There’s good news for folks who’ve been waiting for Lenovo to release its first Thinkpad ultrabook with a detachable Windows 8 tablet portion. The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is now available for purchase from Lenovo.

There’s also bad news: the cheapest configuration isn’t particularly cheap at all. Prices start at $1679.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

For that price you get a Windows 8 tablet with an 11.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, a capacitive touch panel and an active digitizer for pen input. It has an Intel Core i5-3427U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid state disk.

Lenovo is positioning the ThinkPad Helix as an ultrabook, and with the screen attached to the keyboard dock that’s pretty much what it is. It’s a thin and light notebook with a ThinkPad-style black case, a pointing stick in the center of the screen, and premium features such as 2×2 WiFi and NFC.

But unlike most ultrabooks, you can use the Helix as a tablet for writing or drawing. Just don’t expect spectacular battery life from a tablet with a 42Whr battery and a Core i5 processor. Lenovo says you should be able to get up to 5 hours of battery life from the tablet alone, although that could climb as high as 10 hours when you add the keyboard dock.

Lenovo also offers a $1999 model with 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7-3667U processor, and 180GB of storage.

Both models of the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix are available for order now, and they’re expected to ship in early June.

I got a chance to check out the Helix when it was first introduced in January:

via Ultrabook News

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33 replies on “Lenovo ThinkPad Helix hybrid ultrabook now available (for $1679 and up)”

  1. I guess I’ll have to look at the MS Surface Pro again. It is annoying taht it will be another few weeks befor they reveal if Surface 2 is coming soon or not. I was relaly hoping Helixz woudl be about $400 cheaper on all modle levels.

  2. Could be a price mistake. Lenovo’s site often has pricing errors especially when notebooks are first released. I remember one time they offered a ThinkPad for a few hundred thousand dollars.

    Of course, that does make you wonder how safe it is to order something from their site.

  3. Over in Northern Europe it’s USD 2830 for the cheapest incarnation. Kind of steep for a, in my case, secondary computer. I love the concept, and that track point, though.

  4. Will wait for LENOVO Outlet deals on this one! I am pretty sure this will come with $500 off coupon soon!

  5. I have mine and I’m in love. Got the i5, 4GB model with 180GB HD (149 usable without repartitioning). It’s plenty fast and enough memory for what you’re doing on a 11.6″ screen.

    The i7 should only give a 5% increase in performance — And then only at peak. Remember, it throttles back in tablet (not tablet+) mode anyhow.

    The good: Portability, battery life (based on my normal use, not a battery gauntlet) and it’s snappy thanks to solid state drive. It’s extremely quiet, even when I was transcoding some videos. Also very lap usable, the processor is in the screen so it doesn’t burn the twins.

    Could be better: No back-lit keyboard, which would help in a lot of use cases. Screen size is a tweener – Too small for use as a laptop at a distance (without some changes to fonts, etc) and pretty big as a tablet. In general Windows 8 is tough in tablet mode because the virtual keyboard hides so much screen real estate and rarely does it pop up when you’d expect it too from Android/iOS use.

    I broke my iPad2 several months back and missed it dearly. Since the Helix, I’m over it and the Galaxy Note 10.1 I got as a fill-in has now been deeded over to my wife. iOS and Android are for toys, this helps me work — And that coming from a 10+ year Linux user.

    1. I have to disagree about 4GB of RAM being enough for what you’d do on a screen this size. My X220, with a 12.5″ screen and 8GB of RAM, is rarely below 70% usage, and more on multiple occasions has run so low on free memory it’s pestered me to close programs. But I typically have 2 instances of Firefox with a total of 75+ tabs open, so…

  6. Eleven inches? This is a large tablet and a too small laptop that must be used attached to an external display. Furthermore too low on ram and storage. Fail.

    1. how is 8GB low for a high end model or 4GB for a low end model? What would you expect from a high end laptop made convertible?

    1. Thinkpads have always been pretty expensive, but they are usually pretty well made and supported. I think the price is high, but I’m looking forward to reviews on this.

    2. Unlike Apple, the price will go down as the device gets more and more outdated. Of course, I won’t be buying the Helix anyway.

  7. What are the manufacturers thinking?!.. this is ridiculous, who buys these overpriced toys, where are the cheap small laptops/ultrabooks with 1080p screens?

    As i wrote in a previous comment, i can buy a 1080p tablet starting at 220€ and a i5 laptop for 420€ but there are no 1080p i5 laptops for 640€.. instead the cheapest start at 950€ – wtf!?

    1. Premium parts equals premium price, what’s not to understand… Want cheaper then just get a product that isn’t using premium parts.

