There's a new ThinkPad in town — and it's a much improved convertible ultrabook for business users. Lenovo introduced this month its new ThinkPad Helix, the company's second 2-in-1 detachable ThinkPad, which originally came out in 2013. Offering several improvements from its predecessor, the new 2014 ThinkPad Helix could be the Windows 8 tablet hybrid your business is looking for.
The original Lenovo ThinkPad Helix was problematic for two reasons: its thick build and unusually warm temperatures, which even its built-in cooling fans couldn't handle. This new version fixes these issues with a thinner build and low-power processor.
At only .38 inches thick, the 2014 ThinkPad Helix features a 15 percent slimmer chassis and weighs 1.8 lbs. It is also now powered by the new Core M CPU, a more efficient processor that doesn't need active cooling and produces much less heat than the previous Helix's Core i5 processor. This upgrade eliminates the need for any built-in fans on both the tablet and keyboard, allowing for the much thinner design. [Best Tablets for Business: 2014 Edition]
In addition to the Core M processor, the ThinkPad Helix will come with SSD and RAM options, a 2-megapixel webcam and a 5-megapixel rear camera. It is also equipped with an active stylus, which comes in handy when you want to take quick notes using its handwriting-recognition feature.
This device doesn't skimp on visuals either. It features a Full HD 11.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 10-point touch screen display that's "bright, colorful and responsive," reports LAPTOP.
The new ThinkPad Helix will come with two types of keyboard docks: the Ultrabook Keyboard and Ultrabook Pro Keyboard. Both keyboards instantly transform the tablet into a front- or back-facing notebook.
The basic Ultrabook Keyboard comes with the device and includes a key travel, large clickpad and a stylus slot. The drawback to this keyboard, however, is that it doesn't have any hinges. This means you can't fold it into the tablet like a clamshell as you would a notebook; you'll have to place the tablet on top of the keyboard to "close" the device.
If you need more from your keyboard, consider the Ultrabook Pro Keyboard — available in January — which has a TrackPoint stick and offers more flexibility. Its snap-in hinge lets you attach the tablet into either a Tent or Stand Mode, or you can fold it closed just like a regular laptop.
In tablet form, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix will last you roughly 8 hours with regular use, which may not be enough for heavy users or those who need to stay productive beyond typical work hours. For a longer battery life, check out the Ultrabook Pro Keyboard, which increases the battery life to 12 hours when attached.
Cost and availability
Unlike its $1,649 predecessor, the new Lenovo Helix is much cheaper at $999. It is expected to hit stores in October.
Originally published on Business News Daily