The ThinkPad Helix looks like a typical ultrabook when placed in the keyboard dock. When removed, the ThinkPad Helix looks like your normal Windows tablet. The tablet and keyboard dock both have similar styling to other Lenovo ThinkPad products – a soft-touch black finish and glossy display.
The ThinkPad Helix features an 11.6-inch IPS VibrantView display with a resolution of 1920x1080. This display features Corning Gorilla Glass and supports ten-finger touch. Viewing angles with the ThinkPad Helix are excellent and the display is very vibrant and crisp. Above the display, you’ll find the front-facing 2.0 megapixel camera. A Windows button is located below the display. At the bottom edge of the front of the tablet, you’ll also notice the speakers.
The included digitizer pen can be stored on the top edge of the tablet near the left corner. On the opposite corner of the top edge, you’ll find the Power button which is slightly recessed. Because of the way the power button is recessed, we felt it was a tad hard to push at times. This can be a good or bad thing—good because you won’t accidentally hit it while transporting the ThinkPad Helix, but bad because it’s slightly inconvenient to try to press when you want to power the system on.
On the right edge of the tablet, you’ll find the audio jack and volume control buttons. On the back of the ThinkPad Helix, you’ll see Lenovo and ThinkPad logos and the rear-facing 5.0 megapixel camera. If you look closely below the ThinkPad logo, you’ll also see a NFC logo. The included digitizer pen can be seen when looking at the back of the Helix. This pen can perform a number of capacitive touchscreen functions including swipe, drag, open, and click as well as handwriting recognition. EverNote Touch and Skitch are included to help you make the most of the pen capabilities.
The base of the tablet houses a power connector, emergency reset hole, keyboard dock connectors, SIM card tray, mini DisplayPort connector, USB 2.0 port, and slots for docking the tablet with the keyboard dock.
The keyboard dock has metal docking posts that make it easy to line up and attach the tablet to the dock. These posts and the ports on the keyboard dock line up perfectly so you can quickly and easily attach the keyboard facing either direction. When placed in the keyboard dock, the tablet receives additional cooling which enables the CPUs to run at the highest frequency. You’ll find two fans in the dock and a unique flap that redirects air to help cool the tablet.
Lenovo incorporates its ThinkPad Precision Keyboard with the ThinkPad Helix. This keyboard is spill resistant and tested to meet MIL-Spec standards. If you take a close look at this keyboard, you’ll notice Lenovo has enabled access to a number of different functions including Control Panel, a search tool, all open applications, and a computer dialogue box available via a combination of the Fn key and F keys.
Lenovo redesigned the touchpad on the Helix, making it 20% larger than previous touchpads. This roomy touchpad is slightly larger than the spacebar. The touchpad supports more than 20 Windows 8 gestures.
At the center of the keyboard dock, you’ll notice the TrackPoint pointing stick. To remove the tablet from the keyboard dock, press the eject button located on the upper left corner near the hinge of the keyboard dock. The back edge of the keyboard dock houses two USB 3.0 ports as well as a mini DisplayPort and Power jack. Although the keyboard dock is quite functional as is, we wish Lenovo would have added a SD card reader, Ethernet port, and HDMI port to the keyboard dock for even greater functionality.