Lenovo adds useful features not found in Apple iPad 2.
newly released Lenovo ThinkPad tablet flips the "consumerization of IT"
paradigm by adding business-class features such as management software, full-size
peripheral connectors-including a full-size USB 2.0 port-and an optional
digitizer pen to a tablet that has a 10.1-inch display and runs the Android "Honeycomb"
managers who are in a position to recommend a tablet device instead of just
accepting whatever walks in the door would do well to consider the ThinkPad tablet.
Besides additional hardware and software, Lenovo also enables shops to set up a
private application store so that employees can get approved software. I tested
the ThinkPad tablet at eWEEK
found the device a worthy competitor in terms of performance and capability
when compared with the widely used Apple iPad 2. (See the related slide show
ThinkPad tablet has slightly larger outside dimensions and is marginally
heavier than an iPad 2. The rated battery life is about 90 minutes shorter than
the premier Apple device. Even so, I had no trouble using the ThinkPad tablet
all day on a WiFi connection without needing to look for a power outlet.
not tested, the ThinkPad tablet can also be used with an integrated stand/keyboard/cover.
ThinkPad tablet debuted Aug. 23 and comes with 16, 32 or 64GB RAM. The
configurations are priced at $499, $569 and $699, respectively, for the WiFi-only
version at the Lenovo online store. Pending radio approval, a broadband mobile
edition of the ThinkPad tablet appears imminent but was not available at the
time of this review.
A Pen in the Hand
of the most obvious differences between the ThinkPad tablet and most current
tablet designs is the digitizer pen. Although the optional pen tether ruins the
sight lines of the ThinkPad tablet, I was easily able to work with the tablet
without getting caught in the tether line. The digitizer pen makes jobs such as
sketching or precisely marking an area on the screen easy, compared with using
a finger to perform these tasks. The included Notes Mobile application aptly
recognized my hen scratching and almost immediately turned it into readable
text. I don't like the clattery noise made when the stylus is used on the
Gorilla glass display, but the noise will only be noticeable in quiet meetings
and is no louder than keyboard typing.
addition to the digitizer pen, the ThinkPad tablet has a number of connection
ports that should please business users: a full-size USB 2.0, micro USB, mini High-Definition
Multimedia Interface and a three-in-one SD media card reader. Using the USB
file copy utility worked as expected to enable me to move files on and off the
the fit and finish of the ThinkPad tablet carries on the business-class
durability found in ThinkPad laptops. The Gorilla glass display resisted
scratching during regular use. The four physical keys on the lower edge of the
ThinkPad tablet have a counterintuitive upward press action, but are otherwise
unremarkable. The covers for the external ports were easy to open and had a
positive feel when latched shut. The single speaker resulted in an only
mediocre listening experience. A headphone jack provided very good sound
ThinkPad tablet is equipped with an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core, 1GHz ARM
processor. Device wake was instantaneous and applications and screen swipes
were snappy. I encountered one instance when using the Notes Mobile application
when the simulated page-turn was draggy, but I was not able to consistently
reproduce this effect.
What's Good for Business?
Lenovo ThinkPad tablet kind of comes with a number of business-first
applications already installed, although the applications verge on being
"bloat-ware." Most of the included "free" software is actually trial versions.
For example, the PrinterShare application is limited to printing 20 pages
before the user needs to buy the application. I was able to set up and use
PrinterShare in under five minutes although IT managers will need to locate
printer drivers for users to successfully use the application. Similarly, the
included Docs To Go application, which enables users to view and edit Microsoft
Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, is a trial version. Other applications are full-featured, but will only benefit
organizations that are already using particular enterprise applications or
back-end systems. For example, Lenovo has
long had a relationship with LANDesk, the endpoint management tool maker. Although
not tested, the ThinkPad tablet can be managed through the ThinkManagement
Console and the Lenovo Mobility Manager add-ins for the LANDesk Management
Suite version 9. The LANDesk integration enables IT managers to push
applications and security policies through the LANDesk system