back to article Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

I’ve tried out quite a few variations on the Windows 8 theme just lately – touchscreen notebooks mainly – but I’ve been dabbling with Boot Camp and virtual machine incarnations on the desktop too but without the finger friendliness. So trying out Lenovo’s business-centric ThinkPad Tablet 2 seemed like it would be an easy …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Wouldn't boot in Linux

    Would that be anything to do with secure boot? I appreciate it's not an ARM machine, but even so...

    1. mmeier

      Re: Wouldn't boot in Linux

      The TPT2s USB port is known to be limited in capabilities. Maybe it just did not work properly with the drive (recognize but don't access is a known bug). It's not a "new" unit - TPT2 versions are out since last year - just read the tablet pc forums.

    2. tsdadam

      Re: Wouldn't boot in Linux

      If I were to guess, I'd say so (Secure boot thing). UEFI is rife sadly, and Lenovo's bios/uefi is weird. My recent Lenovo laptop with Windows 8 pre-install won't even recognise its own Optical drive as a boot device unless the setup is changed back to bios/legacy mode.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wouldn't boot in Linux

        I doubt it was a secureboot problem, I've got a Thinkpad w530 and it runs Windows7 (not secureboot compatible) with secureboot switched off. I also have a colleague who's running CentOS on his and that works fine too.

  2. Shagbag

    At £700 a pop...'s no wonder these things aren't selling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At £700 a pop...

      Most people would just buy an Apple iPad at around half that cost.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: At £700 a pop...

      £700 is a lot for a tablet, but this is not a tablet in the "Ipad" sense: (ie for media consumption), it appears more to be a "BusinessTablet" ie : for Work rather than for fun.

      If it could truly replace a laptop then the price is OK-ish ( it is steep but not unreasonably so).

      Would I buy one at the price, yes, if I was convinced that it could replace a Thinkpad. I would need to use one on a real world scenario for at least a month in order to make a serious decision.....

      1. mmeier

        Re: At £700 a pop...

        Depends on your use / needs. This is an ATOM so it will likely have less power than your Thinkpad (assuming a resonably current unit) and it has a smaller screen.

        If the mobile use of your system is mostly:

        + Note taking / notepad replacement

        + Reading documents and mail

        + Minor fixes to Powerpoint / Doing simple PPs

        + Checking documents for errors / making short corrections (or just notes for the original author)

        + Time management with Outlook/Notes

        + Running some Windows applications like SAP clients or other "thin/rich client" stuff

        + Some tools like "MindMappers" or "Initial Sketching to show the customer ideas"

        then this and similar units are great. Forget keyboard etc and key a bookcase. Carry all day (endurance is 10+h "in the wild" according to users and a "slow but useable" car charger exists as well) and use free standing.

        If your mobile use is

        + Programming (small editing/config tasks work)

        + Writing long Word documents/Exel Sheets

        + Watching tons of movies

        + Need more than 2GB memory / 64+64GB storage

        then this is not the "right stuff". You'll need at least the keyboard (There is IIRC a bookcase with integral keyboard available in the US) and maybe a mouse loosing the "transportable as a legal pad" benefit. Screen size get's more important as well. Maybe a convertible like the Duo 11 (Heavier, costlier but very powerful) or a plain notebook is better - depends on useage.

        If you want "user maintainable parts" (or even quick/hot swap batteries) the TPT2 isn't for you either - look at the DELL Latitude 10 or some (high priced) Fujitsu units (Q572 IIRC)

        Check if you need the 3G unit or can do with a WLAN unit and tethering through a smartphone or MiFi - IIRC the european units do not have LTE so the latter may be the more interesting option and saves over 100€

        Me - I wait for the Helix, will check it out and then will likely buy a T902 selling off all other computer stuff and the smartphone :)

      2. BioPeek

        Re: At £700 a pop...

        >>>Would I buy one at the price, yes, if I was convinced that it could replace a Thinkpad. I would need to use one on a real world scenario for at least a month in order to make a serious decision.....


        Hang your head in shame!

        Nothing can replace a Thinkpad... except another Thinkpad.

        1. mmeier

          Re: At £700 a pop...

          Yes but which one?

          X230 - or wait for the rumored X240?


