Hands-On With Lenovo's New ThinkPad Tablet and IdeaPad Tablet K1

Lenovo is getting into the tablet game in a big way, announcing three slates: the Android-based IdeaPad K1 and ThinkPad Tablet as well as the Windows 7-powered  IdeaPad Tablet P1. The two Android tablets feature Android Honeycomb 3.1, 1-GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processors, and 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 screens. Both should be available for pre-order today, with the IdeaPad Tablet P1 not shipping until Q4 of this year.

ThinkPad Tablet

Built for business, the ThinkPad Tablet starts at $499 and comes with 16GB of internal memory and business-friendly goodies such as encryption, IT manageability, and a full-size USB port that connects to external hard drives or USB flash drives. To survive the demanding lives of business users, the ThinkPad Tablet has a scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass ISP display with 178-degree viewing angles. The tablet has optional Computrace security software that can disable a lost or stolen device and Citrix virtual application support for connecting to any business app that sits on the office servers.

Our favorite feature of the ThinkPad Tablet is the optional ($30) active stylus, which uses  N-trig Duosense technology to provide a combination of pen and finger-based input. In our brief hands-on, we had a chance to try Lenovo's built-in note-taking software and were blown away by how accurate the built-in OCR was. Whatever we wrote, even with our poor handwriting, was translated into editable ASCII text.

In addition to the pen, ThinkPad Tablet users will be able to purchase a keyboard dock / portfolio that has an attractive, ThinkPad-style keyboard, complete with a tiny optical TrackPoint nub.

Lenovo IdeaPad K1

The IdeaPad K1, priced at $499 for the 32GB model, weighs a reasonable 1.65 pounds and supports 10-point multitouch gestures. Ports include a micro SD card reader, micro HDMI out, and mic/headphone jacks. Other benefits include support for DRM content so you can download protected movies to the device, free 2GB of Cloud storage, Lenovo's SocialTouch software, and access to both the Google Market and Lenovo's own Android app store.

We had a chance to go hands-on with the IdeaPad K1 during a briefing with Lenovo last month and we were impressed with the system's build quality, its textured back, and the attractive app launcher Lenovo put on top of the standard Android UI. 

Lenovo IdeaPad P1

We got an early look at the Windows 7-based IdeaPad P1 at CES 2011, where it was being called the IdeaPad Slate. The device will feature a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 screen, a 1.5-GHz Intel CPU, front and rear webcams, and its own optional stylus. We expect to learn a lot more about this slate before it launches in Q4.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.