Overview and Design
Many of the tablets today are catered for the mainstream consumers, who are looking for a portable device to view multimedia content on-the-go (e.g browse the Internet). While the consumer market is indeed lucrative, not many brands dare to venture into another substantial market - the enterprise sector. This is due to the different and more complex needs of corporate users who need a device that helps them stay abreast of the latest developments, work on-the-go and survive the daily brunt of working life. In addition, a solid reputation of security, reliability and manageability of a product or brand is an important consideration for these users. It seems that Lenovo understood these issues by incorporating the ThinkPad branding in its latest offering - the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet.
Key highlights of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet (3G)
If you have seen Lenovo's ThinkPad laptops, you will find the ThinkPad Tablet familar. It sports the signature boxy design that is clad in black. This gives the device a no-nonsense and strict business look. As expected of a ThinkPad-branded device, the build quality is excellent. In terms of handling, the hefty weight of 730.5g may turn off those who are looking for a lightweight tablet. As a result, you may want to avoid using the ThinkPad Tablet in portrait mode with only one hand.
Lenovo seems to take a liking for physical navigation buttons on their tablets, similar to its IdeaPad Tablet K1 which has a hardware menu navigation button on the right side of the device. For the ThinkPad Tablet, it has not one but four physical buttons at the bottom of the screen (in portrait mode). The four buttons allow you to lock the screen orientation, access the browser with one tap, backward navigate and go to the main home screen (left to right). Besides the screen orientation lock button which we found handy, the rest of the buttons are redundant as the on-screen buttons provide the same functions.
In terms of the overall design aspects, we are inclined to say Lenovo did a reasonably good job with the ThinkPad Tablet. Even though the weight and dimensions of the device may be aggravating issues for some, the solid build quality of the tablet more than made up for it.
In addition, the ThinkPad Tablet has one of the most comprehensive suite of connectivity options that edges out the competition. It is rare to see a tablet with a full-size USB port out of the box, another example being the ASUS Eee Pad Slider. The ThinkPad Tablet noses out the Slider with the microUSB port, which allows for data transfer and power charging.
The BlackBerry PlayBook, which Research in Motion claimed as the world's first enterprise-ready tablet, is no match for the ThinkPad Tablet as it lacks a SD card reader and full-sized USB port, which we feel will be handy in business settings such as transferring files. If you take these factors into account, its thick profile of 14mm will not bother you that much as extra space is needed to accommodate these connectivity ports.