There are a lot of Android tablet computers on the market, not to mention iOS models, but so far the number of Windows powered products can almost be counted on the fingers of one hand. Which is strange when you remember that most enterprise sized organizations are still firmly wedded to the Windows platform.
The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 is one of the products which aims to address the issue by providing a fully featured tablet computer running Windows 8 as standard. And as tablets go, it’s not a bad effort at all. We recently tested the Mobile Broadband model, which comes with an integrated SIM slot which delivers either 3G or, in the US, 4G mobile broadband via AT&T.
The tablet comes in a very workmanlike box, so beloved of enterprise customers everywhere. No silly images on this baby, it’s all brown and black utility in the packaging. Inside the box there’s a USB cable, charging plug socket and a user guide, and the tablet itself. No special offer leaflets for Kodak photos and the like.
The specifications of the tablet are solid for this price point. There’s a 1.8GHz dual core Atom processor, Windows 8 (or Windows 8 Pro depending on configuration), a 10.1 inch HD (1366×768 – 720p) touchscreen, a 32 or 64GB SSD disk, WiFi, Bluetooth, 2GB RAM, and an 8 megapixel rear camera (front 2mp). There’s also a mini HDMI socket for connecting to external monitors or TV, a full size USB socket and an array of sensors, including ambient, proximity, GPS and compass. It’s got all the features where it counts.
As you can see from the video below, the tablet comes loaded with Windows apps such as Skype, Evernote and stalwarts such as Amazon Kindle, so it’s ready to get to work out of the box. To access additional apps you need to sign up for or sign in to a Windows account, in much the same way you need to sign in to Google for Android or iTunes for Apple. Everyone wants to lock us into their barn eh?
The touchscreen is pleasant to use, and is crisp and clear when viewing, and we’re gradually getting used to the way Windows 8 works, with this interesting combination of touch and conventional desktop motifs. It’s not unpleasant, and once you learn the basics (especially things like the right hand swipe in for back end utilities like search etc) it’s quite a nice way to navigate around a computer.
We found the 10.1 inch screen to be very responsive and great to view, especially since it sports a very nice 180 degree viewing angle. The backlighting is bright enough for daylight viewing, and the simplicity of the Windows button as a navigation device works well with the interface. One of the great things about working with Windows is the familiarity with all the software conventions, and the fact that you don’t need to re-learn the interface, which is a real bonus if you’re used to working in a particular way and with certain software applications like Microsoft Office et al.
As you can see from the video above, the tablet works well in most situations, although we were a little surprised to find that it suffered from bouts of stuttering when browsing web pages filled with content, such as on a YouTube channel page. We also noticed a few instances of stuttering in videos themselves, although that could well be a result of YouTube instead of the tablet.
Despite these glitches, the overall impression is of a product which has been well thought out. For example we like the small touches, such as the noise cancellation microphones, rotation lock to keep the screen in either portrait or landscape mode and the dual mode 3.5mm external mic and headphone socket. The 8 megapixel camera also delivers reasonable results, certainly on a par with most other tablets at the same price level, and we could find no fault with the sound from the twin stereo speakers.
The one thing which will impress most people is the solid battery life, with a superb 25 to 30 days standby (which actually works as advertised as far as we can see) and a nice long 10 hour run time for things like watching movies and other multimedia.
All in all, the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 is definitely a fully featured tablet, and for those organizations needing to stick the Windows platform it provides a good quality solution at the right kind of price point. Our reservations stem from the fact that power users may find it just a little bit under-powered if they’re trying to do serious tasks, but for general day to day work, it delivers the results most people will need.
ThinkPad Tablet 2 Tech Specs
Intel Atom processor Z2760, dual Core – 4-thread, up to 1.80 GHZ processor
Windows 8 x86 (32-bit)
Windows 8 Pro x86 (32-bit)
10.1″ (16:9) IPS, LED backlight, anti-glare, 5-finger multitouch resolution, HD WXGA (1366×768) 720p
Storage & Memory
2GB LPDD2 SDRAM
25 days: Connected Standby
150 hours: MP3 playback (LCD off, HW off-loading)
10 hours: Video streaming (720p, HW off-loading)
10.1″ x 6.9″x 0.34″
1.25 lbs / WiFi only
1.29 lbs / WiFi + Pen/Digitizer
1.3 lbs / WiFi + Pen/Digitizer + 4G
Dual-array digital mic with noise cancellation & VOIP
2 Stereo 1w, 8ohm
Digitizer & Pen
Windows logo and power on-off
Audio volume up/down
Reset to disconnect battery input
Front: 2MP, 720p HD webcam with LED (inside LCD)
Rear: 8MP, auto-focus with LED flash (outside LCD), motion JPG
1 USB 2.0
1 Mini HDMI
1 MicroSD slot
1 Docking connector
3.5mm mic/headphone combo
Ambient light sensor
WLAN / Mobile Broadband
Gobi 4000 (LTE /HSPA+) – Available in US with select models and AT&T only.