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The Thinkpad Twist - a 12.5" Intel High Performance ocnvertible notebook with a touch of style and Windows 8.Don’t forget Office with your PC purchase. Download Office 2013 instantly with Amazon Digital Software.
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I purchased the Lenovo on the second day it was out. I am not normally an adventurer, but I urgently needed a new computer, and had waited until Windows 8 came out so that I could have long use. I was moving from an older Windows Vista, so those with Windows 7 won't be as impressed - although it is hard to separate the experience of Windows 8 from the Lenovo, since they are designed to interact.
Touch Screen The touch screen is amazingly responsive, it responds as easily as my iPad to my touch. On the other hand, the accelerometer is a bit finicky, and getting the picture to turn is not as responsive. Still, since 99% of my usage is in display or laptop mode, it hasn't been a significant issue. I hope that it is improved in later models.
Twist and Turn I LOVE this configuration. I primarily use the display and laptop mode. Even with my iPad, I hated TeePee (an inverted V), and I preferred to be able to set my display up to watch and use it. Times I use this in tablet mode are working on games with my Granddaughter, playing solitaire, or it can be easier to use in this mode while sitting in a seat in a car. I use the laptop mode for work, and the display mode for playing games (so nice to have the screen handy and at just the right angle), watching Netflix or Amazon Video. The sound controls are extra easy to use and the "windows button" is quickly handy in display mode.
Special notes on Twist and turn, it is particularly handy to watch something with someone seated next to you, and the display mode is especially nice to watch videos on a plane, if that is something you do. I often will turn my screen to show my husband or daughter something on my computer. It is a really nice feature for families.
Speed My average sleep to start mode is about 8 seconds. If I am running on battery instead of "leashed" it takes a couple of seconds longer to wake up. I have not had any lag in performance of anything I am using, and my only internet lag is when I am at the end of my router range.
Touchpad and pointer This was my first experience with pointers, and I have pretty much ignored mine. It has the red pointer and the two pointer buttons at the top of the touchpad. The touchpad itself is very responsive and uses all of the usual gestures. It sets into the case and clicks on either side to mimic the mouse buttons. The pointer buttons may also be used at the top. Since I have carpal tunnel, I use a trackball, so after testing mine, I converted over.
USB ports Both ports are 3.0. They are placed one on each side of the computer. The 3.0 was very handy when I was transferring information since it helped me to move the information quickly to this computer - essential, since my other computer died only days after I purchased this one. I use a Seagate external drive to back up that has 3.0 USB, so it works well.
At the same time, having the configuration of 2 USB on opposite sides was a bit of an issue when running my external DVD player, since it has the option of plugging into two USB ports for power - and the cord was configured for them both to be on the same side.
Interaction with Windows 8 I took time before it was released to learn a bit about Windows 8, which is why I decided I would like to have a touchscreen to use with it. I love how the touchscreen interacts with Windows 8, and how it quickly becomes intuitive to determine which works better, a mouse or keyboard move or just reaching out and touching the screen. My only complaint involves my fingerprints on the screen.
Another tiny issue I encountered, is that I decided to install Adobe PDF Reader since I didn't really like the Windows Version as much. Adobe has a new reader just for touchscreen that defaults to touchscreen, with no bars on the side. I have to unclick the touch mode in order to use it the way I normally do. It is nice to have software that knows and installs for touchscreens. I suspect more are on the way.
Battery As you are aware, battery is based on usage. I find that I average around 5 hours running on battery before I get at 10 percent warning. This is mostly doing some internet research and creating word documents, but also includes some playing of simple word or card games. For comparison, I normally average 5 hours on my iPad. I know the battery says seven hours, but I always take that number with a huge grain of salt and divide it in half for a working number. So five, for my use, is a very nice feature. My complaint here, and with ultra books in general is that you can't carry a spare battery to pop in.
Reasons I wanted this model I wanted a 500G memory, touchscreen, in a reasonable price range. When this was introduced, a local store opened with it on sale, making this particular model particularly desirable. It had the memory, speed, and flexibility that I desired, and it provided some cool configurations that made it particularly nice for someone already used to an iPad looking for a fully functional computer. I like the fact that in tablet mode, I am not worrying about damaging the keyboard. I love the weight - a little more than my iPad - actually the weight of 2 iPads, very nice for travelling.
I don't use mine to stream to TV or count on it for Blu-ray movies. It is a computer, and the screen is all that I personally need.
There are two things to consider when considering this. Your use determines the laptop you use. If you already use a touchpad, you will enjoy this more than if you are a straight laptop user. If you want fancy screens for movies and such, you might want to look at it in a store before you decide. If you read books on your computer, display mode is perfect, and it sets nicely on your lap. Make sure that you find one that meets YOUR needs. Just because I love mine, doesn't mean you will.
