Lenovo ThinkPad S230u Twist

When PC manufacturers were assuming off their Windows 8 offerings beforehand this year, there was abundant allocution about avant-garde accouterments designs — and indeed, abounding of the touchscreen accessories that debuted at IFA and added shows offered absolutely new anatomy factors. However, Lenovo's ThinkPad Aberration isn't one of them: the basal architecture of this swivel-screen convertible anthology is about a decade old. That's not to say it isn't a appropriate ultrabook — it is a ThinkPad afterwards all, with a continued attitude of arete abaft it. But what about the details?

With its matte-black rubberised accomplishment and chaste Lenovo and ThinkPad branding (including a accurate red LED dot aloft the 'i'), the ThinkPad Aberration looks as accomplished as any of its brethren. The solid-feeling axial awning articulation gives abroad the actuality that it's not as added clamshell notebooks: the awning will aberration 180 degrees clockwise to face abroad from the keyboard (useful for presentations to baby groups), and additionally bend collapsed adjoin the keyboard with the awning adverse out, for use in (fairly chunky) book mode. The articulation is additionally athletic abundant to board what Lenovo calls 'tent' mode:

We begin the screen's autorotate activity a little hit-and-miss, alike afterwards the Arrangement Amend account had allegedly bigger its achievement with a disciplinarian update. If charge be, you can toggle autorotation on and off via a button on the basal right-hand ancillary of the lid, aloof aloft the ability button.

The 12.5in. awning uses edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass, but the top and abandon attending a little bedraggled to our eyes as there's a few millimetres of artificial bounden overlaying the glass, and above that a metal-effect artificial 'bumper' that cheapens the all-embracing attending slightly. The awning itself is a glossy-finish 5-point touchscreen with a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels: if you're blessed with the abstinent pixel body (125ppi), it delivers a sharp, bright angel with adequate examination angles acknowledgment to the IPS technology used. Some tablet-mode enthusiasts may rue the blank of stylus abutment though.

The island-style, spill-proof keyboard is as adequate as you'd apprehend from a ThinkPad, featuring large, hardly scalloped keys with arced basal edges that fit the fingers able-bodied and bear a absolute action. Aloft the cardinal row is a row of 16 keys with assorted system- or Windows 8-related functions; a dozen of these keys bifold up as F1-F12 via the Fn key.

The touchpad is a ample buttonless activity that works well, and of advance there's additionally the brand red ThinkPad TrackPoint sitting amid the G, B and H keys. This has a leash of abrasion buttons beneath the keyboard (the axial button is for scrolling, although we tended to do best of our scrolling application the touchscreen).

Port and slots are belted to the abandon of the system, with a SIM agenda aperture (not acclimated in our analysis unit), a media agenda reader, a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet port, a Mini-HDMI port, a USB 3.0 anchorage and an audio-out jack on the left-hand ancillary and the ability input, a Mini-DisplayPort connector, a additional USB 3.0 anchorage and the adamantine drive abatement aperture on the right-hand side. Neither an HDMI nor a DisplayPort adapter is provided out of the box.

On the lid there's a concrete Windows 8 button — beneath the display, in the boilerplate — with a brace of aggregate (up/down) buttons to the left. Aloft the screen, additionally in the middle, is a 720p webcam, belted by a brace of bifold arrangement noise-cancelling microphones. As mentioned earlier, the ability and autorotate buttons are on the right-hand ancillary of the lid, at the bottom.

The ThinkPad Aberration can be powered by a 1.8GHz Core i3 (3217U), a 1.7-2.6GHz Intel Core i5 (3317U) or a 1.9-3.0GHz Core i7 (3517U) processor and uses the HM77 Express chipset. If you demand full-on vPro out-of-band administration (and abounding beyond businesses will), you'll be disappointed, as none of these processors abutment it. What you do get is abutment for Intel's Baby Business Advantage (packaged as Lenovo Solutions for Baby Business), which handles things like automated appointed aliment operations (disk defrag, acting book deletion, for example), aegis software monitoring, activity extenuative settings, advancement and restore, and more. Our analysis assemblage had the Core i5-3317U processor, accurate by 4GB of DDR3 RAM; added models appear with the abounding 8GB.

The capital accumulator on our ThinkPad Aberration was a 500GB SATA III (6Gbps) Hitachi Travelstar adamantine drive spinning at 7,200rpm. There's additionally a baby (24GB) mSATA SSD for cacheing. If you're able to absorb added and get beneath storage, you can specify a faster, lower-power, 128GB SSD in abode of the adamantine drive. On our analysis system, that would add addition £98.40 (inc. VAT).

Wireless connectivity is provided by Intel's Centrino Wireless-N 2230 module, which supports single-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Mobile broadband was not present on our analysis unit, and is not an advancement option, but models are accessible with Ericsson's H5321gw module, which supports HSPA+ at up to 21Mbps bottomward and 5.76Mbps up. Mobile broadband adds about £48 (inc. VAT) to the price.

Lenovo provides the accepted ThinkVantage software bundle, and additionally includes 5GB of chargeless Lenovo Cloud Storage.

Performance & array life
Given its bourgeois specification, it's no abruptness to acquisition that the ThinkPad Aberration is a abstinent performer. The Windows 8 adaptation of Windows Experience Index now marks out of 9.9 (rather than 7.9 beneath Windows 7). The all-embracing score, bent by the lowest-ranking subsystem (Desktop cartoon achievement in this case) is 4.3, with added array alignment amid 5.9 and 6.9:

This arrangement has abundant application for boilerplate business workloads and low-level after-hours gaming/entertainment, but the abysm amid the ThinkPad Aberration and a accurate discrete-graphics ultraportable assertive like Eurocom's Monster 1.0 is bright back we attending at the ambitious Cinebench

The ThinkPad Aberration is powered by an 8-cell Li-ion array rated at 42.4 watt-hours (Wh), for which Lenovo claims 'up to 7 hours' life. To appraisal array activity beneath assorted workloads, we abstinent the (fully charged) system's ability draw application a Voltcraft VC940 Plus multimeter and disconnected the consistent boilerplate abstracts into the array appraisement

On this basis, you can apprehend the arrangement to aftermost for amid a paltry 1.5 hours and a best of about 5.5h, depending on how adamantine you're alive it. The array is non-removable and there's no advantage to fit a additional battery, so you're larboard with what you can clasp out of the arrangement application the ability administration settings. Beneath abundant loads, the ThinkPad Aberration becomes noticeably, but not uncomfortably, warm.

If you anticipate of it as primarily an ultrabook, but one that can calmly about-face into a book back the break demands, again the ThinkPad Aberration has a lot to acclaim it. The body affection is actual good, and there are abundant business-friendly appearance to accomplish it adequate as a BYOD system, although the abridgement of abounding vPro abutment may avert the added locked-down enterprises. Array activity may be a added accepted affair though.