Monday, April 9, 2012

First Impressions of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet - Quick Review

Is it a laptop or netbook?  Nope, it is a ThinkPad.
One of the best things about being on the techier side of the library and having a library director and a CIO as your boss- is that you get to tryout new hardware.  This is the Lenovo ThinkPad and it comes in its own case that has a keyboard, stylus, and stand built in to it.

Already having a Motorola Xoom at home (and quite happy with it) I am always looking to get my hands on new Android tablets to see what is coming along, and to see if anything will knock the Xoom of the block (IMHO the Xoom is one of the best Andoid tablets to come along).

One thing that you will notice immediately with the ThinkPad is the weight of this tablet.  It is heavy. It is almost to the point of laptop heavy.  One wonders what the advantage is of having a tablet and keyboard when you
could have a laptop (with higher functionality) at the same or less weight.

By the way, the ultrabook type of laptops probably weigh less and have as much or more functionality as this tablet does.

Under settings, Android tells me that this thing is running Android 3.1 Honeycomb with quite a bit of Lenovo Apps and Bloatware on it.  Honeycomb looks a little junked up to what I was used to on the Xoom (Xoom now runs Ice Cream Sandwich, but it is similar enough) but it is responsive nonetheless and is familiar to this user.

The keyboard is OK but takes a little getting used to.  One of the drawbacks is that you cannot use this on your lap, you must have a solid and flat surface to rest the unit on- this is due to the way the stand docks with a magnet along the grooves of the bottom of the tablet (maybe the magnets are what is weighing this sucker down?).

This is also the first time I have used a stylus on a tablet and I think it just takes some getting used to as well, though it is nice that the stylus is built into the unit.  The tablet itself is a little bigger and thicker than an iPad or the Xoom.  The frame of the tablet has a few buttons that are just plain cheap and hard to use (browser, back, home, etc.).

Having wondered what my Xoom would be like with a keyboard (I have had a blue tooth keyboard in my Amazon shopping cart for weeks and still have not pulled the trigger) I can get some idea with the ThinkPad, but it is not enough to want this for my own.  For all around purposes (drafting letters, writing code, interacting with dynamic websites) I cannot justify buying an Asus Transformer or this ThinkPad, and frankly, my Xoom with a keyboard wouldn't cut it either. 

I think that I would be much better served with a slimline PC or even an ultra book or macbook, but the ThinkPad and Android just has too many limitations for the tech minded user to replace a PC/Mac with it.  I have the Xoom for consuming media (which it is great for) but the weight combined with the clunkiness of the ThinkPad is not enough to want it, even a secondary mobile device.

*Information contained within these pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Schreiner University.

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