $1499. So depending on what model you get you'll have different performance. However, with mine, I was really impressed at what I got out of it. The rendering of HD video in Premiere Pro was pretty snappy as was most work in the rest of the creative suites, opening programs is very quick due to the SSD, it's a snappy computer. One thing you have to remember though is that this is all packed into a tablet body, when it's under a heavy load the upper right section of the tablet can get pretty hot, not device meltingly so, but it can get hot enough that you wouldn't want to touch it there. As for battery life my experience was really good. So far in 5 days of owning the Helix, I have yet to have to recharge it during my standard work day. Granted, I'm not rendering HD video or 3D models the whole time, but it's good battery life nonetheless. The way it works is that the dock has a battery rated for 4 hours, the tablet has one rated for 6. So the docked device should get up to 10 hours, maybe even more if you manage resources well. The dock battery will always charge the tablet so that when you take the tablet off, you have full battery power, or close to it. I haven't had a chance to run actual battery benchmarks yet, but when I do I'll post the results on this video via annotations, so if you have those turned off, turn em on for now if you care about battery results.
Service Manual: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/detai...

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