Lenovo Thinkpad Helix 2nd Generation Review (2015) – Hybrid Core-M based tablet/laptop
This is their second generation helix device and it is a hybrid tablet laptop. So you can pull the screen off and walk away with it or, of course, redock it to the keyboard. Now the base model at 940 dollars comes with a keyboard. That is not the one you’re seeing here. So this is the more expensive keyboard. They call this the pro keyboard. This one adds about 300 to the price. So what you’re, seeing here with all the stuff that they put in the loaner device, is probably anywhere from 1300 to 1500 dollars, but you can get in the door at nine hundred and forty four dollars on their website at the moment. That will give you the tablet here, as well as a keyboard cradle, which is a little less fancy than this one. Now, the big reason why this adds so much cost is that, in addition to getting a much higher quality keyboard, very solid feeling, ThinkPad keyboard very rugged, along with that and up here, that you have grown to love or hate on the ThinkPad line. I actually kind of liked it. They also give you an extra battery inside the keyboard dock here, so you get up you get about eight to ten hours or so on the tablet. Again, it depends on the kind of usage that you’re doing with your device. So high brightness and all the other things like gaming will certainly drain that battery faster, but you get about eight to 10 hours on the display.
The keyboard dock will give you anywhere from two to four additional hours of battery life. So you get it pretty much. A laptop that’s on par with other ones that are like this when you add this component to it, so there is an extra battery in here as well as a few extra ports. Now this is configured with the Intel Core M processor. I am really fond of this chip because it gives you really good performance, but in a low power and fanless design. So there’s no fan in here it runs completely silent and it performs exceptionally well. It runs a lot better than some of the other lower powered Atom chips. So this kind of fits in the middle of the Intel chip line where you’ve got the i3 and the i 5 and the i7 at the mid to high end and the atoms on the low end. This chip gives you all the power that you might want to save. You know getting with a cheaper atom chip, but does give you the performance that’s very comparable to where those other chips are now for video editing and things that are more intensive. You’Ll certainly want to go with the more expensive Intel, i3, i5 and i7, but for a lot of what people do with a laptop like this. These core M processors are great for that and they don’t consume all that much battery and they don’t run as hot. Perhaps, and need a fan, as you would see, with some of the other higher end ships, so that is kind of the overall configuration it’s a 1.
2 gigahertz core M. This model has 8 gigabytes of RAM. Although the base model has 4 gigabytes, has a 256 gigabyte SSD, the base model has 128. I believe, but all models have this 11.6 inch touchscreen, which is really really nice to operate here. It’S, a really nice responsive screen Full 1080p display in 11.6 inches. So the screen looks very sharp. You don’t see any pixels on it, it’s a really really nice looking display and the brightness on it is really nice too. This is at the full brightness right now, I’m, very happy with all of that overall what’s cool on Windows. 10 is when you pop off the screen like so it switches into that tablet mode. You can decide whether or not to have this. Do it automatically I kind of like having it do that switch automatically so you’ll see when I hit the Start menu now that were in tablet mode, you get kind of that Windows. 8 Start menu interface. All of the tablet apps here run full screen. I can do the split screen thing like we could on windows 8 as well, so I can move things around back and forth like this and then, when I go ahead and put it back in the keyboard dock, it recognizes that we’re now back in laptop mode And it will switch modes very quickly. I can now reposition these windows, like I would with any desktop Windows computer, and I can also go ahead and put the Start menu here and get the regular Windows Start menu.
