Apple iPad 2 vs Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Tablet showdown

Which is the better tablet: Apple's iPad 2 or the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet?

Software and performance

The iPad 2 runs Apple's iOS 4 operating system, though it will soon be upgradeable to the latest iOS 5 version. It offers a familiar swipeable home screen enhanced by folders, and the consistent Apple UI look and feel extending across all of the standard applications. If you have never used an iPad before, you can expect a device that is easy to pick up and use, a well-populated App Store, and excellent multimedia capabilities. Web browsing is fast and efficient, and the iPad 2 is also a great device for viewing photos, watching videos and listening to music.

Though the streamlined iPad experience has won many fans, Apple's closed platform means the iPad 2 doesn't offer the same flexibility as Android tablets like the ThinkPad Tablet. In particular, the iPad 2 has an inferior notification system to Android tablets, and Apple doesn't allow you to customise and display live widgets on the iPad 2 home screen. By the same token, the iPad 2 interface and overall user experience are far more polished than what is currently on offer from Android tablets. The iPad 2 feels much faster and smoother than any Android tablet we've tested.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet runs the latest 3.1 version of Google's "Honeycomb" version of Android. Android 3.1 brings improved UI transitions, an expandable and scrollable recent apps menu, and resizable home screen widgets, along with improvements to the standard Web browser, calendar, e-mail and gallery apps. Lenovo also includes its "Launch Zone" software on the ThinkPad tablet, which is basically a fancy name for its UI overlay. The software includes five customisable zones for reading, listening watching, e-mail and the Web.

To enhance its business appeal, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet includes anti-theft software and the ability to disable the device if it's lost or stolen. It's similar to the Computrace software that Lenovo uses in its ThinkPad notebooks. Once activated, the software can track, located and remotely disable or lock the device in the event of theft. Other security features include an encrypted SD card slot, layered data encryption and the addition of Cisco VPN (virtual private network) to access corporate networks.

Apple iPad 2 The iPad 2 offers a familiar, swipeable home screen enhanced by folders. The consistent Apple UI look and feel extends across all of the standard applications.

Lenovo has also included its own ecosystem, the Lenovo App Shop. The Lenovo App Shop is simply a range of tablet apps that have been tested by Lenovo itself, and will therefore work effectively on the ThinkPad Tablet. Lenovo says this will ensure consumers the app work on the tablet, and cited the store as a way of combating the issue of cross-compatibility of Android apps on smartphones and tablets, as well as negating security issues around malware and viruses.

Internals and cameras

The Apple iPad 2 is powered by a dual-core processor called the A5. Apple claims the processor doubles the speed of the iPad 2 and makes graphics processing up to nine times faster. Apple hasn't specified the amount of RAM the iPad 2 has, but it is generally assumed to be 512MB.

The Apple iPad 2 also includes two cameras; one facing the front of the tablet, the other rear-facing. The rear camera records 720p HD video, and takes still photographs, but both cameras have low specifications — the front camera is VGA, while the rear camera is just 0.7 megapixels. Both cameras can be used with Apple's FaceTime video chat application, which debuted on the iPhone 4.

On the other hand, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Android tablet has a significantly better 5-megapixel rear camera on its rear that also doubles as a 720p HD video recorder, and a 2-megapixel front camera for video calls. The ThinkPad Tablet can also claim to be a more powerful device than the iPad under the hood — it is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, and a microSD card slot for extra storage. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet also has one other significant advantage over the iPad 2 — its Web browser can display Flash video content.

Other features

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet includes a full USB port for transferring and storing files, meaning you can plug in a USB thumb drive into the tablet to quickly access your files. Along with this full-sized USB port, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet also has a mini-HDMI out port, so it can be plugged directly into a high-definition television with the right cable (the cable is an optional accessory).

The iPad 2 doesn't have a full sized USB port, or a HDMI-out connection, but users can purchase an Apple Digital AV adapter ($45) accessory that allows the iPad to be connected to a television via HDMI. Unfortunately, iPad users will also need to purchase the optional iPad Camera Connection Kit ($35) to connect either a digital camera via USB, or a full sized SD card slot. In this regard, the iPad is much more limited than the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet.

Perhaps the best feature of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is the fact that it comes standard with a digitiser pen that allows users to take notes straight onto the screen. The digitiser pen supports handwritten text entry, document mark-up and drawing. Critically, the digitiser pen doesn't feel too different from an ordinary pen. It has a relatively fine tip, and is comfortable to grip. The ThinkPad Tablet includes a note taking app that is compatible with the digitiser, but users can also annotate PDF documents, too. Lenovo cited the use of the digitiser pen in the education sector as one example of its appeal.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Lenovo will sell an optional keyboard portfolio carry case for $89, while the ThinkPad Tablet also comes standard with a digitiser pen that allows users to take notes straight onto the screen.

