Thursday, May 19, 2022

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3rd Gen) review 2018

Year in and year out, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Tablet ranks consistently among the strongest Windows tablets in the market, despite fluctuations in price and performance. This year, a concerted effort to refresh and update the X1’s components elevates the ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3rd Gen) to the top of the heap.

While the review unit Lenovo sent us has the lofty price of $1,547.10 (from Lenovo), the same price as Lenovo’s 2017 version of the X1 Tablet, remember that this is built for business users who expect quality and durability. And this year there’s now far more bang for your buck. A new 8th-gen Intel quad-core Core processor complements a larger 512GB SSD, a new 3,000×2,000 IPS display, and a larger battery. All four represent upgrades over last year’s model. Lenovo also strengthened its structural rigidity of the included, detachable keyboard to improve the typing experience.

The ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3rd Gen) isn’t perfect, as battery life is still mediocre. Still, its new capabilities earn it Editor’s Choice honors, joining its far more affordable cousin the Lenovo Miix 520 (which has a more consumer-friendly build and price).  

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 tablet top Mark Hachman / IDG

Basic specs

  • Processor: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U (Kaby Lake-R)
  • Memory: 8GB-16GB 1,867MHz LPDDR3 (8GB as tested)
  • Display: 13-inch IPS (3,000×2000)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD 620 (Integrated)
  • Storage: 256GB-1TB PCIe-NVMe M.2 SSD (512GB as tested)
  • Camera: Front: 2MP, rear: 8MP
  • Wireless: Intel dual-band 8265 Wireless 802.11ac (2 x 2) & Bluetooth 4.1
  • Ports: Two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 (power delivery, DisplayPort, data transfer) ports, nanoSIM card/microSD combo slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, Kensington lock
  • Battery: 42Wh
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
  • Dimensions: 11.96 x 8.88 x 0.35 inches
  • Weight: 2.76 pounds (Tablet and keyboard), 3.44 pounds (Tablet, keyboard, pen and charger) as measured
  • Price: $1,719 MSRP; $1,547 as tested, from Lenovo; includes ThinkPad Pro pen and keyboard

Lenovo sells the ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3rd Gen) in three configurations, from $1,410 to $2,369, MSRP; we found a different combination of memory and storage on Amazon, for $2,048.

Lenovo has always leaned on the boxy aesthetic of the original IBM ThinkPad notebooks, and the new X1 Tablet 3rd Gen’s magnesium-aluminum construction is no different. Lenovo claims that the tablet has been tested against a dozen MIL-STD 810G tests measuring its ruggedness. Though we didn’t repeat those tests, a few drops onto carpet (inadvertent and otherwise) convinced us that it will hold up pretty well.

One of those, where the tablet landed face down from waist height, spurred us to confirm that yes, it uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 to protect it. In all, though, we have no concerns with the ThinkPad X1 Tablet’s build quality.

One of the goals this latest X1 apparently sought to achieve was parity with its competition, along several axes. One of these is the kickstand, which now reclines the tablet smoothly from nearly vertical to not quite flat (10 degrees or so). Instead of reclining from the bottom, it now reclines from the top, just like every other tablet kickstand in existence. This makes it roughly equivalent in design to Microsoft’s Surface Pro (2017).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 2018  fully reclined 2 Mark Hachman / IDG

There’s a bit of give when the X1 Tablet (2018) is fully reclined, but it’s also surprisingly sturdy.

Lenovo did away with the slider switch to release the kickstand, meaning that to recline the tablet you’ll just need to crook a finger underneath it. Lenovo also made an interesting, smart choice to slightly round part of the kickstand’s outer edge, providing a smoother, more comfortable landing pad as the tablet rests upon your thighs. The microSD card slot under the kickstand has been removed, joining the side-mounted SIM card as a dual-format hybrid slot.


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