We gave guest author Michael Archambault a brand new ThinkPad Tablet 2 to carry around with him for a few days to get his opinion on the tablet that is redefining business. His verdict: the ThinkPad Tablet 2 wins the gold medal.
With the introduction of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, OEMs like Lenovo have become inspired to create amazing Windows tablets that can tackle work or play; the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is one of these amazing tablets.
The new ThinkPad Tablet 2 comes preloaded out of the box with Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8. While most other tablets in the same price range only offer Windows RT and lock out the ability to use Legacy applications, you won’t have that issue with this tablet. Having the full edition of Windows 8 means you’ll be able to run all the familiar apps from past versions of Windows that you have been used to; this is thanks to the next generation Intel Inside processor.
In my testing with the Intel Inside Processor it was able to smoothly power the Windows 8 interface while providing enough power to run basic legacy applications on the familiar desktop.
I was able to test the ThinkPad Tablet 2 with the ThinkPad Tablet 2 Enterprise Dock; the dock provides multiple USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI out, and a rapid charging port for the device. I connected the ThinkPad Tablet 2 to the device and used it with an external 22" monitor; while I was able to work on both monitors using Microsoft Office 2013 and Google Chrome, as soon as I introduced an HD video to the device on one monitor the other began to lag. The Intel inside Processor definitely has some limitations and is not designed to be a multimedia monster, but instead a business person’s travel companion.
Lenovo’s choice to use an Intel Inside Processor instead of an i3, i5, or i7 processor has its limitations in some areas of speed and multimedia, but also provides many benefits to the user. For starters the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 gets up to 10 hours of battery life, which far surpasses many Windows 8 Pro tablets; there will never be a concern of needing to run for an outlet as this tablet was able to last all day in most scenarios. In addition the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is said to last almost a month in standby mode, so it will always be at the ready. It is worth noting though that if the tablet runs out of a battery charge the ThinkPad Tablet 2 will have to be left plugged into an outlet before being used, if the tablet is dead there is no ability to charge and use the device right away.
My initial impressions of the quality out of the box were excellent; while the original ThinkPad Tablet with Android was under par with standard ThinkPad construction the new ThinkPad Tablet 2 wins the gold medal. The construction of the entire device felt very sturdy in my hands and I was never concerned that the device would break or that it was of low construction. Lenovo gets an A+ for build quality on this ThinkPad unit.
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 also felt extremely light and thin compared to other Windows 8 and even Windows RT tablets that I have tried. Although the tablet boasts an impressive 10in IPS LED HD display, Lenovo still manages to keep the device under 1.3 lbs. and only .34 in thin; a very impressive accomplishment. The back of the ThinkPad Tablet 2 has a rubberized finish which not only felt great in hand, but helped with grip. It was also great to see that Lenovo chose to use a physical Windows button on the front of the device instead of a capacitive touch button that could be easily activated by mistake. I want to stress the absolutely astounding build quality and feel of this device compared to many other Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets I have used.
What would a business tablet be without corporate features though? The ThinkPad Tablet 2 provides Pay-as-you go mobile broadband in select countries allowing business persons who travel the ability to pay for a data plan only when they need it. In addition the tablet includes an optional digitizer pen that in my testing was very responsive and accurate, a great addition for taking notes. The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is also able to provide superior conferencing with a front facing 720p HD camera and rear facing 8MP camera with auto-focus; both cameras are coupled with an LED flash. IT administrators will be happy to learn that this tablet can easily be added into an Active Directory service like any other Windows PC.
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 can be purchased with an optional Bluetooth keyboard/stand. The Bluetooth keyboard feels extremely comfortable to use and seems to have a ridiculously long battery life (I could not run it down). Accompanying the keyboard is an optical TrackPoint that works very well. The only troubling factor with the Bluetooth keyboard was the fact that the device doesn’t snap into the stand, it simply rests on it. In addition there is only one angle you can position the screen at, this may make use unpractical for many users.
Overall the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a great Windows 8 Pro tablet at an amazing price. The Intel InsidePprocessor that comes equipped with this tablet allows long lasting battery life and the ability to run any app from the new Windows 8 store along with the ability to still run many of your existing legacy applications. The ThinkPad quality, pay-as-you go mobile broadband and digitizer pen are really what make this device shine over other tablets. If you are in the market for a Windows 8 Pro tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a great place to start.