Friday, September 23, 2011

Lenovo Thinkpad tablet - evaluation

ITC have provided a Lenova Thinkpad for us to have a play with for a couple of days. The Thinkpad runs on Android OS 3.1 and comes with a pen! It is pitched at the business user with documents to go uploaded.

The initial feel of the Thinkpad is that it is solid, with a slightly rubberised base for a secure hold. Positive reviews in general with usual comparisons to the ipad2, with the Thinkpad coming up well as far as capabilities is concerned. For our purposes, the solid feel of the Thinkpad is not a problem as we use it in workshop/workrooms where there is a danger of things being dropped/spilled on the tablet is a high possibility.

There are more buttons on the thinkpad then on other tablets reviewed so far (Acer Iconia, Toshiba Thrive). The on/off button is a bit awkward on the right top when the tablet is held in portrait mode with the buttons (home, go back, browser and lock display) on the bottom. The usb is on the wrong side as when you are in landscape mode, the normal approach is to have the buttons on your right which means the usb memory stick stuck into the tablet is in the way when you use the tablet on your lap.

Access to external files etc. is easy with mini usb, sd card and standard usb. However the usb file copy app means you have to copy your files across and I have not figured out the way to just run your files off the usb without physically copying your files across into the tablet. Plugging the tablet into your pc allows for easy transfer of files from PC to tablet. Downloading files as attachments through browser based email or gmail is less intuitive. You download on to another tab and the attachment ‘disappears’. I then discovered the files in ‘recent files’ when documents to go app booted up!

Of note is the OEM only mobile note from myscript to make use of the pen. There is an ipad version which seems to have more limited capabilities. The mobile note allows you to write with your pen on to the tablet. The slippery screen takes a small amount of time to get used to. Overall, runs well, converting writing to text, has sketching/doodling pen option and allowing you to transfer notes to email etc. also brings in photos and for limited annotation above or below but not ON the photo itself.
In all, a nice piece of hardware, displaying photos with clarity and bundled with enough apps to get things going from the business productivtity point of view. In comparison, the Toshiba Thrive's bundled apps are more user friendly and intuitive to use. The best part of the thinkpad was the ability to use a pen using mobile note. Something which is really useful for our tablet projects where we are trying to encourage our students to write notes.


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Fariha Chowdhury said...

As i commented on the article mentioning this previously, the throwback design cues like the mouse "nub" between the g/h/v/b keys need to be done away with, in my opinon. There can't be enough people still utilizing that feature when we have the trackpad and of course portable mice to replace it. The red cues tarnish the whole appearance
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