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.


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.


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.

A few days with a dead tablet

August 28th, 2011 at 9:12 AM  No Comments

Like many others the announcement that HP would discontinue all current WebOS devices surprised me. I knew it wasn’t selling as well as HP expected (especially with the Rumors about Best Buy wanting to return a huge chunk of their stock) but I didn’t think they would give up this easily.

I went on the hunt to get one after the $99/$149 fire sale started. Since I was traveling that Saturday I didn’t get my hands on one until this past Wednesday. I am not a complete newb to WebOS. My wife used the original Pre on Sprint for a year and after she upgraded to the Evo I swapped it to my account as my primary device a couple of times. I really like WebOS but the Pre’s hardware killed the experience for me. I was exited to see how WebOS had evolved since version 1 as well as the experience on a piece of quality hardware.

Overall the WebOS interface hasn’t changed much, but it seemed much more polished over version 1.45. The hardware seemed solid but I was surprised to experience a little lag when doing some basic tasks. I would think the Dual Core Snapdragon system wouldn’t have small performance issues like this. Even with the performance shortcomings I didn’t use my laptop for three days after bringing the tablet home which surprised me.

The HP Touchpad had potential to be a great device, but with the previous price point I can understand why it wasn’t selling as well as it’s competitors. VPN Functionality and LAN Printing are great features but without apps like Remote Desktop, no support to access network files (CIFS Support is available in a Homebrew kernal, but no file manager supports it yet) and the crazy limitation to only be able to print to HP Printers it almost renders these features useless. There were also a number of applications in the HP Market that I was surprised not to see.  No Google Voice (there was an app to send SMS messages through your Google Voice account), no LogMeIn and no Dropbox just to name a few.

Overall I am happy with my purchase.  Would I have paid $499+ for the device?  Absolutely not but I don’t think I would pay that much for an iPad even with it’s ever mounting list of applications. Will my Touchpad force me to leave my trusty Thinkpad on the charger? I am not sure, but after using the Touchpad I do know some tablet (not sure which at this point) will.

One of these tablets is not like the other, one you can buy right now

February 9th, 2011 at 8:06 PM  4 Comments

Today was an interesting day in the tablet world. We learned that what was left of Palm has now officially been smashed into HP, and that HP is serious about really building on the momentum that Palm had started to build with webOS. HP announced a plethora of new things today (which you can read more about over at Engadget, who I stole/borrowed the wonderful chart above from) but the most interesting today was their new tablet, the HP TouchPad.

I have been getting a lot of crap from people for talking a lot about Apple on this site recently. If you’re bothered by this, feel free to stop reading now, or write your own articles. Fact of the matter is, they’re key to a lot of the technology I’m interested in right now and they execute it better than anyone else.


Apple dominates global tablet market

November 2nd, 2010 at 3:01 PM  1 Comment

Tablets are nothing new, Microsoft has had them around for years. But despite their best efforts they were nothing more than laptops with screens you could write on with an ugly stylus. They were reserved for business, hospitals and education. The battery life was horrible. They weren’t something your grandma could pickup and figure out how to use. They weren’t sexy.

Enter the iPad.

The iPad is everything Windows tablets were not. Designed for consumers, no stylus required, with an awesome battery. And being mostly glass and aluminium it sets the definition of sexy in the tablet space.

And as such, it has done what Windows tablets have failed for nearly a decade to do. Sell.

Apple now, just six months after launching, dominates the market according to research firm Strategy Analytics. At 95% Apple is now the monster to beat. Best of luck to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the HP Slate (in either Windows 7 or WebOS flavors) — you’ve got your work cut out for you.

via Computer World

T-Mobile will beat Sprint by 4 days on release of Galaxy Tab

October 27th, 2010 at 9:59 AM  No Comments

T-Mobile has announced that they’ll be releasing their version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab on November 10, four days ahead of Sprint who recently announced they’d be releasing their version on November 14. Both carriers will be offering the device for $399 with a two year data contract.

The T-Mobile version sports the same specs as the Sprint, including a 7-inch Enhanced TFT touchscreen display and Android 2.2, except that it will support the T-Mobile HSPA+ network instead of Sprint’s 4G network. T-Mobile customers can take advantage of T-Mobile’s monthly 5GB or 200MB webConnect mobile broadband plans or the newly launched prepaid mobile broadband offerings.

Samsung Galaxy Tab coming to Spring for $399 (with two year agreement)

October 25th, 2010 at 8:55 PM  3 Comments

Sprint announced today that the Samsung Galaxy Tab will be coming November 14, for $399 with a 2-year agreement. Sprint customers will have two rate plans to choose from: a 2GB data plan for $29.99 per month or a 5GB data plan with $59.99 per month. Interested customers can also pre-order at any Sprint store, with the purchase of a $50 gift card (which you can later use to help pay for the Galaxy Tab).

The tab posts some impressive specs including a 7-inch Enhanced TFT touchscreen display, Android 2.2, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and dual cameras (3-megapixel back with flash and zoon and a 1.3-megapixel front for video chat). It also includes the SWYPE on-screen keyboard. It also offers mobile hotspot capability.

via Android Central

Microsoft CES keynote, tonight at 6:30 PST

January 6th, 2010 at 10:54 AM  2 Comments

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices Division, will deliver the pre-show keynote address in Las Vegas to kick off the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). You’ll be able to watch the keynote live starting tonight, at approximately 6:30 p.m. PST. If you can’t make it, check back here tomorrow for a break down of what was covered. Expected topics include Windows Mobile 7, as well as a possible announcement about a new tablet developed with HP. Even if they don’t cover that, you can at least watch Ballmer jump around the stage for a while.

Take a trip over to the Microsoft CES website tonight to be able to watch their live stream.