Thinkpad Tablet 2 - 3 months in

Discussion in 'Lenovo (IBM)' started by ecoeco, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. ecoeco

    ecoeco Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I thought I'd provide a review of the TPT2 after a few months of use.

    The TL:DR summary is - its a great little tablet but not without compromises. You can use it as a primary pc if you are willing to live with some frustration. I prefer it to the Surface Pro and Surface RT and the Thinkpad x230 for work. I use it all day everyday for office work but have held on to an iPad for content consumption.

    My use scenario:]
    My goal is to have one device that can do both home and work. It needs to be fairly light, run MS office (including Visio), have a good battery and a be good for taking ink notes. I work in an office with some commuting and travel and the TPT2 meets about 80% of my needs.

    I've been using Tablet PCs since the TC1000 came out with its woeful Transmeta processor. For the last few years I have worked more or less paperless, using Onenote, Evernote and the office suite. The best Tablet PCs for me (until now) where the TC1100 with its keyboard dock and the Motion Computer M1400 which had a changeable battery, a good screen and enough power to be my primary PC. I wore out three of these using them all day every day.

    When the iPad came out it seemed perfect. All day battery and built for touch, but four months of trying every combination of stylus for it I gave up and when back to the world of Tablet PCs (with the Samsung Series 7 slate).

    With Windows 8 coming out I have been using the TPT2 which occasional trials of the Surface RT and in the last couple of weeks a Surface Pro. Despite its flaws I keep coming back to the TPT2 as the best all round machine.

    The TPT2 as a everyday device - Pros
    The tablet is really light. It is a great size to carry around all day to meetings and it works wonderfully with either the MS wedge keyboard or the Lenovo Bluetooth keyboard it was made for. The Lenovo keyboard is easily as good as the Surface Type Cover and I can use as comfortably as any other laptop keyboard. That said, I dock the tablet for any long period of use and use a full size keyboard so I'm not using it all day everyday. Overall it's a great little portable setup.

    For my use scenario the TPT2 is better than the Surface Pro. I love the ability to turn it on instantly and the loooong battery life. I never thought I would care about the instant on feature, especially after putting up with so many generations of older tablet PCs all of which took a long time to boot. Ipads have spoilt me it seems and I always find the boot time delay of the Surface Pro annoying. Likewise the Surface Pro just can't get through the day, for my use case it is always running out of power. I also notice the weight of the Surface Pro more than I thought I would. It seems that if the Surface Pro is a laptop with tablet features then I need a tablet with laptop features.

    The TPT2 as a everyday device - Pros
    The device is slowly becoming more stable. Until a week ago I was getting crashes everyday but these are starting to become less frequent. I've given up using the Lenovo cover which turns of the device automatically, I found it 50/50 in terms of waking up reliably. These days I use the device naked with the Lenovo cover which also holds the keyboard when I travel. I have about one crash every couple of days. Memory use still seems to be an issue. In the early days I lost my work more than once as Powerpoint brings brought the whole system. I assume due to some kind of memory error. If you need a rock solid, completely stable machine then this is not for you.

    The tablet does feel slow. The Surface Pro is (not surprisingly) like a breath of fresh air in comparison but the TPT2 has enough speed to to be onenote and office device which is all I need it for. I would find it fairly frustrating to be editing large files (either documents or photos). The TPT2 is fast enough that I will take its battery life over the added speed of the i5 units.

    The mail app built into Windows 8 is a long way behind the iPad mail app. But I just run outlook which does the job fine.

    Charging has been a real hassle. The tablet only charges with the adapter it came with or my Nokia phone charger. My ipad charger and other power bricks don't do the job. More than once I have thought it was charging only to find I have to head out with little or no battery left - really frustrating.

    The biggest problem I have found is the lack of processing power for watching videos. I can't play iTunes videos without it stuttering. This plus the aspect ratio means I still carry an iPad around with me for reading Kindle books and watching entertainment.


    Summary
    At times the TPT2 has had me screaming - especially when it lost my work. However, after trying several other devices I keep coming back to it and grudgingly accepting it is the best fit for all day office use. If you are thinking about buying one - be careful. Its a device with compromises but if it fits your needs its wonderful.
     
  2. cstablet

    cstablet Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Can't believe no one has replied to this thorough and thoughtful review! I registered to post a "thank you" to the OP. Your review was very helpful.
     
  3. seaturn

    seaturn Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I guess people are not interested in current generation tablets(2012) anymore and saving there time. Example Helix was delayed for 5 month, and I am not reading reviews on Helix. Waiting for Toshiba or Samsung.
     
  4. spinedoc77

    spinedoc77 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Almost 7 months in and I LOVE my TPT2, I just sent it in for warranty damage and got a check and I am definitely going to buy another one. Newer Atom tablets *might* be out in time for the holidays and I don't see any reason to deny myself a business machine for almost 6 months, or maybe even longer.
     
  5. ecoeco

    ecoeco Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for picking this up. I thought no one had read the thread! The TPT2 is still my pick of current tablets, 6 months in. I've sold my surface rt and surface pro. The battery life, stylus, 3g, and weight meet my needs exactly. I'm starting to talk about the thing as fondly as my tc1100. It's great being able to scribble onenote notes all day without worrying about power.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  6. cstablet

    cstablet Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Eco, do you mind sharing the model number you got? You seem to have a model with LTE/3G support. I've discovered a pdf file that lists all the models. They all start with 3679-xxx. The last three places differentiates the models. Model like 22U, 5HU, 5YU, etc. seem to be newer.