Price is a consideration. There are others that are cheaper. There are others that are more expensive. All have their positives and negative points. Even more, I have seen this model on sale in several locations, so I strongly suggest you look around before buying.
Good luck with your choices. I love mine and hope you can find one that is perfect for you.
EDITED - SOFTWARE UPDATE A software update on December 6 corrected the issue with finicky nature of the screen turning. If you purchase this or are experiencing problems with the screen turning correctly be sure to get the update.
I own several laptops (HP, Dell, Toshiba) and for my son's college laptop, I've looked at all competing laptops (HP, Samsung, Intel, Toshiba, Sony, etc.) and compared them multiple times at the store before deciding on the Twist. Once I have fine tuned the screen adjustments and some other minor functions (see below), and turned off the bloatware programs, it has functioned flawlessly. I could not be happier - this is a great portable laptop with a VERY, VERY, VERY, PRETTY SCREEN. At $700-800, there is *absolutely* nothing like it on the market at this price point: thin ultrabook, IPS touchscreen (don't get Win 8 without touchscreen), 3rd gen. i5, good sized combo HDD/SSD, keyboard with deep travel. Read on for details below.
At bottom half of this review, I have posted all the tricks that you need to do to take care of glitches that you might have with the Twist, so make sure you expand my review to read all of it. It *will* be perfect by the time you do these minor steps.
The laptop is fairly thin at 0.78 inch and at 3.5 lbs is a great compromise for size and weight for a college laptop. The overall size is not too big, the screen is not too small, not too heavy, really a PERFECT COMBINATION OF SIZE and WEIGHT and by far the BEST among many I have had. It has magnesium construction and nice gorilla glass, and all the exposed metal surfaces feel warm & smooth, almost like a rubberized finish. The RUBBERIZED FINISH is WONDERFUL to touch and to lay hands on - it has grown on me! Overall this laptop is sleek and modern looking, and feels very nice to the touch (Sony S for example has cold and cheap feeling metal surfaces). I should add that besides functionality and computing power, I place emphasis on 2 parameters that not everyone may pay attention to: the feel and feedback of the keyboard, for my son the college student - go Sagehens, and the quality of the display, as we both are avid photographers (he's more artistic but I am more "nutty" :-)).
Battery life for current Intel i5 laptops with non Solid State disk drive and touchscreen (consume more energy) tend to be around 4-5 hours, and this laptop in that aspect is par for the course. Sorry it's not 7 hours and it's not going to be like a tablet. Since I don't want to forego the touchscreen feature and want to keep cost low (HDD as opposed to SSD), I accepted this.
Resolution: I actually prefer resolution of 1366x768 for these smaller screens; 1600 would make text and everything too small for these smaller screens. (You could increase text size through display settings but that's not ideal - pictures on web sites become blur, etc.)
3 primary reasons that I picked this laptop, besides the reasonable cost: 1. The excellent IPS TOUCH SCREEN WITH FANTASTIC picture quality/saturation/contrast/viewing angle. This is one of very few ultrabooks, and by far the least expensive, with an IPS panel (google "IPS screen" to find out). If you are into photography, you *will* love this screen; it puts 99% of other laptops' screens to shame, particularly those HP and Sony ultrabooks with their very washed-out screens. Note that it's not just the pictures that pop, text on the Lenovo IPS screen is smoother and seems easier to read as well. Comparing to a Sony S series that I have next to it, the difference is remarkable. 2. BEST KEYBOARD BY FAR of all ultrabooks. Thin laptop computers tend to have lousy keyboard with very little depth travel (HP, Sony, etc.). Lenovo Twist has outstanding Thinkpad-class keyboard, with great tactile feedback and deeper travel than all ultrabook class laptops that I have tried. 3. Why I picked Lenovo Twist over the also excellent Lenovo Yoga: First, the considerable cost difference between the 2. Second, keyboard doesn't get exposed when in tablet mode like Yoga. Regarding the keyboard, for me, the Twist's keyboard has better layout and is better than that of the Yoga when it comes to the feel/feedback/travel of the keys. Yoga's right shift and back space keys are **half-sized** and that bothers me. Third, the Yoga with 128 gb SSD has very little HD space left for anything, and the one with 256 is way too expensive at this point. Lastly, the Twist is smaller and more portable and hence better for my son's intended use in college (YMMV). To me, size wise the Twist strikes a perfect balance for a hybrid laptop-tablet combination; not too big as a tablet, not too small as a laptop.
