The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is an Android Honeycomb 3.1 tablet with a 10", 1280 x 800 IPS Gorilla Glass display and the usual internals: 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core CPU, a gig of RAM, plenty of internal storage, dual cameras, WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS. What sets it apart from many Honeycomb tablets is the N-Trig Duo Sense dual digitizer. That means it's both capacitive multi-touch and it works with the optional $30 active digitizer pen. The pen is more precise than a capacitive stylus and it supports 99 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The HTC Jetstream uses the same digitizer technology, but HTC's pen costs $80. But with the Jetstream you get pen support everywhere for both control and scribbling with the pen, while the Lenovo tablet supports it in the Notes Mobile app and in the PDF viewer for annotation but not in other built-in apps. Third party apps like Alias Sketchbook Pro do support it though.
The tablet has that classic ThinkPad build quality and look, complete with Lenovo's soft touch matte finish on the back and metal ThinkPad logos. The pen fits neatly into a silo and it has a red tip that recalls Lenovo's TrackPoint look. The optional and lovely folio case with keyboard likewise has an optical pointer stick embedded in the keyboard that looks like the red TrackPoint.
The tablet is hefty at 1.65 pounds, but it's in the same ballpark as the Motorola Xoom, Asus Eee Pad Transformer and other non-anorexic tablets. The IPS display with wide viewing angles, added ports and sturdy ThinkPad build set it apart from the $100 cheaper Lenovo IdeaPad K1 tablet we reviewed a few months back.
The ThinkPad Tablet has a full size USB host port that works with keyboards, mice and flash drives. We didn't have much luck with a 500 gig WD MyPassport unpowered portable drive. It powered up just fine but didn't mount. Lenovo includes a basic USB file transfer app with a bare bones UI, but you can use third party file managers with USB flash drives. Media on flash drives automatically appears in apps like Gallery, and that means the driver integrates into the OS ( Sony Tablet S are you listening?).
The tablet has a micro USB port for file transfer and charging, a mini HDMI port, SD card slot and a SIM card slot, though the 3G version of the ThinkPad isn't available yet.
The ThinkPad tablet with WiFi (not 3G) sells for $499 for the 16 gig model, $569 for the 32 gig and $669 for the 64 gig model. It's available now. The pen is $30 and the Keyboard Folio is $100.
Here's our Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet video review. Our full review will follow in the coming week.