Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (2nd Gen) Review: A Nimble, Business-Class Convertible
Final Thoughts On The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 2nd Gen
Performance Summary: For this year's ThinkPad X1 Tablet, Lenovo refreshed the processor to an Intel Core i5-7Y57 chip based on Kaby Lake. It also upgraded to the storage to a faster SSD. The end result is a 2-in-1 device that is every bit as serviceable as last year's model, with longer battery life to boot. As we saw in our PCMark 8 tests, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet can handle productivity chores without breaking too much of a sweat. It is also capable of light graphics work, though for more demanding pixel pushing—whether for work or for play—the ThinkPad X1 Tablet struggles to keep pace with better equipped laptops.
There is no written rule that 2-in-1 devices have to target home consumers. Lenovo proves otherwise with its second generation ThinkPad X1 Tablet. Like the previous year's model, this refresh is aimed at business users who need a serviceable tablet PC with work-appropriate features. In that regard, it brings the goods with military-spec qualifications, optimized security, and business-friendly amenities such an included stylus.
It is not just the included business features that separate the ThinkPad X1 Tablet from run-of-the-mill convertibles, either. Part of the appeal is its expandability through add-on modules. If your work involves giving lots of presentations in the board room, the Presenter module will save you from having to buy a dedicated projector. And if it is more battery live and ports you need, the Productivity modules expands on both. We would like to see Lenovo get creative and add even more modules in time, though for now, the Presenter and Productivity modules have the primary bases covered.
The display is another strong suit here. While 4K is trendy right now, going with a 2K resolution feels more appropriate for a device like this, considering its size. By sticking with a 2K panel, Lenovo is able to offer business users more pixels than a 1080p panel without the additional power demands that a 4K or even 3K would require.
Where the waters get a little muddy is in performance, or rather performance per dollar. This is not a smoking fast system by any stretch. It is fully capable of running Office and other productivity software, but we cannot ignore that Samsung's Galaxy Book 12 is an overall muscular 2-in-1 with an also spectacular display. The one we tested recently featured a faster processor (Core i5-7200U), the same amount of RAM, and the same capacity (albeit slower) SSD for $1,329.
Lenovo's second generation ThinkPad X1 Tablet as configured for this review costs over $200 more ($1,547 and change). That makes it a tougher recommendation and what it all really boils down are the business features. Do you need an Intel vPro setup? What about TPM security? If the answer is yet, then the ThinkPad X1 Tablet wins by default, because it has these features and the Galaxy Book 12 does not. It is also expandable with add-on modules, and can be serviced and upgraded by snapping off the rear cover. Otherwise, there are faster and less expensive alternatives out there, even in Lenovo's own stable.