Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen review: A top-quality 2-in-1 detachable

Written by Sandra Vogel, Contributor

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen

8.1 / 5

pros and cons

  • High quality 3K touch-screen
  • Good kickstand
  • Bundled ThinkPad Pen Pro
  • All-day battery life
  • Fiddly access to MicroSD card slot
  • LTE mobile broadband is an optional extra
  • Housing for stylus still not perfect
  • No ThinkShutter camera privacy
  • Editors' review
  • Specs

When Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet made its debut in 2016 it was designed to compete with devices like Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 and Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Two years on, the X1 Tablet has become a staple of the ThinkPad line, and is now on its third generation. With the classic ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3rd Gen also in Lenovo's top-tier line-up, business users have plenty of ThinkPad X1 configurations to choose between.

The 13-inch ThinkPad X1 Tablet is designed to bring tablet computing into the office without compromising on traditional laptop features. It should be the only laptop a mobile professional needs -- that's the idea, anyway, and the bundling of Lenovo's ThinkPad Pen Pro will please those of a more creative persuasion.


The 13-inch X1 Tablet runs 8th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage. The tablet weighs 890g, rising to 1.27kg with the keyboard attached.

Images: Lenovo

The industrial design and build quality is exactly what you'd expect from the flagship ThinkPad X1 range. With MIL-STD 810G certification, the X1 Tablet should withstand knocks and drops, while the Gorilla Glass-protected touch screen should resist scratches and dings.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

http://www.techrepublic.com/resource-library/whitepapers/20-pro-tips-to-make-windows-10-work-the-way-you-want/As usual with a detachable laptop-tablet hybrid, the bulk of the ThinkPad X1 Tablet's components are in the screen section, so that's the bulkier, heavier element. For the record, the tablet alone weighs 890g and measures 304mm by 225.56mm by 8.9mm (11.96in. x 8.88in. x 0.35in.). With the keyboard section attached the weight increases to 1.27kg and thickness to 15.1mm (0.59in.).


The kickstand supports a wide range of screen angles.

Image: Lenovo

The tablet keyboard sections are held together by strong magnets -- and I mean strong. While I don't recommend it, you can carry the whole unit around by the screen, with the keyboard dangling below, and it won't fall away.

The tablet's build is very solid. The durable kickstand hinge supports a wide range of angles, so the screen can easily be set up for comfortable viewing.

Top ZDNET Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

Top ZDNET Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

Raspberry Pi 400

Top ZDNET Reviews

Raspberry Pi 400

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro

Top ZDNET Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro

reMarkable 2

Top ZDNET Reviews

reMarkable 2


The keyboard is a little less tough, being thin and having a fair amount of flex. Still, it's fine when the screen and keyboard are linked for transit: the two halves shut together neatly, and the whole thing feels like a solid unit.

The ThinkPad Pen Pro is too fat to sit in a chassis-integrated housing. Thankfully the rather cumbersome stylus holder that occupied a full-size USB port in the original model has been ditched, and there's now a holder that fits into a dedicated slot on the back of the tablet, beneath the kickstand.


With the ThinkPad Pen Pro in its holder, the volume rocker is inaccessible.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

I found this works quite well, but it's not a perfect solution. The ThinkPad Pen Pro wedges into the holder quite tightly, which is good in that it's less likely to drop out of the holder of its own accord and get lost, but bad in that it takes quite a yank to get the pen out, ready for use. Also, inexplicably, Lenovo has placed the tablet's volume rocker so that it's inaccessible when the ThinkPad Pen Pro is in its holder.

The screen's 13-inch 3,000-by-2,000-pixel (3K) IPS touch screen delivers superb image quality, although it's quite reflective. Gorilla Glass 4 should prevent the surface from getting scratched, or worse.


The 13-inch IPS screen is quite reflective but delivers excellent image quality. The keyboard section is somewhat flexible, but still allows you to touch-type at good speed.

Images: Lenovo

The keyboard is necessarily built into a shallower space than is the case with a conventional laptop. It's recessed so that the keys don't damage the screen when the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is closed down, and as a result the feel is slightly less comfortable than usual under the fingers. The keys are all well sized -- and that includes the arrow keys and Fn keys -- and there's a large Enter key. I was able to touch type at my normal speed, although the experience is less satisfying than on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3rd Gen.

