Review: Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Ultrabook

I recently had the good fortune to get my hands on a new Windows 8 Ultrabook manufactured by Lenovo. I have been playing with Windows 8 since it came out in developer preview so before I dive too deeply into this review I have to say that if you are considering a Windows 8 computer, YOU MUST get a touchscreen or your selling yourself short. Windows 8 with a conventional mouse is one clunky beast. The new Lenovo Thinkpad Twist however, is not.

Pictured above, on my somewhat messy work table, is the Twist. If you are familiar with the Thinkpad brand, you will recognize the design. It has the signature red mouse “nub” seated inside the keyboard area.  The first thing I noticed when getting this thing out of the box is that it feels really nice in your hands. It is made of a magnesium alloy that grips really well. It also has an outer texture that resists fingerprints which is very nice. It probably isn’t the lightest ultrabook on the market. It weighs 3.48 pounds. I will say that it is very thin and just feels really natural in your hands, so I don’t think the weight is that big of an issue.


The screen is extremely bright and incorporates battery saving features. For instance, it will dim pretty quickly if you aren’t actively using it. Pictured above, you can see that the Thinkpad Twist lives up to its name. That screen will go in just about any position imaginable. You can turn it completely around, fold it up and sit it like a tent on the table, lay it completely over the keyboard to form a tablet, and use it like a regular laptop. This makes it extremely versatile and useful in my opinion.


You can see me holding the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist in its tablet form above. I have rather small hands and it wasn’t cumbersome for me to hold at all. The screen rotates around to whatever orientation you are holding it. However, it does have a little button on the side that will allow you to lock the screen orientation if you don’t want it to move.

The Good

It’s fast. The one I got my hands on had an Intel i5 processor and it was zippy. It has a lot of nice ports including mini-HDMI and USB ports. It also has a media card reader to support your camera’s memory cards. The screen is beautiful. Battery life is pretty good too.

The Bad

The speakers are horrible. I have had AM transistor radios that had better speakers than this thing. This was a real disappointment for me because the screen is just so nice. I was really hoping to get an outstanding multimedia experience and that just didn’t happen.

With Black Friday coming, it appears this ultrabook will be available for around $699. If you are seriously thinking about the Microsoft Surface, for $200 extra you have to give this a look. It has the full version of Windows 8 which doesn’t have the limitation of the RT version of Windows 8 that is on the surface. Plus, it is just so much more versatile than the surface. Anyone wanting to venture into Windows 8 should seriously give the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist a look.

Panasonic Launches Windows 8 Powered Convertible Notebook for Outdoor Use

It has been barely a couple of weeks since Windows 8 was launched; however, we already have quite a few convertible Windows 8 laptops that can double up as tablets. Panasonic has just thrown its hat into the fray with the Toughbook CF-C2. However, unlike other OEMs, Panasonic isn’t really gunning for the consumer market.


The Toughbook CF-C2 is a niche product that is designed as a work device. Panasonic describes its convertible notebook as ideal for professionals like field and service engineers, and healthcare workers. It believes that the CF-C2 can easily deal with the knocks and scrapes of a busy mobile workers day, and can withstand drops of up to 76cm (6angles). It comes with a water resistant keyboard and touchpad and strengthened glass on the LCD. The 12.5” HD IPS display is advertised to have excellent outdoor visibility and wide viewing angles. The display is capable of recognizing up to 5 simultaneous touches. The Toughbook is powered by Intel Core i5-3427U vPro, and ships with 4 GB RAM (extendable to 8 GB). For imaging needs, you have high definition (720p) front camera, with an optional HD rear cam. Business’ can optionally add modem, VGA port, and serial port to increase compatibility with legacy devices. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, Wireless LAN a/b/g/n and optional Sierra MC8305 3G module.


The Panasonic Toughbook CF-C2 Is obviously not for everyone. However, business users seeking a flexible and powerful rugged laptop for outdoor use can purchase the CF-C2 starting January 2013. The base model will cost Rs. 1 lakh without taxes in India.

Get the Right Tools to Conquer Your Day and Seize the Night!

Hey you! Yeah you, the one burning the candle at both ends. Between homework, friends, family, and the occasional party here and there, you barely have time to grab a meal. What you need my friend are some tools to help you out. With the innovation of Lenovo® IdeaPad U Series Ultrabook™ laptops and some cool apps, we’ll have you ready to conquer your day and seize the night!

