Now that Intel’s first processor based on 5th-gen Core “Broadwell” technology is just about ready to go, PC makers are starting to unveil laptops and tablets powered by the low-power Intel Core M chip.

While the 4.5W Intel Core M processor sips energy as efficiently as an Intel Atom chip, it offers significantly better performance, which helps explain why most of the first devices to use the chip are mid-range or premium computers.

Most are 2-in-1 tablets which become notebooks when attached to a keyboard dock, but there’s at least one ultrabook in the mix as well.

Intel will expand its line of Broadwell chips in 2015 to include models aimed at even higher-performance machines, but the Core M seems designed to hit a sweet spot between power and portability: many of the first Broadwell-powered devices are thin, light, and fanless.

asus zenbook ux305

Asus Zenbook UX305

The latest member of the Asus Zenbook family is a 2.6 pound laptop with a 13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixel display, solid state storage, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

It features 802.11ac WiFi, Bang & Olufsen speakers, and Intel’s new

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2

Lenovo launched its first ThinkPad Helix system last year, but this year’s model is thinner, lighter, and cheaper. This 2-in-1 tablet/notebook will sell for $999 and up when it launches in October.

helix 2_01

That’s a lot better than the $1679 launch price for the 2013 model.

The ThinkPad Helix tablet measures less than 0.4 inches thick, weighs less than 1.8 pounds, and has an 11.5 inch full HD display. With the keyboard dock it becomes a 3 pound notebook.

Lenovo says the Helix 2 should get up to 12 hours of battery life and the system supports an optional digitizer pen.

HP Envy x2

HP’s going a bit bigger with its first Broadwell tablets. The company plans to offer models with 13.3 inch and 15.6 inch displays for $950 and up.

hp envy x2

The company includes Bluetooth keyboard covers with backlit keys, and stereo front-facing speakers.

Dell Latitude 13 7000 series

The Latitude 13 7000 features a 13.3 inch display, a starting price of $1199, and a 2-in-1 design that lets you detach the screen from the keyboard so you can use it as a tablet.

dell latitude 13 7000 series

Dell describes this machine as a “laptop first” device, which means it’s designed to be a notebook that you can also use as a tablet rather than the other way around.

It features a backlit keyboard and business-friendly security features.

Other systems

The 4 systems mentioned above have all been announced by their manufacturers and are expected to go on sale this year.

intel core m products

During a press event at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Intel also mentioned a few more 2-in-1 tablets, including:

  • Acer Aspire Switch 12
  • Asus Transformer Book T300FA
  • Asus Transformer T300 Chi
  • Wistron N-Midas

The Aspire Switch 12 will likely be a multi-mode tablet that can face a keyboard for use in notebook more or face away from the keyboard for use in stand mode, much like the company’s other Switch tablets. The Intel presentation makes it look like this model may have a built-in kickstand though.

transformer t300 chi

Asus first unveiled the Transformer T300 Chi in June. Now it looks like it could hit the streets before the end of the year. It’s a 12.5 inch tablet with a keyboard docking station. If the specs haven’t changed since it was first announced, the tablet has a 2560 x 1440 pixel IPS display, up to 4GB of RAM, and a super-slim design. The tablet is just 0.29 inches thick and in notebook mode the T300 Chi is only 0.56 inches thick.

If it’s anything like other members of the Transformer Book family, the Asus Transformer Book T300FA will likely be a thicker, more affordable 2-in-1 notebook/tablet.

Finally the Wistron system probably won’t ever come to market under the Wistron name. Wistron is a manufacturer which tends to make hardware for other companies, although it looks like this could be a reference design it’s shopping around. So we could eventually see the N-Midas on store shelves. It’ll just have a different name.

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19 replies on “Meet the first Broadwell-powered tablets and laptops”

  1. The HP has “stereo front-facing speakers, and stereo front-facing speakers”?!

  2. Beets logo???!!!! No way!! Not even gonna consider that garbage!! I aint payin for that cellophane swindle in no way!!

    1. For the higher end Broadwell Core chips… Yes, we should see some that offer dedicated graphics…

      But the Core M is basically focused on the tablet and 2 in 1 market where battery life and being able to go fan-less to enable thinner and lighter designs take the priority rather than performance…

      The Core M specifically is replacing the Y series chips and a dedicated graphic card would be overkill for it…

      Though, GPU performance will still improve as Broadwell is introducing the Intel Gen 8 GPU and with lower power consumption that the 14nm FAB and other advances provide means they can focus more on improving average performance than they could have before even with Haswell… It’s suppose to be about 30-40% better, though we still need to see official benchmark comparisons to know for sure…

      So, the Core M can go fan-less but still provide more performance than the previous Y series chips… Albeit, still not as much as a higher powered Core i3/i5 chip… but more bang for your buck, compared to the previous Haswell Y Chips, and enough performance for at least low to medium productivity needs… The extra performance being with the option to Dock and increase the performance of the Core M with a dock that provides active cooling to allow the TDP to be increased…

    1. I’d like to upgrade my old R600 which is 2.4 lbs and 12″ with something under 2lbs. Not sure if I need Broadwell though. So far the Surface 3 is the closest thing, but wish it could be a bit lighter and have a better keyboard. Maybe the next version will suit if they go fanless as they should.

      1. Being fanless make a HUGE difference in term of design for ultra thin and light tablet/notebook.

      2. Core M based version should definitely be noticeably thinner and lighter, but performance may be less than a Haswell Core i3… Albeit, the Core M can perform better with a dock that provides active cooling and unlocks it for higher TDP operation…

        Add it can operate up to 2 hours longer than a Haswell Core based tablet with the same size battery and it should be very interesting to see what the next version of the Surface Pro will look like…

      3. Yea mate, me too am waiting on a Surface 4 with longer battery life and without spinning, air-moving parts in it.

      1. Ummm… maybe you do read the review about fan noise issue on Pro 11 instead of trolling.

        1. You didn’t say it had to be fanless.

          Now how about you stop trying to pick a fight.

          1. Get a life instead trying to a smart ass on the Internet. I bet you are real fun at party trying to fact check everyone.

          2. Butt hurt because I gave an example that satisfied your stated constraints?

            Who’s a smart ass, eh?

Comments are closed.