It’s a notebook – no wait, it’s a tablet

February 22, 2010  /  Lifestyle

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) still generates enough buzz that CNET’s into its fifth year of nominating products for its Best of CES Awards, and among the gadgets that made the cut for its Best of CES 2010 round-up is the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid.

Hearing the word “hybrid” associated with a car may not immediately generate skepticism about whether and how well it works, but when it comes to smaller gadgets it’s a natural reaction, and CNET raises good questions about this notebook whose screen undocks from the keyboard “to become its own handheld Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered tablet.” CNET makes the point that a Lenovo rep demonstrated the undocking at the show, which makes the reviewers “curious as to how delicate the procedure is and whether the laptop might accidentally disconnect under casual use” and also wonder “will both devices sync well with each other? Will the battery life be suitable? None of these could be determined in the space of a few minutes.”

Those concerns aside, it’s hard to deny not only how cool this thing looks but how cool it would be to utilize it in a presentation if it actually works the way it should. CNET noted that the tablet’s touchscreen performance and video playback was a mixed bag, but the one feature to get excited about is that “the base, when detached, can continue to function as its own Core 2 computer independent of the tablet–a monitor would need to be attached, but it opens up possibilities for the U1 to truly act as two devices in one. Separate batteries and Wi-Fi antennas are contained in both the base and the tablet screen, while the tablet has the 3G and Bluetooth antennas, as well as speakers and a webcam.”

This kind of redundancy, we’ll say again, is exciting, especially when you consider how versatile the hybrid would be if, say, at a trade show you could easily attach another monitor to the U1’s keyboard to let your colleague continue demonstrating an app at your company’s booth while you ran off with the tablet to demo something else. Practically, it would probably be easier to have two separate devices, but that’s where the cleverness of the end-user comes in – how could having this undockable tablet really save me time and energy on a day-to-day basis? What do you think?

Image source: Lenovo

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