Review Index:

Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook Review

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

System Display, Audio-Visual, Cooler, and Battery Life Testing

Display Testing

To validate the quality of the system's display, view angle tests and monitor calibration tests were performed. The view angle tests were done by taking a picture of the display with the PC Perspective site active from a 30 degree angle from the plane of the display. For the monitor calibration tests, the Lagom LCD monitor test pages were used.

View Angle Testing

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As you can see from the screen shot, the display viewing angle is surprising good from the side of the monitor. The site colors remain vibrant and the text is clear and readable. Two factors come into play here for this amazing feat - the IPS LED display itself and the Corning Gorilla Glass overlay. IPS LED back-lit displays are well known for their quality and crispness and are highly sought after. Add the Gorilla Glass coating and you have the enhanced viewing angle clarity that we see with the Thinkpad Twist's display.

Monitor Calibration Testing

The monitor calibration tests further proved the quality of the display Lenovo chose to design into the Thinkpad Twist. Both the Black level and White saturation test screens were spot on, meaning that the display showed both black and white colors accurately. In the Gradient testing, only minimal banding was apparent in the test patterns which again illustrates the quality of the monitor. Further, the monitor showed no flicker at all when the Inversion test page displayed.

Audio-Visual Testing

The system's audio-visual subsystems were tested through record and playback means were applicable. For testing of the embedded microphone and webcam, a test video was recorded at a resolution of 720p using a Windows-based video recording application. For testing the in-built stereo speakers, selected audio tracks were played back using Windows Media Player.

Video Testing

The recorded video playback was without issue for the most part with both the audio and video captured accurately during the recording. The video playback did appear to studder a minimal amount most likely due to the raw format of the recorded video stream. This stuttering was not seen during playback of encoded movies at 720p. The audio quality in the video was good as well with no distortion encountered.

Audio Playback Testing

Unfortunately, the music playback did not fair as well as the video playback. The audio quality for true stereo music was sub-par, even though playback was distortion-free. The audio came through without much in terms of base with the resulting audio sounding very tinny and muted. This lack of audio quality stemmed from the placement of the Thinkpad Twist's speakers underneath the keyboard assembly. This layer on top of the speakers is the one design flaw in an otherwise great product.

System Cooler Testing

To best gage the quality of the system cooler, system temperate and audio measurements were taken with the system idle and under load. To replicate a normal system load, the Unigine Heaven DX11 Benchmark v3.0 was run repeatedly over a 10 minute period with the ultrabook placed on a flat, non-porous surface. Temperature measurements were taken from three areas on the ultrabook for each test phase - the center of the display, the center of the keyboard, and at the CPU vents from the underside of the system. Temperature was measured using an infrared based hand-held thermometer unit. Sound measurements of the system cooler where taken with the sound meter placed 1 foot away from the ultrabook with all other devices in the room silenced. The Sound Meter Pro applet on a Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone was used to measure decibel level.

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As you can see from the temperature tests, the Thinkpad Twist at idle remains at a cool 33C even on a non-porous desktop surface. Under load, the hottest point on the device gets to a manageable 49C while resting on a desktop. At idle, the built in cooling fan is barely audible at 32dB, while getting just a bit louder while under load and sitting on a desktop surface at 37db. The cooler noise becomes apparent if the ultrabook bottom is lifted off the desktop increasing to 46dB. The increase in fan noise has to do with more airflow getting to through the bottom air vents when the ultrabook is not resting on a solid surface.

System Battery Testing

The system battery life was tested during both discharge and charge cycle to give you a better idea of what to expect during normal and extreme use of the ultrabook. Three different battery benchmark programs were used to gage battery life - Battery Eater Pro, the PC Perspective Battery Test, and the FurtureMark Peacekeeper battery test. Battery Eater Pro renders a rotating image at 1024x768 stressing the CPU and graphic components of the laptop. The PC Perspective Battery Test steps through a series of web pages using the Firefox browser. The FurtureMark Peacekeeper battery test runs through a series of HTML 5-based web pages using the Firefox browser. In all cases, the test runs until the device's battery is depleted.

For these tests, the system power settings were set to the High Performance mode in the Power Options control panel. This power plan was modified while in battery mode as follows: display set to not dim, turn off or sleep, screen brightness set to 80%, processor minimum state set to 100%, and critical battery level set to 1%.

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The battery test varied, but did not come close to the promised 7+ hour lifespan from the Lenovo device specs. Both of the normal use tests (the PC Perspective and Peacekeeper site crawls) came in with either just under or just over 3 hours of battery life. The Battery Eater test drained the Thinkpad Twist in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. However, the Twist was found to fully recharge in about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Not great when compared to the advertised battery life, but not too bad considering the powerhouse sitting under the Twist's hood either.

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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