Lenovo ThinkPad S230u Twist review

Pros

  • Classy ThinkPad shape plus construction
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Sturdy swivel-screen hinge

Cons

  • Moderate power life
  • Lacks full vPro support
  • No stylus support

When PC producers were showing off their Windows 8 products earlier this year, there was clearly much speak regarding innovative hardware designs — plus indeed, most touchscreen equipment which debuted at IFA plus different shows available really fresh shape factors. However, Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist isn’t 1 of them: the standard shape of the swivel-screen convertible laptop is regarding a decade older. That’s to not state it isn’t a good ultrabook — it happens to be a ThinkPad in the end, with a extended custom of quality behind it. But how about the information?

Design
With its matte-black rubberised finish plus understated Lenovo plus ThinkPad branding (including a clean red LED dot above the ‘i’), the ThinkPad Twist looks because businesslike because any of its brethren. The solid-feeling central screen hinge offers away the truth which it’s less alternative clamshell notebooks: the screen can twist 180 levels clockwise to face away within the keyboard (beneficial for presentations to little groups), and fold flat up against the keyboard with all the screen facing out, for utilize inside (very chunky) pill mode. The hinge is additionally strong enough to support what Lenovo calls ‘tent’ mode:

tp-twist-tentThe 1.6kg (3.5lb) ThinkPad Twist’s ‘Tent’ mode could confirm worthwhile inside certain scenarios.

We found the screen’s autorotate function a small hit-and-miss, even following the System Update utility had supposedly improved its performance with a driver update. If need be, you are able to toggle autorotation about plus off through a switch found on the bottom right-hand side of the lid, merely above the energy switch.

The 12.5in. screen utilizes edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass, nevertheless the best plus sides look a small untidy to the eyes because there’s a limited millimetres of plastic binding overlaying the glass, plus beyond a metal-effect plastic ‘bumper’ which cheapens the total look somewhat. The screen itself is a glossy-finish 5-point touchscreen with a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels: when you’re happy with all the moderate pixel density (125ppi), it provides a sharp, obvious image with superior watching angles because of the IPS technologies employed. Some tablet-mode fanatics might rue the omission of stylus help though.

tp-twist-kbThe Twist’s keyboard is predictably good. The TrackPoint can have its devotees, however there’s equally a big touchpad in the event you don’t like it.

The island-style, spill-proof keyboard is because advantageous because you’d anticipate from a ThinkPad, featuring big, somewhat scalloped keys with curved bottom edges which fit the fingers effectively plus deliver a positive action. Above the amount row is a row of 16 keys with different system- or Windows 8-related functions; a dozen of these keys double up because F1-F12 through the Fn key.

The touchpad is a big buttonless affair which functions perfectly, plus naturally there’s equally the trademark red ThinkPad TrackPoint sitting amongst the G, B plus H keys. This has a trio of mouse buttons under the keyboard (the central switch is for scrolling, though you tended to do nearly all of the scrolling utilizing the touchscreen).

Port plus slots are limited to the sides of the program, with a SIM card slot (not utilized inside the review unit), a media card reader, a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet port, a Mini-HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port plus an audio-out jack found on the left-hand side as well as the energy input, a Mini-DisplayPort connector, a next USB 3.0 port as well as the difficult drive treatment door found on the right-hand side. Neither an HDMI neither a DisplayPort adapter is offered from the box.

On the lid there’s a bodily Windows 8 switch — under the show, inside the center — with a pair of amount (up/down) buttons to the left. Above the screen, additionally inside the center, is a 720p webcam, flanked with a pair of double range noise-cancelling microphones. As revealed earlier, the energy plus autorotate buttons are found on the right-hand side of the lid, at the bottom.

Features
The ThinkPad Twist is driven with a 1.8GHz Core i3 (3217U), a 1.7-2.6GHz Intel Core i5 (3317U) or perhaps a 1.9-3.0GHz Core i7 (3517U) processor plus utilizes the HM77 Express chipset. If you need full-on vPro out-of-band administration (plus several greater companies will), you’ll be dissatisfied, because none of these processors help it. What we do receive is help for Intel’s Small Organization Advantage (packaged because Lenovo Solutions for Small Business), that handles elements like automatic scheduled repair operations (disk defrag, temporary file deletion, for example), protection software monitoring, vitality saving settings, backup plus restore, plus more. Our review device had the Core i5-3317U processor, supported by 4GB of DDR3 RAM; alternative models come with all the full 8GB.

tp-twist-sbtLenovo’s Solutions for Small Company software puts a range of program repair utilities inside convenient reach.

The principal storage about the ThinkPad Twist had been a 500GB SATA III (6Gbps) Hitachi Travelstar difficult drive spinning at 7,200rpm. There’s equally a tiny (24GB) mSATA SSD for cacheing. If you’re prepared to invest more plus receive less storage, you are able to specify a quicker, lower-power, 128GB SSD inside destination of the difficult drive. On the review program, which might add another £98.40 (inc. VAT).

Wireless connectivity is offered by Intel’s Centrino Wireless-N 2230 component, that supports single-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth four.0. Mobile broadband wasn’t present about the review device, plus is not an upgrade way, however models are accessible with Ericsson’s H5321gw component, that supports HSPA+ at about 21Mbps down plus 5.76Mbps up. Mobile broadband adds regarding £48 (inc. VAT) to the cost.

Lenovo offers the routine ThinkVantage software bundle, and involves 5GB of free Lenovo Cloud Storage.

Performance & power life
Given its middle-of-the-road specification, it’s no surprise to locate which the ThinkPad Twist is a moderate performer. The Windows 8 adaptation of Windows Experience Index today marks from 9.9 (instead of 7.9 beneath Windows 7). The total score, determined by the lowest-ranking subsystem (Desktop images performance inside this case) is four.3, with additional scores ranging between 5.9 plus 6.9:

tp-twist-wei

This program has enough horsepower for mainstream company workloads plus low-level after-hours gaming/entertainment, yet the gulf involving the ThinkPad Twist along with a true discrete-graphics ultraportable powerhouse like Eurocom’s Monster 1.0 is obvious whenever you consider the demanding Cinebench 11.5 benchmark:

tp-twist-cinebench

The ThinkPad Twist is driven by an 8-cell Li-ion power rated at 42.4 watt-hours (Wh), for that Lenovo claims ‘about 7 hours’ existence. To estimate power lifetime below different workloads, you measured the (totally charged) system’s energy draw utilizing a Voltcraft VC940 Plus multimeter plus split the resulting average figures into the power rating (Wh/W=h):

tp-twist-batteryIdle = idling at the Windows 8 Start screen; PT8 = running Passmark Software’s Performance Test 8 benchmark suite; CB CPU = running Cinebench 11.5′s CPU test; CB OpenGL = running Cinebench 11.5′s OpenGL test.

On this basis, you are able to anticipate the program to last for between a paltry 1.5 hours along with a maximum of regarding 5.5h, depending about how difficult you’re functioning it. The power is non-removable plus there’s no choice to suit a 2nd power, thus you’re left with what you are able to squeeze from the program utilizing the energy administration settings. Under heavy plenty, the ThinkPad Twist becomes noticeably, however, not uncomfortably, warm.

Conclusions
If we think of it because generally an ultrabook, yet 1 which will easily become a pill whenever the event demands, then your ThinkPad Twist has a lot to suggest it. The build standard is good, plus there are enough business-friendly qualities to create it acceptable because a BYOD program, though the shortage of full vPro help might deter the more locked-down companies. Battery lifetime can be a more general matter though.

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