Lenovo’s new ThinkPad Helix stands out immediately from the current crowd of convertibles. Nearly all of them are targeted at consumers and, as such, focus more on flashy design than durability. Not the Helix. It’s a ThinkPad, and that means tough.
All the classic features are here. Most surfaces are matte black and the lid uses a semi-soft coat that’s not initially pleasing to the eye but resists scratches better than the glossy coat used on consumer systems.
Lenovo has also made sure to include the trackpointer, though there’s been a change to the buttons – they’re now integrated into the surface. This change lets the Helix offer a large touchpad in spite of its diminutive 11.6-inch display.
The Helix’s ace is its unique hardware. It packs a Core i5 low-voltage processor, yet all of that compute power is kept behind the screen. This means there’s no interruption or reduction in performance when using the Helix as a tablet.
And that’s not all. Users can flip the display and re-attach it so that it faces up when closed over the keyboard. By doing this a user can enjoy the system as a tablet without giving up the ports and extra battery life found in the keyboard base.
All of this does come at a price. Lenovo will ship the Helix in February at $1,499. That’s more than most consumers will pay for an 11.6-inch laptop and, frankly, the IdeaPad Yoga 11S will prove a better choice for home users. The Helix is aimed at business travelers – and it may well be the perfect convertible for them.