Pros Light, long battery, durable, high quality
Cons 4200 rpm hard drive, no firewire
Summary Just got this product a few days ago. 1.5 gig intel processor, ABG wireless, 60 gig hd, bluetooth, 1.5 gig ram. It seems like technology is finally catching up with the tablet. Any other comparable convertible tablet/notebook weighs at least a pound more and is bulky. This maintains a low weight AND a keyboard - finally. The next best ultraportable tablet on the market is the Motion Computing LE1600, which lacks a keyboard. The x41 otherwise has the EXACT same specs. Same quality (probably better), same weight, same battery life, etc. I don't know how IBM (now lenovo) can do this while other companies cannot.
If you are looking for a convertible and do not care about weight and thickness, look at the HP 4200 or Toshiba Tecra M4. If you want something very portable, powerful, and unbreakable, look no further than this Thinkpad. This is the best tablet convertible on the market.
Only changes I would make:
If IBM had converted the X32 series instead of the X41 series I think I would be even happier, because it has faster hard drives, dedicated graphics, and a firewire port. However, it probably would have increased the weight and decreased the battery life. Also, they need to update some of the guts on that model. Either way, the X41 tablet is now the king of all tablets.
Pros It does exactly what it's supposed to do.
Cons Poor marketing effort, apparently, since only a few people seem to know what the X41 Table is supposed to do.
Summary I've been a CNet fan for years, using their reviews and especially user reviews/comments to make buying decisions for myself and for customer recommendations. However, this recent trend of people with no in-hand product and no concept of the PURPOSE for a product are driving user rating averages down, and as far as I can tell CNet isn't (yet?) weighing the ratings based on the supplied usefulness rating.
Specifically regarding the X41, most negative comments I've read have either had to do with lack of product availability or with perceived shortcomings of the product. So, let me make a few comments of my own as someone who has sold a number of X41 Tablets and would like to get one himself for work use:
* Product availability is fine, at least in Ontario. Has been for a while now, and the US tends to get products before we do so perhaps you're just dealing with bad resellers who aren't familiar with the concept of a ship complete. If you're dealing directly with IBM/Lenovo, they have a different product channel than the channel partners do - try a local reseller next time who you can go yell at in person.
* My condolences to the person who had QC issues with his X41 Tablet, but get a grip. No product line will ever ship out with 0% defects, ever, and from what I can tell neither the motherboard nor hard drive replacements solved your problem, so they weren't likely related to the root cause - yet you're blaming Lenovo for replacing them for you. Perhaps you did get a dud, but it happens, get over it. It's a computer, not a parachute. Nothing's worth a 1 unless all you get is an empty box, maybe with a few random pieces of styrofoam.
* To the guy who (it appears) docked marks from the X41 Tablet because it's an "IBM" and because "IBM" still has "hard drive issues" - I'm not sure when the IBM name on a portable PC became a negative, but you're welcome to your opinion. However, IBM sold their hard drive manufacturing business to Hitachi a while back - and it's been years since I've heard of any verifiable widespread issues with IBM-branded drives, and never the Travelstar drives specifically. What's the point of that comment in relation to the X41 Tablet?
* To those commenting on the hardware shortcomings, specifically the "slow" CPU (ultra low voltage, improved battery life and reduced heat), the lack of an integrated optical drive bay (lower weight, improved battery life), XGA display (?! You'd want SXGA on a 12.1" screen? I have 10/15 corrected vision (30/35 without) and I'm thinking *XGA* might be optimistic), average video chipset (Radeon 7500, I believe, a good business-class choice for a 100% business-class product, reduced cost, increased battery life), etc. My point: the part selections and design decisions IBM/Lenovo made for the X41 Tablet "Just Make Sense" (tm). A 5400RPM hard drive would be an improvement, though, I'll give you that.
Why do I want one? I'm a mobile sales rep who currently spends a lot of time sitting in meetings and taking hand-written notes on paper... I want the X41 Tablet to simplify note-taking and for occasional computer tasks. I have a PC in the office that'll be used for heavier-duty tasks (although it's specced lower than the X41 Tablet, so maybe I *will* use the Tablet for everything work-related). This is one of the few actual real-world uses for a tablet PC - I figure less than 2% of my customer base would be able to make use of a tablet, they definitely aren't for everyone.
The only issue I've heard of personally with the X41 Tablet is that if you take it out of its (optional) protective sleeve and accidently drop it onto a concrete floor from a table it can, well, break. So buy the protective sleeve, try not to drop it, and if you're really worried about it buy the Thinkpad Protection warranty that covers breakage.
Why am I only rating it an 8? Someone (perhaps Lenovo, perhaps someone else) will come out with a better tablet PC - faster, more memory, etc. I'm not docking 2 points for flaws, I'm leaving 2 points free for future enhancements.
