I am a huge fan of ThinkPad X series Tablet, i have owned pretty much every model after the ThinkPad X60t. There is simply nothing on the market that is quite like it, in terms of serviceability, durability and power. I first fall in love with the X series Tablet, when i saw someone using their X60t at university, which had 1400×1050 (SXGA+) resolution within the 12.1 inch form factor. To me that was simply amazing, and something i wanted to have for personal use, so i eventually saved enough money for a ThinkPad X61t with the same SXGA+ resolution. I used that X61t for over 3 years, despite owning many other ThinkPads over that time, there was simply nothing on the market that could match the resolution within that form factor.
However, as time wore on, the old X61t simply became too slow for use as my main portable Tablet laptop for doing Photoshop and Illustrator work. So i gave in and upgraded to the subsequent generations of X series, which were fairly expensive in Australia, sometimes double the price of US prices. But it was a great machine, so the extra price was well worth it.
The latest ThinkPad X series Tablet i got was the X230t, which is pretty much the same as the X220t, except for some changes in CPU/GPU, addition of USB 3.0 and more important the use of the new 6 row Chiclet keyboard. But format and chassis remained the same between the X220t -> X230t transition, which is great.
But according to some online rumours, the X230t is the last of its kind, the X series Tablet would be no more after this, instead it would be replaced by ThinkPad Twist and ThinkPad Helix. Some of you would be familiar with the ThinkPad Twist, if you are not, then have a read of this short review i did for the ThinkPad Twist. While, not many of you would be familiar with the ThinkPad Helix, as the news of its existence only started to trickle through within the last few days.
ThinkPad Helix, is the new kind of Lenovo Tablet device, where it does away with the traditional hinges like the one you find in the old X series Tablet or the ThinkPad Twist. Rather it uses a docking station, where you can take out the screen part of the laptop, to use as a portable tablet much like the iPad and Microsoft Surface. Basically, this would be like the Original IdeaPad U1 idea that was shown to the public in the CES 2010 in Las Vegas.
From the publicity photo shown on the Chinese web, the ThinkPad Helix is pretty slick in terms of design. It looks to be made out of anodized aluminium or magnesium, so it would have the quality and up market feel to it. But more importantly, it could be undocked from the base, which contains the more powerful i7 CPU and the rest of the supporting electronics, and be used as Windows 8 Tablet like the ThinkPad Tablet 2 (or Microsoft Surface). If the rumour is true, then Lenovo is bringing the fight to the Windows 8 Tablet competitors in a new way, and could crawl back the ground it lost in the Windows Tablet market when Microsoft announced its own entry with the Surface devices. Also from the look of things, the ThinkPad Helix would have a digitiser pen support, which is great news and it would also have 1080p resolution in a 11.6 inch IPS LCD (rejoice the long suffering ThinkPad X series Tablet user).
I am excited that Lenovo has decided to revamp its product line and revitalise it with increased amount of real innovation, rather just pumping out the same laptop it does in the ThinkPad guise. Future looks bright for ThinkPad and Lenovo.
If you want to see more picture of this nifty ThinkPad Device, have a look here.
Edit: After flipping through various Chinese websites, it seems that the ThinkPad Helix won’t have a upgradeable ram capacity (yet to be confirmed), it would be limited to 2 gigs?
Currently ThinkPad X1 Helix will have a 4 gigs RAM capacity as the only RAM option, but the SSD (in mSATA format) will have 120 gigs, 180 gigs and 240 gigs option.
Further evidence of ThinkPad X230t coming to an end very soon.
Specification of the ThinkPad X1 Helix is released and detailed here