Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet review

Stocky tablet hints at ThinkPad laptops, but doesn't rival Samsung

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet review
An optional pen comes with this business-focused tablet

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

We ended up liking what Lenovo has done to make its ThinkPad Tablet a more professional-grade tablet than some of the competition. IT folks can track the device and wipe data if it's stolen, the back-up app from McAfee means not worrying about lost business documents. Help desk staff can push apps to the device, which isn't something Samsung or Apple offer out of the box.

Overall, the design is a bit dated, which is odd for an Android tablet. It has a throwback look that seems more like a Lenovo laptop than a sleek, modern tablet. The device is a bit hefty and bulky for daily use, but if you are a mobile professional and need to run a Citrix client all day and tap into your ERP system, then the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has you covered - and you might be willing to overlook the design issues.

That said, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is also a poor consumer choice. The AVI movies we tested stuttered and looked washed out, like looking through a steam-covered window.

There isn't the same quick mobile movie session of competing tablets, and that's a shame, because even for business use there are times when watching a movie on an aeroplane or at the hotel makes sense.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet beats several other Android tablets, including the Acer Iconia Tab A500, the Toshiba AT100, the Motorola Xoom, and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Each of those tablets also provide some extra ports, including one for USB connections, that make them more suited for a PC-centric tablet user, but are not exactly thin and light enough for mobile entertainment.

Yet, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet adds some extra business-oriented features. We loved the pen input for jotting down notes and drawing in pen-enabled apps. Other than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the iPad 2 and potentially the Kindle Fire, which is coming to the US soon, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a good bet.

We liked

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has extra business features for tracking the device in case it's stolen or lost, pushing apps for a secure install and backing up your data.

The pen, which slips into a holder below the screen, is useful for making notes that are accurately converted into text, and for making original art sketches.

The eight-hour battery life is about what we'd expect from a 10-inch tablet - the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet lasted all day and them some for typical web browsing and email activities.

We disliked

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet felt bulky and heavy compared to thinner tablets on the market. The all-black design works well at the office, but not so much on a long plane ride or at a sporting event. Other sleeker and more modern-looking tablets point to a future age when most computing takes place on a thin device.

The camera, like the one included with most tablets, is just not that great. It's hard to take really compelling photos and videos and want to keep them forever (aka, on Facebook). Some AVI videos played with stuttering that made the TV show unwatchable.

It's unfortunate that not many apps actually support the annotation features - the pen didn't work with Adobe Reader or Documents To Go. That means the pen is useful but not essential.

Final verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a smart option for those who need to use a tablet at work. It has an understated but somewhat bulky design that fits well with a full-size laptop.

Movies and other media are hit and miss, but mostly miss because of the less than colourful screen and choppy playback.

Our final conclusion is that this tablet is better than many other Android models, mostly because of the extra ports and the business apps, but the larger size and weight make it a runner-up to Apple and Samsung models.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.