The race for a true iPad competitor is over, and now people are looking for tablets that do more than just act as a way of consuming content on the go. Lenovo’s latest tablet looks to offer that in the form of the ThinkPad 10, a new portable computer that bridges the gap between tablet, laptop, and desktop provided you buy the accessories.
The last time we checked out a Lenovo tablet, it was all about Android, with the Yoga 10 delivering a different interpretation of how a tablet looked with a focus squarely on entertainment. Before that, it was the ThinkPad Tablet, an Android tablet focused on the business sector, and while both of these were interesting, they weren’t really business-ready tablets.
This year, though, the focus for Lenovo’s tablets is back on business, starting with the ThinkPad 10, a product that indicates its screen size from the name alone. Yes, that “10” means it includes 10 inch screen, which in this case also runs a Full HD resolution of 1920×1200, relying on an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel protected by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass.
Underneath the 10.1 inch screen is all the technology that will make this model shine, with Intel’s Z3795 quad-core Atom processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM, and 64GB storage built in and Windows 8.1 preinstalled. This storage can be upgraded with the microSD slot on the side of the tablet, which you’ll probably want to do given that Windows 8.1 only leaves you with roughly 30GB once you take it out of the box.
Graphics are handled with Intel’s HD4600 chipset, while the multimedia angle on the ThinkPad 10 is taken care of with a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and an 8 megapixel rear camera, both of which can capture video at 1080p Full HD.
Depending on the version you buy, the Lenovo ThinkPad 10 offers two sets of wireless options, with 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Miracast part of both variants, with 4G LTE offered on top of those options in another model (4G/WiFi). The 4G model also supports Near-Field Communication and GPS, but only in that variant. Our review model supported the microSIM slot, but appeared to have no modem, making it the WiFi only model.
Ports are reasonably varied for a machine of this size, though some of them are a little surprising. As such, you’ll find a single USB 2.0 port behind a flap on the left side, just near Lenovo’s smaller proprietary power connector for charging the tablet. The right side of the tablet supports microSD and a microSIM (if you have the 4G version), with all of these sitting under a flap. Below this and near the bottom of the tablet, you’ll find a microHDMI port.
The bottom is a little bit interesting, though, with two proprietary ports for different accessories, with the small thin dock connector used for Lenovo’s desktop dock, while the five circle port to the right of this has been developed with Lenovo’s keyboard dock in mind. There are also some small crevices provided on this tablet to hook into accessories for stability.
A 3.5mm headset jack can also be found on the right side.
You will find a few buttons on this tablet, with both a power button and rotation lock button up top, and a volume rocker on the right side. The typical Windows Start logo found on Windows 8 tablets is also here, on the front of the device, acting as a button for the tablet to bring you back to the Windows 8 grid-based menu commonly referred to as Metro.
It may not be the first ThinkPad tablet, but Lenovo’s latest model isn’t just a tarted up re-release with new specs. No, this is no simple variant, as the Lenovo ThinkPad 10 is a totally different product from previous efforts.
For starters, there’s a new design here, with both soft squircle edges on one side and sharp rectangular edges on the other, providing a rather interesting look that obviously isn’t a clone. The reason for this design doesn’t appear to one based on simple aesthetics, though, as the harder straight edge makes the tablet fit into its dock accessories easily.
When this is done, you’ll find you have both laptop and desktop devices that actually resemble those styles of products, which we’ll get to shortly, because the accessories are just as important as the tablet itself.
Grab the tablet and you’ll find a thin and sleek device that’s totally different from the first ThinkPad tablet released by the company. It’s no longer big and chunky, but rather something that can compete with the products released by Apple, complete with an aluminium frame that’s comfortable to hold, with Lenovo’s typical charcoal coat of paint that looks very professional.
You may find a few fingerprints are stored by this paint job, that said, but close-to-black finish still gives off the impression that this is a computer made for business.
And that’s the feeling you should get when you use the computer because it’s paired with a decent amount of horsepower to make work — and a bit of play — possible.