Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet (preview)

A 10in, Windows 8.1, Intel Atom-based tablet that's aimed at business users

Lenovo’s latest tablet for corporate users makes use of the Intel Atom (Bay Trail) platform and is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.1. It’s a tablet with a 10in form factor and it has a 10-point, multi-touch display that uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology, and it serves up a Full HD resolution.

The key features of this tablet are its ability to run 64-bit Windows applications, and also to be a stand-alone, Internet-connected device through the use of an integrated 4G mobile broadband module (that's optional). The inclusion of a TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module), and options for fingerprint and SmartCard readers, make the ThinkPad 10 a viable option for the healthcare sector, law enforcement, and any other environments where data security and user validation are key requirements. Lenovo is also pushing it for sales teams, utilities, and any other scenarios where a lightweight and complete Windows-based computer is required.

Like all of Lenovo’s ThinkPads, the 10in tablet has passed military grade testing (MIL-STD-810) for dust, splash, and other environmental factors, and it’s constructed with aluminium on the back and Gorilla Glass on the front. The unit is claimed to weigh just under 600g on its own, and it is 9mm thick.

Around the edges, the ThinkPad 10 has built-in ports, a docking connector, and the usual physical tablet controls (power, auto-rotate toggle, and volume). There are also stereo speakers built in.

Lenovo has included a micro-HDMI port for direct video output from the tablet, there is a microSD card slot for extra storage, a SIM tray for 4G LTE broadband, and also a full-sized USB 2.0 port — these are all concealed with flaps. Lenovo told us that it did not install a USB 3.0 port purely because of the Z-height that a USB 3.0 port requires; the USB 2.0 port allowed Lenovo to include a full-sized USB port within the unit's 9mm thickness.

If you need the faster connectivity, USB 3.0 ports are offered on an optional docking station, along with Gigabit Ethernet and more display output choices. The dock is part of an ecosystem that Lenovo says is an important consideration for business buyers.

Along with the docking station that can turn the ThinkPad 10 into a desktop-like solution, there is a keyboard case that provides a typically good typing experience through tactile Lenovo keys, and it also has a touchpad. It’s held to the tablet via a magnet and clips, and it connects directly to the tablet rather than working via Bluetooth.

Other options in the tablet’s ecosystem include a hard case, for customers such as law enforcement or construction that require a more rugged solution, as well as a membrane keyboard Touch Case, which is slimmer than the tactile keyboard case. A Quickshot Cover, which is a slim folio case with a foldable corner, can be used as a cover that gives quick access to the corner-placed, rear-facing camera.

The tablet has a 2-megapixel camera at the front, but its rear camera has a larger, 8-megapixel sensor. Wi-Fi is dual-band, 802.11n, there is Miracast support, and you also get NFC. A Wacom digitiser is present, and a fully active digitiser pen can be used for drawing and handwriting recognition. There is no slot on the tablet itself to house the pen, but there is a pen slot on the tactile keyboard case.

Powering the ThinkPad 10 is an Intel Atom Z3795 chip, which has four cores and a speed of 1.6GHz, and it doesn't require a fan for cooling. The same CPU is use for both core configurations of the tablet; the RAM, storage, and operating system are the variables.

The tablet can be purchased with 2GB of RAM and the 32-bit version of Windows, or 4GB of RAM with the 64-bit version. Storage can be either 64GB or 128GB. The battery is lithium-polymer, and has a 33 Watt-hour rating.

Pricing starts from $799.

Editor's note: Originally, this preview stated that the screen on this tablet is protected by Dragontrail glass. In fact, Dragontrail glass will be used on an upcoming Lenovo tablet, not on the ThinkPad 10. Lenovo told us that Dragontrail glass, while similar to Gorilla Glass, is more suitable for use in tablets due to its combination of light weight and damage resistance.

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Elias Plastiras
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