Keith Combs' Blahg

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Lenovo X201 Tablet – mini review

Lenovo X201 Tablet – mini review

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imageI wasn’t planning on reviewing the Lenovo X201 Tablet I have sitting here on my desk.  I didn’t request the eval unit but Lenovo made a minor boo boo when ordering the X201 eval I wanted to look at, so here it is.  Might as well say a few words since it’s here.

If you want to see some pictures of the device, checkout the gallery on lenovo.com.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures of this machine although you can see it in the ThinkPad sandwich I made.  I’ll have those pics online when I get to the T410 and X201s review.

The Specs

The eval unit I have is the 3093-26U model.  That’s the Multitouch (not Outdoor) screen.  The CPU is the Intel i7-640LM dual core. The screen is WXGA (1280x800) TFT color, anti-glare, LED backlight, 300 nits, 16:10 aspect ratio, 500:1 contrast ratio.  The drive is a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD) / SATA 3.0Gb/s, 1.8" wide, 8mm high.

The Screen

The X201 Tablet is typical.  It has a small screen and pen input.  The pen is side mounted inside the machine.  The screen is also multitouch though I had some issues with proximity accuracy.  I went through the calibration drill and that helped. 

When the screen on full brightness, it is plenty bright for indoors (300 nits).  It also has that grainy or pixelly look to it that is typical of tablet and multitouch screens.  When in tablet configuration, I like surfing the web in portrait orientation.  The screen clarity would prevent me from buying and using this machine.  It’s just too grainy for my preferences. I didn’t like the W510 multitouch screen for the same reason.  Guess I’m picky.

The Size, Weight, and Chassis

The X201 Tablet is much larger than the sister X201s.  Keep in mind the battery sticks out in the back so this is part of the illusion.  I think the battery in the model I have is the 8-cell battery which puts the weight right under four pounds.

The rest of the machine is all Lenovo ThinkPad.  Matte black finish.  The keyboard is nicely sized and feels good.  The trackpad seems very small to me but there isn’t much room to work with below the keyboard.

The overall chassis feels firm and strong to me.  I didn’t detect any excessive flex.  Because this is a tablet, this machine doesn’t have the traditional stainless steel hinges and I have no idea how that screen pivot holds up over time.

The eval unit they shipped me didn’t come with the Ultrabase so I have not seen one in action.  The tablet itself has three USB 2 ports (one powered), VGA connector, ethernet port, modem port, and multi memory card reader.  I was a bit surprised to see that it also has a 54mm ExpressCard slot.  This could come in handy for an eSATA or TV Tuner card.

On the bottom and side of the device is easy access to the two SoDIMM RAM slots, or access to the hard drive bay.  The eval unit I have has a 1.8” SSD drive from Samsung in a 2.5” adaptor.  The bay itself is 2.5” so you can use full sized 2.5” SSD drives or standard rotational disk.

Speed and Performance

I didn’t do any benchmarking of a formal sort, but I can tell you anecdotally that the speed is pretty good.  The i7 processor is plenty powerful and of course your mileage is going to vary depending on the hard drive or SSD drive in the machine.

The Intel HD Graphics chipset seems to get the job done well enough with Windows 7.  I have not tried and Flash based websites or observed and DVD or Blu-ray playback so I don’t know how the GPU stands up under those situations.  It probably does well enough though keep in mind one of the machine design points is battery conservation, not blazing gaming speed.

The Windows 7 WEI is a 3.3 for the eval unit I have. 6.3 for the i7 CPU. The RAM in the machine scored 5.5.  The SSD drive scored a 6.9.  The Intel HD GPU scored a whopping 3.3 on graphics and 4.8 on gaming graphics.

Next up, the Lenovo ThinkPad X201.  Now there’s a keeper in my book.

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  • "The screen clarity would prevent me from buying and using this machine"

    So a "non-multitouch" screen (only pen) won't have this problem?! This clarity factor is the only thing preventing for jumping into the wagon!

  • I have no idea Edel. I haven't seen the non-multitouch version. Sorry.