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back to article Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook: Your new summer convertible?

Make it thin enough with a decent battery life, slap Intel’s latest Core series mobile chippery in there and it seems that just about any design can be described as an Ultrabook these days. Has the marque lost its focus? These days there is a huge range of options from HDD to SSD, slimlime or slab-like - yet all for a price …

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Anonymous Coward

oh, ffs

... finally looks like something I might buy to replace my creaky 8yr old (and falling to bits) laptop ... but apparently I just spent too much of my budget on a (needed) new desktop. That said, £1600! ... that's aboit what I paid for my laptop all those years ago.

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Re: oh, ffs

" that's aboit what I paid for my laptop all those years ago"

it's £350 more than I paid for my 13in Macbook Pro Retina!

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Re: oh, ffs

... and it weighs more than the Macbook Pro!?

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Silver badge

Re: oh, ffs

You'd get £20 change if you bought a 13" MacBook Air, having upgraded it to a Core i7, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. THATs definitely lighter, faster and has a better battery life, will that do?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: oh, ffs

If you get the 11in Air (so similar sceen size) and go with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD (the same as this thing) it's only £1239.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: oh, ffs

"If you get the 11in Air (so similar sceen size) and go with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD (the same as this thing) it's only £1239." -- this also includes the i7 processor upgrade.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: buy a 13" MacBook Air

Well, except I want a smaller physical size, and to install linux. *shrug*

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Re: oh, ffs

"... and it weighs more than the Macbook Pro!?"

And the keyboard detaches so that it becomes a tablet!!!....it is not a direct comparison for a Macbook Pro or Air.

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Re: oh, ffs

the same thing... except the touch screen and ability to convert into a tablet. So not the same thing then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: oh, ffs

"... and it weighs more than the Macbook Pro!?"

"And the keyboard detaches so that it becomes a tablet!!!....it is not a direct comparison for a Macbook Pro or Air."

still.... it weighs the same as an Air(with i7 processor) + an iPad and costs the same as an Air + an iPad.

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Re: oh, ffs

A small orange weighs the same as my Android phone yet costs 1000x less...Your point is?

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Speaking of falling to bits...

I bet that detachable screen is going to be popular with IT departments everywhere.

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Anonymous Coward

I can see very little point buying this when I could get a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro Retina for these kinds of prices and better performance and they run Windows and / or OS X (especially the new Maverics version) looks good.

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one device to rule them all

this is the first time that I've been willing to pay for a high priced laptop. the point is that I don't want to carry around two devices when one will do. other advantages of the thinkpad helix are that 1) I finally have all my info in one device and 2) the Wacom active stylus allows me to take notes and keep them electronically so I can start to go paperless.

the thinkpad helix comes closest to what I've been looking for in a hybrid tablet, including the active stylus. however, there are a few areas for improvement:

1. battery life: I really only get 7h instead of the claimed 10h. Even with 7h, I usually don't have to plug in at work but 14h (e.g. Asus VIVO tab) or 17h (new MacBook Air) would allow me to run all day and only plug in at night.

2. in laptop mode the angle that the lid can be opened is limited to about 120 degrees. this usually isn't a problem unless I'm trying to use the laptop when I'm lying on the couch with my knees up.

3. display port. thunderbolt would have been nicer though in honesty I'm not planning to buy a thunderbolt monitor in the near future.

4. no Ethernet port! having to carry around a USB-to-Ethernet adapter (and a display port-to-VGA adapter) is somewhat of an inconvenience.

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I bought one...

... because

1. I had the budget

2. I wanted a convertible for actual business reasons (client site visits and training sessions. Having all my stuff on a tablet is really useful)

3. Battery life

4. 3G

5. I wanted something I could treat badly - it's very well built

6. I knew that I could easily use linux on it. Saying that, I did need to fiddle with grub2

I've had it for about a month and it does all these things really well.

