ThinkPad 10 (review): Great Windows tablet, good laptop

ThinkPad 10 (review): Great Windows tablet, good laptop

Summary: Lenovo has updated the ThinkPad Tablet 2, and the ThinkPad 10 may be the best Windows tablet.


 |  Image 16 of 17

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Thumbnail 13
  • Thumbnail 14
  • Thumbnail 15
  • Thumbnail 16
  • Thumbnail 17
  • Pen included

    The ThinkPad 10 tablet comes with a pen but lacks storage for it. The Ultrabook dock has a silo on the right side for the pen (red top).

  • Desktop dock

    Lenovo has a dock for the ThinkPad 10 that adds a lot of ports for using with peripherals to turn the tablet into a desktop system.

  • Dock ports

    The standard ports are on the back of the desktop dock.

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Reviews, Tablets, Microsoft Surface, Windows 8

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • One More Addition For Desktop Mode...

    A 4GB RAM option is better than most BayTrail tabs but 8GB would best. Never buy something that just barely fits today's software requirements Even smart phones and tablets have been getting more powerful CPUs, more memory and more storage. After a couple OS updates, they typically have to be replaced -- not because their CPU is too slow but because they don't have enough RAM.

    It would also be nice to know if they are thinking about adding an H.265 hardware decoder. This is probably Intel's responsibility to include on the BayTrail SOC but H.265 is important. It almost halves the bandwidth required for streaming video and having a hardware decoder is key to battery life.
    • Design

      The design of the accessories is just awful. The look like 80's peripherals. There were clearly no attention to details. It’s probably made for brown suits and tie accountants
      • That is the idea

        It is a targeted to business so if what you said is correct then they really nailed it.

        In general is it is a Surface Pro 1.5. A little better than a Surface 1 Pro but not as good as a Surface 2 Pro (or what ever the name is now). Price is an important point. In this scale.
      • Odd observation about the peripherals

        I don't know what you were expecting, but the notion of 1980's style peripherals is clearly berserk, there were no such peripherals available, or even necessary in the 1980's.

        If you don't like the "look" of the style than just say so, but don't try and claim that they are of a style reminiscent of the 1980's when no such things even existed in the 1980's. I don't think anyone is going to say you have no right not to like the "look", but then of course it seems that you understand nobody cares much what you personally like and don't like, and as such you have tried to turn your point into something bigger than it is by claiming no thought has been put into the peripherals because they look like they came from the 1980's.

        Here is 1980's style.

        Of course there is nothing even quite similar as I said, there were not even any need for such tablet peripherals in the 1980's.

        The closest you get starts looking like 1990's stuff, and the similar but not quite there 1990's stuff look like the 2000's and so it continues on to what we see here today.

        The bottom line is, what these particular peripherals look like is similar to many same kind peripherals that exist today.

        If you don't like the look, good for you. Who cares. Ive never been in a store anywhere to see a customer look at anything and query "I wonder what gbouchard99 would think of this..."

        I think that the way Macs look is somewhat revolting, but enough people like them to keep Apple pumping out millions of computers and selling them to happy customers, so who cares what I think about there looks, right?

        Likewise for you and your somewhat inexplicable disgust for what at least appears to be a rather inoffensive but plain keyboard.
    • If you need 8GB RAM you really shouldn't be buying Atom

      Buy the right tool for the job. If you need 8GB RAM at minimum you should be buying a Core i3, but more likely a Core i5. Atom is meant to compete with ARM tablets for portability and battery life. The storage memory that Atom tablets use to extend battery life is way too slow of a bottleneck for anyone that would want 8GB of RAM. If you are using MS Office, web browsing, and Windows Store apps then an Atom is perfectly fine at 2GB.
  • It's not a ThinkPad if it doesn't have a TrackPoint

    The main reason I have bought ThinkPads as my main computer over past 20 or so years is the TrackPoint so it's a deal breaker for one not to be included with the keyboard.
    • Trackpoint

      Me to. TrackPoint is King.
      • To Put Things in Perspective

        While some people like TrackPoint I have found that even more hate it. Still, by far the largest contingency do not care one way or another.

        While some people like touchpad mice I have found that about the same number hate it. Still, by far the largest contingency do not care one way or another.

        While some people like a separate mouse I have found that few people hate it. Still, by far the largest contingency do not care one way or another.

        Then there are trackballs. While it has its fans they are few and far between. Most people have an opinion on them and hate them.

        Finally touch. It is new and I have found most are simply confused and have no opinion yet. They like it on there cell phone and tablets but do not yet understand it for Windows. At this point most Windows apps do not support touch well.

        Lastly Digitizing Touch (pen). This is really new. Most people do not know it is different from regular touch. The pen makes legacy Windows apps work good with touch. Personally I fell that digital ink is a killer app.
        • I think your right MichaelInMA.

          Like as in many things, a few love, a few hate and most are indifferent.
        • yes, many hate it

          including my wife and children. Doesn't matter to me. It's the first feature I look for in laptops. This is one of those things the majority dislikes, but the minority loves it with a passion. Like good scotch or cigars.
  • Questions

    1: Do you include the Surface Pro 3 in your conclusion that this is the best Windows Tablet?
    2. My experience with earlier generation Atom processors is that they did not provide a satisfactory inking experience. I felt that there was unacceptable lag. Is that still the case, or has the Atom gotten better?
    • Good questions.

