We just got more hands-on time with MSI’s S20 Slidebook, which we first spotted at Computex 2012. This ultra light (2.3 pounds / 1kg) and thin (0.78-inches / 19.8mm) convertible Ultrabook runs Windows 8 (naturally) and packs an Intel Core i5 processor (Ivy Bridge), 4GB RAM and a 128GB mSATA SSD. In front, there’s a gorgeous 11.6-inch 1920×1080-pixel IPS display with a 10-point capacitive multitouch layer plus an HD front-facing camera. A glossy white plastic bezel surrounds the glass panel and incorporates the MSI logo and the Windows button. The back cover is made of a silver magnesium alloy with matching plastic antenna covers for the built-in WiFi b/g/n, WiDi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios. Most of the ports are on the right edge along with the power / lock key and LED indicators — this includes the power input, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a mini-HDMI output and a pair of USB 3.0 connectors. You’ll find a gigabit Ethernet port on the left side plus an SD card reader, orientation lock button and volume rocker in back.
Of course, what sets the S20 apart is its ability to switch instantly from a tablet into a usable laptop. The screen slides up and tilts forward to reveal a chiclet keyboard with excellent key travel and decent spacing. You’re not limited to any specific angle here — the display is fully adjustable from flat to almost perpendicular with the keyboard. The sealed 3-cell 3900mAh battery is rated for 7 hours of continuous operation. We spent several minutes using the Slidebook and came away pretty impressed — it’s incredibly light for its size, the screen is bright and crisp, and the keyboard is comfortable. Even in prototype form, performance and build-quality are top-notch. MSI plans to make its convertible Ultrabook available late November for $1,099 through major US retailers both online and in stores. The company expects to sell other configurations in other markets as well.