Lenovo's ThinkPad 10 is a versatile business tablet with tons of handy accessories to make you more productive. The 10.1-inch Windows 8.1 slate improves upon last year's ThinkPad Tablet 2 with hardware upgrades and a better keyboard dock. Plus, the ThinkPad 10 remains one of the few tablets that ship with a stylus, letting you write notes and draw charts right on the display. It's also compatible with Lenovo's desktop dock, which lets you use the device like a desktop computer when you're back in the office. And while it's not the fastest business tablet around, it delivers good performance for daily use. Check out a full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad 10 on our sister site Laptop Mag, or read on for five features that make it great for business.
Lenovo's new ThinkPad slate is much faster than last year's model, packing a relatively speedy quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM. That provides pretty fast performance and smooth multitasking compared to the ThinkPad Tablet 2. It's not as speedy as premium slates such as the Surface Pro 3, but it's much more affordable; the ThinkPad 10 starts at $599, while the Surface Pro 3 starts at $799. The ThinkPad 10 also sports a brighter, sharper display than its predecessor, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. Other hardware highlights include either 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage, depending on which configuration you choose.
A wealth of connectivity options help the ThinkPad 10 stand out from the average business slate. Lenovo's tablet has plenty of ports, including a microSD card to expand its onboard storage, a micro HDMI out port for video presentations and slideshows, and a full-size USB 2.0 port to connect accessories such as a mouse, keyboard or external monitor.
Also included is a port to connect the device to Lenovo's desktop tablet dock; just snap in the ThinkPad 10 to use it like a desktop computer. The dock, sold separately for $129, props up the tablet and charges it, while adding a variety of extra ports, including three USB 3.0 ports, a full-size HDMI out port, and an Ethernet port for networking or a wired Internet connection. Lenovo's dock is a bit pricey, but it adds tons of versatility to your tablet. And though the ThinkPad 10 isn't as powerful as most desktop computers, it can do a serviceable job for business users with only basic computing needs.
A touch-screen keyboard won't cut it for real productivity tasks. That's why business users have the option to pick up Lenovo's keyboard dock, sold separately for $119. Unlike last year's model, the ThinkPad 10 keyboard uses a hardwired connection instead of Bluetooth. That makes it easier to use, as well as more reliable.
The keyboard features full-size keys and a touchpad that allows for more precise pointing for tasks like editing a document or browsing the Web. Unfortunately, the keyboard dock doesn't have a hinge, so you can't adjust the viewing angle of your display during typing sessions. However, the dock does snap onto the ThinkPad 10 to serve as a screen cover when it's not in use.
Another big perk for business users is the inclusion of a stylus out of the box. The 5.5-inch stylus is a handy tool because it makes taking notes and drawing charts a breeze. It has the weight and size of a ballpoint pen, so it's easier to write with than the average stylus, and it has a pressure-sensitive tip, which makes for more natural and precise handwriting. The red tip on the other end of the stylus can be used as an eraser in most apps.
Unfortunately, there's no place to stow the stylus on the tablet itself, but the keyboard dock does have a stylus slot if you purchase that accessory. Alternatively, you can purchase one of two covers that also have a place to stow the pen when it's not in use.
Lenovo didn't include any special stylus software, but the Windows 8 Store has some good options. Microsoft's OneNote is a solid note-taking app that integrates directly with Windows 8.1; all your notes are automatically uploaded to the OneDrive cloud storage platform, and can be accessed by clicking the OneDrive folder in the Windows 8.1 File Explorer sidebar. Another good option is Evernote, a free note-taking app that features handwriting-recognition software. The app can recognize and index notes written with the stylus, backing them up and making them searchable.
Great features won't get you very far if your device is dead. The ThinkPad 10 boasts great battery life, especially with the keyboard dock attached. It lasted 8 hours and 43 minutes in tests that involve continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi — about 23 minutes longer than the average among comparable devices. And attaching the keyboard dock nearly doubles the slate's longevity, giving it a whopping 15 hours and 40 minutes of battery life.