October 21 2013

The new Lenovo Helix has been used for 7 days now and I’ve learned a few things that don’t always appear in the Windows 8 overview training taken so far. We have used Windows 8 – Server 2012 for about 1 year now but having a tablet with a touchscreen was a little new. Here are my initial findings.

Likes

a) Tablet is lighter and faster than a Microsoft Surface Pro 2.
b) Windows 8 with a Solid State Drive (SSD) is very fast to turn on and off. Flying last week was a lot of fun as it was almost instantly that I could start using the PC. Same in meetings. From opening up to starting working was almost as quick as entering your password.
c) Intelligent wifi connections. Wifi is much easier to connect and use than in Windows 7. When in Pearson airport though the connections were saturated and my iPhone or Windows 8 couldn’t connect. However there is no prompt saying that wifi performance is terrible. Instead Internet Explorer just sits there. Moving to a different part of the airport made this better. Connections in Grande Prairie, Calgary and elsewhere were easy to make and worked well.
d) Making videos – shooting photo’s. The family loves to have movies made of themselves. Turning on the tablet and starting a mini-film making session was a lot of fun.
e) Typing applications to open them. I found typing Outlook or Word much faster than finding a start menu.

Dislikes

a) Having to double click to start video. When the video icon was lit up I thought we were filming. I proceeded to catch on camera our youngest son showing off on the couch and then doing a very surprise unintended backwards flip off the couch and somehow not get hurt. Too bad it was never recorded. After spending 30 minutes trying to find the video it turned out double clicking is needed to really record filming.
b) Twice the laptop went into the BIOS settings on entering the password and needed a complete power off. No idea why this happened as the battery seemed to be ok.
c) Trying to figure out what all I could do on this device was kind of fun but also felt like a small waste of time. For instance I chose the mail icon a couple times but Outlook never opened. Of course, Microsoft mail opened. This shouldn’t even show up on a business class laptop.

Would I buy a Helix again. Yes. I think all Network Administrators will have this unit in the next 12 months. It is a better unit than the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 in every respect from what I see. Typing and working is much faster than an iPad or Android tablet but a tablet could be made to work. The only drawback to all this performance is price. The Helix purchased is about $2000 which is more than any tablet but about the same as a Surface Pro 2.

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

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