The Bottom Line
Mar 14 2013 - For those looking to get a tablet that would be compatible with their Window software, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is very compelling thanks to its very compact dimension and outstanding running times. It can actually almost double as a laptop with the wireless keyboard stand. There are drawbacks to it though including performance that will limit its functionality with more demanding applications or even multitasking. Most of them are fairly minor though regarding the USB and digitzer pen support that may impact some users more than others.
- Outstanding Battery Life
- Very Thin And Light
- Excellent Accessory Keyboard
- Limited Performance From Atom Processor
- USB Port Doesn't Support External Hard Drives
- Pen Support Varies By Application
- Intel Atom Z2760 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 2GB PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory
- 64GB Solid State Storage
- 10.1" WXGA (1366x768) Multitouch Display
- 2.0 Megapixel Front and 8.0 Megapixel Rear Camera
- PowerVR SGX545 Integrated Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- USB 2.0, miniHDMI, microSD Slot, Docking Connector, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 10.1" x 6.9" x .34" @ 1.29 lbs
- Windows 8 (32-bit)
Review - Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2
Mar 14 2013 - Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2 is their first dedicated Windows 8 based tablet which is interesting given its name. The first tablet was actually an Android based tablet but this one is running a full version of Windows 8 (a 32-bit version) that allows it to run the same applications that you run on a traditional desktop or laptop. Surprisingly, the tablet is very compact, about the size of an Apple iPad 4 but a tad bit thinner at just .34-inches thick. It is also very light at just 1.29 lbs. It features a soft textured back with lightly tapered edges. The front bezel also warps a bit more on the left hand side when in landscape mode to allow ones finger to rest on the textured material for a better grip. Overall, it is very well built and very easy to hold.
In order to run the Windows 8 operating system, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 uses an x86 based Atom Z2760 dual core processor. Now this is a very low power processor which is why it can be used in such a small frame design unlike the traditional Core processor found in the Surface Pro. This is great for the power usage but it has the serious drawback in terms of performance. It is fine for doing basic tasks like navigating the operating system, doing email, browsing the web and even running an office applications. Don't expect to do much more demanding applications as there will be noticeable delay compared to even a budget class system. There is 2GB of memory here that also limits the functionality of multitasking many programs.
Storage for the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is handled by 64GB of solid state storage which is on par with what Apple provides in their similarly priced iPad model and the higher of the two Microsoft Surface RT models. This is a bit limited in terms of total storage space for a Windows 8 based tablet but it is designed for business where there tends to be less need for large storage capacity. Performance is mediocre from the storage and certainly not anywhere as fast as that of the Microsoft Surface Pro. If you do need additional space, there is a microSD card slot that can be used to add space for storing data files. Another unique aspect of the tablet is the inclusion of a full sized USB 2.0 port on the left hand side of the tablet under a cover. It should be noted that this is a low wattage connector that will not work with external hard drives but can be used for peripherals such as mice, keyboards and thumb drives.
The display panel for the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a 10.1-inch IPS panel with a native resolution of 1366x768. This is similar to what Microsoft uses for the Surface RT and it works well with the size of the text and icons on the system without being too small and needing to be scaled up like Microsoft did with the Surface Pro. It is covered by a glass surface and supports five point multitouch. Viewing angles are quite wide and brightness is also very good. In addition to the multitouch support, the tablet comes with a Wacom based pressure sensitive digitizer that can be stored in the upper left corner. The pen does a good job in supported Windows 8 applications but it acts merely as a mouse pointer for most applications that require the desktop mode. There does seem to be a slight input lag with the digitizer which might be the result of the slower Atom processor. The graphics are handled by an integrated PowerVR SGX545 graphics processor that is fine for most tasks but lacks much Direct 3D and OpenGL support which means some programs can't properly run on it.
The battery for the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is an internal 30Whr rated unit. This is much smaller than the iPad 4 and slightly smaller than the Surface RT. In digital video playback testing, the unit was able to run for a surprisingly long eleven and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. This puts it as one of the best tablets in this test just behind the iPad Mini with its twelve hours. It certainly is much better than the Microsoft Surface Pro that lasts less than half this time in the same test.
One option that many business travelers will want to consider is the Bluetooth keyboard and stand that retails for $120. It does not attach to the Tablet 2 at all but is an external unit that one can rest the tablet on at a fixed angle and then connect via Bluetooth to the tablet. It features a keyboard design similar to what would be found on many ThinkPad laptops but with smaller keys to fit in dimensions that are essentially identical to the Tablet 2 itself. In addition to the keyboard it also has an optical TrackPoint with dedicated left and right buttons just below the space bar. Overall, the feel of the keyboard is great and it takes just a bit to get used to the smaller size and placement of some of the keys but this is clearly one of the better wireless keyboards on the market for tablets.
Pricing for the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 starts at $679. The competition for the device really falls into one of three devices. The first is the Apple iPad 4 which is the dominant tablet. Its 64B version is just $20 less and offers a higher resolution display and a wide range of applications available for it but it is not exactly Windows compatible. The Microsoft Surface RT device is less expensive at $599 for the 64GB version. It is certainly an extremely well built device but it runs the RT version of Windows 8 that means it doesn't have true compatibility with Windows 8. Finally, there is the Microsoft Surface Pro at $899 for the 64GB version that is certainly the equivalent of a laptop in performance but it lacks the running time and is significantly heavier and thicker.