As one of my friends said when seeing the Lenovo ThinkPad tablet, finally there’s a tablet that’s worse than the Evolio Neura… This so-called business device doesn’t quite deliver on any of its promises, although I’m sure there’s a niche out there that’s covered by this slate. I’ve had the chance to play with this device once more, during the Lenovo Do Tour event I’ve shown you a while ago.
This is a heavy player, since the device weighs 750 grams, but what it brings is basically a collection of all connectivity options available on the market. We’ve got a 3G SIM slot (in the 32GB and 64GB versions), a full size USB port, a microUSB port, a dock port, a HDMI port, an audio jack, SD slot, so what more do you want? Well, on the downside, sometimes this slate feels like it was made for stylus input and not so much for interacting with it using your fingers.
The interface has the tendency to feel laggy and move in a strange way, especially when swiping from one screen to the other. Everything changes when the stylus comes into play and behaves quite well, I have to admit. This unit measures 14mm, so it’s by no means a slim tablet, with some models out there getting close to being half its thickness. Its back side has a nice texture embedded remind me of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but the quality difference is huge.
Lenovo ThinkPad tablet runs Android 3.1 Honeycomb and it does with a software layer on top, one that includes an App Wheel and a special Launcher. The App Wheel is a collection of favourte apps, that’s shown in a cute carousel on screen. Frankly, I could have lived without this function… And then there’s the Launcher, that’s actually useful, since it includes 4 main apps on the device, plus the browser in their midst. You can customize these options to have the software you use the most ready for use whenever you need it.
And then I noticed one thing I was dreaming about ever since Honeycomb was launching: the possibility to shut down apps from the multitasking section in Android 3.x. That’s right, now there are little red X signs on each thumbnail of the apps that are running at the same time, allowing you to close them. If you’re wondering about specs, this is just another Honeycomb tablet, with the usual 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU, 1GB of RAM, the usual 16/32/64GB of storage, a 5 megapixel camera without flash at the back and a front camera for videocalls.
The connectivity options include WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G and in case you’re interested in multimedia features, know that the mini HDMI socket is 1080p capable. Lenovo included tons of apps on this slate, about 30 or so and there’s even a Lenovo App shop, where you can find some software especially for this device, but most of the applications have big prices, so they didn’t tempt me. Among the apps preinstalled on the Lenovo ThinkPad I found Angry Birds HD, tons of Solitaire games, Printer Share, Documents to Go, Mcafee and a Notes app. The latter recognizes handwriting via stylus input and turns them into virtual text. It actually does a pretty decent job at that, so taking notes in handwriting will be a breeze.
There’s also a very user-friendly interface in the USB file copy section, that allows you to transfer stuff to and from your USB stick. However, when I inserted an SD card, it took the tablet forever to scan it and still it didn’t work. Since we’re in the frustrations area, the device takes forever to charge and its battery only lasts about 5 hours or so. Also, the brightness of the screen is disappointing…
On the up side, you have tons of syncing options, “find my device and wipe it if it’s stolen” features and all sorts of productivity and corporate apps that will make any yuppie have wet dreams. However, considering the many defects this product has, its huge price and the fact that the ASUS Transformer Prime is ready for launch, I’d say pass to such a product…