Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Windows 8.1 Tablet Review

Introduction & Specifications

“You can never have too little screen real estate” is a tagline for no one, but big players like Dell, Toshiba, and now Lenovo are rushing to squeeze Windows 8.1 onto 8-inch tablets all the same. Lenovo is targeting its ThinkPad 8 at business users, which makes sense. Everyone values portability and power, but it’s the business user who’s most likely to say “I need my tablet to be capable of doing everything that my main PC can do.” With a full 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 and a 1920 x 1200 display, the Lenovo ThinkPad 8 very nearly can.

The ThinkPad 8 tablet with the QuickShot Cover, which gives you quick access to the 8-inch tablet's 8MP camera.
Lenovo ThinkPad 8 tablet.

Before we dig into the specs, it’s worth noting that you can choose between Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro when you buy the ThinkPad 8. The tablet starts at $399 with the standard Windows 8.1 installation, but jumps to $499 if you choose Windows 8.1 Pro, which was installed on our review tablet. The software bundle changes based on your selection: choose the $399 tablet, and it will come with Microsoft Office Home and Student. Go Windows 8.1 Pro, and you’ll pay to run Office (though a free trial is available). On the upside, you can choose the Office version you prefer. Let’s a take a look at the tablet’s specs.

Lenovo ThinkPad 8
Specifications & Features
Operating System:
Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit 
 Processor:  Intel Z3770  @1.46GHz quad-core, Burst Frequency up to 2.39GHz
 Memory:  2GB DDR3
 Storage:  64GB
 8.3-inch IPS, LED-backlit, 10-point Touch Display
 Camera:  2MP front, 8MP back
 Micro HDMI, Micro SD, Micro USB 3.0, Headphone Jack
 Connectivity:  Broadcom BCM43241 802.11abgn, Bluetooth
 Battery:  Integrated, 7.2 hours use, 17 days standby (Lenovo estimate), 10 Watt AC Adapter
 8.83 x 5.19 x 0.35 inches
 Weight:  0.95 pounds
 Software:  Lenovo Companion, QuickCast, Solution Center, Support, ThinkVantage; AccuWeather, Evernote, Kindle, Microsoft Office Home & Student ($399 version only), Nitro Pro 8 Trial, Norton Studio (and NIS 2014 trial), RaRA Trial, Skitch Touch, Zinio
 Extras  QuickShot tablet cover ($35)
 Warranty:  1 Year Depot/Carry-in
 Price:  $499 (without QuickShot Cover as tested), as low as $399

Intel’s Bay Trail Atom CPU powers the Lenovo ThinkPad 8. The Intel Z3770 quad-core Atom chip in the ThinkPad 8 runs at up to 2.39GHz, thanks to Intel Turbo Boost. That’s a bit faster than the chip running the Dell Venue 8 Pro (a rival 8-inch, Windows 8.1 tablet) we recently reviewed, but it’s not the processor that’s going to get the attention of customers comparing the ThinkPad 8 to a Dell tablet: it’s the extremely sharp 1920x1200 full HD display, which we'll discuss on the next page, that will turn heads.

For storage, you’re looking at 64GB of eMMC space, regardless of whether you choose the $399 or $499 version of the ThinkPad 8. Memory is 2GB of DDR3, as it is with the tablet’s competitors. Wireless access comes courtesy of a Broadcom BCM43241 chip that offers 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 keeps the ThinkPad connected to your wireless speakers and such. WiDi, Intel’s technology for wirelessly displaying your tablet’s content on TVs and other screens, is also included, though you'd need an accompanying receiver-enabled system to use it on the other end.

The display on the Lenovo ThinkPad 8 has a 1920x1200 full HD resolution.

The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 hits all the highlights in the IO department: micro versions of USB 3.0, HDMI, and an SD card slot run along the tablet’s sides, which are a mere 0.35 inches thick. Speaking of the ThinkPad’s slim profile, it weighs just 0.95 pounds, only slightly more than the Dell Venue 8 Pro. The ThinkPad has two quality cameras, which we cover later in our review. For now, let’s take a look at the tablet’s design and that snappy optional cover.

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