Take Copious Notes with Evernote

Let’s face it, your life is moving fast. You don’t have 30 seconds for your laptop to boot up when you’re 5 minutes late for class. The professor is well into their presentation by now. With an IdeaPad Ultrabook™ that resumes from sleep mode in less than 2 seconds, you’re in business. Now all you need is a good note taking program. My favorite note taking software is Evernote! We have mentioned this software numerous times on this website and it is worth mentioning again. This software transcends the boundaries of the PC by being available as a desktop download, iOS or Android app, and also on the web from a browser anywhere in the world. Evernote is free with certain data limits per month. I have yet to hit any limitations. One of my favorite features is the ability to create notebooks so I can divide up my notes into categories. You can also take a picture of handwritten notes on a paper or whiteboard and Evernote will translate the written notes into searchable text. You can download Evernote for free at


Avert Disaster with Dropbox

Dropbox is another must-have application for the person on the go. The last thing anyone needs is to lose a critical document. Dropbox is a great way to protect your important files and make them available to you on any of your devices. You can download Dropbox simply by going to and downloading their free software. You get 2GB of free storage and if you refer friends, you get an additional 500MB per user up to 18GB. What I love about Dropbox is its simplicity. It creates a folder on your computer. Any file that you put in that folder is synchronized to the web and stored on Amazon’s secure servers. Those files are now accessible via a web browser anywhere, or from your smartphone or tablet as an app. You can share folders with other Dropbox users or utilize a public folder option to share a link to a file with those you don’t want to share an entire folder with. A really nice feature is the ability to restore previous versions of a file. This is great if you accidentally overwrite an important file. Just go to your Dropbox website and restore previous versions. Crisis averted!


One thing that has to be considered when you’re on the go is connectivity. We live in a connected world and we like to have instant updates. Even the aforementioned programs are at their best when they’re connected. That is another reason to consider the Lenovo IdeaPad Ultrabook™. They have a smart technology that syncs your email, IM, and social networks even in sleep mode.

The Art of the Invitation

The day is almost done, but there is so much to do tonight! The party starts at 7PM, but you forgot the invites. No problem, just download the FREE image editing software You can download it at This free image editing software rivals the extremely expensive photo editing suites, with all of the familiarity of the Microsoft products you’re already familiar with. Pictured below, you can see the invitation I created, complete with a silhouette of an image I found on the web. It took me about 5 minutes. OK, so I am not a graphic artist, but I think you get the point. You can have a lot of fun with this software and it is free.

paint dot net

Make Sweet Music with Audacity

Audacity is another free program that I wouldn’t do without. You can use Audacity to record tracks and edit music. This is perfect for making music clips to go along with a presentation, or to make a remix of some of your favorite songs. You can also import audio files from your smartphone when you record meetings or class discussions. Audacity is extremely robust with all kinds of effects and filters for your music.


Be the Life of the Party With VirtualDJ

Now that you have the crew together, you’re going to want to blast the music. You can have the power of a club DJ right at your fingertips with VirtualDJ. Free for home use, VirtualDJ is a cool way to DJ your party. It too is a very robust software with a lot of capabilities. There are paid versions of this software as well for the more serious DJ. They will integrate with turntables and projectors.

Virtual DJ

Get the Right Tool for the Job

For Those Who Do

You’ve seen the apps, now get the right tool for the job. Being highly mobile and connected requires a good laptop. The IdeaPad® U Series Ultrabook™, at, has all of the right tools to keep you productive by day, and have fun at night. The IdeaPad weighs less than 2KG, so it won’t weigh you down. Depending on the model you choose, you get up to 9 hours of battery life. I encourage you to take a look at all the IdeaPad has to offer. See what you can do with the Book of Do, the IdeaPad® U Series Ultrabook™, at

Full Disclosure: This post contains sponsored content to promote the Lenovo IdeaPad Ultrabook campaign. Please feel free to visit their  website to learn more about their products.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Review

There’s a new breed of laptops coming out in the market. Inspired by the MacBook Air, this new breed, known as “Ultrabook” strives at achieving a perfect balance of weight, performance and battery life. Dell has introduced their first set of such laptops, in form of the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. Let’s see how the Ultrabook performs.