Disclaimer: I work for an IBM reseller partner, but we also sell HP, Toshiba and Acer so I don't believe I'm particularly biased in this situation. My personal (and official sales) opinion is that the X41 Tablet is the only good tablet PC on the market at the moment, period. Putting a swivel touch screen on a 15" or 17" notebook makes it an oddity, not a tablet.Updated
I just noticed a couple of errors in my original comments - some models come with ULV CPUs, some just Low Voltage. Also, the graphics chipset is Intel integrated, not a Radeon 7500.
Pros Super light weight, tablet is as close to writting on paper as I have seen, easy to hold, great battery life.
Cons Mini backspace button, no cd/dvd drive, crappy sound, doesn't ship with install CDs, some of the best SW trial only, tablet pen feels cheap.
Summary I can't understand how so many people can write reviews if they don't own the machine. I unlike most reviews actually have the tablet and LOVE IT! I used to own a thinkpad, and then went Mac. I have been waiting for a windows machine that could bring me back and this is it. I needed a light laptop for b-school, and the tablet feature works great for adding notes to PowerPoint presentations. The IBM software is excellent, however I was shocked that it didn't come with install cds. The virtual drive software that allows you to watch dvds without a drive almost makes up not having the drive built in. For this purpose its actually better than having the actual drive due to less battery use. Maybe I am spoiled coming from a Powerbook, but the sound is awful, and while I probably won't be listening to music that much you really do notice how bad the mono speaker is. Lets be honest IBM had this one in the pipeline before Lenovo took over, and IBM deserves a lot of credit for the though put into the design, including placement of the buttons on the table screen, the ergonomics of the battery which makes it very easy to hold, and the placement of the USB ports on both sides of the laptop. Running is very cool, but I come from the Powerbook world where a few minutes feels like its burning off your flesh. The fingerprint reader was easy to set up, and the built in tutorials make learning to use a tablet easy if not fun. All in all this is really a great laptop and an amazing tablet. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a tablet PC.
"Excellent Machine"on by irploss
Pros Light weight, great keyboard, good speed, good writing area
Cons Lack of Optical Drive, Took a long time for it to arrive
Summary I am a practicing lawyer who also teaches night classes to graduate students at a local university. I have owned by Tablet X41 for about seven weeks. Prior to purchasing it I was using a Dell Lattiude (an old 810). I purchased a tablet pc because I wanted a machine that I could actually use at my desk and also use in court or client meetings, and potentially in both the classroom and at seminar presentations. I believe that the X41 Tablet has met and will eceed will these expectations.
The biggest negative experience with the machine was the waiting period it took between the date that I placed my order and actually received the machine (almost 6 weeks). At the same time I purchased the machine I also purchased the docking station, CD/DVD cache device, an extra pen, 8 cell lithion battery, sleeve and carrying case. Within a week of my order, I began receiving the parts of my order and after about four weeks, I had received everything except for the computer itself. Fortunately, since I purchased my machine through the university I teach at, I had a Lenovo sales representative with whom I was able to follow up, and he (and his colleagues when I could not reach him) greatly helped me. I finally received my machine around Labor Day. This was obviously not much fun.
Since purchasing the machine, I have been extremely pleased with it. Admittedly the screen size (12.1) is not as large as what I was used to, but I have adjusted very well to it and I cannot complain. I have not had occassion to employ the BlueTooth technology on the machine, but the Centrino mobility (this is the first machine that I have owned that has it) has been a great experience.
I ordered the additional 1GB memory chip (pushing my total memory to 1.5 GB) which has definitely been a plus (In addition to having a slow prcessing speed, my old Dell Lattitude had 256K memory which greatly slowed me down so I was determined not suffer the same fate with this machine) and I also upgraded my hard drive to 60GB. I also purchased the security fingerprint reader which has also been interesting. It works marvelously when the computer is in tablet mode, but unless you are right handed and good at using your thumb, it can be a little challengint to use it when the machine in in laptop mode. Consistent with some other reviews on this website, the machine can be a little slow at start-up, even when it is s coming out of stand by mode. The processing speed (1.5 GHz) has been more than adequate for the applications that I use.
The machine operates beautifully in laptop mode. The keyboard is excellent although it took a little bit of time to get used to not having a touchpad. The lack of a Windows key has had no impact on me since I never use the key anyway. The screen resolution is also good. I have not felt at a disadvantage having a smaller size screen. The computer is very sturdy (unlike my Dell which did not feel very sturdy). Overall I consider it to be an excellent laptop.
Converting the machine to tablet mode is very easy. The swiveling hinge at the base of the screen (which you use to conver the machine to tablet and back to laptop) is very sturdy and the transition is good. As a portable tablet, the machine is excellent. I use it in all of my client meetings and it is both a great productivity tool and conversation piece (all of my clients have commented on it). The tablet screet is excellent and I do not think that the small indent between the frame and the writing surface is an issue. I have used the tablet sleeve, but must admit that I really do not feel that I need it. The machine is very easy to carry around and I feel very comfortable taking it into meetings.
Initially I thought that the lack of a built in optical drive would be a great hindrance to me, but I must admit that except for loading software form a CD, I do not feel that I am at a disavantage. I would strongly recommend purchasing the docking station and cached CD/DVD since it is useful to have access to one when you are working at your desk.
