TechVirtuoso

Lenovo: What have you done?

June 16th, 2015 at 11:17 PM  No Comments

I have been a die hard Thinkpad fan since I got my hands on a Lenovo Thinkpad X200t Tablet back 7+ years ago.  Since then I have had a number of different Lenovo “THINK” devices:  ThinkCentre A70z, ThinkPad T420, Thinkpad Tablet 2,  Thinkpad T440s and now the Thinkpad X1 Carbon (3rd Gen).  There was TONS of posts after IBM sold their PC division to Lenovo claiming doom and gloom for the Think line.  After retiring my x200 for the T420, I had no worries.  The T420 was rock solid, a brick but was built like a Thinkpad should be built.  I never had any issues with that Laptop, it never let me down.  When I purchased the Thinkpad Tablet 2, I noticed some items that were not huge faults, but small attention to detail items.  I was ecstatic about the design of the T440s, and ordered it before it was ready to ship, but this is when it really went south.

After using the T440s for 18 months here are my thoughts…

  • They switched to a new style dock with the T440s and newer.  I have the Ultra version and it has issues resuming monitors from sleep.
  • I really tried to like the new buttonless touchpad, but I couldn’t.  I have always been a “nub” guy, and the new touch buttons make it impossible.
  • Serviceability is a pain in the ass.
  • The space bar doesn’t always register when it is pressed (I am a “beater” so I know it is getting pressed.

Lenovo saw there error in their ways and brought back physical buttons for us nub users in the next iteration, and so I went for a 3rd Gen X1 Carbon.  I have only had it for a couple of days but I think it may be going back.

  • Even though I have a OneLink Dock, instead of the Ultra, the sleep problem still occurs with my DisplayPort monitor.
  • It also randomly has a hard time coming out of sleep.  In the last week I had to press and hold the power button to get the machine to come on after sleeping.
  • Until Microsoft fixes their DPI issues with multiple monitors, 2560×1440 on a 14″ screen is wayyy too small.

Bottom Line:

Lenovo needed to make changes in the ThinkCentre line to keep up but these issues are problems I can’t overlook.  I love the design of the new Thinkpads, but they lack what made Thinkpad’s great, being rock solid.  Would the ThinkPad line have the same issues if they were still owned by IBM?  Nobody can answer that but if they don’t get a handle on this soon, I see a dark future for the company when it comes to the enterprise.

Finally, I got my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2!

February 4th, 2013 at 7:00 AM  No Comments

thinkpad-tablet-2-verticalMy company has been trialing tablet solutions for the last year.  They have tried out iPad’s and Nexus 7’s at other sites with limited success.  The basic web apps work fine and the users can send/receive email on them, but none of our native apps work and some of the more complex web apps don’t work properly.  I knew that until we got a full Windows based tablet they would not be useful for our management staff.  I was very excited when my boss gave me the approval to order a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 back in October.  I patiently waited week by week receiving accessories and emailing my sales rep checking on the status.  Toward the end of December I was beginning to wonder if it was every going to show.  I almost gave up in January when I received a tracking number in my email.  It was finally shipped.

When the box arrived I was surprised how small it was.  I thought they somehow made a mistake and sent another accessory.  Upon opening, I found I was wrong.  The tablet was much smaller and lighter then I expected.  Compared to my year old HP Touchpad it is like a cell phone.  I couldn’t believe that this small form factor was a full blown Windows PC!  Keep with me as I go through the Tablet 2 and provide some pictures.  Fore warning, these pictures are taken from my phone and I am not a photographer by any means.

Performance

This was my biggest question when I was pushing for the tablet.  Could this little 1.8 Ghz Z2760 Atom SoC processor handle the day to day tasks and completely replace someone’s desktop machine?  For the Average user, I think it could.  Using the dock, I was also able to plug in a second monitor via HDMI and it pushed the 10.1 touchscreen along with the 23″ 1080P external monster sitting next to it.  During the last few weeks using it on and off I never ran into any problems with shuddering or lag.  I didn’t throw a lot at it, but I left my laptop at my desk and had no issues using it as my main machine away from the office.  Could it replace all my machines?  Absolutely not.  Could it replace my laptop as my main portable machine?  Absolutely.

