Is it a tablet or a laptop? It's both, in a configuration that is fluid and easy to use. This laptop is slim, light, and incredibly easy to use. When combined with the Windows 8 Operating System, it does a great job with almost anything you throw at it. We got our hands on a Lenovo ThinkPad Twist S230u 33472RU Ultrabook, and have compiled a review to help your decide if this is the laptop for you!
First off, let's take a look at the specs:
- Intel Core i7 (1.9 GHz)
- 12.5" IPS (In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology) Display
- Graphics Controller Manufacturer Intel Graphics Controller Model HD 4000
- 8 GB DDR3 1333 RAM
- 128 GB Solid State Drive
- Card Reader: 4 in 1 ( SD Card, MultiMediaCard, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card )
HardwareWeighing in at just under 4 pounds, this laptop is a lightweight, convertible laptop with a wide array of uses. Being as lightweight and versatile as it is, this laptop gives you the ability to do what you want with it (with some exceptions!). The touchscreen has the ability to swivel and move, giving you multiple configurations to use it in, no matter where you are.
The touchscreen is incredibly responsive and quick, reacting to your actions as you do them, without any delays. Depending on the angle you hold it, it will automatically re-adjust to keep everything right-side up. Tip: If it doesn't change automatically, there is a button just above the power button that will fix the rotation.
The keyboard is a typical Lenovo laptop keyboard, plastic and easy to clean. The keys are spaced apart enough that it's easy to get out any crumbs you might drop in when you're working through lunch or at a coffee shop. The touchpad is ultra responsive, even if it takes some time to get used to. With a quick swipe from left to right, you can switch apps, and clicking on the right side of the pad does a right-click. Once you learn, it is an incredible asset with Windows 8. One thing to note, the swipe works in every application, and can sometime be accidentally used when trying to move the cursor, which can be a bit aggravating.
Sporting a card reader, 2 USB 3.0 slots, a HDMI port, mini-Display Port, and an Ethernet port, you can do a lot with this laptop. The USB 3.0 slots, in combination with the Solid State Drive and USB 3.0 drive itself, give you quick transfer speeds when moving data to and from the device. If you have a camera, you can transfer data from it using the card reader and the card inside the camera itself, removing the need for transfer cables. The wide array of ports give you versatility with the device.
Operating System/SoftwareThis laptop runs Windows 8 Professional, which in combination with an SSD like the one inside, it boots in only a few seconds flat. The software is smooth, and we here at Tech Raptor highly recommend installing the Windows 8.1 update through the Microsoft Store (Currently in beta/preview), as it makes the interface much more responsive and customizeable.
The fact that this laptop is touch screen compliments Windows 8 as well, allowing you to either use your keyboard/trackpad to control everything, or just use the touchscreen for movement, and keyboard for typing. Alternatively, the laptop switches into a tablet for those who want to do everything tablet-style. The touchscreen is very responsive, and boasts a robust on-screen keyboard for use in tablet form. Windows 8 allows for swiping from the left edge to the right to switch apps, and alternatively can also be done with the touchpad itself!
I only ran into one issue with the software during the few weeks that I've been using the laptop, and that is that when switching from tablet to laptop, sometimes the rotation won't adjust and it will be upside down or sideways (To fix this, select the Intel graphics, and switch to 0° of rotation). That was only a minor annoyance and rarely happens.
PerformanceIf you're looking for a quick and responsive laptop, the combination of Solid State Drive (SSD) and Windows 8 Professional, on top of the 8 Gigabytes of RAM that come with the laptop make for a great choice. When it comes to general computing performance, such as word processing, browsing, and email, everything is incredibly quick, and the ability to swipe to switch from desktop to apps in the blink of an eye increases productivity when switching from Office, to Chrome, to Email. If you want to really increase your performance, we also recommend upgrading your system to the Windows 8.1 Preview, which is not yet complete, but really makes some big time-saving and customization changes. See our article here for more!
Overall, the performance was everything I expected from a laptop with these specs. Everything opens quickly, and there has yet to be a speed hiccup that you will sometimes see with prolonged use and a large number of programs at once. With the Mail App, Google Chrome (9 tabs), Microsoft Word/Excel/Outlook, Steam, and Plex Media Center (The App) open, there wasn't even a slight slowdown and not even 75% of the system's resources were being used. At one point, we ran The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion along with the apps, and didn't see much of a slowdown either. (We'll talk about the gaming portion in a bit!)
It's a tablet!The beauty of the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is it's ability to transform from a laptop to a tablet with one quick "twist". With the ability to flip the screen around and angle it while it sits, turn it into a full tablet, or any other way you might want to use it, the tablet functionality is not limited at all. Using the full resources of the computer, powered by a touchscreen, and onscreen keyboard, the ThinkPad Twist is just as effective as a tablet. Angle it anyway you want, and it will respond by rotating the screen for you, giving you full range of use.
Gaming CapabilitiesIf you're looking for a laptop that can handle current, high graphics games, this is not the laptop you should be looking at. The HD 4000 graphics controller built into the machine can handle some decent gaming, but it's not built for much more. The computer handles The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion very well through Steam, and many other games without issue as well. That said, I do not recommend using the trackpad when gaming, as an accidental left to right swipe with switch you to another app, and the trackpad doesn't always like to play nice when using the W, A, S, D keys to move around. If you're looking for a solid business/personal laptop with the ability to play a decent number of games, however, this is a great choice. One thing to note, Halo: Spartan Assault runs incredibly well on this, especially with the touchscreen controls!
Heat and NoiseYou know those laptops with a mega loud fan and consistent, lap-burning heat? This is not one of those. At boot up, you barely even hear the fan running, and after that...nothing but quiet. This just in; laptop doubles as a ninja! All joking aside, this laptop is also incredibly cool, with only a small amount of heat being generated, even after hours of use! You don't have to worry about burning your thighs anymore!
Battery LifeFinally, we come to the battery life. With an 8-cell Lithium Ion battery, this laptop lasts up to 6 hours on a full charge! With minimal usage, primarily using it for web browsing, it can sometimes even last up to 6! On top of that, the laptop charges fully in a fraction of that time. When plugged in and not in use, it can fully charge in well under 2 hours! Overall, the battery life of this laptop is fantastic!
VerdictThe Lenovo ThinkPad Twist S230U 33472RU is a phenomenal Laptop/Tablet, and shouldn't be dismissed from being looked at. While a bit more than what the standard consumer is looking to pay, it is well worth the value when you look at it. You're not getting just a laptop, you're also getting a tablet with a lot of power behind it, as well as superb battery life. If you're looking for a solid all-purpose laptop, then we would recommend grabbing this instead of dropping the extra money for a tablet as well. It will all even out, and you'll love what you get.