Lenovo will also sell an optional keyboard portfolio carry case for the ThinkPad Tablet ($89). Much like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, the portfolio case turns the ThinkPad Tablet into a notebook-style device with full, physical keyboard. Unlike the Transformer, the accessory doesn't have its own battery, but it does double as a proper protective case, and also has a surprisingly responsive optical trackpad.

Battery life and availability

Lenovo has promised 10 hours of video playback time before the ThinkPad Tablet's battery runs out. We'll be keen to put this to the test when we review the tablet more thoroughly, as the iPad 2 is claimed to offer a battery life that equals the ThinkPad Tablet.

The Apple iPad 2 is available through Apple retail stores and select authorised resellers. The iPad 2 is slightly cheaper than the original iPad, starting at $579 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi version.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will come in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G options in 16GB and 32GB sizes, though the 32GB model is only available with 3G. Pricing starts at $599 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, and $729 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model. The 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G model will sell for $839. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will be available to order online later this month, but will officially release in Australia in September.

What do you think about the Apple iPad 2 and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Topics: Apple, iPad 2, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, Lenovo, tablets, Apple iPad 2, Android tablets

Comments

Leut

1

There's also a thinkpad version with 64 GB internal memory available

wolfindersteppe

2

"The ThinkPad Tablet has square, sharp edges"... I am wondering if Lenovo was aware of Apple to sue everything and anything having "square form with rounded edges and front glas pannel" too and therefore Thinkpad has sharp instead of rounded edges ;-)...

wolfindersteppe

3

Correction, ThinkPad Table has also internal memory of 64GB.

pjs_boston

4

This article is worthless. You folks haven't even laid yes on a ThinkPad tablet, let alone used one. How can there be any basis for comparison?

It's not about check marks on a spec sheet anymore. It's about how well the device, the software, and the ecosystem work together to create a compelling user experience.

Let me know when the real comparison takes place. You know, when you actually have two devices to compare side-by-side.

James Katt

5

What a worthless review.

The Lenovo ThinkPad is VAPORWARE. The authors have not even touched one. Nor have they even used one.

They have only specs for comparison. But consumers don't use specs for comparison. They want the iPad.

Matthew

6

Seems weird to compare something that exists to something that doesn't exist. It's like comparing the current Toyota Camry to the 2025 all-electric flying Honda Accord...

Ross Catanzariti

7

The 64GB model of the Lenovo ThinkPad is NOT available in Australia. This is an Australian Web site.

And for your information, we actually got our hands on the ThinkPad Tablet last week. So yes, we have touched and used one.

Ross Catanzariti

8

We had a hands on with the device for about an hour or so. Obviously this is not enough time to comprehensively test aspects like battery life. Hence: "Lenovo has promised 10 hours of video playback time before the ThinkPad Tablet's battery runs out. We'll be keen to put this to the test when we review the tablet more thoroughly"

Ross Catanzariti

9

Matthew, has the 2025 all-electric flying Honda Accord been announced and unveiled yet? That's news to me.

Matthew

10

I'm confused - in the review, you say you haven't really been able to test the device on things such as its battery life, but in the comments you say you've used it.

Ross Catanzariti

11

NotTellinYou: That is a fair enough point. Everyone has different needs and wants. Some people would prefer an on-board HDMI connection, others will be happy to purchase an additional adapter.

waterson1986

12

"digitiser pen "! Why Apple didn't come up same idea?

NotTellinYou

13

You wrote:

"HDMI-out No (Yes with optional digital AV adapter Yes (Mini HDMI-out) Lenovo ThinkPad Table"

But you fail to point out the advantage to Apple's method. The ipad can connect to HDMI, VGA and Composite video using the Apple or after-market adaptors. Yes it's an additional cost but I am happy to pay for the VGA adaptor that enables me to plug into any projector etc., when attending meetings. I consider this a plus.

Someone Here

14

"Display size 9.7in 10.1in Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet"
If you take 0.4" display size difference diagonally (which I very much doubt your eyes can distinguish) and use it as a basis to make calls in a spreadsheet- you are just deluding yourself that a half-inch difference at 10" makes you a better lover! Find something else to write about instead of such worthless drivel!!

Rod smith

15

This device will fail badly. It's way too thick.

