Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 20 hands-on: A tabletop PC that's not too heavy

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/ Updated: September 5, 2013 9:19 AM PDT

If you think tabletop PCs are just a fad, well, you might be right, but that's not stopping anyone from releasing new models. Lenovo already owns the higher end of that market with the gigantic Horizon 27, an all-in-one desktop that had a built-in battery and fold-flat kickstand.

That was a huge monster of a system, while the other tabletop PCs (you might think of them as megatablets) we've seen are all right around the 20-inch mark, and come from Sony, HP, and Dell. Lenovo is joining that group with the new Flex 20, a 20-inch (really 19.5-inch) tabletop PC that tries to hit a sweet spot with its weight and price.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Unlike the HP Rove 20 and original Sony Vaio Tap 20, which both weigh around 12 pounds, the $899 Flex 20 is closer to 8 pounds (we'll have to wait for final hardware to weigh it definitely). That's about the same as Sony's just-announced 21-inch Tap 21, and a little more than Dell's excellent, and extremely thin, 18-inch XPS 18.

On the plus side, the 20.5mm-thick Flex 20 feels slim and light enough to pick up easily and move from room to room, which is what tabletop PCs are designed to do, rather than trekking all over town. It also comes with current-gen Intel Core i7 processors and supports the same Aura tabletop interface as the Horizon 27. That gives you a special table-style view of documents and apps, and has a groovy sci-fi feel. The same game accessories, paddles, joysticks, and wireless dice, from the Horizon 27 are also supported here.

The folding hinge on the back of the Flex 20. Sarah Tew/CNET

The main drawback is that the otherwise excellent IPS screen has only a 1,600x900-pixel native resolution. It's hard to imagine anyone today with a 15-inch laptop who wouldn't want a full 1080p HD display, to say nothing of a 20-inch screen.

The IdeaPad Flex 20 will be available in late September, starting at $899.

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Where to Buy

Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20

Part Number: 57318377

MSRP: $1,099.00

See manufacturer website for availability.