Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 'Rip & Flip' Convertible Review

Introduction and Specifications

Convertible laptops and ultrabooks had a big presence at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). At CES, Lenovo revealed its ThinkPad Helix which it marketed as having a "groundbreaking 'rip and flip' design" that enables this 11.6-inch ultrabook to transform into a powerful Windows 8 tablet. When detached, Lenovo claims the Helix is the thinnest full-function Intel 3rd generation Core tablet with Intel's vPro technology for the enterprise.

The ThinkPad Helix lets you work in four different modes: laptop, tablet, stand, and tablet+. When attached to the Enhanced Keyboard Dock in laptop mode, you’ll get additional battery life and additional ports as well as Lenovo’s ThinkPad Precision keyboard, a five button trackpad that supports Windows 8 features, and TrackPoint mouse. By docking the Helix backward on the enhanced keyboard, you can use it in stand mode, making it perfect for business presentations or watching movies. Folding it down from stand mode enables tablet+ mode which gives you a tablet with extended battery life and additional ports.

The ThinkPad Helix features an 11.6-inch Full HD 1080p IPS (In-Plane Switching) 10-point multi-touchscreen with pen touch input and Gorilla Glass for protection. Lenovo claims the ThinkPad Helix will run for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Of course, we’ll put this to the test in our review. When using the ThinkPad Helix in tablet mode, the device will reduce its maximum power draw to less than half in order to increase battery life.

As you would expect from a convertible ultrabook, the ThinkPad Helix is very compact. In tablet mode, the ThinkPad Helix measures just 0.46 inches thick. When docked, the ThinkPad Helix is 0.80 inches thick. The tablet alone weighs about 1.73 pounds. The keyboard dock adds just under two pounds, making the entire system weigh about 3.54 pounds.

ThinkPad Helix 3698-4LU
Specifications & Features
Operating System
Windows 8 Professional 64-bit
11.6-inch (1920x1080) IPS, VibrantView (glossy) display with infinity Corning Gorilla Glass, 350 nits, 800:1 contrast ratio, MultiTouch screen supports ten-finger gesture, One Glass Solution
Intel HD 4000
Intel Core i5-3337U (1.8Ghz)
4GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3L SDRAM
Internal Storage
Wireless Connectivity
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205S
Bluetooth 4.0

HD Audio, Realtek ALC3202 codec, Dolby Home Theater v4
stereo speakers (1 watt x 2)
dual array digital microphone
combo audio/microphone jack

Front: 2.0-megapixel, 1080p resolution, fixed focus
Rear: 5.0-megapixel, 1080p resolution, auto focus, flash LED

Ports and Expansion
Tablet: USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, SIM card, Dock Connector
Keyboard Dock: Two USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort

Tablet: 11.66 x 7.37 x 0.46 inches
Tablet with Keyboard Dock: 11.66 x 8.90 x 0.80 inches
Tablet: From 1.73 pounds
Tablet with Keyboard Dock: From 3.54 pounds

Tablet: Lithium Polymer 3-cell, 42 Whr, Up to 5.6 hours
Keyboard Dock: Lithium Polymer 4-cell, 28 Whr, Up to 8 hours

Starts at $1,679.00

Lenovo offers four ThinkPad Helix models that are most easily differentiated by their processor and mobile broadband capabilities. In this review, we’ll take a look at the ThinkPad Helix configured with an Intel Core i5-3337U processor and 180GB SSD. Lenovo also offers the Helix with an Intel Core i7-3667U processor, up to a 256GB SSD, up to 8GB of RAM, and other options. The full specifications for our review sample are posted above.

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