Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet (preview)

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet preview: Lenovo brings its corporate-looking design to the tablet market

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
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Pros

  • Full-size USB port and SD card slot
  • Optional keyboard portfolio carry case
  • Digitiser pen for note-taking

Cons

  • 14mm thick
  • Bland design

Bottom Line

Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet has a boring name, and appears to have a bland design that's targeted more to business and corporate users than consumers. However, its included digitiser pen and optional keyboard folio case are refreshing inclusions that at least attempt to offer something new.

Would you buy this?

With most Android 'Honeycomb' tablets hitting the market offering very little differentiation in screen size, specifications and software, it's refreshing to see a new tablet that at least attempts to offer something new. Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet has a boring name, and appears to have a bland design that’s targeted more to business and corporate users than consumers, but its included digitiser pen and optional keyboard folio case set it apart from competitors.

Read our guide to the best upcoming tablets in 2011.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is apparently the company's business model. It has almost identical specifications to the consumer focussed IdeaPad Tablet K1 — a 10.1in capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1280x800, a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and dual cameras. However, the ThinkPad Tablet possesses a slightly thicker design that intends to mirror the Lenovo's ThinkPad range of business notebooks. Weighing 715g, it's heavier than both the iPad 2, and Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1 but surprisingly lighter than Lenovo's own IdeaPad Tablet K1.

The main differences in design surround the squarer, sharper edges, and the physical shortcut keys below the display. The ThinkPad Tablet also has a full-size USB port, and a full-size SD card slot, neither of which are features of the IdeaPad Tablet K1.

Perhaps the best feature of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is its optional keyboard portfolio carry case, which will sell as a separate accessory for $89. Much like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, the portfolio case turns the ThinkPad Tablet into a notebook-style device. Unlike the Transformer, the accessory doesn't have its own battery, but it does double as a proper protective case, and has an optical trackpad.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet also comes standard with a digitiser pen that allows users to take notes straight onto the screen. The digitiser pen supports handwritten text entry, document mark-up and drawing.

Naturally, the business-orientated Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet includes anti-theft software and the ability to disable the tablet if the device is lost or stolen, along with SD card encryption. Other security features include layered data encryption and the addition of Cisco VPN (virtual private network) to access corporate networks. The ThinkPad Tablet also comes with 2GB of free cloud storage.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet comes in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G options in 16GB and 32GB sizes, though the 32GB model is only available with 3G. Pricing starts at $599 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, and $729 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model. The 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G model will sell for $839.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will be available to order online in August, but will officially release in Australia in September.

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