Some points:

1. Gnome forces 96 DPI, which makes text really small on the screen. You can use text scaling to solve this, but then when you're using a second monitor this doesn't work. I'm going to have to use something else, but not really sure what.

2. the command xinput --map-to-output 13 eDP1 fixes the touchscreen issue mentioned in the article

3. Presentation mode is really useful to save space on a desk when using it in the office with two monitors, a proper mouse and keyboard etc.

4. Windows 8's dual monitor support seems to really suck. Sometimes (who knows why) the start menu rubbish will appear on the external monitor and then you're screwed, it's there forever.

5. I wish it had a SD card slot. I didn't realise how much more annoying a usb adaptor is than just having one.

6. It's really nice to have a touchscreen laptop.

7. The mouse pad takes some getting used to, as it's one of those maccy click anywhere ones.

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Happy

Re: I bought one...

The Win8 start menu & Win8 apps can be flipped between displays on an extended desktop setup with a <Menu>+<PgUp> or <Menu>+<PgDn> keystroke. I use that one all the time.

Your first point is the clincher! Can't quite bring myself to pay so much for a PC.

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Devil

Re: I'm going to have to use something else, but not really sure what...

Windows 7?

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Anonymous Coward

And who said Apple gear was very costly. It actually makes them look pretty reasonable now.

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Anonymous Coward

No. It's still expensive. So's this.

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Anonymous Coward

£1600 -- a quick search online and I can't find anyone selling one with these specs for less than £1750.

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Anonymous Coward

price v. spex

One one hand:

£1800 squid

on the other:

last-gen processor (not bad, but for this price, I'd expect something... current)

no sd / xd card slot. Not a drama, but, surprisingly, very convenient, when you want to offload pix off your camara. Cables are... uncool ;)

Unlit keyboard. Never been a fan of those, but apparently, everybody (ex-IBX thinkpad users, etc), swear by it. Given the price point.... and other shortcomings, pointed in the article...I'm disappointed.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Why is this thread full of Macintards who are presumably not in the market for this device?

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Anonymous Coward

Well quite

They really are like some zealots, its quite bizarre.

Anyhoo, I'm not convinced the quality is being maintained. Just had my T420 replaced with a T430 cos the hinges broke on the former after less than 2 years of heavy usage (travelling IT worker lifestyle) but the quality used to justify buying Thinkpads. It was deemed 'non-economical to fix' so here's a T430. Not much difference, but I am enjoying the freshly installed OS until it gets crufted up or slugged by full disk encryption.

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Anonymous Coward

I think it's because people always say how expensive Apple products are --- so when something even more expensive pops up it's natural to make the comparison.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite a change for the designers, they have gone from putting the guts in the keyboard part of the clamshell to putting it all in the monitor part of the clamshell.

What this may mean though is the fans not being level which might affect their life a little. Rules out normal hard disks in some cases too as they're not always supposed to be used when not level.

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Bronze badge

Id like to see any of the macs mentioned in the comments to be able to run AutoCAD or 3D studio whist in tablet mode, while also running a couple of other virtual machines....

and have the out of band management of the Lenovo..........

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Bronze badge

Way over-priced

If it was in the range of $800 and had an AMD A10-5750, then I might consider it.

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Bronze badge

Comparison with Apple

Worth noting the Helix comes with a 3-year warranty, no extra moolah required unlike the extra-cost Applecare options for extended coverage on their kit. I had a look at the Lenovo website but it wasn't clear what the warranty on offer actually entails, it just says "3 Year Depot/Express Warranty", what that actually means I don't know as the website seems to be rather coy on the subject.

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Thank you, Bob, for a great review

A review that presents both the advantages and some of the niggles in detail is so much more valuable than other so called reviews which just present device features. This review confirmed my decision to hold off until Helix Gen II.

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Angel

Hey, Mr / Ms Photographer...

...Hows about cleaning it before taking the pix? This ain't bluddy Ars you know...

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