          A the choices :)

    3. StuCom

      Re: At £700 a pop...

      Just on price, a 64GB iPad with 3G is £659. And I'll bet you can get the Lenovo for less than that if you shop around. In my experience you can't get discounts on iPads (even the rare expensive ones). Admittedly you'll get a lot more of your £659 back when you trade in your iPad after 2 years.

      If you want to play games, twitter, facebook, email, surf and watch TV then get an iPad. If you ALSO want to get real work done (office, photoshop, software development) then the Lenovo is a good (but not the only) choice.

      1. mmeier

        Re: At £700 a pop...

        The Lenovo TPT2 with 3G is 830€ / 703 GBP in the official Lenovo shop. So it is actually quite close even without shopping around. And the Lenovos have decend to good 2nd hand prices when you sell them. Given that you get more (Wacom induktive digitizer, SD-card slot) it actually is a "better buy"

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: At £700 a pop...

          I agree that the type of usage is the most important factor. Nowadays I fit more in to the "light usage" category, I prefer my desktop for any thing which requires remaining in front of the screen for any length of time.( docs, dev, etc). Therefore I believe that the TPT2 could actually become a replacement.

          Here in France/Switzerland it is almost impossible to lay your hands physically on anything "Thinkpad" related. There a no retail outlets which is a pain... I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Thinkpad in the TxxP or the Xxx series without first trying it out but this tablet begs to be "touched" before laying down cash..


  3. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe it is a shame it cannot act as a tethered device allowing users to Photoshop stuff held on ... well you know IP and all that :-)

  4. DrXym Silver badge

    These devices are starting to look useful

    Atom powered tablets last as long as ARM devices and are powerful enough that someone could easily do web browsing, word processing, light gaming etc.

    Best of all they're running a proper version of Windows, so they're actual PCs and can be used that way, or undocked and used like a tablet. I really don't know why Microsoft bothered muddying the waters with Windows RT when they knew these were coming down the pipe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: These devices are starting to look useful

      Because they perform like a £300-350 laptop and most tablets are half that price.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: These devices are starting to look useful

        Then buy a laptop, not a tablet. There are cheaper Atom based tablets than this and pricewise they're not far removed from the analogously specced Android tablet.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: muddying the waters with Windows RT

      Bear in mind Intels persistent failure to deliver on power consumption promises. Even when they get close ARM moves ahead anyway. It's wasn't unreasonable for MS to target ARM, wouldn't stand a chance in mobile or basic tablet against IOS/Android, even in RT mode, the battery life isn't there yet and that was entirely predictable.

      It's the idiotic and deliberately deceptive confusion created between ARM Win8 and x86 Win8 that needs questioning. ARM RT devices are necessarily crippled by having insufficient CPU power to emulate x86 support and with desktop mode denied to 3rd parties no apps will be recompiled for native ARM. Pretending they're more similar than the reality is a scummy marketing lie.

      1. mmeier

        Re: muddying the waters with Windows RT

        Even the aging Ctrail ATOM has more computing power than an A15 if both are using the same gen JavaScript engine. And the endurance of the current Atom tablets from Dell and Lenovo is around 10-11h - about equal to the top line current gen 10.1'' ARM units. Even the Samsung units get 7-8h of real world use. Intel has been doing low powered CPU for some time.

        And there is not ARM Win8 - there is Win8 and Win/RT. And the RT does not even TRY to simulate x86 nor could they (see above). Even a A15 at "full power" (and more power consumption than an Atom) is not as fast as the slowest dual core Atom. And you need more power than the target cpu for a simulation (PPC could emulate an 68k in early PowerMacs IIRC)

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: muddying the waters with Windows RT

          >Bear in mind Intels persistent failure to deliver on power consumption promises.

          Why bother when you can read up on the latest power consumption benchmarks before you make your purchase?

          "Officiating x86 Vs. ARM Using Hard Data" -,3387-5.html

          So far, they can't declare a winner and note the race is far from over.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well I wouldn't mind travelling with one of these

    I wouldn't want to pay for it though. If beloved employer wanted to supply one, I wouldn't complain.