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: SandyBridge based Intel Core i7-2637M CPU @ 1.70GHz w/ HTEM64TVT-xVT-d & AES new instructions ( CPU-z validation)
  • Main memory: 2x2GB DDR3 1333 MHz Dual Channel mode
  • SSD: Samsung PM830 mSATA
  • Sound Card: Realtek High Definition
  • Graphics Card: Intel HD 3000
  • WiFi: Intel Centrino 6230 802.11 a/b/g/n plus Bluetooth
  • Expansion & Misc ports: 2xUSB, 1xHeadphone out, 1xMini DisplayPort


The packaging was pretty good. The XPS 13 came in a laptop briefcase-esque carton, with lots of foam padding which offers shock protection. With the foam padding, the box gives you an impression that the Ultrabook is a lot bigger than it actually is.

Dell XPS 13 Box

Dell XPS 13

Inside the “briefcase” was the laptop enclosed in a plastic cover placed within a cardboard box. Present in the box was the XPS 13, an envelope featuring quick start guide, warranty & registration information and safety single page quick usage guide. The XPS 13 Ultrabook also came with a Windows 7 Professional SP1 Reinstallation disk, a drivers & utilities DVD, FastAccess Face Recognition software CD and Webcam central CD.

Looks, Build Quality & Weight:

Dell seems to have taken a lot of design cues from the MacBook Air. From the shape to the thickness to the tapering edges, the XPS 13 doesn’t have any unique design to distinguish itself from the MacBook Air. Not that this is a bad thing – the XPS 13 is amazingly sleek and very, very light. Heck even if you compare it with Google’s Cr-48, the pilot ChromeBook, the XPS comes out as the winner between the two in terms of weight. The top cover has a nice matte silver finish with a Dell logo. Unlike Apple and HP machines, the logo isn’t illuminated. The XPS 13 feels very good to hold and there’s no plasticky feel anywhere on the laptop. The bottom of the laptop has a nice rubber-style texture and helps in getting a good grip on the bottom of the laptop.

XPS 13 Unboxed

Lenovo Ideapad YOGA: Gets My Vote for the Best Ultrabook at CES

Lenovo IdeaPad YOGA

While at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I was able to get some video of the Lenovo IdeaPad YOGA. The YOGA is a convertible Ultrabook which has four modes of operation:

  • Regular laptop mode: In its simplest form, the YOGA is a nice Ultrabook. It conforms to the Ultrabook specifications with the thickness (16.9mm), weight (3.1lbs) and startup/resume times (not specified since it is not final yet).
  • Tablet/slate mode: With its patented dual hinge, the YOGA can flip back completely and become a tablet/slate. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is not going to compare to a regular slate in terms of weight or thickness. Instead,  think of it as a way to use your laptop more comfortably for say browsing the web or consuming other content.
  • Stand mode: The hinges are strong and the body is sturdy, and as a result you can flip back the screen and leave the computer on a table instead of carrying a dock around with you. The IPS panel (1600×900 resolution) does provide great viewing angles which helps this mode’s usage.
  • Tent mode: This mode, I am not too sure about, but for sake of completeness, let me describe it. You can fold the laptop so it becomes an inverted “V” and then use it as a photo frame.

I like it a lot because it is thin, it is light and it is not just another laptop. The skeptics may say that we have seen these before and they didn’t work then, so there is no reason they should work now – tablet users want a tablet, and PC users want a PC. Well, I was one of them! The difference between then and now is that this laptop is built for Windows 8. Lenovo didn’t even pretend that it is a Windows 7 PC upgradeable to Windows 8. Windows 8 is a touch-first operating system compared to Windows XP or even Windows 7 which is what powers the “legacy” convertibles.

The operating system being touch-first is one big difference, but also, the form factor. The convertibles of old were thick and bulky, almost like a tablet stacked on top of a regular laptop. The YOGA is sleek, and at 3lbs, it is lighter than most PCs in the market today. The person who was providing me the demo said that they are going to be able to shave another 100 grams before the machine becomes final!

There are many other Ultrabooks worth drooling over, at CES, but this is my best because finally there is a design which is different from the MacBook Air, and not just for the sake of being different (I am looking at you, HP with the Gorilla Glass-covered Ultrabook).

See below for a quick eyes-on, with a demonstration of all four modes in action.

