Lenovo's new Windows 8 tablet is a strong contender for the title of best 8-inch business slate. The device packs most of the features that business users need, including a fast processor; a sharp, bright display; and long battery life. It also features a slew of ports and connectivity options to help you really get down to work. And thanks to its compact 8-inch display, the tablet is highly portable. Get a hands-on look at the ThinkPad 8 tablet at our sister site Laptop Mag, then read on for five features that make the ThinkPad 8 one of the best business slates money can buy.
A slew of ports make the ThinkPad 8 a versatile tablet for business. It features a microHDMI video out port, which will come in handy for hooking the tablet up to a projector or large monitor for presentations. Meanwhile, a microSD card slot provides expandable storage, and a micro SIM card slot adds optional 4G LTE connectivity for business users who need an always-on Internet connection. Additionally, the ThinkPad 8 links to Lenovo's OneLink Pro Dock, so it can be used as a desktop PC with an external mouse, keyboard and monitor. That makes it a good candidate for BYOD offices, since it shines both as a portable tablet and as a lightweight desktop computer.
2. Long battery life
Under the hood, the ThinkPad 8 packs a speedy Intel Bay Trail processor that's powerful enough for productivity and efficient enough to give the slate a solid eight hours of battery life; expect this tablet to easily last through the end of the workday. Long battery life is especially vital for business users, since a dead tablet means you can't work when you need to. However, Lenovo's slate can't quite match the longevity of some smaller tablets such as Apple's iPad Mini with Retina display, which lasts for more than 11 hours on a single charge.
3. High resolution display
The 8.3-inch display on Lenovo's tablet is a bit bigger than screens on competing slates such as Dell's Venue 8 Pro slate or the Toshiba Encore. With a resolution of 1920 x 1200, it's also significantly sharper. That's good news for business users looking for a compact tablet with a display that's big and sharp enough for real productivity. The high resolution will come in handy for using desktop Windows programs on such a small screen. The tablet's bright IPS display also boasts good color saturation and wide viewing angles. And thanks to its relatively small display, the ThinkPad 8 remains a compact tablet. That's a plus for commuters and frequent travelers who rely on their mobile device to stay productive away from the office.
4. Full Windows 8
If you rely on a specific piece of Windows software to keep your business running — and you need quick access to that program when you're on the go — the ThinkPad 8 is a good pick. Any applications you run on your home or office PC will work on Lenovo's slate. That doesn't mean every program will run smoothly; expect processor-intensive applications like Photoshop to chug. The Bay Trail processor in the ThinkPad 8 is speedy enough for basic business and productivity tasks, but premium Intel Core i5 tablets like the Surface Pro 2 are still more than twice as fast. That means that although the ThinkPad 8 can be docked with an external monitor and equipped with a mouse and keyboard, it may not have the power to become a satisfying desktop replacement for most users.
Lenovo's new Windows tablet is a top-tier business device at an affordable price. At $399, that slate hits the sweet spot between budget-priced tablets such as Dell's $299 Venue 8 Pro, and premium devices such as Microsoft's Surface Pro 2, which starts at $899. And the ThinkPad 8's relatively affordable price point is coupled with high-quality hardware, making it a good value for small business users on a budget.
Both iPads and Android tablets run on solid, touch-centric operating systems. But while each of those platforms boasts a huge library of apps, they can't quite match the flexibility and productivity power of a Windows tablet like the ThinkPad 8. And Lenovo's slate stands out among other Windows tablets for its snappy performance, brilliant display and solid, durable build. When you're at the office, it has the power and connectivity options to act as a serviceable desktop device. Meanwhile, it's portable enough to not weigh you down when you're on the go. That makes the ThinkPad 8 a good pick for business users in the market for a small Windows 8 tablet.