Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 - A Windows 8 Pro Tablet

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Lenovo's first Atom-powered Windows 8 tablet isn't good enough to depose the Dell Latitude 10

Lenovo is no stranger to making business tablets, but its latest creation, the ThinkPad Tablet 2, is its first attempt at a serious-minded 10.1in Windows slate. With an IPS screen, an integrated stylus and an Intel Atom CPU promising all-day battery life, it could be the tablet your briefcase has been waiting for.

Lenovo has done well to imbue the Tablet 2 with a little of the classic ThinkPad identity. The rear is covered in smooth, soft-touch, matte-black plastic - the familiar uniform of the ThinkPad - and the red cap of the stylus mimics the bright red of the trackpoint on Lenovo’s business laptops. It’s light, too, weighing only 568g.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Build quality isn’t the match of the best ThinkPads, however: there’s some give in the rear panel, and the chassis has a little side-to-side flex. That said, it feels tough enough to survive life in and out of the office. Our review unit withstood a couple of (accidental) drops onto thin office carpet tiles, soldiering on as if nothing had happened.

The Lenovo’s 10.1in 1,366 x 768 IPS screen does its job well. Brightness reaches a maximum of 322cd/m2, which is ample for most situations, and the panel’s contrast ratio of 657:1 makes for solid, punchy image quality, with rich, bold colors. The one slight irritation is the position of the automatic brightness sensor: we found the sensor was occasionally obstructed by our thumb when we held the tablet in landscape mode, which caused the screen to dim.

Inside the chassis, an Intel Atom CPU keeps Windows 8 Pro 32-bit ticking over. The processor is a dual-core 1.8GHz Atom Z2760, and it’s backed by 2GB of RAM and 64GB of solid-state storage. It isn’t a lightning-quick combination, as the Lenovo’s overall score of 0.17 in our Real World Benchmarks demonstrates, but as long as you don’t tax it with heavyweight applications it works well. It responds instantly to every pinch, flick and edge-swipe, and the Start screen zooms into view without pause for thought.

The Tablet 2 stylus slots securely into the tablet’s top edge when not in use. A button on the stylus’ edge provides right-click support, and, while it’s a little small for large hands, we found it worked well with Windows’ handwriting support, and Word and OneNote. Scribbling in Fresh Paint wasn’t quite so successful, however. Although Lenovo claims the digitizer recognizes 1,024 pressure levels, it didn’t feel particularly sensitive.

Unlike the Dell Latitude 10 (web ID: 380869), the Lenovo doesn’t accommodate a removable battery. Instead, the Tablet 2 uses a sealed 30Wh lithium-ion cell, which lasted 1 hrs 46mins in our light-use battery test.

Charging is rather slow via the micro-USB AC adapter, however, and the device refused to charge with certain micro-USB cables

Charging is rather slow via the micro-USB AC adapter, however, and the device refused to charge with certain micro-USB cables.

Several optional extras are available, including a docking station ($129 inc VAT) that doubles as a desk stand and provides two USB 2 ports, full-sized HDMI, 10/100 Ethernet and 3.5mm audio input and output. It also allows the tablet’s battery to be charged more quickly, thanks to the supplied laptop-style power supply. A docking keyboard isn’t available, but Lenovo offers a compact Bluetooth model with an integrated stand, which has its own optical touchpoint. It’s shockingly expensive, though, at $212. A selection of cases and bags are also available, and a DC-to-USB adapter allows the Tablet 2 to charge from a car cigarette lighter.

Connectivity is ample. Two flaps along the Lenovo’s edges reveal a SIM slot, microSD slot (which accepts cards up to 32GB) and a full-sized USB socket.

There’s a 3.5mm headset output, and a mini-HDMI output is positioned on the tablet’s base, alongside a proprietary docking connector. If you can make do with only dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4, you can save cash by opting for the basic $912 model; if mobile broadband is essential, the $1118 model adds an unlocked Ericsson C5621 3G modem. NFC support is  for an extra $18.

Lenovo may have created a product with the looks of a top-class ThinkPad, but we’re not convinced it’s good enough to clinch our business tablet top spot

Lenovo may have created a product with the looks of a top-class ThinkPad, but we’re not convinced it’s good enough to clinch our business tablet top spot

The front- and rear-facing cameras are fine for business purposes. While images from the front-facing 2.1-megapixel snapper are a little grainy and lack fine detail, they’re fine for videoconferencing, and the dual integrated microphones keep speech clear and intelligible. The rear-facing 8-megapixel unit is supported by an LED flash and offers a significant step up in quality, capturing more detailed shots and acceptable 1080p video clips. Only the speakers are disappointing; there’s a lot of distortion at top volume.

Lenovo may have created a product with the looks of a top-class ThinkPad, but we’re not convinced it’s good enough to clinch our business tablet top spot. It’s sleek and attractive, and the docking stylus is a boon, but, with the Dell Latitude 10 delivering a brighter screen, and offering the flexibility of a replaceable battery, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 doesn’t quite have what it takes.


·         Price: $932

·         Supplier:

  • 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2760
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 64GB SSD
  • 10.1in 1,366 x 768 display
  • mini-HDMI
  • USB 2
  • microSD
  • dual-band 802.11abgn Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4*3G* 8MP rear/ 2MP front cameras
  • Windows 8 Pro 32-bit
  • 1yr RTB warranty
  • 263 x10x165mm (WDH)* 568g


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