Looking for a lightweight Windows 8 tablet for work and play? The Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx K3011 might be the slate you're looking for. Available at Staples and Best Buy for $549, the Lynx offers an Intel Atom processor with integrated graphics and a bright 11.6-inch IPS display. But does this tablet do enough to truly stand out?
The Lynx sports a rather spare design. The front of the tablet is bare except for a Lenovo logo in the top right corner, a 2.0 megapixel camera centered at the top and the physical Windows 8 button along the bottom. The 11.6-inch display is lined with a thick, black border so wayward thumbs won't accidentally engage the screen.
Comprised of a small diamond pattern, the tablet's rear plastic panel provides a firm grip and is pleasant to touch. However, it doesn't feel as sturdy as the aluminum frame of the HP Envy x2. Unlike most tablets, the Lynx doesn't have a rear-facing camera.
Weighing 1.4 pounds, the Lynx falls between the 1.2-pound VivoTab Smart and the 1.5-pound HP Envy x2. At 11.8 x 7.39 x 0.3-0.37 inches, the Lynx is slightly bigger than the Dell Latitude 10 (10.8 x 7.0 x 0.4) and ASUS VivoTab Smart (10.7 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches), but has a slimmer profile. However, this Lenovo tablet is almost the same size as the 11.9 x 7.5 x 0.3-inch Envy x2.
The top of the Lynx holds the power button and a microSD slot card, which has a rather large port cover. A combination headphone/mic jack and a micro-HDMI port line the right side of the tablet, and rotate lock and volume buttons are on the left. The bottom-mounted microUSB port sits between the two slots used to dock the optional keyboard. We wish Lenovo had thought to include a full-size USB port on the tablet.
The Lynx's 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 IPS display offered deep colors and sharp text. As we watched the 1080p trailer of "After Earth," we could see the intricate fish-scale design on Jaden Smith's otherwise bland silver uniform. It made for a perfect contrast for the pink-tinged sky and red, rough-hewn rock formations in the background.
The touch experience offered by this IdeaPad was completely fluid and responsive. In our tests, we quickly swiped between apps, pinched to zoom, swiped down to launch the app bar, swiped in and back from left to show the task menu and swiped in from the right for the Charms menu. Using Windows Paint, we could draw with five fingers at once.
The tablet's display measured 444 lux on our light meter, besting the 369 tablet average. By comparison, the Envy x2 and the VivoTab Smart came in at 306 and 292 lux. The Latitude 10 was slightly brighter, at 479 lux.
Located on either side of the tablet, the Lynx's speakers produced tinny audio. We could barely hear the instrumental on Pharrell's "Take It Off (Dim the Lights)," even at maximum volume. It was only when we held the tablet close to our face that we could hear the gentle strings and cowbell. The lows were pretty nonexistent.
The Lynx features Microsoft's standard Windows 8 on-screen keyboard, complete with three different use modes. The standard mode offers a normal QWERTY keyboard that, thanks to its large keys, is great for tapping emails. A split mode cuts the keyboard into three sections, with the left and right halves pushed to their respective sides of the screen, and the middle being occupied by a number pad.
Lenovo also offers a keyboard dock for $129 (available at Staples). The dock has a full-size keyboard, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a microUSB slot and a built-in battery. The company claims that the dock's battery can extend the tablet's endurance to 16 hours.
Unlike the ThinkPad Tablet 2, the Lynx does not support an active stylus.
After watching 15 minutes of "Ugly Americans" on Netflix, the Lynx's underside measured 88 degrees Fahrenheit. That's comfortably below what we consider too hot: 95 degrees.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx K3011 is powered by a 1.8-GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor and 2GB of RAM. When we ran PCMark 7, the Lynx scored 1,437, failing to meet the 2,739 tablet average. However, this score was on a par with the HP Envy x2 (1,428), ASUS VivoTab Smart (1,399) and Dell Latitude 10 (1,440), all of which have the same CPU as the Lynx.
The Lynx booted Windows 8 in 18 seconds, beating the 0:25 category average and the VivoTab Smart's time of 19 seconds. The Envy x2 was slightly faster at 14 seconds.
During the File Transfer test, the Lynx's 64GB eMMC flash drive duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 6 minutes and 56 seconds. That's a transfer rate of 12.2 MBps, which is far below the 58 MBps average. The VivoTab Smart delivered 17.7 MBps, and the Envy x2 turned in a higher 22 MBps.
On the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro Test, the Lynx took a leisurely 31 minutes and 4 seconds to pair 20,000 names and addresses. That's way behind the 18:49 category average, but not that far off from other Atom-powered systems. The VivoTab Smart and Envy x2 fared slightly better with 30:18 and 29:45, respectively.
If you're looking to play anything other than nontaxing casual games, the IdeaPad Lynx is not your tablet. The tablet's integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) doesn't support DirectX 11, which means it couldn't run our 3DMark11 benchmark. When we tried the "World of Warcraft" benchmark, we got an unplayable 2.9 fps frame rate on autodetect. That's on a par with the VivoTab Smart's average of 2.4 fps, but both scores are still below the 13.5 fps average.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx has a 2.0 megapixel front-facing camera, but lacks a rear-facing camera. Under natural lighting, skin tones were more accurate than with fluorescent lights. However, both images delivered a good amount of detail, capturing the sequins along the front of our shirt.
The camera can also capture video in 1080p, which comes in handy for Web conferencing calls. When we made a test call using Skype, our caller reported clear audio and a reasonably sharp picture. Things were a little fuzzy on our end of the call, but the audio was nice and clear.
When we ran the Laptop Battery Test on the Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi), it lasted 7 hours and 40 minutes. That's 27 minutes longer than the 7:13 tablet category average, and nearly an hour longer than the HP Envy x2's time of 6:52, but almost 40 minutes less than the VivoTab Smart (8:17).
When the Envy x2 was connected to its keyboard dock, that tablet lasted 11:57. Lenovo expects the Lynx to last up to 16 hours when connected to its dock; we will update this review once we've had a chance to test its claims.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx features a number of multimedia apps, such as Fresh Paint, Rara.com, a music-streaming service, and the Amazon Kindle app. Skype, Evernote Touch, Accuweather.com, Norton Studio and a trial version of Microsoft Office 2010 are also on board, plus the Merriam-Webster dictionary and Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Lenovo keeps branded software to a minimum on the Lynx, adding only the SugarSync-powered Lenovo Cloud Storage.
Despite its provocative name, the Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx K3011 doesn't do much to stand out from the growing Windows 8 tablet crowd. For $549, consumers will walk away with a bright display and good battery life. Adding a keyboard brings the price to $678. For the money, we actually prefer the HP Envy x2, which is now just $599 with the keyboard and sports a more premium design and dual cameras. The Lynx has what it takes to satisfy users looking for a Windows 8 tablet with a long-lasting battery, but it's not the best choice.