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Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook Review

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Features, Layout, and Included Accessories and Applications

Features

Courtesy of Lenovo

  • Slim Ultrabook™ design with a multitouch display for precise control
  • Active Protection System™ to protect your hard drive from damage if the system falls
  • Magnesium alloy construction and Corning® Gorilla® Glass, to prevent breakage and scratches
  • Intel Trusted Platform Module (TPM), to keep your data secure
  • Lenovo Solutions for Small Business, for added security and after-hours maintenance
  • InstantResume to wake your PC from sleep mode in two seconds
  • 720p HD webcam and dual-array microphones with noise cancellation for crystal clear video conferences
  • Two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, mini-HDMI, mini-DP, and a 4-in-1 card reader
  • Industry-leading ThinkPad Keyboard for comfort and precision
  • Lenovo Cloud storage for access to your files from all your devices

Design and Layout

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The Thinkpad Twist has the standard Ultrabook look and feel with its sleek black styling and business feel. The case is matte black color and made from magnesium, adding to the device's solid feel but light weight. The Thinkpad Twist weights a mere 3.5 pounds, light enough to be hassle-free in both laptop and tablet modes.

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The back of the Thinkpad Twist is a single plastic overlay with easily accessible screws should you need to access its innards. Note that the hard drive is the only replaceable component in this ultrabook. The battery, memory, and SSD cache drive are all inaccessible to user replacement.

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The hard drive slot can be opened after loosening its hold down screw and pushing down while sliding out the door. The hard drive bay is located toward the upper left of the ultrabook, with a small picture and arrow pointing towards the bay.

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This particular Thinkpad Twist was equipped with a 500GB Hitachi Z7K500 drive. This drive is a 7mm notebook drive, running at 7200 rpm with a 32MB internal drive cache. The drive sits in an easily removable cradle with bay removal done via a plastic pull-tab attached to the cradle.

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The Twist is equipped with a full sized keyboard with a spill resistant underlay. However, the keys seemed a bit cramped if you have larger hands and are used to using a more ergonomic-style keyboard. In use, the key press noise was muted in comparison to a normal desktop keyboard. The unit's stereo speakers are located underneath the keyboard. Note that the red period above the i in the Thinkpad logo at the lower right corner of the keyboard glows red when the device is powered.

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The Thinkpad Twist comes with multiple mousing options including a touchpad with right, center, and left buttons, and a TrackPoint stick-style device. The touchpad is located below the keyboard and was found to be very responsive. Further, the touchpad surface itself can be tapped or double-tapped instead of using the left mouse button if preferred. The TrackPoint device is located in the center of the keyboard and can be used for mouse navigation instead of the touchpad if desired.

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Lenovo design the Thinkpad Twist with a 12.5 inch HD IPS display, capable of display resolutions up to 1366x768 with a 350 nit brightness rating. The display comes touch screen enabled with an edge to edge Corning Gorrilla Glass overlay. As a result of the Gorilla Glass, the display is highly reflective. At the top center of the display panel is an embedded webcam, capable of 720p HD video capture.

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To support the multiple operational modes of the Thinkpad Twist, Lenovo equipped the ultrabook with a center hinge that can swivel 180 degrees on two rotation axis. This allows the screen to fold backwards entirely and rotate around to support tablet mode or to twist in place to support presentation mode. The hinge itself is sturdy and well-built and does not add any extra wobble to the screen portion of the ultrabook. Further, the hinge movement is tight enough to lock the device in place for tent mode support.

Just above the hinge is a button with the Windows logo. This button can be used to return to the home page when using Windows 8 and is active with the system in all operational modes.

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On the lower right corner of the display are the audio volume, power, and screen orientation buttons. The audio volume buttons are one the surface of the display, while the Power and screen orientation buttons are on the lower right side. The orientation button can be used to flip the screen orientation 180 degrees for proper display while in tent or tablet modes.

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Lenovo placed the following along the outer right side of the Twist: a USB 3.0 port, mini-DisplayPort port, power adapter port (yellow colored port), Power button, and screen orientation button. The orientation button can be used to flip the screen orientation 180 degrees for proper display while in tent or tablet modes.

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Lenovo placed the following along the outer left side of the Twist: a USB 3.0 port, mini-HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet port, and 1 4-in-1 media card port, and a SIM card slot. The SIM card slot can be used with an optional Wireless Wan (WWAN) card for cellular based wireless network support.

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Like the keyboard tray of the device, the upper clam shell is made of flat black colored magnesium. This gives added stability and rigidity to the display without adding weight to the device. The ridges on the middle left and middle right edges of the enclosure act as stabilizing points for when the ultrabook is in tablet mode. They mate with matching indentations in the keyboard tray so that the screen can lay flat without unnecessary wiggle. Note that the red period above the i in the Thinkpad logo at the lower right corner of the keyboard glows red when the device is powered.

