New Lenovo Win8 tablets have dueling convertible designs

The Consumer Electronics Show will no doubt be filled with Windows 8 convertibles. So far, one of the most promising appears to be Lenovo's new ThinkPad Helix, which features a "rip and flip" detachable design similar to Asus' Transformer convertibles. The tablet portion can be completely separated from the keyboard dock, but you don't have to disconnect the two to use the Helix as a slate. The docking hinge allows the tablet to be inserted with the screen facing away from the keyboard, giving users the option of using the touchscreen with the whole system folded flat.

Lenovo is quick to point out that the Helix's 11.6" display uses an IPS panel with a 1080p display resolution. Although specific models aren't mentioned, Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs will provide processing power. The press release claims the Helix is the thinnest and lightest tablet to use that class of processor. The thickness isn't specified, but the tablet supposedly tips the scales at 1.8 lbs, which probably doesn't include the weight of the keyboard dock.

While modern ultrabooks rarely approach tablet-like battery life, this ultraconvertible does. Lenovo says the system will run for up to 10 hours on a single charge. The ThinkPad Helix boasts other goodies, too, including stylus support, optional LTE wireless connectivity, a large touchpad with five buttons, and an old-school TrackPoint nub. Expect this puppy to hit the market in February with prices starting at $1,400.

If the ThinkPad Helix is too rich for your blood, the new IdeaPad Yoga 11S might be more up your alley. This is another 11.6" convertible, but the keyboard can't be detached. Instead, the screen hinge rotates a full 360°, allowing the system to be used as a tablet with screen and keyboard back to back.

Like the Helix, the Yoga features an IPS panel. However, this "HD" display appears to share the same 1366x768 resolution as the existing IdeaPad Yoga 11. That convertible features a Tegra 3 processor and runs Windows RT, but the 11S is a proper Windows 8 system with a Core i5 CPU. You'd think such an important difference would warrant more than a trailing "S" at the end of the model number, especially considering the addition of x86 application compatibility.

Lenovo doesn't provide a weight or battery life estimate for the new Yoga, but it says the machine is 0.68" thick. Pricing will start at $799, which is only $70 more than what the company charges for the Tegra-equipped Yoga 11. Sounds like a reasonable premium to me.

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