Lenovo has deep ties with corporate IT and enterprise customers, and a tradition of providing customized packages and reliable support. In that same tradition, the ThinkPad Tablet software can be completely tailored, down to customized app stores.
The standard configuration comes with a complete set of business software applications, including a full version of Documents To Go, Citrix Receiver, and a Computrace Mobile app that makes it possible to remotely freeze, wipe, track, or restore the tablet.
McAfee Mobile Security comes preinstalled, which is a first for any Android tablet we've reviewed. There's also a PrinterShare app for sending documents to any networked printer.
But the coolest trick the ThinkPad Tablet performs is on-the-fly handwriting conversion. Any time that Android's onscreen keyboard pops up, there's an option to use Nuance's FlexT9 input for hand-scribbling text, using either your finger or the optional stylus. The software transforms your letters into text in real time and is capable of recognizing 27 languages. In our tests, we found that the handwriting recognition tracks accurately so long as your penmanship is tidy. It's not a feature we ourselves would use much (in part due to our sloppy handwriting), but considering the specialized nature of this tablet it makes perfect sense to have it included.
It's also worth noting that Lenovo offers an optional $99 keyboard folio case that connects to the IdeaPad tablet's full-size USB connection. The keyboard includes the ThinkPad's trademark red optical trackpoint and offers control keys specific to Android system features such as volume, mute, microphone mute, home, back, menu, play, and search. If you're looking for a middle road between tablet and laptop, this folding keyboard case would seem to be the way to go.
As you might expect, Lenovo's top-of-the-line Android tablet comes with an impressive spec sheet. Many of the features are par for the course, such as an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, Mini-HDMI output, Micro-USB sync, Bluetooth 2.0, and a 1,280x800-pixel screen resolution. What puts this tablet ahead of the pack is the use of a high-quality IPS screen with excellent viewing angles and a rated battery life of 8.9 hours.
Unfortunately, the screen's brightness is a bit of a disappointment. To match the brightness levels we've come to expect from the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, we had to crank the ThinkPad's brightness settings up to its maximum setting, which probably isn't optimal for battery performance.
Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Video battery life (in hours)||Maximum brightness (in cd/m2)||Default brightness (in cd/m2)||Maximum black level (in cd/m2)||Default black level (in cd/m2)||Default contrast ratio||Contrast ratio (max brightness)|
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a logical product that answers the call for a professional, durable, secure, IT-deployable tablet. We feel that Lenovo has hit the mark here better than any other competitor we've seen (RIM and HP being the most notable examples).
For consumers, the ThinkPad Tablet's bulky design and relatively high price are likely turnoffs. Check CNET's current list of best tablets for the latest and greatest recommendations.
Editors' note: This review was updated with CNET Labs' battery life test results.