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In its tablet mode of operation, the display twists around 180 degrees and folds down over the keyboard. The screen is flat against the keyboard tray, stabilized by the ridges on the other side of the display.

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The buttons in the lower right corner of the display remain fully accessible with the Thinkpad Twist in tablet mode. Even the side Power and screen orientation buttons remain unencumbered.

Included Accessories

Lenovo chose not to include anything but the bare essentials with the Thinkpad Twist, opting for web-base manual and support materials.

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Lenovo did chose to include a basic setup and safety pamplet, outlining the features of the Thinkpad Twist with basic setup instructions.

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The included power brick can be separated into 2 parts, the AC power cord and the power brick with ultrabook power connector. The power brick's connector comes with an integrated velcro cable wrap to better store the cables for traveling.

Included Applications

  • Lenovo Solutions Center
  • Lenovo Solutions for Small Business
  • Norton Internet Security 2013 30-day trial
  • AccuWeather
  • Amazon Kindle
  • BlueStacks – Android app player
  • Evernote
  • Expense Management
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Lenovo Cloud Storage
  • Microsoft® Office (purchase of product key required for activation)
  • Rara – Music
  • Skype

The included software is mostly unobtrusive to normal operations with the exception of the Norton Internet Security suite. You will see a minor performance loss using this suite, but peace-of-mind may be worth the hassle. The Lenovo Solutions Center software offers an alternate interface to the Windows Actions Center, with a centralized interface for displaying system hardware and software type alerts. The Lenovo Solutions for Small Business software offers support for various security and performance enhancements, including maintenance scheduling, software status monitoring, USB device blocking, enhance energy saver modes, data backup and restore, and wireless display support.

December 26, 2012 | 06:37 PM - Posted by Patrick546

Wow nice ultrabook!!

December 26, 2012 | 06:43 PM - Posted by DusanVarga

Never been a big fan of IBM, but this i liked.
Powerful and classy

December 28, 2012 | 02:32 AM - Posted by v81 (not verified)

Just a comment on the trend of displays, not a fan of the low res on a lot of portables lately.
At a time when smartphones are pushing 1280x720 and 1920x1080 on 4 and 5 inch displays, we still have netbooks and notebooks sporting resolutions like 1024x600 and 1366x768.
Isn't it time we started expecting 1080p as a minimum on these displays 10 inches and upward?

December 28, 2012 | 07:14 AM - Posted by Ship (not verified)

@v81 - I totally, totally agree.

Lenovo's Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook is looking machine but I refuse point-blank to buy such a low resolution machine.

December 28, 2012 | 11:30 AM - Posted by Ship (not verified)

P.S. This low resolution thing on Windows 8 tablets/convertibles is starting to feel a bit like a "Conspiracy of Uselessness" !

My strong suspicion is that the Windows operating system itself is deeply screwed when it comes to displaying things at higher resolution, due partly to the way applications have been coded.

If a Windows application has defined its layouts in sizes that are fixed by using pixels (rather than as percentages etc), then on a very high resolution screens everything starts to become too small to read. And if the user increases text size so as to make text large enough to read, then if a box is of fixed height and width number of pixels, then the text can disappear off the bottom of the visible area in question. Worse, it can take the Submit button with it! Thereby making the application unusable!

I understand that Apple applications/apps do not suffer from this problem - at least not so badly. Which sounds like extremely bad news for those of us who have invested heavily in Windows software. :^(

December 28, 2012 | 04:24 PM - Posted by Gordon (not verified)

Get the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13.3 inch convertible Ultrabook instead of the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist 12.5 inch convertible Ultrabook computer/tablet PC!

December 29, 2012 | 10:42 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

The one thing the Twist has over the Yoga (and the big reason I got this one for my wife over the Yoga) is that the display folds over the keyboard on the Twist while in Tablet mode.  On the Yoga, the keyboard sits behind the display on the devices bottom while in Tablet mode. 

IMHO, more chance of having keyboard related issues if you use it as a tablet a lot and put it down on a hard surface...

December 31, 2012 | 11:08 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

Damn nice design, the twist/fold display is perfect.

Being able to slap in an SSD of my choice is a nice touch as well.

The battery situation will keep me from buying this, but if they revise it with the next generation I'm in.

Low res doesn't bother me at this screen size, My vision is too crappy.

February 18, 2013 | 03:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Get an extended life battery with the regular one it comes with. Worth the extra expense - over 12 hours of lovely battery life. I live in kenya.

January 3, 2013 | 09:21 PM - Posted by Max (not verified)

Such awesome display should be standard, except for resolution. That and the hidden hardware feel like dealbreakers.

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