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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

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What's hot: Supremely thin and light, sharp display, 3G/4G option, Wacom digitizer with pen.

What's not: 3G/4G option is quite expensive. USB port lacks power to run portable hard drives.


Reviewed March 12, 2013 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Windows 8 tablets with Intel Atom CPUs were scarce just a few months ago, but now they're popping up with satisfying frequency. And those who wait seem to have the advantage in terms of responsiveness and stability. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is one of the newest on the market, and it's remarkably light at 1.3 lbs. and thin too. The tablet runs your choice of Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro 32 bit on the usual Intel Atom 1.8GHz dual core CPU with 2 gigs of DDR2 RAM and 64 gigs of solid-state eMMC storage. It has a 10.1", 1366 x 768 IPS display with 5 points of multi-touch and a Wacom digitizer with digital pen. The Lenovo has a full size USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm audio port and an HDMI port.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Design and Ergonomics

This looks and feels like a ThinkPad tablet: it has that glorious matte raven black soft touch finish that's easy to grip and clean and a quality look. If you press hard on the back there is some flex, but very little. At 1.3 pounds and 0.34" thick, it's hard to believe this is a full Windows 8 tablet. It's lighter than the iPad with Retina display and thinner; it's extremely portable and comfortable to hold for long periods of time. That's especially important for a tablet with a pen that begs to be held like a pad of paper for note taking and drawing. Good job, Lenovo.

Unlike most recent tablets, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 has a pen silo, so you won't have to worry about losing it. The drawback is that the pen is relatively small, unlike the digital pen on the Surface Pro, Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T and Asus VivoTab TF810C. Given the tablet's small size, there's simply no room for a larger pen silo.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

The microSDXC card slot and full size SIM card slot on 3G models live under a door on the top edge (when held in landscape mode). The full size USB 2.0 port is under a door on the left edge as is the micro USB charging connector. Volume controls and rotation lock are on the right and the power button is up top. The docking port connector and mini (not micro) HDMI port are on the bottom edge and small stereo speakers fire from the back. The Windows button is the mechanical clicky kind and not a capacitive button so your hand won't accidentally trigger it.

Accessories: Dock, Keyboard and Cases

Lenovo offers a dock with multiple USB ports, Ethernet and HDMI for $99 and there's a Bluetooth keyboard with stand (shown in this review) that sells for $120. It's every bit a ThinkPad keyboard with good key travel, large keys relative to the small 10.1" frame and an optical eraser stick pointer, but it's still cramped compared to 11.6" -13.3" Ultrabooks and laptops. The keyboard is similar to iPad keyboards that act as stands and use Bluetooth for the connection. It's not a physically secure design nor does it offer an auxiliary battery or backlight. The keyboard makes it clear that ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a tablet first, and a laptop stand-in second.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Video Review


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 vs. Microsoft Surface Pro Comparison

IPS Display and Wacom Digital Pen

The ThinkPad Tablet 2's small size and light weight plus digital pen make it an excellent choice for note takers, science and math types who scribe equations and those who use vertical market apps that require pen input. Digital artists: I'd recommend an Intel Core i5 tablet like the Samsung ATIV 700T or Microsoft Surface Pro because graphics and art apps can get a little laggy on the Intel Atom. But for casual art, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is fine. And no artists, there are no WinTab drivers yet for pressure sensitivity in Photoshop or Corel Painter, but apps that support the newer Windows APIs for pressure sensitivity like ArtRage and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro do offer up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. On Lenovo's website, most models include the Wacom digitizer and pen, but some models in retail stores lack the digitizer, so if you want the pen, make sure the model you select comes with the pen. If the pen isn't in the box, then the display digitizer itself doesn't support digital Wacom pens, only capacitive styli. The model that does not include the pen ends with 23U.

The display is sharp, bright and clear. Since it's IPS, viewing angles are very wide and contrast and colors are very good. Granted, at 1366 x 768, resolution isn't cream of the crop, but it's well suited to the relatively small 10.1" LCD size. Since the Windows 8 desktop handles scaling similarly to Windows 7, extremely high resolutions are hard to read unless you increase scaling, negating some of the benefit of having 1080p display. So we're perfectly OK with the resolution given the compromises Windows 8 offers in desktop mode. In terms of quality, colors are warmer and more natural and viewing angles are wider on the Tablet 2 vs. the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T tablet with the same Intel Atom CPU, Wacom digitizer and 1366 x 768 resolution.

USB Port Gotcha

The USB port has enough power for flash drives, keyboards, mice and game controllers but not external hard drives (even 2.5" portable models) or optical drives, unlike most Windows 8 tablets. That's a strong minus and we're surprised Lenovo went with this limitation. That said, if you use a powered external USB hub (yet another thing to carry) you can use USB hard drives and optical drives.