Lenovo IdeaPad YOGA Video

Dell Re-enters the Ultrabook Arena with XPS 13

Dell was one of the first companies to jump aboard the super-thin laptop bandwagon. However, after the ultraportable Adamo failed to make a dent, Dell seemingly dropped out of the race. It stood by and watched as Apple, Sony, HP, Asus and others flooded the market with ultrabooks during the 2011 holiday season. Now, with the XPS 13, Dell is re-entering the ultraportable laptop arena.


The XPS 13 is being touted as a 13.3 inch laptop in near 11 inch form factor. Thanks to the resilient edge to edge Gorilla glass, Dell has managed to do away with the bevel almost completely, thus saving previous space. The XPS 13 measures in at 18 mm at its thickest point, and weighs just over 1.36 kg. The ultrabook looks like the a child born out of a marriage between consumer and corporate laptops. The mix of machined aluminum and carbon fiber material used is stunning, but it’s still nowhere near as flashy as the HP Envy. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

The XPS 13 is quite obviously not built for gaming or heavy duty multimedia tasks, but it is no pushover either. Consumers have the option of choosing either Core i5 2467M or Core i7 2637M CPU. Dell’s ultrabook will ship with 4 GB RAM, SSD (128 GB or 256 GB), USB 3.0, and almost 9 hours of battery backup.

The XPS 13 will launch in March, and the base model is expected to cost about a thousand bucks.

Full Specification:

  • Ultrathin laptop (0.24-0.71”/6-18mm) with Microsoft Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium; precision machined aluminum with a carbon fiber composite base
  • Intel Core i5 2467M and i7 2637M processor choices
  • 13.3” HD WLED, 300-nit (1366×768) 720p; edge-to-edge hardened Gorilla Glass
  • Intel HD 3000 video graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333Mhz memory
  • 128 GB SSD or 256GB SSD drive options
  • Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; glass integrated button touchpad with multi-gesture support
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity
  • High definition audio with Waves MaxxAudio 4
  • Built-in 47WHr 6-cell battery (Dell XPS 13 batteries are built into the laptop and are not replaceable by the customer) offering up to eight hours, fifty-three minutes of battery life[5]; 45W AC adaptor
  • USB 3.0 (1) + USB 2.0 with PowerShare (1), mini Display-Port, and headset jack (1)
  • Built-in 1.3MP webcam (H.264 enabled via Skype) with dual array digital microphones
  • Dell ProSupport for business customers, Dell Configuration Services and Windows Trusted Platform Module options for commercial models
  • Dimensions: Height: 0.24-0.71” (6-18mm) / Width: 12.4” (316mm) / Depth 8.1” (205mm); Weight: starting at 2.99lbs (1.36 kg)

Update: The Ultrabook is now available for pre-order.

Croma Partners with Intel to Launch Laptop Theft Protection Service in India

Croma, the mega-store chain from Tata Sons, has partnered with Intel to introduce anti-theft service for laptop users in India. Using Intel Anti-Theft Technology built into Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation Intel Core) processors, laptops can automatically disable themselves if they are lost or stolen.

Mobile PC usage in India is on the rise and we expect to further accelerate it with the new Ultrabook devices. Protecting users’ sensitive information as well as laptops themselves is paramount,said R. Sivakumar, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, Intel South Asia. We are thrilled to see Croma offering Intel Anti-Theft Service for Indian laptop users.

A stolen laptop can be locked down by sending a signal over the internet, or by using intelligent hardware timers. Locking down a laptop essentially makes it unbootable and unusable. Intel also provides a secure vault in the hard disk that is cryptographically protected. If a laptop is locked, then the data in the secure vault can’t be read even by connecting the hard disk to a different computer. Even reformatting the hard drive, installing a new hard drive, or changing the boot order won’t help in circumventing the lock. However, Intel and Croma didn’t make it clear if laptop tracking with the help of GPS module will be available or not.


We are proud to be the first retailer to introduce Anti-Theft service for all the laptop users at Croma. With the launch of this Anti-Theft service, our consumers will now enjoy peace of mind while securing their laptops and their digital lives.said Mr. Ajit Joshi, CEO & Managing Director, Infiniti Retail Ltd. Croma is delighted to partner with Intel for this exceptional service that will provide our customers an opportunity to safeguard their laptops. This initiative evidently affirms the Company’s resolution of bringing world-class shopping experience to its customers.

