Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Review: A 2-In-1 For Pros

ThinkPad X1 Tablet Design and Layout

As a dedicated slate, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is roughly the same size as Microsoft's Surface Pro 4. It measures 11.45 x 8.24 x 0.33 inches (WxDxH) and weighs 1.69 pounds, compared to the Surface Pro 4 at 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches, and also at 1.69 pounds. The detachable keyboard measures 11.41 x 8.97 x 0.20 inches and adds 0.66 pounds to the package.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Closed

Bearing in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we doubt many people would say the ThinkPad X1 Tablet looks better than the Surface Pro 4 when laying flat on a table. Microsoft did a better job incorporating the integrated kickstand into the back as a seamless extension of the slate, whereas Lenovo's implementation adds several lines to the matte black finish. There's also a visible clip to pop the kickstand open.

More attractive is the ThinkPad logo in the upper left corner (bottom right as pictured). It's slightly indented into the surface and sports a faux brushed metal finish. When the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is turned on, the LED dotting the "i" glows red, serving as a power indicator.

Not far from the ThinkPad logo is the rear 8-megapixel camera with LED flash. This is what comes standard on all ThinkPad X1 Tablet configurations, though you can add an Intel RealSense 3D imaging camera or a pico projector through optional modules that Lenovo sells. Modules attach to the ThinkPad X1 Tablet using pogo pins located on the bottom edge underneath the kickstand.

As far as construction goes, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is mostly made of magnesium and feels sturdy at every turn. That includes the aforementioned kickstand, which swings out up to 90 degrees. You can adjust it as necessary by pushing back on the display, but at no point does it feel chintzy.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Open

While the ThinkPad X1 Tablet might not be the most stunning thing to look at when closed up, the display is another matter entirely. It's a 12-inch touchscreen display built around an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel with a 2160x1440 resolution protected with Corning's Gorilla Glass. At full blast, we measured brightness at around 350 lux in the center, and slightly less in each of the four corners. While not completely uniform in illumination, it's noticeably brighter than Lenovo's Yoga 700, which only reached 180 lux when cranked up to 100 percent.

The panel also does a good job with black levels and overall color reproduction. It also maintains a good looking picture from wide viewing angles. If we're picking nits, we can point to the 3:2 aspect ratio or slightly less dense arrangement of pixels compared to the Surface Pro 4 (217 pixels per inch versus 267). There's also a small amount of glare, though it's mostly only visible on black backgrounds, like the stock wallpaper Lenovo includes. Still, it's one of the better looking displays out there.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Keyboard

This particular SKU includes a keyboard cover and stylus. It has a magnetic lip at the top that folds and magnetically attaches to the tablet, which angles the keyboard upward for a more comfortable typing experience. This is especially crucial since the low profile plank doesn't offer a ton of key travel. In lieu of that, the entire keyboard flexes downward slightly as you punch out keystrokes—that's to say there's a bit of give, which is this case actually works in the keyboard's favor.

The keyboard will look familiar to anyone who's ever owned a Lenovo system before, particularly a professional ThinkPad configuration. It has a red nub (the trackpoint) squished between the G, H, and B keys to control the mouse cursor, keycaps with rounded bottoms, and touchpad buttons at the top that act as left, right, and scroll button clickers on a mouse.

Typing on the ThinkPad X1 Tablet's keyboard is certainly serviceable, though it's not the same experience you'll get from one of Lenovo's professional level laptops or a dedicated USB keyboard. The same goes for the touchpad—it works, but it's not really a high point for a productivity setup. That said, we like that it comes with a backlight, and there's also a strap on the right side for storing the included stylus.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Ports Right
Ports (Right Side)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Ports Left
Ports (Left Side)

Starting on the right side of the ThinkPad X1 Tablet (or bottom if holding it in portrait mode), there's a USB-C connector, USB 3.0 port, right-side stereo speaker, and a mini DisplayPort connector. If you don't plan on using the USB 3.0 port all that often, or ever, you can slide in an included plastic clip that serves as an alternative method of storing the stylus.

On the other side there's a security lock slot, left-side stereo speaker, physical volume controls, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Finally, if you need additional storage, there's a microSD card slot sitting covertly behind the kickstand. That's a good place for it, especially if you leave these machines around kids who might like to poke and prod you're electronics.

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