LG was out of the Australian notebook market for at least a handful of years. That was until the company released a couple of products at the start of this month: a 13.3in Ultrabook (the Z360) and two Tab-Book hybrid products (the H160 and the Z160).
The Tab-Book is the most interesting of the products, to be sure, as it can assume the role of either a tablet or notebook thanks to a sliding mechanism. From early July, you'll be able to buy the Tab-Book models with either an Intel Atom or a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, but if you wait until around September, you will be able to get one that uses Intel's fourth-generation Core i5 CPU (codenamed Haswell). That CPU should add better battery life and faster overall performance, especially for graphics.
Physically, the Tab-Book is about 20mm thick and has an 11.6in IPS screen with a native resolution of 1366x768. LG isn't bashful about the screen either, calling it the "World's Best Display" in its product marketing. The screen sits on top of a keyboard so that you can use it effectively as a Windows 8 tablet, but if you want to expose the keyboard and use it as a notebook, you can do so by pressing the button on the left side of the chassis.
LG says that the Tab-Book is the "world's first auto-sliding" hybrid, which we guess refers to that aforementioned button doing all the conversion work for you. When you press it, the whole screen, which sits on tracks that run either side of the keyboard, just shoots up all by itself. There is no need for you to manually move it over the keyboard and tilt it up like there is with the 12.5in Toshiba U920T, for example.
The sample Tab-Book unit that we saw at the launch of Intel's fourth generation Core CPU launch in Sydney was a little tricky to convert back to a tablet, though. It looks like there are a few fiddly bits and pieces to the mechanism, which always concerns us, but the unit felt sturdy enough.
Around the edges, the Tab-Book has a full-sized HDMI port, a couple of USB ports (including one USB 3.0), there is a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and also an Ethernet port that requires a break-out dongle.
Key specs include a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 CPU (or a third generation if you buy the one that hits retail in July), 4GB of RAM and solid state storage that goes up to 180GB. No word yet on pricing for the fourth-generation model, but the third-generation Intel Core i5 model costs $1499, while the Intel Atom version costs $999.