# Help choosing a convertible ultrabook / slate

by Ben Niehoff
Tags: choosing, convertible, slate, ultrabook
 Admin P: 8,429 Hybrids are tough. Companies aren't putting many good options out there. It seems MS is pushing their Surface tablet as a hybrid by advertising the keyboard. Lenovo has the Tablet 2 that has a keyboard too. Both are rated well.
 Sci Advisor P: 1,547 A friend has the Thinkpad Tablet 2 and let me play with it for a few minutes. The device itself is alright, but I noticed he had brought a laptop with him as well. I get the same impression: that the Tablet 2 can't actually replace a laptop, so it doesn't really solve the weight issue. Also, the keyboard available for the Tablet 2 works by Bluetooth, which means it saps power rather than providing it (I think it makes sense for a separate keyboard to have a second battery in it). The Microsoft Surface Pro is tempting, but looking at pictures where it's attached to the keyboard, it doesn't look like it's possible to sit the thing in your lap. The Surface itself has to lean back onto a "stand" in order to stand up. The Helix is really starting to look more attractive...
P: 1,547

## Help choosing a convertible ultrabook / slate

Well, I think I've decided to eliminate the Sony Vaio due to a weird design issue. When the screen is sitting up in "laptop mode", the bottom edge slides forward to cover the top third of the base. This leaves very little room for the keyboard and trackpad; the trackpad is squeezed into a tiny, unusable shape.

Still trying to figure out whether I want the Helix. It's especially frustrating to read reviews about it, because reviewers don't seem to understand what it's for. Part of the reason is that the word "tablet" has been co-opted by the Android and iPad crowd to mean "cheap, touch-sensitive entertainment device".

Reviewers see the Helix as some sort of compromise device and balk at the $1600 price tag. And yes, if all I wanted was a machine to read PDFs, watch movies, and play Angry Birds, that would be absurd. But reviewers don't understand the purpose of the pen, and definitely don't understand the difference between "active digitizer" and "capacitive touch-sensitivity" (and the extra$800 that goes along with that distinction). Nearly every review I've read treats the pen as a more accurate way to click things on the screen, since the 1920x1080 resolution makes some of the menus tiny. No one seems to consider that you can actually write with an active digitizer, at a natural size and speed (and of course you can also make professional-quality digital art).

Of course, I don't think most people need to write on their computer, so they see it as some kind of novelty.

The Thinkpad Tablet 2 is still somewhat attractive as a note-taking device, but its Atom processor is underpowered doing things like Mathematica. However, for the price of the Helix, I could get a Thinkpad Tablet 2 and a Macbook Air, so that might actually make more sense (although I loathe the idea of being mistaken for a Mac fanboy).
 Sci Advisor P: 1,547 I have seen unsubstantiated rumors that the Helix might be updated with Haswell in October or November. So I'll wait and see. That's around when I wanted to buy anyway. Several things on the Lenovo site are on sale right now, so that could indicate that new things are conning soon.