HOW TO MAKE LIFE WITH THIS LAPTOP EASY: first thing to do when you get the Twist is to type "update" at Metro screen then "enter" to let the system update itself; the original software has a few teething problems particularly with the rotation function. Second, thanks to Win 8 there are several duplicate controls for adjustment of power settings, auto dimming, and screen brightness adjustment that drove me absolutely nuts until I had things figured out. For example auto dim brightness is adjusted by at least 2 independent algorithms: one that operates by sensor (auto dim according to ambient light - turned off by "Change PC Settings" in Windows 8) and one that operates through the power management - turned off or adjusted by clicking on the battery icon. Similarly, brightness and power management are set by using either "Graphics Property" which gives you the Intel Graphics Control Panel, or by clicking on the battery icon to enter power management.
Some fine tuning "tricks" that have helped me: ***Type "update" on Metro screen to update to latest Lenovo's software/firmware change. This will update the flawed auto-rotation function that comes loaded from factory. ***You must turn off the auto dim function that adjusts to ambient light, or it will likely drive you crazy. On Metro screen, wipe from right side, then "Settings," then "Change PC Settings" at right lower corner, then "General," then scroll down to "Screen," then turn off "Adjust my screen brightness automatically." ***There is a second auto dim function that's related to power saving, in the Power Options->Change Advanced Power Settings if you want to get rid of that too. ***Turn off ACTIVE PROTECTION SYSTEM to prevent the Twist from lagging or hanging when you use it in Tablet mode. Type "active protection system" on Metro screen, then click on it, then click on "Configuration" tap, then UN-click "Enable Active Protection System." (Lenovo Support recommends that you turn this feature OFF as it is not necessary and only causes problems.) ***I actually turn off "auto-rotation" in Control Panel->Display->Change Display Settings because I don't really have a need for it, however even after having turned this off, when I start twisting the screen auto-rotation does turn on automatically and this feature works fine. ***Start Button for those who miss it - "Windows Start Menu 8" from CNET http://download.cnet.com/Start-Menu-8/3000-2072_4-75852660.html **CAREFUL** reember de-select (do NOT load) the bloatwares/search program that comes with this program. You only want the Windows Start Menu 8 to load, not the other stuffs. ***To silent laptop speakers when you plug in a headphone: Control Panel-->Realtek HD Audio Manager-->Advanced Device Settings-->Click/check Multi-stream mode. (Edit November 2014: no longer needed for latest generation of Lenovo Twist.) ***Lenovo Solution Center: Oddly enough, I found that if you scan both discs (Hitachi HDD and Samsung SSD) during the hardware check up part, you'll get a failure grade for the Samsung targeted read test. However if you scan the SSD only, then it passes the test. This is a bug in Lenovo Solution Center and I ignore the error message. (Edit November 2014: no longer needed for latest generation of Lenovo Twist.) ***I also turn off all warnings and notifications from the bloatwares that come with this laptop from Lenovo, Intel, etc., so they don't keep popping up annoying messages. ***Wipe-from-left-edge-to-flip-through-opened-programs/apps function: I turn this function off because I would accidentally activate it through the touchpad when I type and cause a different program to open. ***Press "Windows key" and "x" at the traditional desktop screen to bring up critical functions like control panel, etc. ***If you just start typing (any letter, anything) on Metro screen, you automatically activate search function for all apps and programs. Very convenient.
UPDATE 2/5/2013: Continued to function flawlessly; son took it with him to college and loves it. The small size, lighter weight, and sturdy finish are a plus as he takes it to classes.
UPDATE 11/14/2014: Bought a THIRD one for my family: my son, daughter, and now myself. All 3 continue to function flawlessly, all 3 updated to Windows 8.1 without any problem. The latest generation of Twist software seems to have corrected a lot of glitches of the first generation. The screen continues to be a MARVEL, the size is perfect, and the light weight is nice.
Purchase date May 1, 2013. Complete failure date December 19, 2013. Local IT resource looked at error code, said hard drive failure. Contacted Lenovo, returned the unit via their shipping/handling protocols. As I tracked the repair on their website, I saw they were waiting for customer authorization, although I had not been contacted.
My surprise when I reached them? Not a repair under warranty as expected. They diagnosed a foreign substance spill, with total hard drive failure.
Most surprising? They quoted $950 (yes, $950!) to repair a 7 1/2 month product that originally cost $740.
What's wrong with this picture? I asked to escalate the complaint, and am still waiting for a response.
Not a happy camper. A big FAIL on customer service. Contrast this with a similar experience with a Dell Inspiron with next day, on site, zero cost to repair service.