Reviewed March 4, 2010 by Lisa Gade, Editor
ThinkPad tablet PCs sit at the top of the heap in terms of quality and price. They've got that legendary ThinkPad build quality and rugged internal roll cage that make them perfect for even klutzy travelers. And the display is luxurious, particularly the outdoor viewable option that's extremely bright, color-saturated and doesn't glare. That display works with the Wacom EMR pen but it doesn't support touch. Lenovo offers a combined active digitizer with EMR pen and multi-touch as an option and the least expensive wide -view LED backlight display with active digitizer.
Though the ThinkPad would be a wonderful notebook for graphics arts types and art students, the price likely pushes it into the enterprise and vertical more than art sectors. That said, if you can afford it for art, the X201t is a great choice thanks to the display's excellent colors, sharpness and lack of glare. Likewise the fast dual core Intel i7 CPU is strong enough for serious Photoshop and CAD work.
Battery life with the 4 cell battery is just OK at 3 to 3.5 hours. Opt for the 8 cell battery to more than double runtimes. The extended battery (shown in our photos and video) sticks out the back making the machine larger but also creating a convenient grab handle.
As per usual, the keyboard sets the standard for a superb typing experience, and Lenovo's Ultranav combined trackpad with erase stick pointer is a welcome addition. Lenovo offers a variety of hard drive options, from 5400 low capacity drives up to 7200rpm high capacity drives and a 128 gig SSD option. The base DDR3 RAM is only 2 gigs, and you'll want to upgrade that to 4 gigs. Windows 7 Professional is standard and you can order it in the 32 or 64 bit flavor. For some reason, Lenovo doesn't pre-install the Wacom drivers that allow for 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. Download the Bamboo drivers from Wacom's website to get pressure sensitivity in applications like Photoshop.
What don't we like about the Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet? The price puts it out of reach for many and there's no internal optical drive. Other than that, it's one of our top picks for build quality, subtle good looks, speed, display quality and the availability of a wide array of build-to-order options.
Here's our 10 minute video review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet with Intel Core i7 and the outdoor viewable display option:
While the ThinkPad's integrated graphics mean this is no serious 3D gaming notebook, it's fine for casual games. With a dual core Intel i7 CPU capable of 4 threads and SpeedStepping to faster speeds, the X201t is very fast by 12" notebook standards, though it obviously won't compete with desktop replacement laptops with a quad core Intel i7. Certainly there aren't any tablets on the market that offer signficantly faster CPU options than the Lenovo.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X201 tablet is one of our favorite tablet PCs, if your budget allows. The fast CPU options, light weight, build quality and battery life with 6 cell and higher batteries are hard to beat. Particularly appealing for those who don't need touch displays is the outdoor viewable option-- this is one of the best displays we've seen on a tablet or notebook.
Display:12.1", 1280 x 800 LED backlit wide viewing angle display with Wacom active digitizer is standard. There are options for active digitizer + multi-touch with wide viewing angle and an outdoor viewable super bright, wide angle active digitizer.
Ion rechargeable, 4 cell is standard and 8 cell battery is optional (the 8 cell is shown in our photos and video review). Claimed max battery runtimes: 3.5 hours with 4 cell battery and 7.9 hours with 8 cell battery.
Core i7 620LM 2GHz processor (dual core, hyperthreading, SpeedStep) with 4MB level 2 cache and 1066MHz FSB. The Intel Core i7 640LM runniing at 2.13GHz is optional. 2 gigs DDR3, PC3-8500 1066MHz RAM is standard (1 DIMM), with options for up to 8 gigs RAM. The machine has 2 SODIMM slots.
Drives:250 gig, 5400rpm drive is standard with higher capacity drives, 7200rpm drives and SSD drives available.
x 8.98 x 1.04 inches with 4 cell battery. Weight: 3.57 lbs. with 4 cell battery, 3.95 lbs. with 8 cell battery.
Camera:Optional 2.0 MP webcam.
Security: Biometric fingerprint scanner.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone
Networking:Gigabit Ethernet with RJ45 jack. Integrated
Intel Centrino N6200 WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth. Mobile broadband is optional.