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A tablet for business users

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 16, 2011
Unlike most tablets, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is not just a looker. It is equipped with a business sense.

Consumers used to the sleek iPads might find the Lenovo ThinkPad tablet a bit chunky and a tad heavier (Weighing 715g, the ThinkPad Tablet is heavier than both the iPad 2, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1), but there is a justification for weight: this tablet is aimed at business users.

Before we get down to all the serious stuff about this new baby from the Lenovo stable, first let's go into the tablet's looks department. True to tradition, the tablet mirrors the Lenovo's ThinkPad range of business notebooks. Hold it in your hands and this machine demands practicality from you: square, sharp edges; rubber-style finish on the sides and the rear; and a glossy screen manufactured with gorilla glass. Munch on it. On top of that, there are buttons on one side of the tablet that are shortcuts to some of the basic functions. For example, one button allows you to invert the screen for your ease, and this function is useful when you are using the optional keyboard portfolio or sharing it with someone sitting across you.

For a difference with other tablets that have flooded the market, this tablet has a digitiser pen for drawing. What it does is that it allows you to take notes straight onto the screen. You can even use it to annotate PDF documents. I tried using it for taking random notes. It is easy to use and throws word options when you write something, which is a helpful function. But the downside is that the app sometimes gets the word wrongly and you have to rub those erroneous words off and rewrite them. Also, I thought the pen could capture drawing too but no, it does not do that. It understands only text. If this functionality could only be fined-tuned, I am sure it can become this tablet's major selling point.

Lenovo also sells an optional keyboard portfolio carry case for US$89 that turns the ThinkPad into a notebook-style device. When you use this keyboard, you can use the tablet like an efficient laptop, fully exploiting its business user functionalities.

The ThinkPad runs on the latest version of Google's Android software, Honeycomb 3.1 as of now and will keep getting upgrades with time. It comes with some special Lenovo features such as anti-theft software and the ability to disable the device if lost or stolen, among others. All this is cool.

However, there were two things that disappointed me when I used this tablet. I tested the tablet for nearly two weeks with a Wi-Fi connection. Compared to my laptop, the Internet's performance was slower for the tablet. The same videos seemed to download faster on my iPhone and on my normal laptop than on this brand new tablet.


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