Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 review
Lenovo's ThinkPad devices have always been popular with business users, but now the ThinkPad Tablet 2 aims to condense the ThinkPad experience into a 10.1in slate. It's Lenovo's first Windows 8 tablet and, at first glance, it's a far more attractive device than the equally business-like Dell Latitude 10.
The tablet measures a svelte 10mm thick and weighs 585g, making it much lighter and easier to hold for long periods of time than Dell's model. The ThinkPad's signature soft-touch rubber finish also makes a welcome return on the rear of the tablet, but we did notice a worrying amount of flex in the back panel.
This was disappointing, as ThinkPad devices have traditionally been very well built, but at least the tablet's slim frame shows that you don't have to sacrifice portability in order to get a wide range of ports. Some are concealed behind slightly flimsy plastic flaps, but there's a mini-HDMI video output next to a docking connector on the bottom of the tablet, a Micro USB and full-sized USB port on the left, a microSD card reader on the top and a headphone jack and volume rocker on the right.
The 64GB model also has a SIM card slot so you can use mobile broadband instead of Wi-Fi to access the internet, but costs a huge £678.
This complement matches the Dell Latitude 10 port for port, but one of the ThinkPad Tablet 2's defining features is its standard stylus pen. This slots in neatly down the left hand side of the tablet so you don't lose it when you're on the move. It was much more responsive than the Latitude 10's optional stylus, and we'd happily use it to navigate the desktop instead of prodding the screen with our fingers.
That's not to say the touchscreen isn't responsive. The 10.1in screen may only have a 1,366x768 resolution, but we were able to browse through our files and open web links with ease. It's a pleasure to look at, too, thanks to its superb IPS display and wide viewing angles. Its glossy finish also helps colours look fantastic. We had to battle through quite a few reflections in our high contrast test photos, but each image had a very high level of detail and colours looked deep and vibrant. Our solid reds, greens and blues were also very rich, and while blacks weren't quite as dark as the tablet's bezel, whites were very bright and uniformly lit across the screen.
SPECIFICATIONS AND BENCHMARKS
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 may look the part of a serious business tablet, but sadly its raw processing power doesn't come anywhere near a ThinkPad laptop. It's powered by a 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor and has 2GB of RAM, which is a similar specification to the Latitude 10, but the ThinkPad Tablet 2 scored just 5 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. This is the slowest score we've ever recorded and the ThinkPad took twice as long to complete our multitasking test as the Latitude 10.
We suspect this is due to the processor slowing down to avoid overheating inside the tablet's tiny chassis, as its clock speed was constantly fluctuating throughout the test, sometimes dropping down to as low as 1.3GHz instead of maintaining a steady 1.78GHz like the Latitude 10's chip.
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 falls back down again when it comes to graphics performance, though. We couldn't run our normal 3DMark tests, but with only its integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator chip to rely on, this tablet's really only suited to undemanding 2D games and apps from the Windows 8 Store.
CAMERA AND BATTERY LIFE
An 8-megapixel camera sits flush against the rear of the tablet, but we weren't very impressed with its picture quality. Much like the Dell Latitude 10, the centre of each photo was sharp and packed with detail, but this diminished into a blurry mess toward the outer edges. There wasn't much noise present, but some of our outdoor shots also had quite an off-putting pinkish hue that spoiled the picture.
Our indoor shots were a little better, but they were still quite blurry round the edges. The camera coped reasonably well in lower lighting conditions, but we wouldn't recommend taking pictures in the dark. Video isn't the camera's strong suit, either. Colours were fairly inaccurate throughout our test footage and the camera had trouble focusing when we introduced more than one light source.
In our light-use laptop battery test, which simulates web browsing with the screen set to half brightness, the tablet managed 8 hours and 14 minutes. This is a good score, and on a par with the best Ultraboooks, but it doesn't quite match the nine hours we squeezed out of the Latitude 10 or Lenovo's claimed figure of ten hours of battery life. During our tablet battery test, which plays a video continuously, we saw nine hours and one minutes, which is an above-average score.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is easily one of the best looking business tablets, but its thin chassis suffers from poor build quality and compromises performance. If you’re after a tablet that runs the full version of Windows 8, the Dell Latitude 10 is a much better buy.
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