Hardware and Design

First look the tablet looks amazing.  When you start looking closer you start to see some flaws.  It does not have the Thinkpad build quality that Lenovo is famous for.  The corner of the 10.1 inch Gorilla Glass “creaks” when pressed, and pops out past the bezel once in a while.  The camera on the front seems also off center.  They added a FCC sticker on the back as well as a sticker that says “Not Encrypted”.  The sticker with the serial and the type code placed under the SD Card flap is protruding out the top.  Mostly minor issues, but problems that screams “I was thrown together and pushed out the door”.  I am guessing they didn’t want to delay shipping any longer then they already did, but I would much rather have seen these issues worked out and wait another couple of weeks to receive the tablet.

There are few expansion ports and buttons on the Tablet 2, but I am very happy for the ones they included.  Starting on the top right you will find a small power button, moving to the middle there is a door that opens up to a Micro SD slot as well as a SIM card for AT&T 3G/4G connectivity and all the way to the left is the pen for digitizer input.  On the left side of the tablet you will find a full sized USB port (something I will rarely use, but absolutely needed) and a Micro USB slot for charging.  Yes, you heard that right, a standard Micro USB port for charging.  On the right side you will find a headphone jack, volume up and down ports as well as a Auto Rotate on/off button.  I find myself accidently hitting that button quite often.  On the bottom you will see the standard dock port, and a Mini HDMI port.

With a little more attention to detail I think this could be a very good design for a tablet.

Software

I am still not sold on some of the “enhancements” Microsoft has put in place inside of Windows 8, even on a touch screen tablet.  It is MUCH more touch friendly then their previous OS’s but not as much as it needs to be.  I am still not a fan of full screen applications and I am not sure if I ever will be.  One thing that surprised me is a lot of the famous Thinkpad software was missing.  There was a few Lenovo programs but the software suite they are famous for is missing.  I also experienced frequent lock ups that started the first weekend I received the device with just the default software stack.  I don’t think this is a performance related problem but rather a software or driver issue.  Hopefully Lenovo can find a quick fix for this problem and get it pushed out.

I could not get the Cisco VPN Client to function properly (ShreSoft VPN works fine) and Symantec Whole Disk PGP Encryption is not yet compatible with UEFI or Windows 8.  If I wouldn’t have experienced issues with the Tablet 2 freezing, these two programs not functioning would have delayed the rollout.  No matter which of the CloverTrail Atom devices you pick, these issues will follow because they appear to be limitations with Windows 8 (x86 more then x64).

Battery Life and Portability

With light use I was able to get almost the 10 hours of Battery life Lenovo claims the Tablet 2 can get.  Each user will have different experiences, but even streaming HD video I still got close to 8 hours.  It charges from a Micro USB port at the bottom left hand side of the tablet.  The charge is a 2A charger (same as the HP Touchpad charger).  In my experience any Micro USB charger will work with this device but as most of the Micro USB charges are only rated as 1A, it may take longer to charge with the Micro USB chargers you have laying around the house.  At only 10 inches long, 6 inches tall and less then a half an inch think the Tablet 2 will go anywhere you want it to.  I was able to fit it inside of my already crammed 14″ laptop bag with ease.

Final Thoughts

The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 is a awesome companion device for power users and could be a complete desktop/laptop replacement for the normal office user.  I am disappointed about the design flaws I have mentioned as I am used to a top notch machine when I see the brand of Thinkpad or ThinkCentre.  Overall I have enjoyed working with the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 and I think it has found a spot in my laptop bag for now. With the problems I brought up (especially with it freezing) it will stay as a secondary device to my laptop and will not make it to prime time for our Management team.  However, I may look at upgrading from my Thinkpad T420 to a T520, since I can always break out the “T2” if I need more portability.

Have HTC and AT&T gone nuts?

September 6th, 2011 at 9:35 AM  2 Comments

I do not understand the thinking behind this.  It makes absolutely no sense to me.  $849.00 for a Android Dual Core tablet?  $149.00 subsidy from AT&T?  What were they thinking?!  I realize that these decisions were made long before the HP TouchPad firesale started, but don’t you think someone should have said “wait a second, we should look at this again” and postpone the launch?

The HTC Jetstream is no low end tablet, but it is nothing unique. 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, 10.1-inch display, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. In today’s world, the majority of tablets (including this one) is a add-on device.  Why are they charging the price of a low to mid-range laptop?  At this price point I can almost buy a Lenovo Thinkpad and a lower end Android Tablet.

The other piece that is puzzling to me is why is AT&T only offering a $149.00 discount for a 2 year contract?  Who would sign up for that deal?  With Sprint’s recently announced ETF Change is this a new pattern?  Low subsidies and high ETF’s?  Lets hope not.