Tom R

16

I own both apple and android and some comments reflect badly of the shoot first, overly defensive mentality of some readers. They should learn about something first before speaking. Remember when most people used to think the earth was flat? Lenovo has been making tablets longer than anyone so they are doing things for a reason. Readers should ask why they are creating a device this way? My 4 year old likes the apple, he plays games, I prefer the android to get work done.

Jim P

17

It is more the idea of what comes bundled with the Tablet that peaks my interest. It is close enough in size and weight to the iPad and Android 3.1 is good enough but the software and digitizer that arrives with it justifies, for me, the requirement I have been looking for. However, I agree, the price is out of range and did in fact go higher since first introduced.

Yusuf J

18

I ordered the Thinkpad Tablet when it came out the other day and can't wait to receive it. It is comical to read those who say it will fail, and this is based on a teeny boper appeal to the Ipod that I feel ignores the major gap that the Ipod didn't fill. For guys like me (a project manager) I would walk through a facility and I hate carrying paper drawings that I mark on and then have to keep up with. I wanted a device I could take notes with in my meetings and then mark drawings and have this data all in one place (or keep in Evernote). Playing games, music etc. is great and I'm glad this device can do it, but to me the digitizer pen is the one thing I have been waiting for, and this device seemed to finally get what Apple did not.

Yusuf J

19

I said Ipod in my post and meant Ipad (Freudian slip maybe).

StuartGW

20

The digitizer pen is what I've been waiting for as well.
I've been using a Fujitsu Lifebook tablet with a pen for 2 years now. I rarely write on paper any more. But the Lifebook is heavy and has poor battery life.
I understand that you can get a pen as an add-on with iPad but that it's not very successful.
I wonder how good the Android software will be for handwriting recognition, document annotation etc. It's pretty damn good in Windows.

zbomb33

21

Just got the eval unit in today. Let's not confuse the fact that the Lenovo tablet is geared towards the business mindset. It's Lenovo's bread and butter. Not only that, it gives IT professionals (like myself) a very easy way to manage, secure (ITAR requirements), and update the device while the user is on the road. The digitizer pen is FANTASTIC, I can't stress this enough. Lenovo's appstore is fabulous, everything there has been tested and verified it works well with the tab (sounds like another company I know of). While the iPad is a wonderful device, my wife has one, it does not hold a candle to the Lenovo from a business standpoint.

Aurora

22

Please correct the text below a.s.a.p.:

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet includes a full USB port for transferring and storing files, meaning you can plug in a USB thumb drive into the tablet to quickly access your files. Along with this full-sized USB port, the ASUS ThinkPad Tablet also has a mini-HDMI out port, so it can be plugged directly into a high-definition television with the right cable (the cable is an optional accessory).

ASUS should be Lenovo.

Cheers,
Aurora.

B

23

LOL NotTellinYou, only an Apple fanboy could sell a shortcoming as an advantage and mean it.

Zman

24

Can the SD card slot be used to increase the effective on board memory? Can you save items (like notes)) directly to an SD card?

Mike

25

I have used Tablet PCs for nearly 8 years now- the current version an HP tx2500 which has held up fairly well. I was just about ready to buy the iPad2 when Lenovo notified me of the release of the ThinkPad Tablet. As a business user, used to pen technology, I was having a hard time pulling the trigger to buy the iPad because they haven't adopted this technology into their culture yet. Sure, you can buy apps that will function the same way with the use of a digital pen, but it always seemed like a "work around"- not natural to the machine. I rely on the tablet to generate pdf documents & contracts that can be written on & signed on screen and moved quickly by email. Further, the Android and the ability to play Flash is also an advantage. Makes me think twice about the iPad2 and its benefits.

JCGeorgia

26

So would the Lenova USB be compatible or recognize a mobile USB modem from lets say Verizon? I have a Acer 500 but the USB wasn't as useful as I thought>Already have a mobile modem so if I can work with this I won't need to buy a Wifi/3G but only the Wifi alone.

JCGeorgia

27

Currently need something that I can use and will do more than entertain with the games as the IPad does. Being in sales sounds like the thinkpad would allow for more application in a professional atmosphere than those others even the Ipad. Even though most people wont admit it, Ipad is just a good game tablet, something for the kids.

max banner

28


pjs_boston are you a mac troll

wwinterrain

29

does the TPT 3g has 3g telephony?

cct

30

hey

cct

31

the thinkpad tablet being told only english input that right ?

IPS

32

They are both great tablets!

Eric

33

Well put Tom R.

