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Lenovo ThinkPad 10 review: A thinner, lighter Windows tablet with a high-res display

Michelle Mastin | July 10, 2014
Lenovo's ThinkPad 2 was a great tablet, but Intel's older Atom platform struggled to run Windows 8 smoothly, the tablet itself was chunky, and its screen had fewer pixels than the smaller, but newer ThinkPad 8. The ThinkPad 10 brings all of those old spots up to spec without sacrificing any of the great quality or productivity perks of the ThinkPad line.

Lenovo chose to stick with the Atom-class processors in the ThinkPad 10, but they're taking advantage of the fact that the Z3795 is 64-bit capable. Even though our review unit has only 2GB of RAM, there is the option to upgrade to 4GB with 64-bit Windows. You can purchase models with either 64- or 128GB of storage.

It should be noted that the faster Atom in a thinner package can heat up at times. The tablet stayed cool when I was just writing or browsing, but the right-hand side got uncomfortably warm several times while I was performing more intense tasks.

Despite having a slightly faster Atom processor than the similarly equipped Dell Venue 11 Pro, the ThinkPad 10 performed just behind it on most of our benchmark tests. Both tablets come out ahead of others outfitted with the more common Atom Z3740 chip, like the Asus Transformer Book T100 and the Acer Switch 10.

Battery life on the ThinkPad 10 is good for a light day's work, lasting 5 hours and 45 minutes — that's just 11 minutes longer than the Dell Venue 11 Pro. Our battery rundown test is particularly harsh, so you might get better results. Dell still has the advantage though, as its mobile keyboard dock comes with an extra battery that significantly boosts its runtime. The ThinkPad's Ultrabook dock ($129) does not have a battery option.


What the ThinkPad Ultrabook keyboard dock does have is some fantastic keys. They are a little close together, which took some getting used-to, but the travel and feedback are right in line with what I'm used to from ThinkPad keyboards. Once I adjusted to the spacing, I was happy typing all of this review and several other things on it.

The Ultrabook keyboard is not a clamshell-style dock, like that of the Asus T101t or the Dell Venue 11 Pro. The tablet just sits in a groove in the back, held by magnets. You must take the tablet out and slot it into a different groove in the back to cover the screen for travel. It's unfamiliar, but the motion to close it is not too different from that of closing a clamshell. The problem is that the docked tablet is stuck at a fixed angle, tilted way too far back for my taste.

There is also a desktop dock available, which holds the tablet at a better angle and provides two USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI port, and ethernet. The tablet slots onto a physical connector that sticks up and can be tricky to seat properly. I left it on the dock for a few hours thinking it was charging, only to find it wasn't quite all the way on.


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