Lenovo ThinkPad Twist review

11 Feb 2013

There are hints of the usual ThinkPad excellence, but poor build quality and occasionally iffy ergonomics fail to inspire

Price when reviewed 
886
4

Convertible tablets are nothing new in the business sector, but convertible Ultrabooks certainly are: the ThinkPad Twist is the first we’ve come across.

However, those expecting the usual ThinkPad build quality are likely to be disappointed. The Twist is plasticky, the central hinge is far more cumbersome than the Yoga 13’s double-jointed hinge, and when clipped into the base in tablet mode, the two halves separate at the slightest provocation.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

That’s a shame, since the touchscreen is responsive, the 1,366 x 768 IPS panel’s viewing angles are superb, and colours are accurate. The measured brightness of 337cd/m2 keeps the glossy panel legible outdoors, and the contrast ratio of 702:1 is excellent by any standards.

Connectivity strikes just the right balance for business use, too. With two USB 3 ports, mini-DisplayPort, mini-HDMI, an SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet and a SIM slot for the model with 3G, the Twist is better served than most of the Ultrabooks and hybrids we've seen.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

As well as a buttonless touchpad there’s also a red trackpoint set in the centre of the Scrabble-tile keyboard. Typing is a joy, but the buttonless touchpad isn’t great – we found the cursor was jittery and prone to jumping across the screen, so we disabled it and used the trackpoint instead.

Performance lowers the tone once again. The Core i5-3317U CPU is no weakling, but the sluggish 500GB hard disk struggles to keep Windows 8 feeling as responsive as SSD-equipped models. With a score of 0.53 in our Real World Benchmarks, and a result of only 5hrs 16mins in our light-use battery tests, the Twist is neither quick nor particularly long-lasting.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Apart from an excellent display and generous connectivity, then, the ThinkPad Twist provides little in the way of excitement. The pricier £999 model, which adds 3G and a speedier SSD, makes the Twist more viable for businesses, but it’s still no award-winner.

Details

Price ex VAT £738
Price inc VAT £886
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 313 x 236 x 20mm (WDH)
Weight 1.570kg
Travelling weight 1.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-3317U
Motherboard chipset Intel HM77
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 1
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 12.5in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
HDMI outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 466GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Optical drive none
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad, trackpoint, touchscreen
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.9mp

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 16min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.53
Responsiveness score 0.56
Media score 0.62
Multitasking score 0.40

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
OS family Windows 8
Recovery method Recovery partition