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Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook Review

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power Consumption

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The one major strength in an ultrabook-style format is the device power consumption. At idle, the Thinkpad Twist manages a mere 11 watts of power. Better yet, at full load with both LinX and FurMark running, the Twist managed to pull a mere 34 watts at the wall. That level of power savings given the technology built into the Twist says a lot for Lenovo's superior design for this product.

Performance

From a pure performance standpoint, you really do get the performance you would expect from an ultrabook form-factor device. Its definitely not made for gaming, but seems to be able to hold its own in the CPU-intensive application and office application arenas. The one thing I will say about the Thinkpad Twist is that you have not really used Windows 8 to its full potential until you've used it on one of these ultrabooks.

Pricing

As of December 23, the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist was available at Amazon.com for $849.99 with free shipping. The ultrabook was also available from other retailers such as Staples for $899.99 and TigerDirect.com for $939.99.

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Conclusion

Before continuing on, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at Lenovo a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the pleasure of reviewing the Thinkpad Twist system. After hearing about the Yoga a few months back, I was intrigued by the form factor and the entire concept of a convertible ultrabook. The Thinkpad Twist executes this concept very well. The mid-tier sample that we reviewed contained a processor and memory configuration more than adequate to the task at hand. Its light and easy to carry around at a mere 3.5 pounds, and has a solid feel to it because of the magnesium material used in the design. I was worried about the hinge mechanism, but found it to be well designed and solidly constructed. The display that Lenovo used in designing the Twist is hands-down one of the best displays I seen yet. As for the Windows 8 experience, I can't imagine using Windows 8 without this device. The Thinkpad Twist was made for Windows 8 and give the user an unrivaled experience. I found myself using the keyboard and mouse in conjunction with the touch screen as if it was second nature.

There were a few areas of concern with the Twist, even after the stellar user experience I had with the device. After initial inspection, it seemed an odd design choice on Lenovo's part to not allow user accessibility to the system memory or battery. Memory and hard drive upgrades are one of the easiest ways to increase a laptop's performance, so not being able to easily access the system memory for an upgrade could affect the long-term viability of the product. I also had issues with the placement of the USB ports, one on each side of the ultrabook. If you want to use a device that requires two connections, one for power and one for data transmission, then you will need to have some type of USB extension for one of the cables. The inability to disconnect and replace the battery is also a concern because laptop batteries do wear out, even with the most stringent charge and discharge methods. On the device used for testing, the battery's ability to hold charge began to erode quickly after the battery test benchmarks were run. The battery went from lasting 3-4 hours to 1.5-2.5 hours. In defense of Lenovo and their outstanding product (in the Thinkpad Twist), the battery in the system was most likely bad to begin with and would have failed under normal use. One good point with this was that the Lenovo software alerted me to the problem quickly and in a clear manner.

Strengths

  • IPS LED Display
  • Windows 8 experience
  • Corning Gorilla Glass overlay on display
  • Application performance (non-gaming)
  • Usability
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Hybrid hard drive performance with Lenovo RapidDrive

Weaknesses

  • Inability to remove/replace memory and battery
  • USB 3.0 port placement
  • Battery life does not live up to manufacturer claims
  • Stereo speaker placement

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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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