Price: $939 | Website: lenovo.com/au
Not every tablet owner is a youngster wanting the latest tech because it’s the cool new gadget to own. Tablets actually have a valid place in the business world as well, where their ultraportability makes ultrabooks look like backbreaking anchors. The ThinkPad 2 is one such tablet, built from the ground up for those who need to get work done on the road.
The killer feature of this tablet is such a simple inclusion that it’s mindboggling few others have thought of it: an optional stylus, which appears to be from Wacom. Note that this must be ordered at the time of purchase, as the non-stylus version won’t work with it. Sliding out of its recess in the top-right of the chassis, it’s accurate right down to the pixel and will work wonders with the many apps being designed to turn Windows 8 tablets into mobile note-taking or invoicing devices. The stylus includes a small button that serves as a right-click function and we found the Windows 8 Pro desktop much simpler to use with the stylus than with stubby fingers. Even better was Windows 8’s handwriting recognition, which worked wonderfully with the stylus — a godsend for those who can’t touch type. This feature alone will make the ThinkPad 2 the obvious option for many professionals. 3G connectivity is another must-have for certain users, but it’s not included in the purchase price, which seems a little unfair considering the high cost.
Weighing a meagre 650g, this tablet is as portable as they get. It’s encased in a solid black plastic case, with a soft rubbery coating that feels pleasant to the touch. The 10.1-inch screen weighs in at 1,366 x 768, yet pixilation isn’t an issue. Unfortunately, black level performance is, with darker blacks all merging into one, a common issue in these ultraportable screens. Thankfully contrast performance is excellent.
For such a tiny chassis, it’s great to see the inclusion of micro-HDMI out, perfect for throwing your PowerPoint presentations onto projectors or LCD screens. There’s also a full-sized USB port alongside a micro-USB port — a must-have feature for those using the tablet for presentations.
So far so good, but at almost a grand we expected some killer hardware running the show. It’s here that the ThinkPad 2 falls down a little, running similar specs to devices almost half its price. Intel’s dual-core Atom Z2760 is a far cry from the i5 seen in similarly priced tablets and a meagre 2GB of memory doesn’t help. The 64GB SSD comes preloaded with stacks of optional software, leaving just 49GB of usable space. Overall, the end result is a rather lacklustre list of components for a tablet that costs almost $1,000.
On the flipside, Lenovo claims the support for several enterprise features not found elsewhere. Intel’s Trusted Platform Module and Computrace Mobile, both of which aid immensely in securing the content on the tablet, are included. The tablet is powered by Windows 8 Pro, which includes several enterprise features such as Encrypting File System, Hyper-V and other features relevant to business users.
There’s no doubt that this is the best tablet for business owners, but that doesn’t quite justify the high price tag. The additional business-centric features would barely have added to the cost, so it should really be selling at around the $700 mark. Thankfully, most businesses don’t mind paying extra for capital expenses — a fact Lenovo probably had front of mind when setting the price.
Pros : Brilliant stylus, Windows 8 Pro, lots of outputs.
Cons : Very expensive, plastic case, underperforming.
Rating : 7 out of 10.