  6. mmeier

    Could we PLEASE get a reviewer that does know what a penable can do and NOT try to use anything tablet-like in an iThingy style? For Windows penables TOUCH is the "afterthought" not the pen - and Lenovo does penables for a long time.

    You do not use the OSL - you use the stylus. For everything. Notes are not taken in OO/Word - MS Journal. If you need wired networking - docking station. If you type long texts - use a BT keyboard. We WOULD like to know how good the calibration works (Wacom digitizers have known edge calibration deficits that vary by digitizer)

    Oh and when you test a WINDOWS tablet pc - it would be nice if you TEST it. Like "can it handle Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Photoshop" and "What are the limits of the platform" (Atom has a few compared to core-i)

    1. Paul Shirley

      It's a Win8 device. The pen is the after thought or more accurately the work around for an inprecise, work unfriendly touch interface.

      Revisionism. Only works when everyone that lived through it is dead or senile. Come back in 50 years.

      1. mmeier

        Sorry but Windows and Pens have been married for a decade now (Win XP). And Lenovo has been doing penables for as long as it exists. And good ones!

  7. GlenP Silver badge

    Useful for Work

    Given that I have several users who travel a lot but who need better functionality than a tablet can provide I could see these as a replacement for the small laptops they currently use. Given that we're paying approaching £500 for an 11.6" Lenovo Thinkpad the price for the non-SIM version is realistic enough.

    1. Graham O'Brien

      Re: Useful for Work

      Quite agree. I might have found a lighter-weight replacement for my ancient (7 years old and still going strong) and much-loved Motion LE1600 running WinXP Tablet Edition.

  8. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    It does Microsoft's speech recognition, right?

    But in my experience, speech recognition is a sluggish experience, even when objectively it is faster than typing. That's why I have my eye on Windows tablets with a better than Atom processor, and also more RAM. Still, you could give it a go. From experience, it takes hours of training on the provided standard texts and then suddenly works really well, but you may have to start and continue with American pronunciation of "a" and "the", rhyming with "hay" and "bee", or they'll pop up when you haven't said those words or any words. And you'll probably save time if you can assign a swear word or two to perform the "delete that" function. On the other hand, carefully enunciating swear words into your tablet isn't dignified either. I suppose you could invent new ones. See if the Microsoft speech research lab has come up with some.

    Otherwise I favour the Fitaly on-screen keyboard, although I don't think that it comes in a Windows 8 edition, and a combination of Wacom stylus and Bluetooth mouse; instead of tapping the screen, I click the mouse button - the mouse movement eye is duct-taped so that it works for clicking exclusively. In this case, the button on the pen might work, too, or it might tend to move the pen away from the intended target.

    1. mmeier

      Re: It does Microsoft's speech recognition, right?

      I tested Dragon Natural 10 on a Lenovo S10-3 with similar performance. It worked but needed quit a bit of memory so it was "one other application only" (the unit had 2GB/Win7). Win8 is a tad smaller and the SR-engine is IIRC smaller then DN10 so it should work better.

      If you have a W7 or W8 unit around - test the engine on that, it is part of Win7 H/P and better and off W8/Pro at least (don't have a W8 without pro around) and see how it behaves. Maybe asking in a "Staples" if you can use it on say an ATIV 500 (similar performance to the TPT2) is an option

  9. Robert E A Harvey

    life is getting simple again

    "Windows 8" == "not worth it" on an increasing sample size.

    1. mmeier

      Re: life is getting simple again

      Trolls are getting boring again. Mention Win8 and they come out mumbling the same "it's baaaad" stuff again and again.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: life is getting simple again

        My. You trotted that out before the inevitable Eadon-o-gram turned up.

        Preemptive strike?

        1. mmeier

          Re: life is getting simple again

          Ex Cold-war soldier. Forward Strategy and all! Commies, Linux-Lovers - Where is the difference :)

          1. M Gale

            Re: life is getting simple again

            " Commies, Linux-Lovers - Where is the difference :)"

            I find Linux to be far more of a "free market" model than the Command Economy of Windows.

            Just sayin'.

