While worthy of the ThinkPad name, mediocre design and a troublesome touchpad...
Lenovo ThinkPad Twist Review
Laptops are for serious work and tablets are for consuming media. That’s the general consensus when it comes to modern computing. A consensus that’s easily disproved, but one which, as a general rule of thumb, sums up our attitudes to these two separate ways of using the latest technology.
At least, that was the general idea before Windows 8 came along, which meant that Lenovo could release a machine just like the ThinkPad Twist.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist squeezes a lot out of its sturdy design. As the name suggests, unlike laptops that are restrained by a single clamshell action, the screen on the Twist can be easily rotated so that it ends up facing away from the keyboard.
This transforms it into a versatile tablet whenever you need it, like showing off a presentation. It also means you can use the machine easily when sat on the sofa, then twist it back round to turn it into a fully-fledged laptop.
This is a Lenovo machine, and one carrying the venerable ThinkPad name, which means that it’s a workhorse PC first and foremost. It’s designed to last and serve you well, and is exceptionally robust.
This build quality extends to the twisting mechanism itself, which is elegant, but holds the screen at your chosen angle well and clunks reassuringly into place when you flip the screen back to its laptop form.
The core specification of the ThinkPad Twist is a no-nonsense affair, boasting one of Intel’s third-generation Core architecture processors, the Core i5-3317U. This is a dual-core processor that can handle up to four threads at the same time.
This makes it a powerhouse with the right software – particularly for media encoding. The default speed of 1.7GHz may not seem like much, but it ramps up to 2.6GHz when required, which means you’ll rarely be waiting for it to respond.
The processor is also responsible for the system’s graphics capabilities, its integrated HD 4000 GPU looks after media acceleration, 3D rendering and even the odd game. Admittedly you’re not going to be playing the latest gaming blockbusters, but some older titles work well.
Battery life performance
Imtec Battery Mark: Minutes: Higher is better
LENOVO THINKPAD TWIST: 298
SCAN 3XS GRAPHITE LG5: 192
Cinebench R11.5 Index: Higher is better
LENOVO THINKPAD TWIST: 2.37
SCAN 3XS GRAPHITE LG5: 2.48
DirectX 11 performance
Heaven 3.0 Index: Higher is better
LENOVO THINKPAD TWIST: 14.2
SCAN 3XS GRAPHITE LG5: 45.9
Fast and smooth
Lenovo has packed in 4GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly, and for permanent storage this model has a 500GB hard drive. This isn’t your standard laptop drive either, it’s a desktop-speed drive running at 7,200rpm as opposed to the far more common 5,400rpm, which means it feels sprightly in use.
This is helped even further by a small 24GB cache drive, which helps keep the Pro version of Windows 8 fast and responsive. You can choose a faster SSD if you need the speed, but overall this is a good solution for the money.
The 12.5-inch Gorilla Glass screen is the main draw of the ThinkPad Twist and boasts a standard resolution of 1,366 x 768. This handles HD movies easily and still has plenty of room for more serious work.
Something the machine is more than capable of thanks to the roomy keyboard and versatile options for mouse control. Not only do you have a touchpad and TrackPoint inputs (the small red nub on the keyboard), but you can, of course, use the touchscreen as well.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is well designed, sturdy and a strong performer. It’ll also last you a good while, racking up over three and a half hours of battery use under moderate conditions. It’s just as happy acting as a powerful tablet as it is a laptop, and while a little heavier than normal laptops, the versatility on offer makes it a machine worth considering if you’re looking for a serious workhorse.
By James Stables, TechRadar