As I started this Lenovo Twist review, I quickly decided that the Twist is the best convertible Ultrabook with touchscreen option available and the best way to use Windows 8. The next laptop you buy will probably have Windows 8 installed. This newest version of the Windows operating system is radically different from any that have come before. Its tiled home screen is almost identical to Windows phones and tablets. When you consider that phones and tablets are touchscreen, it's only reasonable to expect that the new Windows would work best on a computer if it was touchscreen too. I've been a Mac user for the past 10 years, but for the first time I could be convinced otherwise. The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist made Windows 8 not only easy to use, but fun as well.
The Twist gets its name from its swivel display that turns in a circle and can flip over on top of the keyboard for a tablet-like experience. In this mode, a touchscreen keyboard becomes available. The laptop can also be set up on a table or on your lap in a tent-like "A" making it easy to watch a movie or casually browse the web.
Below the display is a Windows button. It can be pressed in the laptop mode but is most useful as a "home button" in the flipped-around tablet mode. A number of tablet-like touch gestures are required for operating Windows 8. To access menus, you must swipe in from the edge of the screen. Double tapping the screen zooms in to web pages. Swiping right and left takes you to new categories of apps in the home screen. Again, these gestures are why you want a touchscreen with Windows 8. The Lenovo Twist was responsive to my touch and I could navigate easily.
Weight of the Lenovo versus other Laptops and Tablets
Some people have asked me whether a combined laptop and tablet made sense as they believe that it would be heavier than carrying a laptop or tablet and keyboard. The Lenovo convertible laptop weighs in at 3.48 lbs, which is lighter than many Ultrabooks including the new Macbook Pro. If a tablet and keyboard will suffice when you are away from home (see my article Laptop or tablet?) their combined weight averages 2.5 lbs. You'll have to weigh the importance of having a laptop with you.
Are we back in 1995?
If there was one thing that is a little "funky" about Lenovo's new ThinkPad, it's that its keyboard and mouse still look like ThinkPads from 10 (even 20) years ago. A small touchpad mouse with hard left and right buttons is not very modern when compared to many of today's touchpads. But if you are like me, you won't mind some of the old with all that is new, and you'll probably rely on the touchscreen for most navigation.
Benefits of Lenovo Twist
Here is a list of why I like the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist Convertible Laptop:
- It's a good value, with prices starting at $300 to $400 dollars less than comparable models from Dell, HP and Sony.
- It has the specifications of a computer not a tablet. The model I reviewed had 500 GB of storage to save my files, movies, music. Tablets typically top out at 64 GB of memory. The Dell convertible has only 128 GB of memory (for $1200) and the HP Envy has only 64 GB.
- It has all of the ports you want on a laptop including two USB 3.0 for fast file transfers, a memory card reader and a mini HDMI to connect directly to your TV.
- Its touchscreen display is responsive to gestures and is the only way anyone should use Windows 8
- A 12-inch display is better for watching TV shows and movies than a 7 or 10-inch tablet.
- You can flip the screen around to show someone sitting across from you.
- It's easier to type when on your lap because it is sturdier and larger than keyboards used with tablets.
- The swivel mechanism appears to be well made and hardy.
- The magnesium alloy case is soft to the touch and won't scratch.
- The screen is made from Corning Gorilla Glass so it is less likely to crack.
- It still has the red mouse/joystick button that dates back to IBM ThinkPad laptops that came out in the 1990s. Maybe you don't need it because you'll use the touchscreen control, but it works well to move quickly across the screen and it's kind of nostalgic.
In an interview with CNET, Gerry Smith, President of Lenovo's North American region, estimated that about 50 percent of Lenovo's PCs—not including tablets or smartphones—will have touchscreens within the next two to three years.
You will need to decide which type of laptop will be right for your next purchase. Whether it is a conventional laptop, a slider, a hybrid that separates, or a convertible laptop or Ultrabook, the Lenovo Twist is an excellent choice and one of the best values available to date. Who knows, if you're like me, you'll want to Twist and shout!