Hands on with Lenovo’s premium Thinkpad tablet

While HP leaves the tablet market, another entrant arrives, with Lenovo giving us a sneak peek of its Thinkpad tablet ahead of a release next week.

Lenovo’s debut business tablet has things in common with many tablets we’ve seen lately, including the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, Google Android Honeycomb, 5 megapixel rear camera, and SD card slot for extra storage. Also included in the Thinkpad tablet will be an option for a SIM card slot, capable of 3G web surfing from where ever you are.

Unlike other tablets, however, Lenovo has actually changed elements of Honeycomb, with a slightly different look to this version of Google’s operating system, as well as customisable shortcuts allowing you to launch programs and webpages more efficiently.

A stylus has also been thrown into the mix, allowing you to draw and write directly on the tablet. Unlike conventional tablets that take advantage of a regular capacitive screen stylus, Lenovo has gone the extra mile to include a battery powered digitiser, capable of up to 18 months of use.

Using a pen with the tablet opens Lenovo’s tablet up to more options, with traditional pen and paper effectively being replaced by this proposition, and in some ways reminds us of a tablet which debuted from Toshiba in the early 90s.

A quick test with the Lenovo Thinkpad tablet actually turned handwriting into on-screen text. We haven’t tested this feature thoroughly, but look forward to it, as it could really be one of the defining features of the business grade tablet.

Pricing for the Thinkpad tablet range has yet to be confirmed ahead of next week’s launch, though we have confirmed that the WiFi 16GB model will start from a $599 price point.