The Lenovo Helix has a solid competitor. (Updated)
The Lenovo Helix has a solid competitor, and it isn't who you think. Quick, who do you think is the best competitor for the Helix?
I remembered this little gem tonight as I was salivating over the Helix's product page: the Sony Vaio Duo 11. Hear me out.
I have basically heard raving things about the Helix since it was announced, and rightfully so. The main complaint anybody had was price: it starts out at $1500 for an i5 ULV, 128 GB SSD and 4 GB of RAM. Granted, it is a solid machine and you can usually not go wrong with Lenovo's Think brand, but that is still a large chunk of change for what you get. Then I remembered the pricing and details on the Vaio Duo 11.
For the same $1499, you get the same screen, i7 ULV, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD. So, better processor, double the RAM and storage. Its main drawbacks tho are the battery life (5 hours for Vaio, 10 hours for Helix+dock), trackpad, keyboard (probably), and digitizer (some people prefer Wacom over N-Trig). However, the Vaio has a battery sheet that you can get that gives you a total of 10 hours of battery plus a slot to put the pen in, and you could get a nice Logitech trackpad if the closer touch screen plus trackpoint isn't good enough for you. The battery sheet is $150 though and the external trackpad from Logitech is $65, putting you at $1715 (probably still cheaper than the equivalently-specced Helix though).
Then I remembered something quite useful: Sony gives 10% off if you claim to be a student. Now, I do not suggest anyone lie and I actually am a student myself (3 years in on becoming a Secondary Math teacher), but I didn't notice any airtight security when signing up for that discount. That brings us down to $1550 for the top Vaio Duo, battery sheet, and external trackpad. Bang for your buck, that can't be beat in this current crop of hybrids.
So, what do you guys think? Do the extra cooling fans that overclock your processor in the Helix trump all of that? There are also those out there who want mobile broadband that the Vaio Duo doesn't offer. I'd love to hear your opinions, because I was going to wait for the Helix but might have talked myself into getting the Duo this next week.
Update: if not the Helix or Vaio Duo, which laptop/tablet combo do you think is best out there and why?