    Thanks for your info.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. zendragon

    zendragon Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Sorry, a little off topic, but, does the 16:9 aspect ratio have any benefit at all? I'm starting to think, if PC manufacturers got their heads out of their, well, when BayTrail comes out, we could alleviate the need for iPads altogether.

    Anyway, I love the review, but I agree with seaturn here. I'm in the group that is just waiting for something better, especially in the aspect ratio we're being forced to take.
     
  8. tijo

    tijo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    16:9 is all marketing imo. Well, it foes fit nicely for video content, but from a productivity standpoint, 16:10 and 4:3 are better on a tablet if you ask me. On laptops, it depends, I find that a 1920x1080 resolution gives enough screen real estate to offset the 16:9 low vertical pixel count issue.
     
  9. gcoupe

    gcoupe Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I suspect it depends on what standpoint you take for productivity. I can understand that for some, e.g. artists and avid readers, 16:9 is not a ratio that reflects well on the traditional objects they interact with (e.g. sketchpads and books). However, speaking only for myself, I can't say that it bothers me in the slightest.
     
  10. seaturn

    seaturn Scribbler - Standard Member

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    "The battery life, stylus, 3g, and weight meet my needs"

    ecoeco, do you use Lenovo Mobile service? If yes, can you give more details - coverage, speed etc. For me it might be one of the factor to buy ThinkPad.
    Thank you.
     
  11. tijo

    tijo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    At the office, I work on rather large Excel spreadsheets, Word documents as well as running FEM simulations. All those tasks benefit from more desktop real estate. It's not as much a matter aspect ration than one of vertical pixel count. When you get to the lower resolutions like 1366x768, it's where it starts to hurt in comparison to 16:10 and 4:3 aspect ratios. YMMV of course.
     
  12. gcoupe

    gcoupe Scribbler - Standard Member

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    At the office, I'd probably go for a scenario of docking my TPT2 and using a larger external monitor...
     
  13. ecoeco

    ecoeco Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I've slowly grown used to the widescreen aspect ratio. I much prefer the paper like feel of an iPad or my old M1400. I will tolerate the widescreen on the TPT2 due to the small size and lightness of the device. I've found that I just can't get used to using the device in portrait. That said Windows 8 makes really good use of the widescreen with its snap features. I love being able to use a web browser with onenote docked to the side to take notes and clippings as I go.

    On the power side of things - the TPT2 really shines as a onenote/office device but is quite weak on multimedia - video of nearly any kind. This has been the way for all my tablet PCs. Lately I've been comparing the TPT2 to a galaxy note 8. The note is fine for browsing and video but quite weak at inking. Hopefully BayTrail or a small Haswell tablet will give us the best of all worlds.
     
  14. ecoeco

    ecoeco Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I use a standard sim which I was previously using in an iPad which works fine. Sorry cant comment on the Lenovo mobile offering
     
  15. ecoeco

    ecoeco Pen Pal - Newbie

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    My unit is a 3679-A13. I ordered it directly from lenovo. I hope this helps.
     
  16. tijo

    tijo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I am indeed having problems with some of my .mkv files (MPC-HC), my .mp4 files play just fine though. I suspect it might have to do with the bitrate, but I haven't done a thorough check.
     
  17. philo

    philo Pen Pal - Newbie

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  18. spinedoc77

    spinedoc77 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I love the widescreen mode, IMO it's nicer than the ipad's ratio for web browsing especially. I do agree that portrait is funky, but it's actually kind of nice for annotating and handwriting on documents. I've never had an issue with video though, other than the pathetically low volume, but any video I've thrown at it plays with no issues.
     
  19. terry mc

    terry mc Pen Pal - Newbie

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    eco,
    Thanks for the review, it helps with the decision I have been pondering.
    I have been looking at the TPT2 for an upgrade from my TPT1.
    I have not had any real problems with my TPT however, I use it in the field and
    the problem for me has been I take notes then go back to my truck and do reports on a windows 7 Tablet (Fujitsu T900) or use my T900 on the jobsite (not my favorite thing do to size and expense to replace)
    This creates a 2 step process,which I would love to skip and that is where the Windows 8 TPT2 comes in, do reports (mostly Excel although there is some other windows based programs as well) with the device and only return to the printer in the truck to print the completed reports.

    In my opinion, no other device would give me the combination that I am looking for, Stylus, able to run windows programs (including many
    specialty softwares) and interconnect with any windows peripherals that I may encounter with the drivers being available.
    I will still have the T900 for the power hogs but it can remain on my desk most of the time, if I am correct.
    Your review looks to support this thought process, so thank you.

    Terry
     
  20. SDreamer

    SDreamer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    What resolution mkv files did you use? I installed the latest K-lite codec pack (I know these are pretty bad, but I don't have problems on my i3), which has the latest LAV filters. I tried playing a 720 mkv file, plays fine for a few minutes then starts to have audio sync problems, then just stutters. Seems to be a buffering issue with the player (WMP). I tried VLC and it played a heck of a lot better, but again after a bit I would start to see artifacts then it would just die.
     
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