Monday, April 15, 2013

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 - reviewed by @DrJosephKim

I'm @DrJosephKim, editor of Mobile Health Computing. For the past few weeks, I have had the chance to test and review the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. The first version of the ThinkPad Tablet was a heavy, bulky Android tablet that had business features that were not found on most Android tablets including: a full-size USB port, a full-size SD card slot, a mini-HDMI port, and a built-in holder for an N-Trig digitizer pen. That's what made the first ThinkPad Tablet heavy and bulky.

Well, Lenovo has come out with a much thinner and lighter device with the ThinkPad Tablet 2. Plus, this device runs Windows 8 Pro and has the standard Intel Atom dual-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 64 GB SSD for storage. The Intel dual-core Atom processor gives it up to 10 hours of battery life, so in real-world working situations where you're browsing the web and using Wi-Fi, you can easily expect approximately 9 hrs of battery life depending on your brightness settings. The battery is sealed inside, so you won't be replacing it on the field.

Here is a short little video I made highlighting the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2:

There are a few features that distinguish this tablet PC from some of the other Windows 8 tablet PCs:

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is probably one of the lightest Windows 8 tablets on the market weighing only 1.25 lbs. In comparison, the iPad 4 weighs 1.44 lbs. At 9.8 mm thick, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is almost as thin as the iPad 4 which is 9.4 mm thick.

Built-in pen holder:
I really appreciate the fact that the ThinkPad Tablet 2 features a built-in slot for the Wacom-based digitizer pen. The pen is useful for precise writing, tapping, or drawing. You can hover the pen over the screen and the mouse will follow your pen tip. Health care professionals will appreciate how they can use the pen when signing notes, scribbling, or drawing around key images. The precision of an active stylus compared to a capacitive stylus is writing with a thick paint brush vs. a ballpoint pen.

Micro-USB charging:
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 uses a proprietary charger but it can also charge via micro-USB, but the battery charges only when the device is off or in sleep mode. Let me repeat that: the battery will only charge when the device is either off or in sleep mode. So, the micro-USB charging is a nice option, but it's not too practical if you need to charge while you're working.

The Tablet PC has a covered full-size USB port and a microSD card slot. The bottom of the tablet has the proprietary docking/charging port along with a micro-HDMI port. If you get the WWAN option, then you can enter a SIM card as well. For the most part, these ports are all fairly standard features found on most Windows 8 tablet PCs.

Bluetooth keyboard option:
Unlike many other Windows 8 tablets, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 has an optional Bluetooth keyboard that is designed specifically for this tablet. The keyboard has an optical pointer stick which resembles the traditional ThinkPad TrackPoint pointer stick, but it is designed as an optical mouse. They keyboard is a bit heavy and bulky compared to most Bluetooth keyboards, but it provides an excellent typing experience and the built-in mouse pointer is an essential feature (in my opinion).

So in summary, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a great Windows 8 tablet PC that uses a low-power Intel Atom dual-core processor. In terms of general usability, it performs very well and does a very nice job balancing all-day battery life with performance. If you need something more powerful, you'll need to get a PC powered by an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor and you'll be sacrificing battery life.

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