Horsepower and Performance

Since this runs Windows 8 rather than the RT version, it can run Windows 7 .exe programs, making it a versatile machine. But this is an Intel Atom Z2670 Clovertrail CPU, and that means heavy lifting and serious 3D gaming aren't its strong points. That said, you can install Windows drivers for most any USB device, connect a monitor or projector via HDMI and install apps like Adobe Photoshop and full Office 2013 with Outlook. Don't expect current laptop level performance from demanding apps: launch times are slower, and heavy computational tasks take longer. Photoshop is very usable for images under 20 megs but 3D gaming with Windows 7 3D games from your Steam Library aren't. Casual and 3D games from the Windows Store in the Metro UI do play perfectly well.

The 1.8GHz dual core with PowerVR SGX545 graphics licensed from Imagination Technologies by Intel handles MS Office nicely, and inking in OneNote is a smooth and pleasant experience. The tablet can play HD video up to 1080p and iTunes is usable though not peppy (iTunes isn't the fastest program on any Windows machine).


PCMark 7: 1425

Windows Experience Index (scale of 1.0 - 9.9):

Processor: 3.5
RAM: 4.7
Desktop Graphics: 3.7
Gaming Graphics: 3.3
Primary Hard Disk: 5.5

PC Mark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table, Windows 8 Intel Atom (unless otherwise noted) Tablets:

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 1425
HP ElitePad 900 1286
Acer Iconia W3 1436
Asus VivoTab TF810C 1256
HP Envy x2 1424
Samsung ATIV 500T 1273
Samsung ATIV 700T (Core i5) 4034
Acer Iconia W510 1258
Asus VivoBook X202 (Core i3) 2218
MS Surface Pro 4657
Sony Vaio Duo 11 (Core i5) 4772


Battery Life: Oh Yeah!

This is why you're considering an Intel Atom tablet: long battery life, and the Tablet 2 delivers excellent runtimes. Lenovo claims up to 10 hours on a charge and in our tests we routinely get 9 hours with brightness set to a very usable 50%, WiFi on for mixed productivity and leisure tasks including MS Word 2013, email, social networking, editing 10 photos in Photoshop and streaming a 1.5 hour movie in Netflix.

The Lenovo ships with a 5v 10 watt charger that's small like a smartphone or mobile OS tablet charger. That means it doesn't charge very quickly compared to Lenovo laptops with bigger chargers, and it charged from 10% to 100% in 4 hours. The tablet has superb standby times: we literally left it on and sleeping for a week and it had lost only 12% charge. That means you can treat it much like an iPad or Android tablet and leave it on but sleeping until you need it.

Camera and Wireless

The 3G/4G option is very expensive: in the US the ThinkPad Tablet 2 with digital pen and Gobi 4000 HSPA+ and LTE 4G (compatible with AT&T) is $949. Why so much money? We can't imagine. The WWAN 4G model has a full size SIM card slot rather than the now more common micro SIM card slot and it includes GPS functionality. All models have Dual band Broadcom SDIO WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The tablet doesn't have NFC.

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 vs. the Competition

The ThinkPad Tablet 2's nearest competitors are the 10.1" Dell Latitude 10 and the Asus VivoTab Smart. The VivoTab Smart is less expensive but has a less robust build and it lacks the Wacom pen. Like the ThinkPad, the Latitude has a strong build and is also available with a Wacom pen. The Acer Iconia Tab W510 also competes in the small Windows tablet space, and though it's a bit more plasticky, it's the only one here to offer an optional keyboard dock that also extends battery life--it's a transformer rather than a pure slate like the other three. The Iconia W510 doesn't work with digital pens, alas.


It's hard to not love this little guy. If you're looking for a small Windows 8 tablet, this is one of the smallest and lightest, yet it's sturdy and ready for the road. Battery life is super and standby times are among the best we've seen on a Windows tablet. The Wacom pen makes drawing and note-taking a pleasure and the IPS display is colorful and crystal clear. The tablet is smart enough to handle business and productivity tasks as well as streaming HD video. But remember, this is an Intel Atom CPU, and the tablet isn't meant to handle demanding tasks like Windows 7 3D games and HD video editing/encoding as your laptop or desktop would.

Price: Starting at $679 for WiFi only model, $949 for WiFi + 3G/4G model



Related Reviews:

HP Envy x2

HP ElitePad 900

Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx

Microsoft Surface Pro

Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T

Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T

Acer Iconia Tab W510


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2




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Display: 10.1", 1366 x 768 IPS display. PowerVR SGX545 integrated graphics (supports DirectX 9 but not DirectX 11). Mini HDMI port. Wacom digitizer with pen available on some models.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable 2 cell battery. 5v 10 watt USB wall wart charger.

Performance: 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 dual core CPU with 2 gigs of LPDDR2 533MHz RAM (2 gigs is max RAM). 64 gig eMMC flash drive soldered to motherboard.

Size: Tablet: 10.1 x 6.9 x 0.34 inches. Weight: 1.29 pounds.

Camera: 2MP front camera and 8MP rear camera with LED flash.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, dual array mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band Broadcomm 2.4GHz WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and digital compass. Broadcom GPS on 3G/4G model.

Software: Windows 8 32 bit.

Expansion and Ports: 1 microSDXC card slot, USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm combo audio and mini HDMI.



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