The long-awaited ThinkPad Helix from Lenovo finally was available for sale yesterday at Lenovo.com. This is a convertible—a laptop and tablet in one—that packs more processor power and much longer battery life than previous convertibles.
For most advisors, this could be the only computer you need. It will replace your iPad with the Windows 8 touch interface, which is integrated with Microsoft Office. While you won’t have as many apps to choose from, most of the important ones advisors need are available and the Microsoft app store is growing fast.
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The Helix will also replace your current desktop or laptop computer—assuming you don’t edit videos or photos all the time, in which case you’d probably prefer a more powerful convertible. If you’re a heavy content producer—editing video and photos is part of your work—you may want to hold off on Helix. Intel’s Haswell processor debuts in early June and will offer a quad-core processor, which can better handle editing videos and pictures and is expected to offer significantly improved battery life.
A Helix customized with the top processor—a two-core Intel i7 3667U chip—along with 8GB of RAM and a 180 GB solid state drive storage, costs about $3300 plus tax. That includes a three-year onsite service agreement and accidental damage or loss coverage as well as Microsoft Office Professional and Adobe Acrobat Professional, which allows you to create and edit PDFs.
The i7 3667U Intel processor has two cores, which is like having two separate processors. It also four threads, which means it can simultaneously process four instructions from a single software program. In contrast, the new Haswell chips will have up to four cores and eight threads. That makes a big difference if you edit videos or photos. For an advisor who produces elaborate Excel spreadsheets and then formats them in PowerPoint for client presentations and newsletters, a Helix should give you sufficient processing power. But if you are creating webinars and then converting them into videos to post on your website, the Haswell chip is worth waiting for.
I used a two-core processor for editing videos for about two years and, the more video work I did, the more I found it frustratingly slow and prone to crashes. I switched to an eight-core desktop computer and video editing is now faster and I can’t recall a crash.
It’s unclear when laptop-tablet convertibles equipped with Haswell chip will be released. It’s been reported that it won’t be until the end of the year, but other reports say it could be this summer.