SEE: Windows 10 April 2018 Update: An insider's guide (free PDF)

The touchpad is responsive, and its size has not been compromised by the two-piece setup. Indeed, Lenovo includes its signature scroll and mouse buttons between the top of the touchpad and the space bar, and also has its signature red TrackPoint between the G, H and B keys.

The 2018 ThinkPad X1 Tablet uses 8th generation Intel Core processors. There are just three preconfigured models on Lenovo's UK website, and I was sent the mid-range model to review. The top-end option costs just a shade over £2,000 (inc. VAT), but for the money you get a Core i7-8650U processor. None of the preconfigured models have integrated LTE mobile broadband, though.

  • Intel Core i5-8250U, Windows 10 Home, 13.0 inch 3,000 x 2,000 IPS touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £1,479.99 (inc. VAT; £1,233.32 ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-8550U, Windows 10 Pro, 13.0 inch 3,000 x 2,000 IPS touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,849.99 (inc. VAT; £1,541.66 ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-8650U, Windows 10 Pro, 13.0 inch 3,000 x 2,000 IPS touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £2,019.99 (inc. VAT; £1,683.32 ex. VAT)

Ports and connectors are closer to what we'd expect to find on a tablet than on a laptop. So, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one of which will be occupied when the device is charging, and a headset jack. And that's your lot. Well, actually, not quite: there's a SIM tray for those who want to add LTE mobile broadband, and the caddy has room for a MicroSD card too. This is handy, but whenever a card needs to be used, the tray has to be popped out. Cue the old open-paper-clip manoeuvre, which isn't an elegant solution for a premium laptop.

There's a fingerprint reader on the bezel, looking just like the home/biometric button on other tablets. There are two cameras -- 2MP and 8MP at the back -- and you can add IR as an option if you want to use Windows Hello authentication.

Unlike on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, there's no ThinkShutter to cover the camera lens when required. Lenovo has created a problem for itself here: if this privacy solution is deemed important enough for the X1 Yoga -- and to feature lower down the ThinkPad range, on the ThinkPad T480s for example -- why is it absent from the X1 Tablet? Either it matters or it doesn't.

The stereo speakers deliver plenty of volume, but -- as so often on laptops and tablets -- there's a distinct lack of bass. They'll do the job for video calls and after-hours movie watching, but don't expect top-quality audio.

Lenovo rates the X1 Tablet's 42Wh battery for up to 9.5 hours, which seems like a good estimate. In one test session involving writing to the web, a fair bit of streaming and some web browsing, I got through 48 percent of battery life in 4.5 hours. Depending on workloads, it may well be possible to get through a working day from a full charge.


Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen is compact and portable, and the bundled stylus expands the range of use cases. Many users should find battery life good enough for all-day working, and twin Thunderbolt 3 ports will be handy -- although one will be occupied when the battery is charging.

There are some drawbacks: the MicroSD card slot is fiddly to get at, audio quality should be better on a device that's aimed at mobile professionals and creatives, there's no ThinkShutter for the camera, and Lenovo still hasn't provided a perfect external housing for its stylus.


Best 2-in-1 laptops, convertibles, and hybrid laptops for business 2018
2-in-1 devices that can function as laptops or tablets are a growing segment of the PC market. But which type and model of hybrid laptop should you buy? We explore the options and list some of the best.

Huawei MediaPad M5 tablets now available in the US, M5 Pro includes M-Pen stylus
Three new Android tablets are now available from online retailers in the US. Prices range from $319 to $449.

What's next on the Microsoft hardware front: Rumored codenames, target dates, and more
A bunch of new Microsoft hardware codenames and information are circulating. Here's what could be in the works and when new devices may arrive.

Best Tablets for 2018 (CNET)
Our editors hand-picked these products based on our tests and reviews. If you use our links to buy, we may get a commission.

Is Google finally killing Android tablets in favor of Chrome devices? (TechRepublic)
An update to the Android website removed the tablet category entirely. It was restored, but Google is still showcasing devices that are now discontinued.

Read more reviews