Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Demoby Jarred Walton on January 9, 2013 1:40 AM EST
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Lenovo was at the Aquanox as usual, with a slew of products on display. We'll take the items that caught our eye in turns, starting with the ThinkPad Helix. Simply put, the Helix is an Ivy Bridge based tablet with a keyboard dock, with the added bonus feature being that you can reverse the way the screen connects to the dock (what Lenovo is calling "Rip and Flip"). This would allow you to use the keyboard base as a stand for watching movies or doing presentations.
The Helix can be configured with up to a full Core i7 ULV processor, and all of the "smarts" are housed in the tablet/screen portion. There are obviously going to be some thermal constraints with the design, but when you dock to the keyboard portion--which includes additional battery capacity--you also get improved cooling to unlock the full performance potential.
The tablet portion of the Helix weighs in at 835 grams and should provide around five hours of battery life. The keyboard includes additional battery capacity that doubles battery life up to ten hours (though Lenovo didn't specify the weight, it's probably close to that of the tablet). The display is a 1080p IPS panel, and in additional to the usual 802.11n WiFi the Helix has optional LTE support and contains NFC technology.
It's not for the faint of wallet, though, with an MSRP starting at $1499. Availability is expected in late February.
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themossie - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - linkWhat's the screen size on this beast?
I'll take all the battery life I can get, and a "laptop" which doesn't tip over at the slightest nudge - one of the bigger problems with a tablet+keyboard dock where the tablet contains the smarts :-)
Hoping the keyboard dock weight is relatively heavy - just keep the tablet portion as light as possible, even at the cost of some battery life. If the tablet's currently 835 grams (~28% heavier than an iPad 4th gen), I would like to see a keyboard dock around 900 grams - total system weight of 1735 grams (3.82 lbs)
I'm keeping an eye on this one.
themossie - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link(answering myself) 11.6"
themossie - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link*also, "I'll take all the battery life I can get" refers to in "laptop" mode (docked)
BLI - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - linkThe Helix looks *nearly* perfect, but it has 2-3 flaws -- in my view :-):
1. How *could* Lenovo design it without an SD card reader????? Yes, a full SD card reader -- not a microSD card reader!!! With a full SD card reader, it would have been perfect for the traveling photographer. Without, the photographer needs a bulky SD-to-USB adapter.
2. Why *miniHDMI*?? Why not a regular HDMI?? A thickness issue?? I hate the need for adapters/special cables...
3. Why does the dock only add 4 hours of battery time? Ok -- perhaps because the docked computer allows for faster clock-rate than when in tablet/screen mode. But it might be ok to stretch the weight a little bit to achieve a better balance/heavier keyboard and longer battery time.
Death666Angel - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link"bulky SD-to-USB adapter" -> All my cameras include USB cables to connect the camera to a PC (or tablet/smartphone) in mass storage mode like an external HDD/USB stick.
technurse - Monday, January 14, 2013 - linkProblem with using your camera cable is you end up tying up your camera and draining your camera battery which in some situations you don't have the luxury of plugging in. Especially as a traveling photographer. I agree, missed opportunity for a full size SD card reader, especially with all the other ports. A keyboard base with a battery should easily be able to handle an SD card reader. We've seen other companies do this with success. Look how many cameras are converting over to SD format. Even Sony caved into this format and Canon and Nikon newer cameras are all using SD format.
jramskov - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - link@ #1: If you're a Pro photographer you're likely using a DSLR with CF cards.
CityZen - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - linkHe didn't say "Pro photographer", he said "traveling photographer". There are lots of entry- and mid-level DSLRs with SD cards nowadays. And these DSLRs happen to be smaller and lighter than the top-of-the-line DSLRs, hence perfect for, you know, a TRAVELING photographer.
jramskov - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - linkBecause no pro photographer ever travels anywhere for the photography jobs and considering it's not a cheap product...
technurse - Monday, January 14, 2013 - linkActually both Canon and Nikon are converting all their newer cameras to use SD format. Even Sony converted a while back. We all know a keyboard that houses just a battery can easily accomodate a sd reader, especially with all the other ports. It's a missed opportunity. As a mobile professional, the less cables, adapters, dongles, the better. If they design a device to include a digitizer for photoshop, notes and art, companies need to think about the media. Hey, at least it would of been an opportunity to expand the storage to another 128 GB