Review: Thinkpad X1 Tablet Gen 3

On arrival, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet is a fabulously packaged proposition. Rivals Apple have certainly ensured that hardware manufacturers have all upped their game in terms of presentation and packaging. But as you unpack it, you can't help but unconsciously compare any tablet to Apple’s ubiquitous iPad. And so the design is what immediately hits you. A clunky but functional kettle lead and power connector. A nondescript black wireless, detachable keyboard. An impressively large 13"  edge to edge black tablet display and kickstand, together with Steve Jobs pet hate – an active pen or stylus. Functional is the abiding theme. And the Thinkpad doesn’t disappoint.

For me, the first test with any Windows OS is how quickly it boots up. And I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everything loaded, thanks, no doubt, to the Intel Core i7 Processor, which gives it a lot of horsepower. Also, with the promised 9.5 hours battery life, that makes this tablet a real workhorse in terms of power, portability and productivity.

Unlike say the iPad or Surface products, this tablet is upgradeable with tiny Philip heads screws giving you easy access to the motherboard if you are inclined to do DIY upgrades. In reality, this product’s true competitor is the Surface Pro and the ability to upgrade it yourself will, no doubt, be very appealing to the in-house IT team of any large Windows-based corporation.

The Thinkpads are business line products and are built as such. They are meant to be durable, upgradeable and, probably most importantly in the business environment, easily integrated into the business IT structure. This is where Windows OS comes into its own.

The active pen comes with AAAA battery (not rechargeable), 4096 level pressure sensitivity with tilt support which makes drawing with this tablet a real pleasure. I tried out the onboard MS Paint with the pen and it worked wonderfully. Whether this is a tablet for the animation or architectural industry, I'm not sure, but the first impressions are that it would be.  The interchange between touch screen and pen is fairly seamless and handwriting recognition is very impressive, again making this an ideal business notebook. The pen has a special slot for a pen holder which is a little bit fiddly design-wise – and one can imagine it being easily mislaid or lost.

In terms of display, the 3 x 2 aspect display with durable Gorilla Glass is impressive, in terms of software screen real estate and web browsing – although video in landscape mode does letterbox. But again, this is not an iPad, nor is meant to be. It is a relatively thin tablet coming at .89 Kg in weight (or 1.27Kg with keyboard)– which is a bit chunky but still impressive given the functionality and hardware inside.

The detachable keyboard provides a nice typing experience and the trackpad works well. The magnetic pin connectors work fine – but one can't feel a little disappointed with the purely functional design.

In terms of ports, there is only Thunderbolt 3 which allows for a lot of flexibility but the lack of a USB A port is a bit annoying. Thankfully, they haven’t phased out headphone jacks as Apple seem intent on doing.

Price-wise, the Thinkpad X1 tablets start at € 2,219.99 which given the functionality, processing power and durability provides an affordable solution for professionals on the go. I would obviously like to see a little more thought in terms of design over the purely functional (e.g. the flimsy Sim card slot) but this is a workhorse tablet for a professional. Overall, this is a great addition to the Lenovo Thinkpad family and can’t be faulted in its claim to provide power, productivity and portability.

SPECIFICATIONS

Processor

· Up to 8th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro™ 

· Up to 8th Gen Intel® Core™ 

Operating System

· Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - Lenovo recommends Windows 10 Pro.

· Windows 10 Home

Display

13" 3K (3000 x 2000) with Gorilla® Glass

Memory

· 16 GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz

· 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz

Storage

· 1TB SSD OPAL2 PCIe-NVMe M.2

· 512 GB SSD OPAL2 PCIe-NVMe M.2

· 256 GB SSD OPAL2 PCIe-NVMe M.2

Audio

· Dolby® Audio™ Premium

· Noise-cancelling dual-array microphones

What’s in the box

· ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3rd Gen)

· X1 Tablet Gen 3 Thin Keyboard 

· 45W Type-C Power Adapter

· Quick Start Guide 

· 3 Year Depot Base Warranty: Protects internal hardware only and requires mail-in repair

AC Adapter

65W

Graphics

Intel UHD Graphics 620

Battery

· Up to 9.5 hours*, integrated Li-ion 42 Whr

· * Based on testing three different product configurations with MobileMark 2014. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors.

Security

· Fast Identity Online (FIDO) certification

· dTPM 2.0

· Touch Fingerprint Reader

· IR camera (Optional) for facial recognition software

· Mini Kensington® lock slot

Pointing Device

Active Pen with Battery

Wireless

Intel Wireless-AC 8265 2x2 AC

Colour

Black (only)