The theft protection service will be bundled with select laptops sold from Croma. For other laptops sold through Croma, it will be as an optional feature starting at Rs. 199 for a period of 2 years.

Razer Blade Announced; Is The “World’s First True Gaming Laptop”

Razer, a brand known for making gaming-oriented mice and mouse pads, has just announced their first ever gaming laptop, the Blade. Razer claims that the Blade is the world’s first true gaming laptop’.


The Blade has an aluminum chassis and sports a 17.3LED Backlit Display with full HD (1920×1080) resolution. Inside this gaming laptop is a 2.8GHz Core i7 (2640M) processor from Intel, along with an NVidia GeForce GT555M GPU which comes with its own 2GB (GDDR5) of dedicated memory. There is also 8GB of RAM on-board, clocked at 1333MHz along with a 320GB HDD spinning at 7200RPM.

The Razer Blade was designed to give gamers a laptop they could truly use on the go,said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and Creative Director, Razer. Its sleek, lightweight aluminum construction makes it the thinnest 17-inch gaming laptop available today.

The usual Wi-Fi b/g/n, LAN port, HD webcam and an array of other ports are also present. Even though the Blade is a gaming laptop, it is incredibly slim and light (6.97lbs). The highlight of the laptop is the LCD panel-cum-track pad. The LCD panel can either show in-game information or when needed acts as a multi-touch panel. Above the LCD-cum-track pad are 10 dynamic keys which provide gamers with easier access to in-game commands.

Like all other gaming laptops (Alienware), the Razer Blade should also be over-priced. Should, because the company did not mention anything about the pricing as well as the availability of the laptop.

Dell Launches ‘World’s Thinnest’ Laptop, XPS 15z

Dell announced its new XPS 15z, which is less than an inch thick and is bundled with loads of features. Dell mentioned in its blog that XPS 15z is “the thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet, and the first in a series of new thin and powerful products from Dell to come this year.”

The all the new XPS 15z weighs 2.51kg, measuring less than 1-inch (0.97-inches) at the thickest point with clean aluminum design and polished brushed finishes, definitely making it look luxurious.

Dell XPS 15z
The 15z runs second-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium and features an optional 15.6-inch Full HD display, an optimized touchpad and a backlit chicklet-style spill-resistant keyboard. It offers 4GB standard memory, upgradeable to 8GB and up to 750GB of hard disk storage space. It also come with a 1.3-megapixel webcam, dual-array digital microphones and stereo speakers.

There’s a 8x DVD+/-RW, 3 USB ports (USB 3.0 (2); USB 2.0 (1)), Bluetooth 3.0 and 9-in-1 media card reader supporting SD, SDIO, SDXC, SDHC, MS, MS Pro, MMC, MSXC, xD.

Dell XPS 15z has Intel’s My Wi-Fi technology, which allows the notebook to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices.

It included Nvidia GeForce GT 525M with 1GB or 2GB of graphics memory, Nvidia 3DTV Play capabilities and Nvidia Optimus technology, which switches the notebook into power-saving mode, to extend battery life up to eight hours.

Dell’s XPS 15z is available now online at Dell’s online stores in the U.S. for $999

HP Envy 17, dv6 and dv7 Updated To Sport Sandy Bridge Processors

Yesterday, Intel unveiled its Sandy Bridge based processors and today HP has announced a refresh of a few of their laptop at the CES sporting these new processors. The Envy 17, dv6 and dv7 laptops have been updated to sport the new generation of Core processors from Intel. Along with this, the Envy 17 GPU has been upgraded to an AMD Radeon 6850M.

The laptop also sports Intel’s Wireless Display technology along with HP CoolSense cooling.   The Intel Wireless Display technology will allow users to stream HD videos directly to their HDTVs from their laptop.


The Envy 17 also has the ability to switch between the integrated GPU and the 6850M GPU under different workloads so as to maximize performance and battery life. Other specs of the Envy 17 include a 17.6-inch screen, up to 2TB of storage, a USB 3.0 port and up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Readers can find the full specs of Envy 17 here.

The dv6 and d7 laptops have only got a processor bump to the Sandy Bridge processors and nothing else. HP did not mention anything about the pricing of these laptops but looking at the monstrous Envy 17 I can safely say that it’s not going to be cheap.

The dv6 and dv7 laptops will cost $899 and $999 respectively and will hit the shelves on January 9.