Lenovo is introducing its first ThinkPad tablet with a detachable keyboard base. The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is an 11.6 inch Windows 8 tablet which can work as a laptop when docked to a keyboard base. But it has what Lenovo calls a “rip and flip” design which lets you remove the screen and use it as a standalone tablet device, or snap it back onto the base in “stand mode.”
Under the hood the ThinkPad Helix packs a lot more power than many of the 11.6 inch Windows 8 tablets we’ve seen so far, thanks to an Intel Core i7. Unfortunately it’s also much more expensive than other Windows 8 tablets… prices are expected to start at $1499.
For that price you essentially get some of the best features of an ultrabook and a tablet. The ThinkPad Helix offers up to 10 hours of battery life, a full-sized keyboard, and a 1080p IPS multi-touch display and a pressure-sensitive digital pen.
As a ThinkPad tablet, the Helix is also aimed at business users. Lenovo offers models with support for 4G LTE mobile broadband, NFC (Near Field Communication), and enhanced security features.
The “stand mode” is also described as useful for business presentations… or for viewing movies.
Here’s a run-down of the specs:
- 11.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS 400nit display
- 10-point multitouch screen with Gorilla Glass
- 3rd generation Intel Core processor (up to Core i7)
- Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro
- Intel HD graphics
- Up to 8GB of RAM
- Up to 256GB of solid state disk space
- 2 USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, mini-DisplayPort and mini-HDMI
- 5 hours of battery life in tablet mode alone, 10 hours with the base
The tablet is 1.84 pounds, and so is the keyboard base, bringing the total weight to about 3.7 pounds. The ThinkPad Helix measures about 0.8 inches thick.
The system felt a bit back-heavy, because even though the tablet and keyboard dock are both about the same weight, the keyboard is heaviest near the rear. Still, the whole thing feels solid enough to use on your lap. The tablet locks into place pretty tightly, and you can release it by pressing a button on the left side.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix will go on sale in the US starting in late February.
Update: Or maybe March…