            1. mmeier

              Re: life is getting simple again

              Command Economy? where? I can write and market whatever software I want under whatever license through whatever channel on Win/ 86. Even GPL stuff would "run" if one likes that restricted license. GPL based stuff OTOH is locked into the" one and only true way" as dictated by the great leader

              1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Windows 8 <> "market your software through any channel"

                Currently you can write Windows Store apps and sell them through Windows Store with Microsoft getting 33% of the price, I think - plus whatever you have to spend on development tools. And you can also write non-WIndows Store apps, but they don't run on Windows 8 RT devices and probably won't run on future Windows versions - it'll be Windows Store only. Or else what's the point?

                So, yeah, life will be simple.

              2. M Gale

                Re: life is getting simple again

                "I can write and market whatever software I want under whatever license through whatever channel on Win/ 86."

                Can I use an OS made by anybody except Microsoft to run those apps with? Nope, didn't think so. They are the ones who ask "where do you want to go today", while being the trolls under the very bridge you need to cross to get there.

                GPL restrictive? Have you read the Windows T&Cs lately? You do know you can release commercial software for a GPL OS, right? Many people already do. The FSF haven't set their attack dogs on them yet because they are not breaking the rules.

                What about making Windows Store apps on anything other than VS2012? So that's yet more Windows tax, then.

                GPL and LGPL stuff is only "locked" in the opinion of people who want to break the only restriction it has: Taking stuff developed by thousands of other people and donated into the public domain.. and ripping it off.

                So yes, I do say Command Economy, with Microsoft as the Great Dictator. Have you not noticed the crap with TIFKAM yet? You will have TIFKAM and you will love it. There is no choice.

      2. Dana W

        Re: life is getting simple again

        So people who don't like it or find it useful are trolls?

  10. Jonathan 29

    wedded to the Modern Interface

    Unless I missed a memo, it is not called Metro and it is not called Modern. Tifkam is fine by me or use the Microsoft terminology - Windows 8 store application style.

  11. Danny 14 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I might start looking into USB PXE booting to see if I can network image these things. If the price drops by a couple of hundred pounds then I can see these eating into laptop market in a big way (with the keyboards of course)

    1. Nigel 11
      Thumb Down

      Eating the laptop market ... really?

      Why, when you can buy a laptop at half the price? (Soon, you'll work out that a mouse is superior to a touchpad, and a touchpad is superior to getting finger-grease all over your screen).

      These things give you less hardware, and ought to be cheaper. Which is a give-away as to why everyone selling them loves them. Think of the profit margin!

      1. mmeier

        Re: Eating the laptop market ... really?

        Finger? On a TPT2? Why? It has a fully functional WACOM stylus that is more precise and natural than a mouse ever was. And is one of the reasons this unit costs a tad more.

  12. JDX Gold badge

    Like it or loath it, it seems the hardware available for Windows8 is maturing fairly quickly. It'll be interesting to see where things stand in 6-12 months.

    1. Wang N Staines

      It'll be still 6-12 months behind other tablets.

      1. mmeier

        Actually 10 years ahead if l compare Android on a Note 10.1 [or TPT1] to Win 8 on an Atom. All penable components are at least that much more mature

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  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Battery life?

    Will it outlast an iPad or will it be necessary to carry a charger round with you as we'll?

    4 to 5 hours light use a day is neither here nor there, these things, no MATT who makes them or what OS need to have a minimum of 9 hours regular usage before they can be considered fully portable..

    1. mmeier

      Re: Battery?

      Try more than ten hours for this or the Dell L1O. Real life figures. These are Atoms not core. Getting core units with that duration means 1.5 to 2kg depending on the CPU [ulvr or full power]

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually quite good

    We have been using one of these for a month or so. The keyboard is a bit naff, I would suggest getting a BT keyboard and mouse. It will drive an average (1400x900) monitor ok. The very high res displays result in chugging. It will make a passable desktop replacement if you don't push your luck. The stylus digitizer is the killer feature, the reviewer missed the amazing handwriting recognition, and the detail and pressure sensitivity the stylus provides. This means the bigwigs can actually write notes! (Anyone tried the rubber-nubbin crayon sized stylus' available for the other two platforms?) Not to mention the thing can use our document management system and printers and shares. Anyone who has tried to shoehorn android and ipad tablets into a windows domain will understand how good this gadget is.

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