ThinkPad Tablet 8: Small, great, and all business

ThinkPad Tablet 8: Small, great, and all business

Summary: Small Windows 8 tablets are beginning to appear in numbers. The ThinkPad Tablet 8 from Lenovo is a model for the enterprise.

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  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 8 review

    Lenovo has as many tablets on the market as any company, and this latest entry in the ThinkPad line is as good as any. The ThinkPad Tablet 8 brings the quality typical of the product line to the smaller format. The high-resolution display (1,920x1,200) on the 8.3-inch screen is a good choice by Lenovo.

    Hardware specs as reviewed 

    Processor  Intel Z3770 Quad Core (2MB Cache, up to 2.39GHz)
    Memory  2GB
    Display  8.3-inch, 1,920x1,200
    OS version  Windows 8.1 Pro ($100 option)
    Camera  Front: 2MP; Rear: 8MP
    Storage  64 — 128GB
    Ports  USB 3.0 Micro-B, microHDMI, MicroSD Slot
    Connectivity  Wi-fi 802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery  8 hours
    Dimensions  5.19" x 8.83" x 0.35"
    Weight  0.95lbs

    The Tablet 8 is black and the casing looks like typical ThinkPad fare. It is slightly heavy for its size, and at 0.95lbs it is almost as heavy as the larger iPad Air. It still feels good and solid in the hand, and the durable construction is tangible.

    See related: Lenovo Miix 2 8: First impressions (hands on)

    The Bay Trail processor in the ThinkPad Tablet 8 is a snappy performer, and no matter what I've thrown at it the tablet has run smoothly. The display is bright and vivid and the resolution makes Windows 8.1 look very nice. The two cameras are of decent resolution and both produce images of good quality. The rear camera comes into play with the unique QuickShot Cover which is covered later.

    There is no keyboard accessory available for the Tablet 8 at publication time, and Lenovo is not expected to make one available. The special microUSB port (USB 3.0 Micro-B) is an odd style that looks like two ports in one. This could indicate there might be a dock accessory at some point. The USB charging cable has a special end that plugs into both ports for charging.

    The placement of the Windows button and front webcam indicates that Lenovo believes that portrait orientation is the way most will use it. The Tablet 8 supports all four orientations as is common with tablets. The ThinkPad Tablet 8 is very comfortable to use in portrait mode given its small size.

    The battery life of the Tablet 8 is listed at 8 hours, and this seems accurate in our testing. Aggressive power management could probably eke more run time out of the battery but was not tested. The special charging cable mentioned earlier does provide fast charging of the tablet.

    Lenovo offers the ThinkPad Tablet 8 with two Windows options, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Tablets with the former come with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, while the latter does not.

    The ThinkPad Tablet 8 is a good Windows tablet that is aimed more at the enterprise than the consumer. From the conservative black casing to the Lenovo utility apps included, the Tablet 8 will be right at home in the enterprise.

    Pros:

    Solid construction

    Professional appearance

    Fast performer

    High-resolution display

    Cons:

    Slightly heavy for the size

    Expensive

    Reviewer rating: 9 out of 10

    The ThinkPad Tablet 8 is available from Lenovo starting at $399 and should be shipping soon at the time of this publication.

    Click through the gallery to see the ThinkPad Tablet 8 in detail, and the unique QuickShot Cover.

  • Bright, high-resolution display

    The 1,920x1,200 display is a nice touch on the ThinkPad Tablet 8. It is bright and vivid, and the Metro side of Windows 8.1 looks really sharp.

    The high resolution makes items on the desktop appear tiny. I had to scale the desktop display settings up to 200 percent to make them usable.

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Topics: Mobility, Lenovo, Reviews, Tablets, Windows 8

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42 comments
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  • Saw one at Best Buy

    Saw one of these at Best Buy. Looked quite nice. Very, very thin. Felt good in the hand.

    Honestly, the only think missing for devices like this one and the Dell venue 8 to be really attractive to me is a robust Windows store. The store is much better than it was last year, but it still has a way to go.
    dsf3g
    • 100% agree

      I agree, I live in the bay area for example and the stores are only found in San Fran and silicon valley. They are great tablets though these windows tablets. I have the Asus T-100 transformer book
      Fulaman1984
    • Windows Store Complaints - Seriously?

      I went from iPad 3 to Surface RT and haven't regretted it at all. A tablet with Office 2013 is hands down more useful to me than any Apple or Android device out there (I still have an iPhone but am seriously considering a Windows Phone for my next one).

      The Windows Store has Facebook, Twitter, news, science and education apps, weather, TED Talks, DocuSign, PodCasts, native and non-native Olympics 2014 apps, plenty of games and much much more - more than you could ever use. So what exactly are you missing? Some games that haven't been brought over yet? Maybe the odd app that you probably don't use on a regular basis anyway? The store will continue to grow just like the Apple Store did in the beginning and there are a lot more Windows Developers out there than Apple. Microsoft wasn't first to build the platform, but they're good at playing catch-up and winning.
      JeffLe73
      • A couple...

        Pinball Arcade is the biggie. I've got Pinball FX on my Venue 11 Pro, but it just doesn't compare to a honest simulation like Pinball Arcade. Plants vs. Zombies would be nice, as would a larger selection of Tower Defense games.

