Similar to the IdeaPad Tablet K1, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet runs on Android Honeycomb 3.1 OS out of the box. As such, you will not expect anything significantly different from the rest of the Honeycomb tablets.
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or HTC Flyer where the stock Android user interface is heavily skinned by their own overlays, you will only notice subtle changes on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. As we have covered the refinements that Lenovo made to the interface in the IdeaPad Tablet K1, you can find out more about these refinements here.
The problem with mainstream tablets today is that most of them are unable to match up to the requirements or conditions necessary in the sensitive and complicated corporate environment. They do not possess the security, reliability and manageability features that IT departments of companies need in order to deploy the use of tablets among their employees.
This is where the branding steps in.The ThinkPad branding is widely recognized as one of the best brands in the corporate world. By leveraging on its solid reputation, Lenovo hopes that it will be easier for companies to buy and deploy the ThinkPad branded devices.
What's a business-centric tablet without the trusty keyboard and optical trackpoint? Well, Lenovo has the ThinkPad Tablet equipped with an optional accessory, the Keyboard Folio Case. As the name suggests, this is a keyboard with an optical button for cursor use. The exterior of the case is mainly leather, giving it a premium look and feel. Business users will appreciate the convenience of having a keyboard in a case if they are considering serious productivity on-the-go with the ThinkPad Tablet. However, if you are using the tablet for basic internet surfing, you can save some money by skipping the Keyboard Folio Case.
If you need to jot down notes during meetings occasionally and do not need the S$129 keyboard folio case, Lenovo has included an optional ThinkPad Tablet Pen which you can get for S$41. (Note that the Pen is included as part of the current sales package.) So far, we have only seen one other brand that utilizes a digitizer pen on a tablet, that being the HTC Flyer. Both Pens use the same N-Trig's DuoSense digitizer technology, which rely on battery for operation. In both cases, the Pens draw power from a single AAAA battery. While you can use the HTC Pen in most applications (e.g. browser) on the Flyer, you are limited to using the ThinkPad Tablet Pen on the native note-taking app and PDFs.
Overall, we found the implementation to be better on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. We liked how the display responded smoothly to each pen input and the software integration. However, there is certainly room for improvement as the handwriting recognition software is not perfect.
As seen in the photo above, "hardwarezone" is initially written together but was converted to two words, "hardware" and "zone". Although Lenovo claims that the display can differentiate between the input of a pen and interferences from our palm, we still encountered issues. As Notes Mobile can only be used in portrait mode, we tend to put our palm on the display first before using the Tablet Pen to write. The display registered our palms, and as we moved across the screen, faint lines appeared where they were not supposed to.
As part of its unique selling propositions, Lenovo preloads some paid apps onto the ThinkPad Tablet. These apps are from a number of categories such as tools, communications and entertainment. If you are feeling bored during travelling or in between office hours, the preloaded Zinio app comes in handy as you can browse from thousands of magazine titles including our digital version of HardwareMag Singapore. You also have games apps preinstalled such as Angry Birds HD and Hardwood Solitaire to help you kill time.