The additional IBM accessories on the machine (i.e. access IBM button, connection manager and power manager) have been a revelation to me. I do have a problem utilizing the Rescue and Recovery Function, but I believe that I have overcome this issue by uding a jump drive. I have had occassion to call IBM technical support (walking me through the installation of my additional memory and also questions about the Rescue & Recovery). The technical support group is located in Atlanta. I found their technical support service to be unremarkable.
I would strongly recommend that anyone who purchases the machine should also purchase MicroSoft OneNote. It is a great program and its find function is invaluable especially when I am trying to locate data regarding my notes. Overall I have found the machine to be indispensible to me both in tablet mode and laptop mode. I did look at other manufacturers models but found them to be too heavy to carry around (Toshiba), poor quality (I used to only purchase Gateway computers but now I would never purchase one unless they were the last manufacturer left on earth), or too pricey (I was impressed with Motion Computing L1500 and its progeny but for what I wanted it would have cost me more than $5000 and not worth the money).
I am very pleased with the computer. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in a Tablet PC. I am impressed with the Tablet PC Technology but I also realize that there is more that Microsoft could do to support the platform
Pros LIGHTWEIGHT, tablet
Cons Slow to start up
Summary First, let me start off by describing who I am and why I bought this computer. I am a third-year law student and about to enter the legal profession with an eye to litigation. I wanted a computer that I could use for one more year of school and then take into the workforce.
After having eyed tablets for several years and waiting to find out if they'd stick around (I'm still not so sure), I decided to get it. I was dissatisfied with my old Dell Inspiron because it was slow, loud, and very heavy. I wanted an ultraportable convertible tablet PC -- which is exactly what this is.
Overall, the only real problem I have with this computer is the ammount of time it takes to start-up. Other than that, I have had no problems. The speed is good, the fingerprint sensor is functional (extremely useful when starting the X41 in the tablet formation, ridiculous otherwise), the keyboard is full-size and mostly intuitive (there is no "Windows" key, although you can program the right "alt" key to act as it, and the "control" key is in a strange location), and the fan noise is almost always inaudible. Did I mention how incredibly lightweight the computer is?
IBM/Lenovo includes with this computer, as a program called VirtualDrive. VirtualDrive allows you to run CD/DVD/ROM/RW/MORE LETTERS games from your tablet (or any other computer, I suppose) without the actual disk. It sets aside around 6 gigs of space to completely copy (for personal use, I suppose) a CD/DVD/CDC/ABC/123 game. Thus, you can run a game without a CD by causing the game to access that section of your computer. You can't pop-in a CD any old place, but you can play a CD-required videogame without the CD (assuming you had it in the first place).
I have had no hardware problems at all, except for some plug-and-play difficulty with a mouse (resolved via the old re-boot). I have had no input problems, no output problems, nothing.
My biggest complaint with the computer is the ammount of time it took me to actually get it. It took about a month from the time I ordered it to get shipped(from China), and the FDA (yes, the FDA) stopped it at just about every point they could (searching, I suppose, for a massive ring of illegal food smugglers operating by disguising food to look like laptop computers [I'm sure someone out there has actually tried to eat their CPU at some point]). But, once I actually got it -- after all the illegal food had been removed by our national guardians of the dinnerplate, of course -- the computer worked great. Of course, I ordered the computer immediately after it was given a high profile in U.S. computer-press, so there was probably a high demand for it. As this is IBM/Lenovo's first foray into the tablet world, I don't fault them too much for making such a successful product their first time around.
The tablet has actually been more useful than I originally imagined it might be. At this point I turn to the advantages of a tablet in general. Simply put, a tablet can go where a laptop may not. There are many circumstances wherein a laptop (especially a laptop's impeding screen) would be innapropriate -- many meetings, for example. The tablet, however, becomes my pad of paper. I cannot lose this notepad in the same way as I could any other, and organization is a cinch. That is, I never have to search my desk or my file folders for my notes of a specific meeting -- they're right where I need them, whenever I need them.
For those solely in an educational context (college students & their parents): The tablet works exactly how you'd want it to, with the exception of handwriting recognition. Though the software can convert, it does not do an exceedingly good job. Instead, treat the tablet as you would your regular notes (oh, and get MS OneNote). If you need to convert, be prepared to spend some time deciphering "fore toon" into "fourteen." The disadvantage -- people will notice this tablet (or, for that matter, any tablet). Keep a very good eye on it.
As a general PC: the tablet allows for some functionality that simply was unavailable before (that is, additional abilities deriving from the ability to write on the screen). Sitting in bed or on my couch surfing the internet is much easier, so long as I am not writing anything longwided like this. The weight allows this computer, especially while in the tablet configuration, to act in ways that we never imagined computers might (for example, it is very easy to just stand-up and hold the laptop like you might a magazine or newspaper).
It's a good PC; it's a good laptop; it's a good tablet. To say it succinctly, it's a good buy.