Mar 8 2013 - The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist Basic uses a well tested design for its Windows 8 convertible that works extremely well as a laptop thanks to its great keyboard and very adjustable screen. It also is surprisingly affordable for a business class touchscreen system. The problem is that its running time is far too short and it is very heavy to be used as a tablet. The result is a system that is a good business class laptop that can be used as a tablet but it needs some serious work before it can be great.
- Excellent Keyboard And Trackpad
- Affordable Pricing
- Poor Battery Life
- Heavy For Tablet Usage
- Not As Fast As SSD Based Options
- Intel Core i3-3217U Dual Core Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive With 24GB Solid State Cache
- 12.5" WXGA (1366x768) Multitouch Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, mini-HDMI, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 12.3" x 9.3" x .8" @ 3.48 lbs.
- Windows 8 Professional
Review - Lenovo ThinkPad Twist
Mar 8 2013 - Lenovo has taken their previous convertible laptop designs from the past and updated it in the form of the ThinkPad Twist and the Windows 8 operating system. The result is a very well tested pivoting screen design that works very well in both the laptop and tablet modes. The only real downside is that this is one of the heavier convertible laptops on the market weighing just under three and a half pounds. It also does not have the exact same levels of quality as other ThinkPad systems as there is more plastic used in various spots.
The biggest area where Lenovo helps reduce the cost of the ThinkPad Twist is with the processor and memory. Rather than using the Core i5 found in most ultrabooks, Lenovo has elected to use the Core i3-3217U processor. The big difference is that the Core i3 does not offer Turbo Boost features and is restricted to its 1.8GHz speed. Combine this with 4GB of slower 1333MHz memory and the system falls behind its counterparts. Still, this is a low cost business ultrabook and for this it still can handle most of the tasks that it is designed for.
Rather than using a solid state drive for the ThinkPad Twist Basic, Lenovo has elected to use a traditional 320GB hard drive to provide much more space for storing applications, data and media files. It still uses a 24GB solid state drive for caching as required by the Intel ultrabook standards for quick boot and wake times. Mind you boot times are slower than the other solid state equipped ultrabooks thanks to its twenty second cold boot. If you do require additional storage space, Lenovo includes two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage drives. Like most utlrabooks, there is no optical drive but there is a flash card reader which is something that Dell's XPS 12 sorely lacks.
The display for the ThinkPad Twist uses a 12.5-inch display panel that offers a relatively low 1366x768 display resolution. This puts it below most of the competition but then again it is not surprising given the systems price tag but then again the Yoga 13 which retails for under $1000 comes with a 1600x900 display. It folds out like a traditional clam shell laptop but can then be twisted on its pivoting center hinge into the tablet mode or other stand and tent modes the company likes to show off. Viewing angles are nice allowing for the screen to be put at many angles without disrupting the screen. The graphics are handled the the Intel HD Graphics that are build into the processor which is typical of most ultrabooks. This will get the job done for any sort of business task but does have limited 3D and non-3D acceleration beyond Quick Sync compatible applications.
If there is one feature that Lenovo is known for, its the keyboards. The ThinkPad Twist uses the new island or isolated style keyboard but is a bit smaller than some of their other ultraportable systems. Spacing is nice and feedback on the keys is quite good. One just needs to get used to the slightly smaller keys compared to Lenovo's other laptops. It features a trackpad as well as a TrackPoint option for navigating. Accuracy on both were quite good and it is nice to have the dedicated buttons unlike many other small systems. Multitouch gesture support was good on the trackpad although with the touchscreen few will probably use them much.
Lenovo includes a 42.4WHr battery for the ThinkPad Twist. This is a about middle of the pack in terms of convertible laptops for its capacity rating. Unfortunately, this does not translate into battery life. In video playback testing, the laptop was only able to run for four an a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This puts it at the bottom of the pack when it comes to battery life. It pails in comparison to the larger Lenovo Yoga 13 which offers a comparable size battery. It certainly is much worse than the Apple MacBook Pro 13 with Retina that can go over six hours.
The ThinkPad Twist Basic is a very affordable convertible laptop at just $850. This puts it well under the cost of most that start around $1000 and go up from them. The big disadvantage is the lack of performance but for many corporate users this isn't a big issue. The primary competition comes from the Dell XPS 12. Sony VAIO Duo and Toshiba Satellite U925t all of which have faster processors and solid state drives. Dell's offer a very high resolution display and longer battery life but has some issues with the trackpad and the screen rotation isn't for everyone. Sony's offering is much more expensive but is the lightest and thinnest of the offerings even if its hinge system gets in the way frequently. Toshiba's is somewhere between the Dell and Sony offerings but has a less that desirable keyboard and trackpad design.