Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet review: The Surface Pro 4 rival you can expand
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet review: Screen and performance
The 12in screen is very good, without being spectacular. It’s an IPS screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2,160 x 1,440. It reaches a maximum brightness of 403cd/m2, and contrast is a reasonably high 1,105:1, although the sRGB coverage isn’t all that great at 86.9%. I was a lot more impressed with the colour accuracy of this screen compared with the HP Elite X2, but it can’t compete with the Surface Pro 4’s all-round excellence.
Don’t expect cutting-edge power, either, because Lenovo employs a Core m processor rather than a fully fledged Core i5 or Core i7. In testing, we’ve found these throttle back once you start pushing them (for example, when encoding video), but they’re fine for occasional bursts of activity, and Lenovo has eliminated another performance bottleneck by using superfast NVMe SSD in its pricier models.
In the case of the sample provided for this review, I have a Core m7-6Y75 running at 1.2GHz with 8GB of RAM backing it up, and a 512GB Samsung NVMe SSD. It’s as quick and responsive in day-to-day use as you’d expect it to be. In the Geekbench 64-bit test, it scored 2,960 and 5,893 in the single-core tests, which is about what I’d expect from this setup, although it does lag a touch behind its 2-in-1 rival, the HP Elite X2.
The SSD is supremely fast as well, gaining sequential write and read speeds of 2,075MB/sec and 1,374MB/sec in AS SSD, keeping Windows 10 Pro feeling fast and responsive. However, battery life is less than impressive. The ThinkPad lasted 5hrs 44mins in our video rundown test, which makes the expensive productivity module an essential purchase.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet review: Prices and verdict
The ThinkPad X1 Tablet is a peculiar mix of the wonderful and the awkward, then, but how does it stack up against its key rivals, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and HP Elite X2 in terms of the overall package? In some ways it surpasses both of them, especially given that neither has the facility to add components in the way the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 does, and it’s a match for both in terms of its ergonomics.[gallery:5]
On the other hand, certain parts of the design are clunky and awkwardly implemented, the modules themselves are pricey, and battery life is poor. Plus, it won’t surprise you to discover that the tablet isn’t exactly bargain-basement. The base model, which features the lower-spec Core m5-6Y54, starts at £1,050 inc VAT, and this rises to £1,180 inc VAT for the base-level Core m7 I have here.
There’s no direct comparison with the Surface Pro 4 since its specifications start at the Core m3, then skip straight to Core i5 and Core i7, but the HP Elite X2 I looked at earlier this year is a close match and it comes out on top for value. Although the screen isn’t as good as the Lenovo’s, the HP’s price of £1,229 is more tempting, although note this is for the model with a lower-capacity 256GB NVMe SSD.
In short, then, there’s nothing drastically wrong here, but the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet’s price is certain to put off many potential customers.