      I like the smaller screen size, but using an Atom CPU and limited RAM makes this drastically inferior to the Surface 3. Also, where is the TrackPoint? That's the number one reason to choose a Thinkpad over another brand. I've always liked the TrackPoint better than a touch pad. If I ever consider a Windows tablet, this wouldn't even make the short list due to those two items.
      • Do any of your other tablets having trackpoints?

        I'm wondering if you have managed to purchase tablets that don't offer trackpoints or that are not as powerful as a Surface Pro 3?

        I ask, because some people seem to find some sort of aspect that is a deal breaker for a Windows tablet, but somehow it isn't for some other tablet.
    • Inking experience on the Dell Venue 8 Pro (Bay Trail) is excellent, IMO.

      Inking inside either the classical desktop or the Win 8.1 modern UI Microsoft "One Note" application is fluid using the new and improved Dell active stylus.

      Note: The original version of the Dell stylus had horrible inking and menu selection characteristics? Dell agreed with everyone's critical observations about their stylus and they improved that stylus tremoundously in an update. In fact, I received a replacement stylus free of charge even without any request on my part for a replacement unit. (Nice effort, Dell)
      • Dell Venue 8 Pro a "decent" option

        I have not used the new pen, but the Dell Venue 8 Pro is just a little too small. I have a Venue 8 Pro and tried OneNote but the writing area is too small for me.
        • Best Atom Tabtop

          I think the Dell Venue 11 Pro is THE Atom based tabtop to beat.
          It has a proper hinged keyboard with secondary battery to help it go 18 hours. And if that's still not enough, you can carry spares and swap it into the tablet itself.
          The keyboard even gives you an RJ45 ethernet port as well as a full HDMI port, and USB3 ports.
          Full HD screen and stylus support just tops it off.
          I could never live with the Thinkpad 10 keyboard dock. It's a deal breaker.
  • Windows 8 Tablet = Niche

    I find it difficult to imagine that Windows 8 on any tablet hardware will appeal to anything more than a tiny niche market. Windows 8 is the "kiss of death" for any hardware, be that tablet, notebook, desktop, or phone. It appeals only to those who like and desire Windows 8; they're relatively few in number, and making converts continues to be challenging.
    • You haven't really tried it

      A Win 8 tablet - or any other hardware with it - is not exactly a kiss of death. Given your comment, it's nearly impossible to imaging you've actually used 8 for any period of time across machines.

      In your "tiny niche market" there are roughly 200 million 8s registered now with the numbers steadily growing. The reason is it works, and all the BS about learning curves is dissipating as more people actually get their hands on it and use it every day. Like me.

      I've been using it on my notebook, desktop and tablet since shortly after it debuted. I quickly - and I'm talking literally in just a few days - got used to the new ways to work and now find it indispensable, particularly on smaller screens. The overall experience is rather good.

      Is certainly isn't perfect, but the many of the new features are seriously good. And the next few iterations hold significant potential of turning a near-future version into another Windows classic. No OS has had great success out of the first box. None.

      We're blessed with several great OSs now, and none of them is a clunker. To take an approach like this smacks of trolling and self-imposed ignorance. For many people this is a work godsend. For many people this makes little sense. And that's true for all of the choices we luckily have.
      • Tried It, Didn't Like It

        Lucky2BHere: I tried Win8, but found it unintuitive and unattractive. I wasn't forced to use it, so I didn't. When it was time to replace my hardware-failing XP box a year ago, I went to Windows 7, just like the vast majority of PC users did, and are doing.

        You allege "...there are roughly 200 million 8s registered..." Could you please release your verifiable source of Windows 8 "registrations"? Microsoft only reports what they call "Sales," which includes (a) license to OEMs (used or not, including downgrade rights to Win7), (b) new Enterprise site licenses, and renewals (used or not, including downgrade rights to Win7), (c) purchases of PCs and Notebooks that exercise downgrade rights to Win7. Just about every source available tells us that actual Windows 8 *usage* *(as opposed to Microsoft's reported "sales") is about the same as Vista's was, as measured by number of months after launch. In other words, Windows 8 is about as popular as Vista was. Interpret that as you will.

        I respect that you like and use Windows 8, just like I respect people who prefer Mac OS or Linux. I just don't share your fondness for it.

        With respect to Windows 8 tablets of all sorts, which includes Surface, they enjoy a tablet market share in the single digits while Android and iOS own the rest. That's a niche, and hence the title of my post (2 up).
    • The right time

      Personally I think it is a question of hardware, form, and OS. You might be right in that W8 will never take off but I really think W9 next year will be the year of the full Windows tablet. The demo units Intel showed off with full i processors in a super thin fanless tablet with x64 and 8+GB of ram while still being battery sipping is a real breakthrough on hardware. And everything we have seen so far with previews of W9 shows enterprises will be pleased with the changes and adopt the OS. Where the enterprise goes, the consumer market follows due to familiarity (same thing seen with Office).

      Personally I just do not see any reason to buy a neutered OS tablet when a full OS one exists. What might kill Windows tablets is if Apple decides to put MacOS on tablets.
      Rann Xeroxx