Atom-based Windows 8 slates continue to flood the market from every corner, but who would have thought the biggest budget option would be a ThinkPad?
At a base price of $729, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is the cheapest 10-inch, Atom-based slate I’ve reviewed to date, and while the few shortcuts taken to reach that price create some challenges, they aren’t deal-breakers.
This is one streamlined and super-compact tablet. At just 11 mm thick and 1.2 pounds, it’s the lightest Windows 8 tablet I’ve encountered to date (and nearly a full half-pound lighter than Dell’s Latitude 10). You might think this comes at the expense of specs, but with a 1.8GHz Atom CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD, it’s got an identical configuration to the rest of the Atomlets on the market. You might also assume the screen suffers in some way versus the competition, but the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution is also the same as the rest of the market, and the brightness, while on the dim side, isn’t horrible. The chassis comprises a magnesium frame covered with polycarbonate — sturdy, but not entirely ironclad.
Your $729 gets you just the base unit and stylus. A docking station is another $100, and a compact Bluetooth keyboard, with an integrated stand and pointing system (but no secondary battery) is $120. The keyboard is nice, but you’ll want the dock and its extra connectors if you plan to use the device for serious work.