Tablet for the office..Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet
When I pulled my sample unit out of the shipping box I felt it weighed a ton..because it did. My Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet came in the optional Folio case (more on that later) so when I separated the two I was relieved to find that the admittedly chunky Thinkpad did not feel as heavy as its 725 grams (1.6lbs) would dictate. A miracle of ergonomics.
No question this is a ThinkPad..well built to last in the Lenovo fashion. It features a bright 1280×800 screen swathed in Gorilla Glass. There are actual Android buttons on the bottom and ports galore..on the bottom a micro USB port, a Mini HDMI and a docking port. On the side..believe it or not a full size USB port plus, a bigger surprise, I was able to use my Logitech Keyboard and Mouse by simply plugging the Unifying Receiver into the port..amazing! There is also an SD card slot that will accommodate a 32GB card to provide more internal storage.
Performance is generally snappy..what you would expect from a Honeycomb 3.1 tablet powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor, 32GB of internal storage, 1GB of DDR2 system memory, Android 3.1 Honeycomb, front and rear cameras, 8.02.11 b/g/n/ Wi-Fi connectivity. Lenovo has added widgets and apps. There is Launch Zone for quick access to email, music, watching videos, reading and the web. The Zones are customizable by tapping the settings button on the left side and you can access tablet-wide settings from the shortcut on the right. Across the bottom of the screen is a conversation bubble icon called App Wheel that when pressed pops up a selection of six different apps which is fully customizable as well.
The Thinkpad is however first and foremost a business tablet so Documents to Go is another key addition, an app that normally sells for $14.99 on the Android market. Documents to Go allows you to view, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well as view Adobe PDF files and attachments. There are also a few apps geared specifically towards IT professionals. The first is Absolute Software’s Computrace, which provides a persistent connection back to the device in the event it is lost or stolen. The administrator can freeze the tablet, delete data and perform other management functions remotely, even if the tablet has been factory reset.
Citrix Receiver is an enterprise app that allows IT to securely deliver data and apps directly to the tablet. Furthermore, tablet users can access their work applications and desktops from anywhere. PrintShare allows you to print directly from your tablet to nearby Wi-Fi enabled printers or remote ones shared with PrintShare’s software. It worked perfectly with my Epson Workforce 840.
The ThinkPad Tablet uses N-Trig’s DuoSense digitizer to allow for both pen and touch input. Lenovo topped off the pen with a red cap — an echo of the signature pointing stick you’ll find on any ThinkPad notebook. About the only thing you can do with the pen is to take notes in the included Notes Mobile app. You can also mark up PDFs and download drawing and alternative note-taking apps in Android Market, but you have to search carefully to find apps compatible with N-Trig DuoSense displays.
Sadly I found that while note reproduction was accurate if I wrote carefully but was was a dead loss when it came to my regular rushed chicken scratching in normal note taking situations.
I promised to talk about the folio cover and although it adds 768gr (1lb 11oz) to the already chunky ThinkPad it’s worth the added weight..it turns the tablet into a small laptop. Good solid keys with rounded bottoms that are comfortable with good travel. The pointing stick and mouse buttons actually work so there is very little of that back and forth between the screen and keyboard as with other setups.
If you need a hard working bulletproof tablet for business use where a little extra weight is not a problem the Lenovo ThinkPad is the tablet for you. It exudes Lenovo quality and proudly claims its heritage by lighting up the dot on the Thinkpad i when it is powered up. It is available pretty much everywhere tablets are sold starting at $459 for the 16Gb version. The pen is $30 extra and the Folio case is $99.