Sean

34

The iPad 2 is a very effective one-size-fits-all tablet, with a lot of businesses flocking to it...and the small fortune in apps and peripherals just to get it to do anything business oriented.

Beyond that and the "cool factor", which stops as soon as everyone else pulls theirs out, meh.

I've got a lot of USB cables laying around, plus a mini-HDMI somewhere...no over-priced peripherals need to be bought for my TPT, lol.

anestis

35

lenovo thinkpad tablet comes out also with 64 GB!

Rick

36

ThinkPad Tablet is real and it's very good. We have both iPad and Lenovo tablet in our shop and for enterprise use, the Lenovo is the clear winner.

ah2bahn

37

I have had an iPad since it first came out and also the iPad 2. I have been in the computer field since 1982 and received my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet last week. The build quality is outstanding and the functions it is capable of leaves my iPads in the dust. Lenovo "IBM" basically created the tablet and have been it the business longer than anyone. The Thinkpad Tablet shows that it paid off.
This is by far the best Tablet on the market today!

Pengkui Luo

38

The hand-writing of the ThinkPad Tablet is pressure sensitive. IMHO, this is the fundamental difference between it and Apple pads or any other pads.

Peter L

39

Thank you for the review. It has been very helpful.

J.D.

40

Let me just say, MANY comments were probably old but I have used, for my work, a thinkpad worktablet and they have been very very cool, useful, much more applicable to business environment than iPad.
From the security stuff to the full size usb which is sort of unprecedented...good for our guys who go and work on client's computers or servers...
I worked on one just last week, we have been having problems with the start up taking forever...think it may be a secondary battery issue...if anyone else knows please respond, its quite aggrivating. Other than that, this thing blows the iPad away, unless you want an overpriced apple product or really need the App Store specifically like for apple devs......just my opinion. Good s$$$

Marisa

41

I completly agree on the lack of good support from lenovo.

I barely used my tablet (about 1 month) and failed.

It is in repair since October 24th 2011. 2 months later (Dec. 27th), I receive the following message:

"When the part will be available i can assure you that it will be replaced as soon as possible."

Well, I own now a tablet for about 3 months, but has been longer in the repair centre than with me....

Senthil Kumar

42

Whatever may be the comparison. Apple iPad Rocks. You can/t beat ipad's touch interface. it never miss ur touch. And you u should compare two producs which have been released in the same time. Later edition will be always better than prev one. All the tablets available in market are just the followers/bench markers of apple. But apple is the inventor. Its finally a Invention and Discover.

EmmyOrg

43

Unless you use Flash that is.

Elias

44

Senthil, apple is not the inventor of pads, ibm lenovo is. Apple is not the inventor of applications (apps). All apple did was to use old technology and PR it in a better way than lenovo, nokia and the rest did. Thats all.

Beng

45

Thanks for the Spec Comparision.
I have an iPhone and 2 Lenovo Tablet 32GB now, but still can't find a good reason to get a iPad2 or New iPad.
iPad is an excellent product, but we need a good Tablet in work, and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet do a better job than anyone else in the market.

matthew

46

hey guyz im gettin 1 of these for school (lenovo btw) so glad dey beat the ipad 2 coz i wanted ipad but lenovo r betta!@

Me

47

Ok, Apple lovers, now shut the fuc* up! There's always a dumbass to say that "you don't even had to compare it, because if it has 'i' before its name, it means it's better". Depeding on your needs, Apple is better (for playing and etc., also the interface is much better to control, coz it has easy access). But - if I can say it without being blamed coz I don't preffer iPad 2 - the Thinkpad Tablet (last version, with a little upgrade) is much better for design area. Not only about the pen (which works very well, the pressure of it has no bugs like some tablet PC and it's really precise), but the way to control it with the buttons around makes our life easier. People say that "256 pressure levels!!! How can you say sh!t that it's better than some 1024 pressure levels tablet PCs?", but they don't even know 256 is enough for digital art. The real problem on many tablet PC is that they got not enough precision, and Thinkpad Tablet got it. Ah, and it's faster than iPad 2 - which has no digitizer pen - for digital painting.

naveen

48

lenovo has left ipad2 way behind. probably can give the new ipad (3) also a run for it's money. connectivity, expandability and ofcourse the killer feature "pen" does it all. it comes a bit cheap too compared to ipad.

the new ipad's display is exceptional. but i think settling for a decent display on lenovo makes sense with all the features i mentioned.

choose ipad for fun,videos, photos
choose lenovo tpt for performance plus fun

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