Ports and Webcam
For an ultraportable system, the X201 tablet packs in plenty of ports. On the right side are two USB ports, audio in and out, a bay to store the stylus, and a 56K modem port. On the left side is a Kensington lock slot, a VGA port, Ethernet, an ExpressCard/54 slot, and one more USB port (for a total of three). The front lip of the notebook features a 5-in-1 memory card reader to let you transfer data from cameras, phones, MP3 players, and other devices.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The 2-megapixel webcam provided sharp images, rich colors, and smooth video, even in low light. When speaking on Skype from a dimly lit living room, our call partner noted that there was some visual noise in the picture background, but that colors were extremely bright and shapes were free from blockiness.
Display and Touchscreen
Click to enlargeJust like the X200 tablet, the X201 tablet's matte screen has a resolution of 1280 x 800, with bright colors and fantastic viewing angles even at 90 degrees to the left or right. The lid has a very strong middle hinge that rotates the screen either left or right and flips it around into tablet mode.
The display uses a capacitive digitizer that supports both stylus input and multitouch gestures with up to two fingers at a time. Using Windows 7's built-in support for touch, we easily performed basic tasks like swiping upwards on taskbar icons to launch jump lists, pinching to zoom in/out on photos, and drawing with two fingers at once in Windows Paint. Using Microsoft Touchpack, which comes preloaded, we were able to play entertaining touch games like Garden Pond, a game in which you move paper boats around a Japanese pond by splashing the water with your fingers.
Using the stylus, we were able to navigate accurately around the screen and take advantage of Windows 7's built-in handwriting recognition. Though our handwriting is worse than most doctors', the system was able to correctly translate most of our scribbles to text on the first try.
If the built-in Windows touch functionality isn't enough, Lenovo includes its SimpleTap interface for easy access to control panels and utilities when in tablet mode. By either double tapping on the desktop or tapping on the red SimpleTap button, you get a an overlay filled with large tiles that serve as shortcuts to perform basic functions like changing the volume, adjusting brightness, locking the computer, or turning on the webcam. You can also add custom tiles that will launch any program you want, or even web pages.
Multimedia and Sound
Playing movies (even in high-definition) on the X201 tablet was a pleasant experience. Both when we streamed a 720p episode of Fringe from Fox.com and when we played a 1080p WMV file from the Microsoft HD Showcase, images were incredibly crisp, colorful, and smooth. If you plan to watch movies on the X201 tablet, keep in mind that it does not have a built-in optical drive, so you'll either need downloaded content or an external drive.
The sound quality of the X201 tablet's speakers was more than good enough to play movies, and better than expected when playing music. Though the sound was a little tinny when we streamed a heavy metal song, a dance track, and a jazz tune from Napster.com, it was loud enough to fill a room, and richer than we usually hear from a business system.