Convertible Ultrabooks (Tablets/Slates)


Nov 18, 2005
So, there are a few approaches to this concept out there, and more on the way (Intel's "North Cape" concept, by far the best imho).

So far, it seems my best options are hitting the market this month. Those would be Microsoft's Surface Pro, and Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix.

The Helix, design wise, I prefer, but the starting price is $1500, and that alone is iffy but it has me worried how good of a configuration that base model will even represent, and what it will cost to make a well-rounded device. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a detachable, so the keyboard is sort of like a dock.

The Surface Pro, while it seems a great concept, I am irked by the kickstand. It is great, except it's very limiting. It would be difficult lying down in bed with it, or using it, you know, on your lap. It's strictly table/desk-limited if you want to type. Otherwise, it seems quite versatile.

There are certain things I'm looking for, and finding it all in an attractive and affordable package seems extremely difficult.

Ultimately, the dream machine is as follows:

- Ultrabook approach
- 10.5-13.3" Full HD display (16:10 ideal, but 16:9 1080p seems inevitable)
- Intel i5/i7
- some sort of Tablet-mode. Either it rotates, twists, folds, or ideally: detaches from a keyboard dock
- a lot of storage (128gb SSD minimum - ideally, it is SSD and is user-replaceable, thus I could replace/expand on my own)
- Windows 8 Pro x64 ideal
- 4GB+ RAM

aiyeah, that last one seems to remove so many awesome devices from the list. Oh, and actually having good pen recognition.
The Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T (with the Intel Atom CPU, but full Windows 8), seemed to have a laggy pen recognition - am I expecting too much, or should it, at least on proper CPUs, have a great pen experience?

The famed Asus Transformer Book seems the clear winner on every single front, except for one: no digitizer. :(

If I could grow to accommodate the kickstand on the Surface Pro, I am still worried the size will be an issue.
At least with the upcoming Lenovo Helix, it's 11.5", so even a little bit helps. The latching/docking mechanism seems weird, but it helps support multiple orientations and overall seems like a clear winner. It, along with the Surface Pro, clearly seem to represent the sturdiest devices, and it should be a terrific keyboard on the Helix.

Oh, and I literally just now had my world crushed: I just saw that, an hour ago, Engadget posted a story that states Lenovo is delaying the Thinkpad Helix until March or April.

Think re-sale on the Surface Pro would drop abysmally in the first few months, in the event I decide that's the one but ultimately dislike it?
I still expect that may very well happen by the end of the year, but I'm looking to use my tax return on something sooner - and I'll deal with resale later if something just demands the switch later this year.

I think that's why I really wish the Dell XPS 12 had a digitizer, or the Asus Transformer Book (TX300), whenever it releases, too had a digitizer, as the TX300 will house a 13" monitor.

It might seem a little unwieldy to hold a 13" tablet with the guts of an ultrabook, but at the same time, that's 16:9... plus with 1080p on full-blown Windows 8, some desktop scaling is going to be needed anyway just to read/interact with anything that's not in the Metro interface.

Am I too soon dismissing something like the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T (with i5), due to a dislike of a 500T (Atom) demo unit?

Is there something else out there I am completely missing that could satisfy all my desires?
I'd be willing for it to NOT be detachable, if it's still overall a svelte package, and has a mechanism that switches like the Lenovo Twist or XPS 12 - I can't do the Yoga... I won't have the keyboard facing down against my palms in tablet mode.

I have a Nexus 7 for my "mobile tablet" needs, but if I'm going "big tablet", I'm going big or home - I want full Windows 8, not RT. And because of that, it needs something with more guts than the Atom. Ideally, this will replace my ancient (and discount even then) Acer "Pentium Dual Core" 14" laptop. I won't replace that junker with an Atom CPU - that's not an upgrade.


Jun 7, 2012
That Sammy sounds like it has a bad dock and it really sounds like the Helix is your machine, cost sucks but if nothing else fits comes out by time its out (and your needs are same) then go for it...?


Platinum Member
May 18, 2001
What about the Lenovo Yoga 13? Seems to touch dream machine list, apart from the digitizer.


Nov 18, 2005
What about the Lenovo Yoga 13? Seems to touch dream machine list, apart from the digitizer.

Well - that's an important part of the dream machine aspect.

I thought I mentioned something about the Yoga, but perhaps I did not.
No - it's a terrible idea for a product, imho. I do not want the keys to be on the bottom of the tablet when in tablet mode. Not only are they are on your fingers/hands, but it has the possibility of picking up who knows what from whatever you might wish to rest the tablet on momentarily.

It was an attempt to cash in on the touch/tablet craze following the launch of Windows 8, and it shows. It's a touchscreen ultrabook that features nothing else spectacular save for a hinge that allows it to fully rotate vertically.

The ThinkPad Twist would be the one that's closer to the desire, but still falls short. From Lenovo, the Hexis is the only thing that approaches.

Ultimately, I've basically settled on the Surface for the time being.
I have it (the 128gb model) reserved at Best Buy.

If it's something I'm not satisfied with, or discover that 6 months down the road something else completely blows it out of the water and Microsoft has delivered the keyboard with battery dock they've basically promised at this point... I'll probably try and sell it, hoping it holds its value decently.