Hopefully this is just a case of “too late to change” and doesn’t show a trend to things to come from HTC.  If it does, I don’t see the once great smart device manufacturer continuing on with their legacy.

Lenovo A70z Giveaway Winner! Plus another chance to win!

July 7th, 2010 at 10:46 PM  4 Comments

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this weekend’s Lenovo A70z Giveaway is… Dennis Hwang (@dennishwang) — congratulations to him, he should be receiving his brand new all-in-one PC very shortly.

We had an overwhelming response and as a consolation prize to all our visitors, we’d like to offer you all a second chance to win!

Ivy Worldwide, which was our partner in giving away the last system, is conducting a survey of people involved with small and medium business, to get their opinions on technology purchases. It’s an easy, 15 question survey, that enters you into a random drawing to win a Lenovo A70z, as well as many other prizes.

There are some caveats, and there is no set cut-off date for the contest. When Ivy receives a sufficient number of submissions they’ll take that data and select a winner. Only people who complete the survey fully will be eligible to win, and you’ll need to give them your e-mail address as that’s how they’ll contact you to let you know you’ve won. Don’t worry, they’re good people  and won’t give away your contact information to bad people. In fact, once the contest is over they’ll remove the contact data from their records forever.

We’re also looking forward to getting some other gear to giveaway in the coming months, so keep checking back for more awesome free stuff (and check back for our regularly scheduled IT content too while you’re at it.)

Complete the Survey

TV Giveaway: Lenovo A70z All-in-One PC

July 2nd, 2010 at 10:00 AM  75 Comments

The only thing we like better than getting toys to play with and review is giving those toys away!

TechVirtuoso, Lenovo, 21 other technology blogs, and Ivy Worldwide have teamed up to offer our visitors a free Lenovo A70z All-in-one PC. Each site is giving away their own computer, and this is the same machine that Frank Owen reviewed yesterday, except brand new and without his grubby fingerprints all over it! This is $1200 value that can be yours by doing two simple things!

  1. Make sure you’re following the @techvirtuoso Twitter account. (We’ll contact you via DM to let you know you’ve won)
  2. Tweet this message, exactly as it says below:
    Win a Lenovo A70z PC by following @techvirtuoso and RT this! See http://bit.ly/bRPNRI for more details. #freestufffromTV

But wait! There’s more!

As a special treat for our regular visitors, we’re giving you a second chance to enter your name into the running. All you have to do (after you do the steps above) is comment on this post and tell us what you’d do with a A70z. Would you replace your current desktop? Put it in your kitchen? Use it as a kiosk at the office? The possibilities are endless.

The contest starts NOW (July 2) and ends on Tuesday, July 6. We’ll announce a winner here on the site and on our Twitter account. We’ll contact the winner directly via Twitter DM, with information on where to send us your name, shipping address, phone number, email, etc.

There is one small catch for our visitors, we can only give this unit away to those of you who live in the US & Canada. Sorry to everyone who falls outside that area, it’s not our computer and those are the rules. We’ll get something cooked up next time that has world wide appeal.

Hardware Specs

 

  • Processor: 2.93 GHz Intel E7500 Core 2 Duo
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
  • RAM: 2GB (max 4GB)
  • Display: 19 in (diagonal) Widescreen LCD, 1440 x 900, TFT active matrix
  • Graphics: Intel GMA X4500
  • Hard Drive: 320GB Serial ATA-300 7200 rpm
  • DVD-Writer
  • Webcam: 1.3 megapixel camera
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g/n
  • Ports: USB 6 ports, Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T, Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm, PCI Express Mini Card
  • Dimensions & Weight: 2.9 in x 14 in x 18.6 in, 17.6 lbs

You can check out more specs and images or configure your own A70z, by visiting the Lenovo website.

More Contests

As we mentioned, we’re not the only site giving away this system. Each site will have different rules for their contents, and you’re welcome to enter as many or few of them as you like. But you can only win one system. We encourage you to enter as many times and visit these other sites.

Lenovo A70z ThinkCentre Review

July 1st, 2010 at 7:14 PM  3 Comments

When I think business class laptops, I think Lenovo Thinkpad followed by HP’s Elitebook. When I think business class desktop’s I think of HP followed by Dell. Lenovo is looking to change that.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z touts it’s ease to upgrade as well as a low price point. The A70z ThinkCentre design is just what I have come to expect from Lenovo. Sturdy, simple and well designed even when it comes down to the packaging.

(more…)