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GBM InkShow: The Lenovo X201 Tablet PC Refreshed and Refreshing (Video)

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After spending some time with the Lenovo X201t Tablet PC I can say it feels like coming home again for this Tableteer. I got to evaluate its precursor, the x200t, and enjoyed it immensely. Given that the X201t is basically a processor refresh, that same enjoyment of the Tablet PC experience is there wrapped up in all of the Lenovo goodness we have come to expect.

The refresh is mostly on the inside, as Lenovo has moved to the latest generation of Intel processors, the Core I7. There is a noticeable jump in speed. In fact, I can say this feels like one of the fastest notebooks (much less a Tablet PC) that I’ve used. The other major new “feature” is the addition of a trackpad. Trackstick or thumbstick lovers don’t be disheartened. You know have both a trackstick and a trackpad to manipulate your fingers with. Of course you can turn one or the other (or both) off if you have a preference.

The Lenovo build quality is still there as is the attention to detail. You’ve got the usual array of buttons and keyboard options to work with both in notebook mode and in slate mode. I’m a lover of Lenovo keyboards, and I know many readers here are as well.

As to the having both multi-touch and pen available, this works as well as it did in the X200, so I’ve got no complaints there. It is two-fingered multi-touch only, and in all honesty I think that’s all you need on a device that also allows Inking with a stylus. The Inking is as smooth and as steady as ThinkPad Tablet users are accustomed to. In fact, I always love Inking on a ThinkPad Tablet. It just feels right.

I’ve stated before that Lenovo with its ThinkPad Tablet PC line and HP with its Elitebook Tablets are the top of the line when it comes to full feature Tablet PCs. We haven’t seen HP’s refresh of the 2730p (the 2740p) yet, but I anticipate good things there. That will give us  two top of the line Tablet PCs on the market at a time where the tech world is Slate crazy.  (I’m not discounting the others-but they don’t seem to care about sending review units these days so it is tough to compare.) The jury is still out on slates and what they will eventually mean for those of us who think that a Tablet should have Inking as a core feature. Until we see what’s what in slate land, we’ve at least got two OEMs who do understand that Inking is important. While the refresh the the X201T might feel like a small jump, I’m guessing Lenovo, just like everyone else is playing wait and see when it comes to the future of Tablets.

Is the x201t worth an upgrade from the x200t? That’s your call, but in my opinion the differences are not that significant. In the Inkshow I compare it to moving from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS. While there were some new features on the 3GS, the biggest gain was a speedier iPhone. Otherwise, if you were comfortable with the 3G there was really no reason to upgrade. The same may be true here, but that depends on you. That said, if you’re a generation or two behind in Tablet PC hardware or just looking for new one, the x201t is tough to beat and it certainly will give you everything you’re looking for in a full-fledged Tablet PC.


All GBM InkShows are sponsored by MobileDemand

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

9 Comments

  1. smh

    03/23/2010 at 12:20 pm

    Good read, and i’m happy to see that the updates on the x201t are not that much of a jump. I’ll probably wait till the next major update before replacing my x200t. I think that i’ll stick with minor upgrades and hopefully the x200t will be up to the task – just replaced the HDD with an Intel SSD and let me tell you how big a performance jump it was :)

  2. Bunny

    03/23/2010 at 2:52 pm

    185 degrees viewing angle? Is that where like you can see the screen but you can’t see it at the same time?

    Great tablet pc. Wish touch could be disabled with a hard button.

  3. Medic

    03/23/2010 at 3:04 pm

    Nice Inkshow!
    Reminds me of the time you made the inkshow on the X60t, which I still have.

    Current questions:
    What is your experience of the screen responsiveness of the X201t compared to X200t. How much better is it compared to the X60t?
    Will the X201t also have an 8 cell battery option? This will greatly improve the praticality of the device, longer runtimes.
    Is it possible to tweak the core i7, so to cut on energy consumption (shutting cores off)?
    What is you experience of the weight of the X201t compared to the X60t?
    Do you know if Evernote will clear up the vectoring issue?

  4. Sam

    03/23/2010 at 10:40 pm

    Fujitsu probably has the widest lineup of convertible tablets, are you going to get some of their 12″ and 13″ models to review?

    The T4310 seems to be quite a good value for a convertible, though heavier than I’d like ($1150 list, active digtizer/capactivie multitouch, modular bay dvd burner, 4.2 lbs). I tried configuring a ThinkPad X200t with similar features and that came to over $1900, an HP tm2t came to $1350.

  5. Warner Crocker

    03/23/2010 at 10:51 pm

    Guys, keep your comments coming. My mom took a turn for the worse recently and I need to spend some time with her. I will answer soon, but not right away. Apologies.

  6. Donald

    03/24/2010 at 6:34 pm

    I too really want to see an update of the T2020 Fujitsu and if Dell goes with an XT3 in the future. Seem like the units that try to hang with the two Warner noted.

  7. Ken

    03/24/2010 at 7:07 pm

    Did you notice any issues with endless semi sleep mode lock up? We purchased two X200T 2 finger multi touch computers in Dec, both with with those issues. Never had that with our other X200 with single finger touch. ROM upgrades and everything else we, and tech support tried could not solve it. Other than that, love these tablets.

  8. Toby

    03/27/2010 at 6:22 am

    Thanks Warner for the InkShow, and particularly for demo-ing the touch.
    Best wishes for your mother.

  9. sean

    03/31/2010 at 9:34 am

    hey there how are you doing very sorry to hear about your mom.Just some info for you that is an 8 cell and the right side of that tablet with that bay cover is the hard drive same as the x200t
    also the screen is 300 nits compared to the x200t’s 270 nit with 2 finger touch
    also that fingerprint reader has a scroll function as the x200t does not
    cons are that the x201 weighs more then the x200t and has less battery life do to the new CPU
    but it also has a different intel wifi card and has better anti reflectivty properties do to the newwer screen so i think these should just have been some upgrades offered to x200t units owners i mean we paid a pretty penny,the cpu wouldnt be an option if that was the case but come on lenovo kinda screwed alot of loving steady customers with this “NEW” TABLET
    i have a x200t with 2 finger and an ssd so it is really fast but would have loved to have a brighter screen also the option to scroll with a button of the biometric reader………..very upsetting

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