Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet comes with a digitiser pen and plenty of features designed to appeal to corporate users
- Included digitiser pen
- Physical shortcut buttons
- Unique business-orientated software
- Chunky design and glossy display
- Battery life could be improved
- Visible square imprints on screen
Unlike every other Android tablet on the market, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a business tablet first and foremost. Its digitiser pen alone makes it an attractive proposition, and it also comes with useful security features and VPN capability. All up, a fine first Android-based effort from Lenovo.
Price$ 839.00 (AUD)
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Software
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet comes with the latest version of Google's Android software, "Honeycomb" 3.1, and will also be upgradeable to future versions (including the now-available 3.2). Like every other Honeycomb Android tablet on the market, the ThinkPad Tablet is capable of Web browsing with full Flash support, provides excellent notifications and the flexibility of live widgets, and offers access to the Android Market for third-party applications. However, Lenovo says Android is merely the "base" of the ThinkPad — Lenovo's pre-loaded software that adds corporate and security features is billed as a major strength over competitors.
Firstly, 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, locate 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. The ThinkPad Tablet also comes with 2GB of free cloud storage.
Lenovo says it can also provide out of the box customisation to corporate customers, including basic aspects like loading the tablet with a company logo as the wallpaper, and disabling or enabling certain apps depending on the clients needs. The ThinkPad's drive can also be partitioned for personal use if deployed by an IT department.
Along with corporate software, Lenovo is also pushing 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 always get apps that work properly on the tablet, and cited its 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.
As far as the interface goes, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet uses the standard "vanilla" version of Android, though it does add a couple of handy widgets and features. The "Launch Zone" widget and favourites carousel are the pick of the bunch. The Launch Zone widget provides shortcuts to the Web browser along with customisable apps for "watch", "email", "listen" and "read". A quick settings menu allows you to choose any application to open for the four shortcuts, and you can also change the colour of the widget. The favourites carousel adds another option to quickly open commonly used apps: an icon at the bottom of the home screen brings up a customisable carousel of favourite apps. Lenovo has also added an "X" to the currently open apps menu, which effectively closes apps.
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Other features and battery life
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB RAM and features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity, with 3G models also an option. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has a 5-megapixel rear camera (with no Flash) and a 2-megapixel front camera, and is capable of recording 720p HD video.
A nice option that many business users will be keen to add is the keyboard portfolio carry case, which will sell as a separate accessory for $89. Much like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, the portfolio case turns the ThinkPad Tablet into a notebook-style device. Unlike the Transformer, this accessory doesn't have its own battery, but it does double as a proper protective case, and has a surprisingly responsive optical trackpad, too.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has respectable, but not outstanding battery life. We found it lasted about six and a half hours during general use, though this time will vary depending on usage patterns. Lenovo quotes an eight hour battery life in the specifications.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet comes 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.
If you want a Windows-based business tablet, see our review of the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550.
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