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ThinkPad Tablet 8: Small, great, and all business

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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1 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

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.

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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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3 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Built for portrait

The Tablet 8 looks good in portrait and is a joy to use this way. The high-resolution display makes everything nice and crisp in portrait.

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ThinkPad quality construction

The good ThinkPad construction is evident everywhere on the Tablet 8, especially the back as evident in the image above.

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ThinkPad Tablet 8 left side

The ThinkPad Tablet 8 doesn't have a lot of ports. The ports on the left side of the tablet are:

microSD; microHDMI

These ports are not accessible with the QuickShot Cover attached.

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6 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

ThinkPad Tablet 8 right side

These controls are accessible even with the cover attached.

USB 3.0 Micro-B; volume up/down; power

There is a reset pinhole between the volume and power controls.

The audio jack (not pictured) is on the bottom of the Tablet 8 in standard portrait orientation.

 

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7 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

QuickShot Cover (optional)

Lenovo is offering a $35 smart cover accessory, the QuickShot Cover. It is a cover typical for tablets, with some notable exceptions.

The cover doesn't roll up like those for other tablets, it is rigid. It has a rubber coating on one side to support using the tablet in a tent mode for hands-free use. 

With the cover folded behind the Tablet 8, there is a corner that can be turned down to expose the rear 8MP camera. This action automatically fires up the camera app, allowing photos and video to be shot.

The QuickShot Cover attaches to the ThinkPad Tablet 8 magnetically, and is easy to pop on and off.

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8 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

QuickShot Cover tent mode

This is the tent mode mentioned in the previous slide. It works well and in testing, the cover will also support the ThinkPad Tablet 8 in portrait with care.

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QuickShot Cover peekaboo

The image above demostrates exposing the Tablet 8 camera by folding down the corner.

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