Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Review

by Reads (17,284)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Usability
      • 6
      • Design
      • 10
      • Performance
      • 6
      • Features
      • 10
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 4
      • Total Score:
      • 7.20
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Gorgeous Full HD display
    • Quality build and design
    • Lightweight and compact
  • Cons

    • Hybrid micro-USB 3.0, miniHDMI, and charging port
    • Lack of compatible keyboard dock

Quick Take

The ThinkPad 8 is a great option for anyone interested in a compact and lightweight tablet boasting a gorgeous Full HD display, but business users will want to consider their needs before purchasing.

The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 is a business-oriented, mid-size tablet featuring a snappy Bay Trail Atom processor and full Windows 8.1, including Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013.

Although this device is touted as business-friendly, users will want to evaluate their needs before opting for the ThinkPad 8 for business — as this model falls somewhere between a casual business user and consumer tablet, making it a great option for anyone who wants one device to fit both roles. However, it begs the question, if the ThinkPad 8 isn’t suited for business users, then what sets it apart from the competition? Or, is it just another Bay-Trail equipped Windows 8.1 tablet?

Build and Design

The 8-inch tablet features a — now familiar — rectangular design with a black casing and a sturdy build with a high-quality finish. Upon picking the device up, it feels a bit heavier compared to other 8-inch devices such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro. The ThinkPad 8 feels nice in one hand, and is especially comfortable to hold when equipped with the optional $35 magnetic cover, which gives it a bit of traction.

The front features a thin black bezel around the screen, with a 2-megapixel webcam on the top of the device when in portrait mode and a dedicated touch-sensitive windows button on the bottom. It measures 8.8 x 5.2 x .35 inches and weighs in at around .9 pounds, same as the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Toshiba Encore 8 tablets. Although it weighs around the same as comparable devices, the ThinkPad 8 certainly feels heavier than Dell’s offering, but this can be attributed to its high quality-build and the fact that it’s slightly taller than the Dell.

The back of the tablet features an 8-megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash in the top left corner, and a ThinkPad logo in the top right. There is a red status light built into the logo, which acts as the dot in the “i” of “Think,” and it lights up while the tablet is in use or charging. It doesn’t affect the design much, but it’s a thoughtful and unique touch in a sea of black rectangular 8-inch tablets.

Display

The first thing TPCR noticed upon booting the tablet up is that the display quality is impeccable, we’d go as far to say it’s on par with the Apple iPad mini with Retina display. Lenovo packed Full HD into the ThinkPad 8, resulting in a bright-and-sharp 283 ppi resolution. Small fonts are easy to read, especially in desktop mode, where the display can be a bit cramped for full Windows 8.1 usage. But with the high resolution, users won’t have to squint or give themselves a headache trying to scroll through web pages or documents.

There is honestly nothing bad to say about the display, and it puts it ahead of other 8-inch tablets. The Dell Venue 8 Pro still looks nice next to it, but the Lenovo undoubtedly wins first place in this category.

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 -- Left SideQuality aside, the idea that an 8-inch screen is suited for business users is somewhat confusing, since it isn’t exactly comfortable navigating the tablet in Desktop mode long-term. Sure, using Metro apps is a breeze, but as many know by now, Windows 8 is significantly lacking in that area. Therefore, it’s the lack of apps that makes tablets running full Windows 8.1 instead of Windows RT so appealing. But it doesn’t seem like users will want to spend hours poring over spreadsheets on such a tiny screen. Tapping around on the screen in Desktop mode takes some serious hand-eye coordination, and users might be better suited using a stylus or trackpad.

Buttons and Ports

On the left edge of this tablet is a volume rocker, power button, and a charging port that also houses a micro-USB port. The right edge sports a micro-HDMI port, and a micro-SIM card slot and microSD card slot are hidden behind a flap. Finally, there is a headphone port located on the bottom edge, below the capacitive Windows button.

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 -- Right SideAt first glance, it may appear that this device has a full-size USB 3.0 port, but upon closer inspection, testers realized it was actually where the micro-USB 3.0 is integrated into a proprietary Lenovo charging port. This is somewhat of a letdown, since charging the device means users can’t make use of both ports. Also, a full-size USB 3.0 port would have brought this device up to higher standards for business users. The one upside is that it keeps the tablet thin.

Users will also be reliant on the proprietary charger designed by Lenovo, leaving them without the flexibility to choose from the plethora of available third-party micro-USB chargers. We should also note that attaching a keyboard and mouse isn’t exactly easy, but more on that later.

Page 2 covers the performance and benchmarks for the Lenovo ThinkPad 8.


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