Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Review

The introduction of the original, Android-based ThinkPad tablet did not go well. This time around, the switch to Windows 8 is a major step in the right direction.

Though it’s hard on the wallet compared to tablets with friendlier price points, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 does a number of things well and it does them with flair. It’s well-suited for business use, but it’s also a worthy style statement.

Hands-On Impressions

Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 offers perhaps the most comfortable user experience on the market. At 10.1-by-6.9-by-0.34 inches, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 weighs in at a very reasonable 1.3 pounds (0.58 kg) with the optional digitizer and 4G capability.

The smoothly rounded corners and slightly rubbery surfaces are easy on the hands compared to tablets with hard plastic construction, and the weight feels evenly distributed. Ergonomic considerations aside, the design is quintessential Lenovo.

It’s clearly targeted at business consumers, but the sleek black design with red accents is certainly attractive.

Tablet Tour

Touring the outside of the tablet, the first thing that jumps out is the stylus along the left edge. It’s secured quite well, and it’s out of the way enough that it shouldn’t be an issue. Beneath it is a USB 2.0 port, with a micro-USB plug for charging just under that.

The top sports the power button as well as a covered hatch, which conceals a microSD port and a SIM slot. A headphone jack, volume rocker and orientation lock can be found along the right edge. The bottom features a full HDMI port and standard 30-pin connector.

Compared to tablets in its range, it offers a solid selection of connectivity options. The back of the device also includes an 8-megapixel camera, with a 2-megapixel webcam up front.

Resolving the Details

Like other Atom-based tablets, Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 employs a 1,366-by-768 display. The resolution seems rather average for a ten-inch panel, but this display proves that pixel count isn’t everything.

The display is superior to Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC, and the color and contrast are excellent even compared to tablets using IPS technology. Viewing angles are generally very good as well. The display is also reasonably bright, though outside use under direct sun can be problematic.

Under the Hood

The specifications for Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 ought to be familiar to most consumers by now. A 1.8-gigahertz Intel Atom Z2760 processor is coupled with Intel HD graphics and two gigabytes of RAM.

Though these specs are the same, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a slightly faster tablet compared to the HP Envy x2 and other Atom-based devices. Though it won’t be taking on the latest games, the tablet handles routine tasks with ease. The full Windows 8 experience is delivered mostly without a hitch, but on the other hand, it does eat up a significant portion of the 32- or 64-gigabyte storage options.

The battery life is exceptional, but the lack of a second battery in the keyboard dock means it lags a bit behind the dual-battery Envy x2 or Acer Iconia W510.

Comparison to Competition

In terms of user experience, it’s difficult to match the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. It offers a similarly premium build quality to HP’s Envy x2, but the soft-touch finish and light weight make it a delight to use. There isn’t much difference neither in performance nor display quality, but again the ThinkPad Tablet 2 comes out ahead by a nose.

Compared to tablets like Acer’s Iconia W510, it also wisely foregoes much of the bloatware that normally increases Windows 8’s already large footprint. It isn’t substantially different from either of its competitors, but it does just enough right that it’s hard to recommend anything else.