Lenovo ThinkPad Twist - The Old Form Factor Starting A New Life With Windows 8 (Part 3)

4/27/2013 9:16:15 AM

Screen and Sound

At its center is a 12.5-inch touch screen. It is coated in Gorilla Glass, like many other monitors we tested recently, which means it can stand up well against scratches. The 350-nit brightness rating is above average for a laptop and indeed, especially the brightness cranked up, we do not have any problems when viewing the screen from strange angles. Even if you do not have a bunch of friends gathered around to watch movies from Netflix, that wide visibility proved to be very useful if you place the tablet face up on a flat surface - the possible scenarios when your arm get tired using this 3.48pound computer in tablet mode.

At its center is a 12.5-inch touch screen

At its center is a 12.5-inch touch screen

Meanwhile straight viewing angle is particularly good if you are working with a computer in the palm; you will not need to find a neutral position to avoid the color dilution. One thing that might ruffle some shopper's feathers is the total number of pixels 1,366x768, especially since Lenovo's Yoga 13 starts at $1,000 with 1,600x900 pixel screen. Meanwhile, the Zenbook Prime Asus's Ultrabook has a 1080p screen, and you can buy for $1,000.

When it comes to sound quality, it tinny just like you expected, though it's not worse than what you would get from other Ultrabook. The only notable difference is its volume levels are more subdued than on other laptops we've tested.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 3,113

·         3DMark06: 4,066

·         3DMark11: E1033/P549

·         ATTO (the maximum drive speed): 136MB/s (read); 130MB/s (write)

Acer Aspire S7 (Core i7-3517U 1.9GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 5,011

·         3DMark06: 4,918

·         3DMark11: E1035/P620/X208

·         ATTO (the maximum drive speed): 934MB/s (read); 686MBs/s (write)

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,422

·         3DMark06: 4,415

·         3DMark11: E917/P572

·         ATTO (the maximum drive speed): 278MB/s (read); 263MB/s (write)

Toshiba Satellite U925t (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,381

·         3DMark06: 4,210

·         3DMark11: E989/P563

·         ATTO (the maximum drive speed): 521MB/s (read); 265MB/s (write)

Dell XPS 12 (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,673

·         3DMark06: 4,520

·         3DMark11: N/A

·         ATTO (the maximum drive speed): 516MB/s (read); 263MB/s (write)

Although we tested a $900 Staples configuration with Core i5-3317U CPU which is similar to many other ultraportable we've tested recently, it has hybrid repository instead of SSD - especially, 500GB hard drive (7200rpm) with 24GB of flash storage. As you'd expect, its performance score is lower than what it can achieve with SSDs inside. For example, in PCMark 7, it reached 3,113 - at least 1,000 points lower than your typical Ivy Bridge Ultrabook.

Naturally, its I/O performance is modest: in ATTO disk tests, it achieved the highest read speed 136MB/s and write speeds up to 130MB/s, while most of the SSD-powered Ultrabooks are capable of at least twice the write speeds, and 2 to 3 times the reading rates. Although 24GB SSDs are there to help speed up boot time, 17 seconds startup time of Twist is still about 50% slower than other Windows 8 machines we've tested recently. However, if you are old enough to remember minute-long boot sequences, it will not really matter.

About graphics power, Twist is on par with ultraportable machines we've tested recently, which is quite reasonable because they all use Intel's integrated HD 4000 graphics. That is if you like playing games, you better stick with the old game, and select minimum setting. For example, in Call of Duty 4, we have managed between 18fps and 20fps, and that was with a resolution down to 1,024x768. On the other hand, the machine is still relatively quiet, which we can’t say of every Ultrabook we tested recently. The bad news: it becomes slightly warm. Not pants-scorchingly hot, but warm enough so that your legs can start to feel a little toasty. Even when we are streaming music from Grooveshark without running other applications, we can still feel the warm air coming from its vents on the side.

Before receiving those Windows 8 PCs to evaluate, we have to know the battery life on touch screen system will be shorter than what we can see from un-touch models. What we did not realize is how those differences will amaze. We've tested convertible computers which had lasted through over 5 and a half hour of video playback. In case of Twist, we were lucky to make it through four hours. For one repeated video, Wi-Fi open and brightness fixed at 65% (our standard conditions), our best running time reached a total of 4 hours and 18 minutes. However, sometimes the 43Wh battery ran out before reaching the four hour mark. It seems these results are normal: after running a series of similar tests, Lenovo's own products also show that the battery life results are in 4 hour range.

In case of Twist, we were lucky to make it through four hours

In case of Twist, we were lucky to make it through four hours

Twist is not an ultra-thin system, with room for the smallest battery. It does not even have a higher resolution screen. And yet, this is the second-worst showing that we've seen on an Ultrabook. Meanwhile, Dell XPS 12, which is lighter and has a full HD screen, has lasted 1 hour longer in the same test. So that leaves us with a question: we know the touchscreens are bad news for battery life, but why does the Twist in particular fare so poorly?

Software and warranty

Inside, you have Evernote, Amazon's Kindle app, Skype, AccuWeather, etc.

Inside, you have Evernote, Amazon's Kindle app, Skype, AccuWeather, etc.

While Twist is not completely free of bloatware, the list of pre-installed applications is much shorter than what you'll find on other new PCs. Inside, you have Evernote, Amazon's Kindle app, Skype, AccuWeather, eBay, service streaming and shortcuts for the Intel AppUp store. Other applications include Microsoft Office, Norton Internet Security trial version, Lenovo Support and Lenovo Solutions for Small Business, which includes backup and recovery options, a USB blocker, a profile of energy efficiency and tweaking utilities (such as deleting cookies and defragmenting your hard disk). Finally, Lenovo Cloud Storage, which is powered by SugarSync behind the scenes.

These are applications that are installed on the system, but there's another one you can download through Lenovo's supported website if you like. It is called the QuickLaunch and as you can see in the screen shot above, it brings back the old style Start Menu that many of you still missed it. If you really want to avoid the new tiled Start Screen, you can pin your favorite applications to the taskbar, or create shortcuts on your desktop. However, it's great to have the search option in the old way. As an additional feature, there's another shortcut to turn off computer.

There's another shortcut to turn off computer.

There's another shortcut to turn off computer.

Although the more advanced business computer warranty 3 years, Twist warranty 1 year. That's pretty standard for most PC (consumer and etc.), especially at this price.

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