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Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable hands-on: Meet the new Surface Pro killer

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

There will be no shortage of laptops unveiled at CES 2021, but brand new models aren't all that common. Fortunately, that's what Lenovo has for us with the powerful and versatile ThinkPad X12 Detachable.

While it certainly has taken some cues from other detachables on the market, the X12 Detachable brings the well-loved and rugged ThinkPad design to the equation and an impressive array of specs, including up to an Intel 11th Gen Core i7 vPro processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics.

Lenovo was kind enough to send us a pre-production unit of the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. Our brief hands-on time with the detachable left us eager for more. The tablet has a gorgeous display, fast performance and that ThinkPad design and durability we all know and love.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable price and release date

The ThinkPad X12 Detachable will be available later this month starting at $1,149. And, don't worry, the detachable keyboard is included. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable specs

The Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs have been impressing us since their release last fall, particularly when paired with the new Intel Iris Xe graphics, so it's great to see these options on the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. Given the performance we've seen from other thin and light options, this tablet should be capable of handling pretty significant workloads.

The rest of the internals are similarly impressive with up to 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and NVMe SSD storage up to 1TB. The 42Whr battery will deliver up to 9.98 hours of battery life according to Lenovo, and can recharge to 80% in one hour. Those are solid specs considering the tablet itself is just 1.67 pounds (2.42 pounds with the keyboard). 

Speaking of mobility, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable also features a NanoSIM slot and an LTE Cat9 modem for connectivity on the road and WiFi 6 to deliver the fastest connection possible when at your home or office. Combined with the "always-on" ability to wake in less than a second it should be an outstanding option for travelers.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable design

The detachable 12.3-inch FHD+ touchscreen is the primary focus of the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. It uses a productivity-focused 3:2 aspect ratio and looked great in my dimly-lit room thanks to its 400 nits of brightness.

The tablet features a built-in kickstand and despite its slim 9mm thickness, it offers MIL-SPEC 810G certification, meaning it will hold up to rugged work environments without a problem. Security features include a built-in IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition support along with a fingerprint scanner and ThinkShield Security.

The 5MP front-facing camera is joined by an 8MP rear-facing camera for greater flexibility with video conferencing or capturing images or video. Given its size, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable offers a reasonable array of ports with a Thunderbolt 4, a USB 3.2 Type-C port and a combo headphone/mic jack. If you need more ports the ThinkPad X1 USB-C Port Replicator adds two additional USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI port and both micro and standard SD card readers.

For those that need more precision than your finger can provide on the touchscreen, the Lenovo Precision Pen is compatible with the X12 Detachable. It attaches magnetically, but there is also a loop available for a more secure attachment. The pen offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and two function buttons.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Bottom line

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

While it isn't exactly breaking new ground, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is a welcome addition to that market with the inclusion of the Intel 11th Gen CPU and superior durability. The familiar ThinkPad keyboard layout may also be enticing to longtime fans that were without a direct Surface Pro 7 competitor from Lenovo previously. 

For road warriors and those that enjoy more versatile form factors, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable could be a compelling new option when it launches later this month.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.