Lenovo was ready to show a whole range of new products ahead of CES, including the 27-inch IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, a new desktop model that features a large touchscreen that can lie flat and accept up to 10 simultaneous touch inputs.
Some are calling this "coffee table" computing, Lenovo calls it the first "interpersonal computer" (as opposed to personal computer), because the form factor invites multiple users to interact with it at the same time. The IdeaCentre Horizon can be used as a standard desktop PC or laid down flat and carried around thanks to the use of an internal battery that is good for 2 hours -- potentially enough to finish a board game session with friends or get the 17.8 pound computer from point A to point B inside a household.
The Table PC will come with a few gaming accessories tailored to its horizontal posture and will reportedly receive support from publishers like EA, Ubisoft and Bluestacks. Running Windows 8 Pro and packing a Core i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM and GeForce discrete graphics, the IdeaCentre Horizon is expected to ship during the early summer for $1,699.
Lenovo was also showing the new Yoga 11S, a reengineered 11-inch Yoga that carries a new Intel low-power Ivy Bridge processor inside and thus is Windows 8 Pro capable. The Yoga 11S takes advantage of the same hinge we reviewed on the Yoga 13, albeit on a smaller form factor and 0.68-inch thin frame. Even though it's not by any means a lightweight tablet (when used on that mode), the Yoga 11S poses an interesting alternative to the upcoming Surface Pro and other ultrabooks considering the flexibility you get and the attractive $799 entry price. Not shipping until June, however.
Offering a much more svelte and tablet native form factor is the new ThinkPad Helix. Similar to the Asus Transformer Android tablets, the ThinkPad Helix looks and feels like a standard tablet but it's designed to be docked and act as a laptop when needed, adding more connectivity options and battery life when in this mode.
Lenovo says the Helix is the thinnest tablet on the market running a Core i3 processor and they may be right. The 1.8 pound tablet felt just right on my hands, the IPS screen showed vibrant colors and the docking mechanism felt solid even though the dock itself adds a lot of bulk. The Helix is rated for 5 hours of battery life in tablet mode and up to 10 hours when used with the keyboard dock.
Shipping in February and selling for $1,500, it's not a bargain but you get a fully loaded machine running Windows 8 Pro from a SSD, LTE and NFC connectivity and dual 1080p cameras.