        Google maps (with street view) and Youtube would also be great to have, though I don't hold out much hope of those two ever reaching the platform.

        The Windows store has certainly improved a great deal, though, and many of my must-haves are there already, including Hulu+, Netflix, the Nook app, Dropbox (getting better), Flixter, Facebook, and some great games including Asphalt 7 & 8, Defense Zone 1 & 2, Riptide GP 1 & 2, a few Angry Birds titles and a whole lot more.
        dsf3g
    • The App Store does need more apps..

      I think MS is on the right track if they bring in a "modern mix" function into the OS so Metro apps can run on the desktop in Windows, this will encourage devs to build more of their apps in Metro so they can leverage payment and updates more easily and not worry about other app conflicts.

      But I have been using Surface RT for a year now and will a full browser with IE11 with full Flash I have not missed too many apps. And note the tablet in the article is a full Windows OS so you can install anything on it. With an 8" you might want to use a stylus to navigate, I don't have any problems using touch on the desktop with 10" screen.
      Rann Xeroxx
    • Completely disagree

      Just check usage statistics of a typical tablet, over 80% use browser and email follows by 10-15 applications covering social, media,travel, etc. and all this he and cry over what 1% of applications??

      Just introspect, the so called problem is in your biased minds!
      soulxfer@...
  • agreed

    But as this is a full blown 8.1 pro, windows store is no bearing. But that's just me. ;-)
    Koymik
    • Except...

      Except it's an 8" tablet. I'm fine with the limited Windows store offering one my Dell Venue 11 Pro, because I often as not use it as a laptop, and anything in the Windows store is just gravy. But an 8" tablet you're really only gong to use in desktop mode in a pinch. You're mostly going to be relying on Windows Store touch based apps.
      dsf3g
      • Not sure what I am missing

        What apps in particular would you like to see on the platform?
        Guess I use my ASUS T100 (10.1 inch) as a laptop also because it does most everything I need it to do, since its Windows 8.1.
        thekman58
        • exactly

          Same here we both have the Asus, I use it as a laptop as well.
          Fulaman1984
      • Some people would say the same thing about 11 inch tablets

        That the screen is too small for desktop use, but you enjoy it.

        Different people like different things.

        An 8 inch computer may be a very attractive option for some that need more than entertainment devices forced into work roles.
        Emacho
      • Make it a desktop in an instant to put it in a pocket

        8" is small, this makes it very portable. High screen resolution should make it very easy to read.

        At the same time, it has a very capable processor inside. Connect it to a desktop monitor, a mouse and a keyboard and you have a good desktop setup for editing a large spreadsheet, etc. Use a USB 3.0 docking station to connect all of the speedy peripherals (even multiple monitors) or use Miracast to connect wirelessly to a TV (and Bluetooth for mouse-keyboard).

        It's easy to manage and do serious work when this tablet is in the desktop mode - all those things that you typically do on a more expensive laptop (within reason, but Bay Trail is much faster than old Atoms from netbook times). And it's easy to use it as a tablet for browsing, emailing, watching movies, listening to music or gaming - all those things that you do with Kindle or more expensive iPad.
        Earthling2
      • Or use it with a stylus

        You can navigate rather well with a stylus on a desktop.
        Rann Xeroxx
        • Or use direct stylus like the Tegra Note 7

          I have a Tegra Note 7 for $199 and the direct stylus is a compelling and much less expensive competitor to digitizers (faster, impressive tip detection, worse (but not bad) palm rejection). Other OS's could use this as well I'm sure, removing the cost obstacle. The downside is the device would have to use the ARM (ahem, RT) version of windows. But if I were to use windows, I would rather have the stylus than the legacy apps. As someone else pointed out, the vast majority of time on a tablet like this will be spent on web surfing and email. In my experience, this is true, although I do find some time to play some pretty awesome Tegra optimized games too :)
          z_mikowski
  • I don't know about business

    Though having real Windows and not RT will certainly help in that respect; but I would think you'd have to have full USB ports on a device that is business focused. There are just too many legacy devices that don't do Bluetooth or WiFi in businesses.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • Too thick

      The problem with full USB ports on tablets is it forces them to be too thick.
      JamesKendrick
      • Looks like you lived under a rock for a while

        You should be able to use a USB 3.0 OTG cable (for example one from a Samsung phone) to connect all USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices and hubs. For a small range, look here: http://plugable.com/products. I'm sure Lenovo will have their own range of products too.

        It's funny how iPad business users never complain about lack of ports and for a Windows tablet it is suddenly an issue.
        Earthling2
        • Just in case you missed

          You replied to the person who is the author of this article. He is quite knowledgeable and have used plenty of handheld devices. Look for his articles for more details.
          Shank104
          • I read

            "The special microUSB port (USB 3.0 Micro-B) is an odd style that looks like two ports in one. This could indicate there might be a dock accessory at some point. The USB charging cable has a special end that plugs into both ports for charging."

            Looks like two ports? Could indicate? No mention that a lot of peripherals could be connected? Looks like the author spent a lot of time playing with iPad :-)
            Earthling2
          • but he makes a great point

            That there seems to be two sets of rules for reviewing tablets. One for iOS/Android and one for Windows(either version).

            Far to often the exact same issue is treated as a benefit for one group and a negative for the other.
            Emacho