Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Review 2012

Tablets are the “in” thing these days. Ever since the iPad broke onto the scene, it revolutionized how we treated these amalgamations between a laptop and a large phone.

I have to admit, I wasn’t excited by the idea of the iPad when it first came out. In fact, I didn’t even invest in tablet technology until I was stumped as to what to get my wife for the birth of our newborn. The iPad was a neat toy… and that was about it.

Now, I’ve gone through several generations of tablets. I’m still very attached to my Blackberry Playbook (though that might have a bit to do with Fergie). The Playbook is great if you have a real mobile phone, *cough*, I mean a Blackberry, because it bridges to your phone and allows you to use your existing phone plan to connect to the Internet. I had one client who was even able to use his phone like an antenna to get a signal and walk around with his Playbook to access his email.

The latest product to finally be released in Canada is the Lenovo ThinkPad. This sexy little device has got a real shot at being a contender to the iPad, especially for those who want a tablet which is actually functional. These are the top 5 features my clients have been most impressed with so far:

  1. Includes a stylus. I get frustrated with all this “touch” technology. I’m sorry but my fingers just aren’t as thin as they want it to be sometimes. The ThinkPad gives you the option to both use touch AND use a stylus that comes included. When you don’t want to use the stylus, there’s a nice compartment at the side to snap it away so it isn’t lost.
  2. Notes Mobile. This program alone has sold several of these devices for me. Notes Mobile has handwriting recognition. Coupled with the stylus, it makes note-taking a breeze. We tested the recognition program with several different people and the program was able to adapt to the differences with little issue. With a tap, you can switch to freehand mode and draw to your heart’s content. In addition, you could take a picture and then draw directly on the picture in the note.
  3. A real keyboard. For just a bit more, you can purchase the keyboard addition. Unlike other keyboards I’ve seen, this keyboard actually “felt” like a real keyboard. There was a certain spring when you typed with the keys and the actual keys were standard sized, making it so much easier to type with. The keyboard is built into a folder that holds the tablet and provides a protective leather cover. It makes the tablet then look like a neat little notebook.
  4. Android apps. The backend of the Lenovo ThinkPad is built on Android technology. That means that all the great apps which are available on the Android are also available on this device. There are some limitations at the moment, such as certain programs aren’t “free” as they might be with other devices. But I had no problem finding applications that I needed. Being on Android technology means you aren’t limited like the iPad to non-Flash sites and other restrictions.
  5. Docs to go. Another great application that comes installed on your ThinkPad right out of the box, Docs To Go gives you access to major document types such as view & edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint and view Adobe PDF. Having this program immediately available emphasizes the work functionality of this tablet over other “toys” out there that focus more on music and movies.

The size of the screen and weight are comparable to others on the market. You also aren’t able to really use the camera if it is docked with the keyboard. Battery life is about 8-hours. Initial setup requires you to have a Google account associated with the system to control purchases from the Lenovo app store. The biggest limitation is that all apps need to be certified through the Lenovo app store to be able to download them. They are intentionally restricting applications to those that are tested and certified by Levono. I am contacting my rep to make sure I get my Sonos, rdio and a couple of others qualified. (Great to be a partner sometimes!)

The price tag on this device is in line with the equivalent on the market. As a bonus you get a one year’s manufacturer’s warranty. That’s the benefit of buying Think technology.

When you’re looking for a real, functioning tablet that’s more than just a toy you use for work, you may want to consider one of these new Lenovo ThinkPad tablets. If you’d like to schedule a demo and you’re in the Hamilton/Burlington area, give me a call or email me here at Solve-IT.ca and we’ll see if we can setup something.