      Sure, you can get a tablet with a 1080P that’s still affordable but it’ll be a small screen and the rest of the tablet will be far from premium and won’t offer anywhere near the performance of a high performance laptop.

      There are trade offs to everything!

      Besides, it still can be considered a better deal than the Google Pixel Laptop…

  8. Are you kidding me? ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE DOLLARS? I’ve been excitedly and expectantly waiting the release of the Helix, as the others in this category are not exactly what I was looking for. But for the money, I’ll go purchase a Yugo 13. Apparently the folks at ThinkPad aren’t thinking straight!

    1. Beats macbooks for not too much more. this was just released, and it’s the first gen model, so it’s expensive just like how many other laptop series work.

    1. Wait for $500 off coupons! That’s how LENOVO works. Price high and then coupon on it to make it reasonable.

  9. What is the difference between this and the Surface Pro? I see it has a larger screen and a dock that makes it a true laptop.

    1. More than twice as much battery life, for starters. Intel i7. You can actually use this on your lap. Better storage. I can keep going if you want.

      1. More battery life is with the dock right? That’s a good point though. The tablet alone still has about an hour more than the Surface Pro, unless Lenovo is stretching the battery life claims. An Intel i7 and better storage are if you upgrade to the $1999 offering (twice as much as the Surface Pro), but that’s a good point as well since Surface doesn’t even offer that option. Yes, I mentioned it’s a true laptop with the dock, so lap use is good… but with the dock you lose some portability so there is some trade-off there as well.

        What else is there?

        1. Different than most other convertibles you can detach the tablet, turn it around and re-attach it, folding the whole thing and having a “tablet” with 10 hours battery life. So the portability issue of detaching the tablet which is annoying in the other win8 convertible options isn’t a problem here. Then you have NFC, then you have 3G/4G support… Truly it is by far the most interesting Windows 8 convertible device money can buy today. But yes, as others mentioned, things should change soon.

          1. Nice. Personally the portability has more to do with the weight and thickness so leaving the dock on wouldn’t work for me. I have a small laptop and had a netbook. I never brought them along with me because of the weight and thickness. I’d probably just bring the tablet part along if I had a Helix and perhaps that is how it’s meant to work.

            3g/4G ready is good. NFC is also nice.

            It’s got better cameras as well. I see you mentioned RAM as well.

            I noticed that the 256 GB drive is a $100 add-on so that brings the price up more.

            Is all that worth another $600-$1000 more than the Surface? A person could get 2 Surface Pros vs 1 fully specced Helix. Hopefully the Helix will come down in price like how they price their laptops.

            I wonder how much it would be without the dock. I think I’d be more interested in that configuration.

          2. That’s what’s so great about this design. You can leave it attached if you want (sometimes it’s inconvenient to try and find a place for the keyboard or it’s worth leaving it attached for the battery life) or you can separate it and use it as a pure tablet. It’s ingenious and by far the best design so far in my mind.

        2. not really a loss of portability when you reverse the display to use as a thick tablet w/ extra battery and ports.

  10. How insane – the tech press has been howling about the price of the Surface Pro – then this?

  11. That is a lot of money for something with a processor that is about to be replaced with a more power efficient model.

    1. Given Lenovo’s track record, when the Haswell models are available, Lenovo will just introduce the Haswell versions at the same price as these Ivy Bridge models, dropping the Ivy Bridge units some $200-$300.

    2. Agreed. I’ve been waiting for an ultrabook like this and am ready to buy now. But this is WAY to expensive. With Haswell ultrabooks on the way in the coming months, I wouldn’t even buy this if it was $500 cheaper. If it was gen 4, then it I’d bite.

    3. That’s typical Lenovo bumbling. It takes them months past the original expected ship date to finally get their product out, and even now there’s constant delays. I hope they lose a lot of money from people that would have bought it 2-3 months ago now waiting for Haswell. Maybe it will make them finally wake up. Which is sad, because this is the only one I’ve seen besides the Surface that does what I want in a hybrid, and even better because it’s a real keyboard, not to mention the trackpoint. I hope more companies start making computers like this, with the option to use it as a laptop, tablet separated, or tablet combined.

      1. I don’t hope they lose money. I’d be worried that too big a loss might cause the company to drop the product all together and I definitely want one! I just want one with Haswell. It’s an amazing piece of tech. Part of the problem with amazing tech is it almost always takes more time to develop than you expect. So Lenovo is a little slow on the draw. The flip side is, from what I hear, they product is often very much worth the wait. And the lessons learned from putting together this Helix will make the Haswell powered Helix all that much better!

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