Lenovo’s new ThinkPad Tablet 10 is solid, with an aluminium back and gorilla glass to protect its 10.1-inch, 1080p high-definition multi-touch screen, but lacks grunt for an $800-plus device.
The performance deficit comes from the choice of an Intel Atom processor instead of, say, an Intel Core i5 on a high-end business-oriented tablet. On a cheap tablet costing $300-$400, a quad core Intel Atom Z3795 Bay Trail processor rated at 1.59 GHz would be great value. Intel Bay Trail processors certainly bring more power and battery life to cheaper tablets.
On higher-end models, I would look for an Intel Quad Core i5 or i7 processor -- the Surface Pro 2 has Core i5. The comparison isn’t as stark as you may think, with overall performance and features of the Z3795 not far behind the Core i5, but the Core i5 offers much better single-core performance and more power efficiency.
The Lenovo is a lightweight, compact 64-bit Windows 8.1 tablet with a micro HDMI port, a full-sized USB2.0 port, microSD card and micro SIM ports around the sides beneath protector flaps.
As you’ll see, it is a tablet that prides itself on connectivity options. It optionally has 4G/LTE capability.
The accompanying keyboard has the recessed keys that make Lenovo laptops a pleasure to type with. But you’ll pay extra for that -- $126.37 on top of the tablet’s price ranging from $799 to $1419.
And therein is one of the issues with this tablet: to enjoy its full potential you’ll be shelling out extra for the keyboard and another $135.46 for the dock.
To me, these are must-haves. There’s also a digitiser pen ($40), a cover ($50), protector ($53.64) and case ($108.18).
If you use the dock, you’ll need to add your own keyboard because you can’t attach Lenovo’s keyboard and use the dock at the same time.
I include the dock in the must-haves because it adds so much functionality: it’s a charger with two USB 3.0 ports, full HDMI and an Ethernet slot.
Another issue is the small on-board storage -- just 64 Gigabytes on my $799 review unit. Fortunately you can bump that up by adding a microSD card.
The screen is not that bright. I took my review unit outside on my shaded balcony to watch video and found the image a little dull.
Nevertheless there’s no shortage of features with the ThinkPad Tablet 10. It also has Bluetooth 4.0, 8 and 2-megapixel rear and front-facing cameras, and a big 3300 milliampere hour battery.
This article originally appeared in The Australian.