So when you pop it off, you get mobile tablet mode and when you push it back in you get back to desktop a really nice subtle change in Windows. 10, that I really like quite a bit let’s, take a look now and see what kind of ports we have on this device. Now you have ports on both the tablet and the keyboard dock. If you choose this particular dock, the base model unit does not have all the ports that you’re about to see on this one here. So we’ll go through and step through some of the ports that are on the tablet side, which will be on all models. You have an HDMI output here, so you can plug in an external display. I believe it’ll go up to 4k. I’M. Pretty sure all these core M processors have that capability. You have a USB 3 port here, as well as a micro SD card slot. If you wish to put in a card, if you didn’t get the the larger SSD, you can augment some of your storage with a card that you can stick in. There get up volume rocker here, a headset adapter over there, and you are lock in a little standby buttons up here, so you can turn off and turn on the device at will that way, there’s a camera for taking some rudimentary pictures, not the best camera in The world, but it is functional there’s also on the front here, a front facing camera to that you’re able to do that with I’m gon na talk about this little thing in a second that’s, a fingerprint reader, which is pretty cool, we’re gon na step through that, In one second, over on this side, you have another power adapter plug, and this is where you would actually plug things in if you are using the keyboard dock, because it’ll charge the battery first on the keyboard because that’s how it drains it drains out of the Battery on the keyboard first, and then it switches to the tablet when charging it will charge the keyboard first and then automatically switch to the tablet.
So if you have the keyboard plug your power in there, you have another USB three slot or port here, and you have a display port out there and a little Kensington lock to so. You can lock it down on a desk. Now I didn’t want to talk about how the fingerprint sensor works on here, because it actually is pretty cool. So what I’m gon na do is pull up my two up shot here, you can see I’ve got. My computer is locked at the moment, but all I’m gon na do here is just run my finger on the back of that fingerprint sensor just like that. Just kind of swipe it across and it will unlock the computer for you and you can get to work on it so really fast way to unlock the machine very similar to what you might see on some of the smart phones. Now the iPhone and some of the Android phones. Now you can also do that on here, but Lenovo and IBM before then had this fingerprint technology on here for a long period of time. With these thing pads and this kind of continues, the tradition you just have to slide your finger across like so, but it’s been very accurate. So far, all right, we’re gon na do our usual performance test here we’re going to go visit the New York Times first and see how fast things load up on here. So it does render the page relatively quickly as you can see and as I would expect.
We looked at a little bit earlier this year, but that is running with a slower core M processor. But you can give gives me an idea as to where this falls and I’m really impressed with its octane scores, because it is performing pretty close to where some of these i3 processors end up already so nice performance out of a very low power chip and we’ll Continue our performance tour with microsoft, words, you can see things really do render quite quickly on this template that we always look at with our computer reviews and it’s just a lot faster than what you’ll see with an atom chip. As you can see here when I adjust this little image here and kind of get the text to wrap around things, just do respond very quickly, and that is a result of that. A core M processor running under the hood, so really nice performance for getting work done, but work is not the only thing we did with our computers. We’Re gon na take a look at Minecraft next. Here we are running the original version of Minecraft, the one that runs in Java, not the new Windows 10 edition and we get really decent frame rates using the Optifine plugin, where sometimes getting close to 60, usually hovering well above 30. So right now we’re getting about 54 frames per second, as I look around here in the scene, so really decent performance again out of a core M processor now for heavier Duty games.
This is probably not the right choice, because this does not have a separate graphics. Processor, it is relying on the Intel, graphics, processors that we’re seeing on a lot of these machines, so it won’t get the kind of performance that you’d like to see for Triple A games. You know all the latest ones like Grand Theft, Auto and that sort of thing, but for Minecraft and games that are not heavily taxing the computer. This will do quite well and I think it is definitely on par with some of the other core M machines. Not a little bit faster than those are now it’s, definitely not a lightweight machine when you have the pro keyboard attached. The total weight is about 3.7 pounds so rather heavy for a core M machine we’re. Seeing a lot of these machines come in at or under two pounds with keyboards on some of the other Lenovo devices, as well as the Apple MacBook. The tablet by itself is 1.7 pounds, though. So if you want something really light and portable, you can detach it and walk away with it. Now, if you get the regular keyboard, your total weight is about three pounds, but again the tablet will weigh the same, no matter which configuration you choose. So a pretty nice configuration overall I’m very pleased with the performance on it. I like the way it feels that this feels really rugged and like it really will hold up quite well and the typing experience on.
It is very nice too. So if you like, the think pads, you know the bigger thing pads with that. You know rugged keyboard. This is kind of the hybrid tablet version of it, and I think you might be quite pleased with it again a little on the pricey side when you factor in all the different things you might want to get to bring it to this configuration. But it is a nice machine.